Saturday, June 29, 2019

We, the People

If government is not to help
the people it is, what's
a government for?
                       "We, the People"
is pretty clear.  The language has not,
should not change.
Who cannot say "We the People"
have been cast  adrift?
Who cannot recognize that corporations 
have become more valuable 
than individuals?

                       And still we beat
the drum for those who can't
lead us.

            Our expectations
and our realities of leadership
are schizophrenic:  we are sick 
with emptiness  and think someone
else can make us well.

Our government is a servant --
those we elect have forgotten this:
only we can remind them of the
error of their ways and stop
our own insanity of false praise
for what we'd reprimand
                                   our children for.

-Byron Hoot
Stained Glass Writers of Punxsutawney 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

After Silence

The faintest warble of the thrush comes from deep in the woods, even before light. The tiniest warp in the cool air, as if the sound was not apart but deep within the cochleae. Before joined by the raucous jay, the trill of the junco, the staccato drill of the chippie, before the cock his strutting wail begins; a reminder of how rare silence is.

-Patricia Thrushart

Thursday, June 6, 2019



A Visitation

The Summons

I went down home for a viewing
And went farther than the miles
I drove going into remembering
The nearly forgotten but for
The roads and streets and land
I was raised on, in
                                    Forgotten dreams,
Remembered once again,
What could have been
Not turning into anything,
A leaving, unknown to me,
That was an escape from as much
As an escape into,
                                But, of course,
I did not know much of anything then.
I drove to the funeral home.

Limitations of the Measure

The miles I have covered
Are not equal to the distance
I have gone
                   Down, across
The soul and heart
Backtracking years
To say, “I am here!” which is both
True and false
                        The way remembering a place
You’re from can make the past come alive,
Today the shadow of yesterday.
                                                  So I hung on the cross
Of then and now
                              Tomorrow holding both
And looked to find where my heart was,
If my soul had wondered off
Fighting the urge to run which gives
Such power to what’s chasing
To guarantee practically to get caught.
I had come for my friend who had
Died and couldn’t, didn’t want
To forget that
                        Took a deep breath and entered
The funeral home once again.

A Steady Step Does Not Guarantee the Ground

The ground was not solid as I drove
Roads and walked streets I had not
For over twenty years.
                                     The viewing room
Was the same one dad was in
When my sister said, “That’s not
Him!” – of course, the dead are not
Who they have been.
                                 So remembering occurred,
The flow of places bringing up images
The only constant of whom was me.
From childhood to early manhood
I saw what I had not recalled
When almost daily I drove the roads,
Walked the streets of which, now,
I was a visitor.
                       High Street
Had changed like most small cities
Gutted by outlying malls
Except for a few churches,
Bars, boutiques, parking lots,
The library with a sandwich board
                 & Quality
                 Of Life
              March 20
             6 PM –
Then a few remaining stores with family
Names I remembered
                                  Remembering scenes
And feelings I thought long ago
                Now, at least, a shadow of what
Had been remained in me needing
But a visit to resurrect them.
We played rugby together,
Drank beer, sang rugby songs,
And all basked in his presence
That drew everyone in as he spoke
In broken Tonga-English we understood.
So I didn’t stay long, even if I could
Have I would have quietly paid
My respects and been gone
Driving away from my hometown
Once again
                     Not certain if it was
The last time or just an intermission.

Time and Distance Is Never Time and Distance

I have begun to notice how when
I travel I am making a concurrent
Journey back in remembering,
Recalling the nearly forgotten though on
This journey there is no known destination
As what I pass, hold, grasp, let go
Comes and goes as no landmarks or
Mile-markers nor routes appear on
The road I’m on holding only some
Destination of there becoming here upon
              Inside, I see what arises out
Of a casualty that is rarely clear
In a logic tight as any dream.
Longing and desire and regret play
Some haunting melody; I feel some refrain
I cannot recall but recognize
And the sigh escapes my lips as if
Holding the one I love saying, “See you
A little later”, five little words
Fate and Destiny sometimes changes
To a dance I stumble in, the rhythm
Impossible to catch, the words a blur
Of near meaning.
                              So I travel alone
With dreams still lingering for reasons
I don’t know their possibility of that
Transfiguration long gone.
I saw the church packed was once
Again as my father’s funeral service began.

There Are Places Unwelcoming to a Visit

There were some roads I did not drive,
Some places – the homestead – I did not
           It was enough to have gone down
To the hometown and the funeral home
And remember
                          What was there for the taking
From the terrain that had and had not
            I have found there is no remembering
Without place, a context wherein what once
Was still is.
                    Tell me if it is different
And I will listen but who we’ve been,
Who we are is tied like a Gordian Knot
To where we’ve been, where we are –
Place. . . the first element of remembering:
Place knew us before we knew ourselves.
To travel to a hometown is to travel a distance
Measured only in remembering which has
No measurement at all regarding time
And destination and intensity,
                                                  The lost longings
And desires felt again, perhaps even alive
Never perhaps having been dead.
There were some places ii didn’t go;
I’m almost certain I will make another visit.
But in less than twenty years;
I don’t have that kind of time –
Life goes on until I, you, we go out.
Pretty clear and simple, isn’t it?
So I will go and make the visit.

The Weight and Heft of Dreams

I am dreaming dreams I’ve dreamed
           The weight and heft of them
Carrying meanings I once knew, have
Forgotten, now wrestle with again
A little more wary, a little more
Willingness not to demand a victory
On my terms more willing to come to
A draw or the defeat by dream
Which is a questionable surrender
As dreams seem to know better
Than I do.
             I mean dreams of decades
Ago that have been pursuing me
Silently until now and my consistent
Reply no longer with surprise, “You’re back.”
There is something that haunts
With the sense that things could have
Been otherwise but for one or two more
Steps taken, some sense that if the past
Cannot be changed the future, however,
Does not have to remain the same.


I am still travelling in the mood
I found upon visiting a funeral
Home where a friend of mine lay
In the same viewing room as my father
And the openings which began unasked
For still crevicing anew in moments unaware
And then the echo of remembering, the heavy
Breathe of longing and desire not likely
To be stilled tightening my chest
As the only remedy for being there,
Perhaps, for not having gone back
To my home before, perhaps
Calling on me to visit again before another
Two decades pass – which I may or may
Not have:  to go back is to go down
Inside where the forgotten resides
And every dream worth its dream
Speaks again.
                     I don’t know what
I am looking for nor any sense of any
Expectation to arrive in any form I
         So I abide in the revelry
Of a past that did not forget me
Needing only me to turn inwardly,
Cross the river on that bridge saying,
“You’re back finally” not
Saying when I can leave.

Letting Go To Hold

The sense of letting the past slip
By is stronger this morning.
That which holds weakening its grip
Like a wrestler no longer able
To keep a hold that would give
                Curious how what is past
Sometimes, somehow reaches up,
Stops time and now slips to then
And then some morning, like this one
With a steady wind, bright sunlight,
The hint of a season’s end, a season’s
Beginning changes the feeling in the air
Around the heart and soul and body
And mind
                  Into an opaque clarity
Slowly becoming more clear as dreams
Past their possibility of fulfillment
Fade, regret sighs though some
Remembrances remain holding for this
That knows no time.
                              I am sipping coffee
Watching the shadow of trees dance upon
The deck, the sun behind the trees
Though not blinding me as I look out
Whisper, “Today” hear the slightest
Echo, “Tomorrow, too.”


Remembering, Forgetting

It has been ten days since I
Viewed my friend a year
Older than I am in my hometown
Where I was bushwhacked
By remembering what I had not
Recalled for years not having been
There for nearly twenty years.
How strong the lingering presence
Seeing Pat in the same room
Of the funeral home my father
Had been in as I spoke to Pat’s
Wife and children,
                               He in his casket
Looking like a Tonga chief
And then the bifurcated remembering
Began of which I had no control
Of as I drove north into New York,
East to arrive near Boston
A guest in three homes
As if I were a fugitive.
                                   Of course, I was.
Perhaps not more so than when
I stopped in Syracuse a couple
Of hours with a friend who knows
Something of the nature of flight
And how landing is so difficult.
I am five hours from where I Iive.
But now I cast, mostly, the grappling
Hooks of remembering
                                         Which is less
Exhausting than being grappled,
Imbedded by them and their pull against,
Across time as if time loses all meaning
In remembering.
                          It is raining, the sky is grey,
A perfect day for unsought memories
To cast their grappling hooks for me.
I’ll have to pay attention and drive carefully.

-Byron Hoot

Losing Faith in Disappointment

I have given up being disappointed in disappointment                            recognizing how egotistical it is to think I can know...