When Hope has Flown, 2010

1 / The Wall

I never got to know my dad,
or my young mother, but I had:
My Grandpa Junior, Dorothy,
my loved ones who adopted me,
just so love I’d get to see.
Behind a glass I stayed enclosed,
as porcelain dolls in silent in rows,
with neat combed hair and home-made clothes.
In that reflection oft-stood me—
a lost transparent effigy.

I got lost in made-up towers,
on and on alone for hours,
all day alone that was my song.
When in the summer days were long.
As darkness fell the Sun went dim
and scared I crawled in bed with them.
For in my room the shadows moved,
and danced a phantom rigadoon.
Within the room dread figures loomed.

The midnight sun burned on the wall.
I tried to stand to stop the fall,
But in the glare of Sol I see,
My mother say, “Come sleep with me.”
I crawled in bed with mom and dad,
And in between them Hope I had.
When I was there, when I was calm,
my nervous hands in mother’s palm.

In recollection a projection
danced on my mother’s arm:
An image of a windup toy
a blond haired, blue eyed, little boy
in a creek—though not too deep—
whose iridescent tears in streaks.
Steal down his face around his cheek
In silent noiseless moving pairs
crept below a cancelled stare.
In tired eyes, electric red,
“Amen,” they said, a preacher read:
“Blessed are the meek!
Hope is there for those who seek.”

He held him back and dunked his head—
Then aloud the blind man said:
“Hallelujah, I am saved!
Praise to God who to us gave,
a little lamb to lead the way.

I looked at my sleeping dad again,
And lifeless figures in the den.
His hair combed back and regal, black,
I only got to see his back.
That’s all I can recall I saw,
between us and a cement wall.

2 / The Dove

For many years, that’s what I saw,
myself behind that chipped gray wall,
and day by day a brick was laid,
with every brick was dug a grave,
on whose plot a poor rose wilted waved.
One read hate, one dug, agape,
a shallow hole, and newly dug,
on which sat a plain white dove:
I know that this might sound absurd,
but flightless sat a soundless bird.

“What is your name?” I said, some game,
It turned my way and answered plain
“Hope, it said, and did not fly,
instead it saw my one sad eye
and somehow saw past all the walls
all my life, Hope saw it all,
and I laughed again:
“What did you say your name was, friend?”
“Hope.”
“For what?”
“Perhaps salvation.”
“My name is Brandon,
no time for that abomination.
My decency is on vacation.”
“Well hidden yes but not forgotten,
nothing dies that is begotten,
and I’ve seen inside of you,
your happy days, your sorrow too.
The happy child, the old man, blue
A man who asked the mirror who.
The kid who tried too hard, and then,
built the pedestal and when
it tipped, he fell into a well
into a shallow tube.”

I screamed at the wall,
I kicked and I called,
but no one there could hear.
And in the dark I only tasted
the iodine salt of tears.
The other side, outside the wall,
where words and moments joyful fall
dreams and love goes by the screen:
a tire swing and pecan tree,
with his mother laughs and sees
the golden leaves that ride the breeze
in circles as they interweave.

He walked and talked and hid inside
a shell between the great divide
between the world and fantasies,
between the word and you and me.
The bird rose soundless in the sky
above the trees I turned my eye
and saw a dove named Hope fly by.

3 / The Prism

The holy spirit saw the prism
the schism of a child who grew
a child who asked the mirror who
walked and talked and hid inside.
a shell between the great divide,
the wall between the world,
and where the fantasies unfurled
where people walk just like they’re made
the world is but a grand parade
the formless conductors motion on,
and the show begins.

The show of the man who thought he knew
what was fake and what was true
in the elaborate picture the jester drew
an act, ta-da, he smiles and bows
in quiet for an empty crowd.
The curtain falls and there’s the wall
the world in all it’s form
and when the conductor sounds the horn
the actors move along the row
their heart upon the stage to throw
for the audience, just to live,
a fantasy to others give.
So they might see, maybe believe
that life is their own fantasy,
a fable or a tragedy
an act, a farce, or contrived play
where actors in the hallway say
Do this, do that, now move along
The conductor sings the song.

4 / The Denouement

The song behind the lines and hands,
the consequence of faith and chance
that bounce around, smiles upside down
And you see him there, again,
the lifeless body of a friend.
Who in childhood with me rode,
the dusty roads he always drove
just to see the deer.
“Look,” he said,
“It’s pretty ain’t it?”
And I saw,
a foal amidst the coming fall.
“Yes, sir,” I said, then turned my head,
to the cover of God’s word unread.

I never saw the bird again,
the dove who silent was my friend,
who looked at me and let me see
What I’ve always called the me.
The child who tried too hard,
but fell
The child who wanted to be known
who walked on when Hope had flown
to the unknown and on his own
lived to reflect with written song.

I’ve often seen a glimpse of Hope
in not too many eyes.
In happy children, happy wives,
but there are those whose cage is closed
with words the prison, narrow rows
Where wilted lays a rose decayed,
That once was in full bloom:
not like a room, more like a tomb,
a tomb for time to die,
to leave the actors on the stage
alone to wonder why-
for why they sang, for whom they played,
for whom they fretted on the stage.

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