August Graveyard

IMG_3205

The graveyard swelters in the August heat. No breeze sways the trees,

no presence of humans or any other life form, save for swirling dragon flies

and us–three panting dogs and one sweaty human–grace its sacred ground.

The dead are not giving away their secrets today.

They rest, exhausted by the constant process of blending

into the hard red clay. I hear it takes years for a body to decompose,

but maybe not so long in the dead heat of a Southern summer.

The massive headstones mark distinctive names,

names I’ve seen on street signs as I’ve driven through the town.

I lay my hand on one large slab. The cool stone calls my name.

I know it is my voice, but different, as if filters through the thick air.

“Your time will come. For now just walk the dogs and head back home.”

I want to stay, to lie down, to give it up. Instead,

I take one slow, soul-searing breath, and then move on.

h. cristina cassidy copyright July 27, 2016

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Along the highway, a truck filled with chickens

stuffed chicken truck

Along the highway, a truck filled with chickens
stuffed into crates, together huddled,
heading for a lackluster ending.
Are they aware of what is coming?
Do they cluck among themselves,
fluffing up their feathers,
unaware that soon they will be skinned and quartered?

Oh silly birds! In your search for food and comfort
you’ve allowed yourselves to be domesticated.
Now you will be nothing more than
oven-roasted meals for overstuffed faces.

Poor creatures. Look at the mess you are in!
Don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us.

h. cristina cassidy copyright December 2014

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A Visit to Doha

desert-sand_1920x1200_71936

Doha, under a gray-washed sky,
the heat sears both sides of my brain.
I look different to myself here,
irregular in my thinking,
suspect of my own culture,
wary of all that I once believed in.
The sandstorms come; they go.
For centuries they have come and gone.
Their winds grind me
into a tiny grain of sand,
blown across the vastness
of this cunning desert.

H. Cristina Cassidy copyright 2014

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Why Monks and Holy Women Laugh

Buschart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Sept 6, 2014

Buschart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Sept 6, 2014

Why Monks and Holy Women Laugh

The world beyond my door
demands that I embrace its ugliness.
Black-masked terrorists
trudge through my garden,
beheading roses.
A child, eyes ringed with hunger,
gapes at me from outside
my living room window.
Sirens blast as thousands walk
to protest the injustice
of leaders who do not listen.
Is this a movie? Turn off the projector.
Board up the windows.  Secure the doors.
Close your eyes.
And breathe.

It makes sense why monks and holy women laugh.
The world’s absurd. From the very start.
I never understood the word “sin”
or the need for story.
Now I do.
Salvation lies in
the wonder of the trees,
the birds,
the sweetness of a morning breeze
skimming the surface of a lake,
the look of innocence in the eyes
of the beloved before
the final, soft kiss.

h.cristina cassidy copyright sept 2014

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The Kook Parade

fastest_one_man_band1-211x300To all the kooks of the world I say,
Why don’t you come join the kook parade?
We’ll march through the town
with our clothes all in tatters,
thumbing noses at cops as we walk under ladders;
No rules will apply as we kook down the street,
making kook kinds of noises at the people we meet;
All the dogs will adore us, the prudes will abhore us
as we dance willy nilly, our expressions quite silly;
And when the festivities cease to be fun,
we’ll pack up our bags and away we will run
to a land where all kooks live a life full of bliss,
and end every day with a warm hug and kiss!!

h.cristina cassidy copyright jan 2013

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On Your Return

Here in this cavernous house I sit forming words as a talisman 
to protect myself from the salt air you bring back with you.  
It’s an ocean smell, a smell of living things, of organisms multiplying
in spite of themselves. That is how we are…how I am with you.  
I am not free to speak, but if I could, the words would be earthy ones, 
not ocean phrases. You would ground me, as I floated above you…
your angel-nemesis-madonna-whore. Those are the words that salt
my lips when I think of myself with you. Bring me your ocean phrases 
and I will take them from your mouth with my sweet tongue,
chiding you in silence for leaving me once more. 

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Fragments/NYC/September 11th

Blue morning
sky cloud
empty
the catch
throat
sudden
self-searing
separation
no more
sensation.

The sad
is now.

I wept.
You wept.
They wept.
We all wept.
Conjugate,
and
still
the
unspeakable.

I would
my
right arm
give,
but
bone dust,
please,
no,
not
a piece
of a
fanatic’s
layered
death
cake.

Burning,
a
man-boy,
from
steel
beams,
he,
jeans &
rock-concert
shirt,
a
spiraling
archangel,
down,
down,
upside
down
wings
spread,
a dying
David,
headed
for
heaven.

A
thudding
sound.
No escape
from
doomed
velocity.

Now
small
fragments
amber-lighted
of him
spin;
tiny
pieces
out to
sea;
midwestern
seed
floating
above
Manhattan,
mixing
all,
moving
towards
ancient
grounds
of
burial
where,
long
hiding,
the dead
await a
knowing
reunion
with the
recently
not living.

I wonder,
and
stop again
to start.
I am not
worthy,
you
that
should
come under
my roof;
speak.
But god,
the words.
Damn it,
Speak!

They were
meant
to live
ordinary;
not be
buried
here.
Debris
packages
in
garbage-green,
pulled out
by red men
yellowed
by the
constant
carrying,
one after
dead body,
another.

Is this
some
Job-like
joke,
a hapless
hobby
of
collecting
bones…
all of these
mothersfathersdaughterssonshusbandswivesbrotherssistersfriendslovers
throbbing
hollow
above
the city?

Floors,
the
number of
floors &
staples &
eyelashes &
buttons &
paperclips &
flesh &
sanctifed
beings
breathing
unknowingly,
then not…

The

lost

number

of

lost

numbers

lost.

So

high

the

count.

You

can’t

count

it.

I

can’t

count

it.

Neither

can

God.

h.cristina cassidy copyright sept 2001

Posted in 9-11, Poem, September 11 | 2 Comments