As many men made monuments And many more were making still, I built the scaffold with intents To also boast upon this hill. A structure great enough to show The splendor of my work and craft To those who saw it may they know That this is glory that will last. They saw that it was thin and square And lacking any artistry So full of holes exposed to air And did not look a bit like me. But when my children looked and saw The magnum opus of my soul They jumped with glee and stood in awe And knew at once what was their role. They built their structure from the base I flattened down and leveled true, And worked to quicken up their pace Until their craft was finished too. The day had come to now unveil As people gathered 'round to mock. A rocket ship that soon would sail To places far beyond the stars. The people all beheld the sight The hill that shook so violently As fire soared across the sky Our monument for all to see.
The Given Abyss
My shadow cast against the grains
As sunlight fades across the blue.
A wetter shade than what remained
Untouched and radiantly new.
The coastal creatures teeming on,
I dove a little deeper more
Until the warmth relied upon
Became a chill I can’t ignore.
My sight accustomed as I sank,
My breathing muzzled by a thread,
My life reliant on a tank
Receding past horizon’s edge.
That distant home at shores afar
Was where I learned to walk and run,
But now I float within the dark
Until the day my mission’s done.
A Pillar of Stones
My regrets were a pillar of unsteady stones
As it propped up a roof that was littered with holes.
In the rain I was cold and at night so exposed
But I knew nothing else but this shack I called home.
With the threat of collapse looming just overhead
Came a knock at the door from a stranger instead.
“I am sorry… I’d answer your knocking,” I said,
“But I’m holding the pillar upholding this shed.”
Silhouetting the doorway, the man had begun,
“I have heard from your friend, which is why I have come —
He’s the expert repairman, and I am his son.
Please let go, and then exit this shanty at once.”
“I refuse,” came the words before I myself knew,
“I’m afraid to let go,” were what followed them too.
His response was a sigh as he entered the room,
“I suppose I must break some unfortunate news.”
“There’s a storm on the way, and the biggest they’ve seen.
And a storm of that size will wipe all of this clean.
So it’s hopeless to tie yourself down to that beam.
If you stay, you will die, do you get what I mean?”
“So I’m destined to perish here no matter what?
Since my arms are the only thing holding this up?”
To my horror, my hands began shaking because
I could not even stomach that sickening thought.
As the pillar responded with creaking and groans
The repairman supported the column of stones.
With his arms wrapped above, he responded below,
“Do you see? I will hold it so you can let go.”
Though my body was stiffened and stuck in one place,
I released my two hands ’til they hung at my waist.
When the thrill of the motion had coursed through my veins,
I took off like an animal fleeing a chase.
I was greeted by clouds hanging low to the north
With a wind and a fury of waves surging forth.
As my eyesight adjusted, I turned to my home
Whose foundations had caved with a terrible force.
Was my life in that shack worth the risk for this man?
Was there something he knew that I can’t understand?
My regrets were a pillar of now fallen stones
That collapsed on my rescuer, breaking his bones.
In a rush I collapsed to my knees and began
To unearth all the ruins as quick as I can.
With complete disregard for the pain in my hands
And a fear that his trade was a part of his plan.
From the rubble he rose slightly worse for the wear,
“I’m afraid that your home is in need of repair.”
He remarked with a grin and a brush of his hair,
“We were lucky it fell when you weren’t in there.”
“Let us leave for my house while the weather is fair.
We’ve a room you can use that’s already prepared,”
He was hurt but unfazed like a victor declared.
“And we’ll start the rebuilding whenever you care.”
Bolt from the Blue
With attraction like droplets of water alive
And my grasping surpassing the tension within,
As the surface’s tips interact once aligned
Electricity static like lips in a kiss.
Kintsugi no Poiema
When the cracks of my heart that are lacquered in gold
Are revealing a past that I wish went untold,
I must honor the potter whose scars are like mine
For he tells me my breaking fulfills his design.
My turtle friend will never die
Eternal turtle standing proud.
His turtle friends are standing by
Those jealous turtles shout out loud,
“Your immortality ain’t real!
All turtles die, in this we trust!
Eternal turtle, can you deal
With death like all the rest of us?”
My turtle friend stood for a while
The turtles watched expectantly
Eternal turtle gave a smile
And said with pure serenity,
“If only you could walk a mile
With me and see just what I mean.
Believe that my eternal life
Is more than just a dream I dream.”
The turtles cried, “Who has the time?
Our lives are short with things to do!
You might not care, and that is fine,
But that is only good for you!”
Eternal turtle gave a sigh,
“You all will live as long as me.
Your life feels short because you try
To rush through it so hastily.”
My turtle friend will never die,
Eternal turtle of the soul.
Because his turtle words are right
Just take it slow to reach the goal.
The Modern Pharaoh
I’m packing my sarcophagus
To take into the afterlife.
My house and car and property,
My pets and children, plus my wife.
My education and degrees,
Awards and many accolades,
The land investments, stocks and bonds,
And all the money I have made.
And now to place my body down
To all my things, myself I give.
But if in death they have no worth
Did they have value while I lived?
The Game We’re In
The bank gave me a dollar bill
To give the bill to my good friend
To build my shop atop the hill
And see construction to the end.
I thought that I had taken care
To guess the cost to build my store.
But he replied, “I’ll help you there.
It only costs a dollar more.”
He had my dollar, I had none,
The bank had zero dollars too.
They gave me credit, minus one,
So I must pay them back with two.
He started planning up designs
And buying up the wood and bricks.
But not long after gave a sigh
And said the piping needs a fix.
I sought the bank for one more loan
Which filled them with anxiety
My debt was large and now had grown
So I must pay them back with three.
One day I asked when it’d be done
He said that it was hard to know
Since nothing’s free under the sun.
But where did all my money go?
He laughed and said to think it through,
“The money goes around and ’round,
And it will all come back to you,
The store will rake in pound for pound.”
I paid my friend, who bought the wood
From others in the lumber yard,
Who paid the grocer for the goods,
Ensuring wife and child don’t starve.
Then they would use that money too
Investing in their businesses
And hire one more lumber crew
To reach much further distances.
But then I had an awful thought
What if the money never came?
Just stopped up at the very top
By wealthy hoarders playing games?
If funding does not circulate
Then how will I repay the bank?
For payments which are paid too late
Will make my credit rating tank.
And interest fees will pile up high
Undoing everything I made
Until my value’s sucked up dry
While hoarders end up getting paid.
“You borrowed from the future you
And risked it on this present bet.
The banks did only what they knew
To roll the dice that you had set.
You’re too far in to try and stop.
You’ve got to trust the system works.
So open up your hillside shop
And gamble with those banker jerks.”
Of course, he egged me on to try
The risk was mine and mine alone.
The system rigged to watch me die
And suck the marrow from my bones.
I cannot trust that they would play
By rules so everyone would win
Because if I were them I’d say
“Well, don’t you know what game we’re in?”
In the furnace of steel and the surface of sand
Are the burnishing yieldings of personal plans.
And my friction with you gives conviction to prove
That the mixture of two is a picture of truth.
Time will soon tell.
This is the imminent mark of the emigrant
Wherein the icicles laugh at the littlest
Sending the officers out like the nihilists
Time will soon equalize loss to the legalist.