Survival

All posts tagged Survival

Headlines

Published May 13, 2014 by rlmcdermott

How did
this happen;
dead beneath
the headlines–
blue metal,
blue bird,
blue child?

Imagine
the moment,
the sharp
slap of air,
the ferocious
snap of wing,
and then
the still
and certain fall.

And you,
the child,
all breakable
bone; your
arm twisted
until it spiraled
out of its socket,
and like the
bird fell
down.

On a cold Sunday,
inside a newspaper,
beside a metal dumpster
two things dead–
a bird and a child.Child

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The Mantling

Published March 12, 2014 by rlmcdermott

my father
opened
his eyes
three years
after his
death–they
were blue

you must
live to
stand apart
from everything
you need

and make
poetry
of your
pain

his last
words
to me
were
rhymes–

a severed leg
a broken heart
a foolish dreamThe Mantling

Borrowed Time

Published September 10, 2013 by rlmcdermott

this is the
moment that
has been
hunting you

you are left
with only
a pen and
a blank book
to rewrite
your life

remember
the day that
you took two
hundred pills
and laid down to die

where’s the difference
between a soldier with a gun
and you with a vial of pills
you both alter flight

you hear your future
a dangerous cat
padding down the
corridors of it’s
accidental habitat

the rattle of pills
still in your brain
their coated surfaces
dissolving as memory
spills into your periphery

yet you go on
a predator of your
own life sleeping
in the shade of forgiving
trees until sunset when
the wild bird sings and
moonlight enters your dreamsBorrowed Time

The Opera Singer

Published June 11, 2013 by rlmcdermott

She sang
in the bathroom–
high notes,
clear,
chaste,
contralateral.

A songbird puffing
cigarettes between breaths,

all was illegal about those years–
the teased hair,
the shaved eyebrows,
the rolled-up skirt.

Violetta everywhere,
father dying
on a red-velvet couch.

Where were the old dreams,
the dreams her parents had for her;
there was a truth to them
that she ignored–

the bottle-shaped dreams
of an alcoholic father,

the woman in the kitchen
silent for forty years
now heard for the first time,

a half-forgotten song,
snatches of melody,
lingering in her memory.

They gave her a watch
so she could know time was running out.
She listened to the ticking; rhythmic
like a song, like a poem,
an alliteration of small explosions
striking the final destination.

The days of summer and sadness,
the little girl heart beating badly,
the pills stolen from a dying father,
the butcher knife hidden in a rotting mattress,
the poems packed in a yellow suitcase–
songs saved for another day.The Opera Singer

The Ghost of Gangrene

Published May 23, 2013 by rlmcdermott

it moves from left to right
and calls your name

it preys and prays
and calls you to its side
to dress you dead

the sweet deliverance
of pills that know your name

the sound of your own voice
the hidden mystery of it all
to watch death is to die

codeine has the properties of gangrene

your nerves dance like hobbled ballerinas
on toes that look like blackened twigs

your spring has been a bitter season
grown sweet before its final blossoming
roots dipped in the alkali of too much love
andante-sweet dementia-praecox
is simply another word for prayer

this is the epic of your life
to die without birth
a requiem of pain
unannounced and unashamedFlower

Mourning

Published May 1, 2013 by rlmcdermott

you make dinner
you wash the dishes
you set the clock
you lock the door
you go to bed

this is all about being alive
the small gestures
the unconscious acts
the slow forgetting

someone you love has died

when will love return
do you miss it more
than you miss him

even the birds are
silent in this mourning

you listen for their song

suddenly the sunFlowers