Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bone-Lace


painting by freda fairchild

Bone-Lace

When I wore the blue collar, disguised
as white, toiled in the proletarian yoke,
pulled in my traces as a dray beast,
I used to rise bleary-eyed at 3:30 a.m.,
hearing the eerie sounds of the night
birds squawking as they flew wing to wing
with the busy bats, so that I could drive
fast deep into the indifferent arms
of brown icy fog, on isolated roads,
through sleeping suburbs, to arrive
at a lake black with smooth waves,
parking in a vast government lot,
one vehicle nearly unnoticed
under a single lot light, as I moved across
a familiar field, scurrying like a lusty shadow
midst tall thick firs and scattered empty adobe
structures, just a pale ghost figure gliding under
a bright harvest moon, its stiletto beams dancing
within those puffs of winter breath that preceeded
me into the warm stygian darkness of my building,
along ebon hallways to finally sequester myself
alone, hovering over a steaming cup of coffee
and a bright DVA computer screen, in order to
be immersed in perfect silence, unencumbered
by other voices, other duties, totally free to surf,
to visit my blog and dozens of others, to search
for the first poet of the morning that would catch
my imagination, would thrill me, or piss me off,
laboring lovingly for several delicious hours

before cohorts began to arrive, clicking on cadres
of identical computers;
before those sweet old blind men began
to gather at my door, eager for their transitions
from dependence to freedom,
for our fellowship, for my expertise,
knowledge and undying compassion,
consuming my day
like ravenous wonderful talking ravens,
and I adored them for it;

but even while mired in teaching, deep
in explication, transported to their pasts,
their wounds, their adventures, their pain,
behind my twinkling corneas I treasured
the poetics that I had gathered earlier,
and now wore proudly as lace
on the edges of my clinician’s collar.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2012.


Listed as #92 over on dVerse Poets-Open Link Night 27

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14 comments:

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Oh no, I love the Batman pick for your blog. holy cool poem

Brian Miller said...

nice....i adored them for it was a great close on that stanza...and you know there are plenty of times i carry the poetry i read online around with me in the back of my mind all day, they keep the corneers of my smile pinned back as i confront the abusing father.

Victoria said...

Glen, this had such a familiar feel to me. That early morning commute, arriving early to work before my patients needed me. It wasn't poetry that called me out early back then. It was the need to find a parking place in San Francisco that I didn't have to take out a mortgage to finance, and the need to get a head start on the day.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Put me in mind of a time when I had to get up on cold winter mornings and ride the train into the city. I'd grab a book and stuff in it in my coat pocket. That book (poet, novelist, whoever it happened to be) was the dearest friend, gave me courage.

Charles Miller said...

You really describe the scene so well, I know i been there, seen that. The great you waynyou end it, with compassion and understanding adds the emotional deph that might othetwise have been drowned out by the alienating architecture.

Pat Hatt said...

You captured every bit of the scene, many a time it stays in my mind too, whether or not I want it there, usually it's fine though..haha

awakenedwords said...

Really enjoyed this; describes a lot of my days lately. Stealing time searching for that prefect read or to scratch out a few lines. Very nice, thank you.

Laurie Kolp said...

Beautiful piece, Glenn. I especially like the last stanza. I think it would be wonderful to get to work before everyone else.

Claudia said...

nice... i tend to start work early as well...unfortunately not with reading poetry but just to do the tricky things before the phone starts ringing and the office if filled with voices.. but i certainly know what you mean by carrying the poetry you read with you and it certainly is a good base to build the day upon...

Steve King said...

I've done the same things, arriving hours early. It really was the best part of the day for me. Reading, writing--on occasion even whittling away at the stacks of correspondence and spreadsheets on my desk. Very nice piece.

Sheila Moore said...

very good - what a almost spiritual way to start each day.

Anonymous said...

What a bang at the end. The last stanza really hit me; we do carry those words that weave into us, even as we do all that we must do outside the mind.

This is just so good:

"behind my twinkling corneas I treasured
the poetics that I had gathered earlier,
and now wore proudly as lace
on the edges of my clinician’s collar"

~Shawna

http://rosemarymint.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/dearth-of-reason/

Anonymous said...

"one vehicle nearly unnoticed"

Aren't we all, whether cars or bodies.

This was another of my favorite sections:

"scurrying like a lusty shadow
midst tall thick firs and scattered empty adobe
structures, just a pale ghost figure gliding under
a bright harvest moon, its stiletto beams dancing
within those puffs of winter breath that proceeded
me into the warm stygian darkness of my building"

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Adrian Sechrist said...

I used to rise, not as insanely early, as this, of course at the time I didn't have the commute either. I did it so I would have an hour or two to sit and think in silence before the rest of the household got going and I got consumed by the activity and the noise. The activity I can enjoy watching or not, but the noise seems to be an assault, I have not yet learned to assimilate it.