Thursday, September 1, 2016

Chaplet #4 - Some Things You Can Never Repair by Martin Willitts Jr.

Some Things You Can Never Repair

By Martin Willitts Jr.

Table of Contents

The Clearing
Defense Mechanisms
Accident Report
Companion Planting
It's Not Fair
Some Things You Can Never Repair
In a Lifetime
Why Darkness Whimpers


Consider our aimless wandering to find it. 
One berry is always in radiant light 
waiting to be found 
while the other berry must be found 
by trance-like seeking; otherwise, 
we never find what is worth discovering. 

Consider the black crackle 
poking at the blue thread 
wanting more color in its life. 
Also consider the cicada 
burrowed in the ground 
before tunneling out. 
One knows patience; 
the other has desire. 

Consider when a person dies, 
their eyes film over with a vision — 
they see their lives backwards, 
all what they did or did not do. 
You notice the horrified look 
when they judge their own failures, 
their tarnished lives. 

However, the ones who follow the blue thread 
of what they did right, 
tunnel out into the light.

The Clearing 

the clearing answers all questions 
whether it is the translucent dew 
or my transparent desire 

a terminal twig has the impetus to die 
yet hangs on 
in determined hesitation 

if asked what is perfection 
one might suggest the full tree 
with a nest of robins 

or the white orchid 
or the sense of invisible breath 
or the imponderable red dawn 

there is a hidden force 
moving from every direction 
it has been here since the beginning 

not silence not persistent noise 
but climbing through every life 
approaching to the very end

Defense Mechanisms 

There was a white mare with Dalmatian spots. 
It was pulling the fruit wagon of my childhood. 
The wheels clacked on the cobblestones 
long before we could see it. 
The black flies tormenting the twitching ears. 
It was a nipping, twisting sound. 

The owner wanted new horseshoes. 
He waited too long. We had to shave the bottoms. 
It hobbled and the owner left whip marks on its back. 
It had purple welts like lightning bolts. 

It flinched when we tried to heal it. 
It rose on hind legs to strike out. 
If we showed fear, it would have kept striking. 
Those spots were dried blood. 

When the horse saw us, did he see a cruel god? 

It reminded me of a man in an asylum, 
his skull saddle-stitched from a pre-frontal lobotomy. 
For a split second when he recognized me 
he settled down, his nostrils no longer flaring. 
But when the orderly entered, 
he reared to defend himself.

Accident Report 

There was a pick-up with five children in the open back 
sliding around without seatbelts. It was snowing fiercely. 
One child stood and jumped, somersaulting over black ice. 
The car behind could not stop. 

I wish life had happy endings, but Death was wearing a parka, 
flashing a light over the scene while red snow settled everywhere. 

His partner, Coincidence, took notes and insurance cards.

Companion Planting 

Every year, our small garden is crowded by my over planning. 
I forget how wide the yellow squash leaves fan out, 
and now they are shading the onions. My enthusiasm creates 
fifteen foot snow peas, butternuts crawling over the asphalt, 
more loose leaf lettuce than a rabbit can eat. 

Someday, my planting and harvesting will end. The weeds 
will take back what is theirs. The feral will sniff out 
of darkness. There will be nothing left of me except mulch. 

But who is to say a woman might bring pruning gloves, 
her hair tied under a bandana? She might bend over the earth, 
trowel in her hand, green eyes focused on the hole she has dug, 
plant a tomato and pat the ground around it, talking to it. 
She might slide her finger on the furry underside 
just to smell tomato on her fingers.

It’s Not Fair 

The pink sky flares up in morning 
and you are not here to see it. It’s not fair — 
clouds wrinkle across the sky 
like your frown when your heartbeat 
could no longer be summoned. 
In the distance, the moon howls 
like a wounded animal limping its last inches. 

It’s not the smell of rosehips 
hiding in the sheets no matter how many times 
I washed them, but it is the garden gloves empty 
and covered by dried dirt 
causes dreams to explore the ruins of any landscape. 

It’s not the fresh chopped onions 
and forgetting to wash my face to ease the sting, 
but it’s the butter knife never used on your crackers. 
It’s the chirp of sparrows in the nest 
after breaking out, celebrating. It’s not fair.

Some Things You Can Never Repair 

We were repairing the sagging porch. 
“It’s dangerous to fall in love,” says the man, 
“it means you will fall hard.” 
We had ripped off all the warped boards 
and installing a fifteen degree incline. 

There were yellow poppies as far as we could see. 
Evening would be coming home soon. 
After a while we would not be able to see to nail. 
There was the smell of wet peat moss 
ripening like a hand releasing secrets. 

His wife was finally resting, her body curled 
like a tulip bulb. The stars went out 
like birthday candles. One last streak of purple 
dwindled like being raked. 

We talked about the close baseball game, 
the cost of vegetables today, oldie music. 
Our words and hands refused to quit. 
Neither of us could talk about the obvious — 
his wife was shrinking into herself until she died.

In a Lifetime 

the sky folds like an accordion 
squeezing the lingering light out 

life moves this way 
a hay wagon 

that last sunlight is a strawberry 
closing in the darkening window 

under the wooden covered bridge 
brackish waters move a moon’s image 

there are so many ways to live 
there are more ways to die

Why Darkness Whimpers 

A longing becomes impossibly larger, 
gnawing at the underbrush 
like a person biting off syllables 
when telling us less than necessary. 

Darkness only wanted to find its way home, 
but blindness made it tap here 
and here, smelling for the familiar, 
sounds echoing off what was missing. 

It is the way absence converges with remoteness, 
strained in its sense of direction, 
and darkness missed what it did not have anymore. 
This story does not end well. 

Wherever darkness went, it never knew where to stay. 
How many of us experience this loss at least once? 
Whatever vanishes is not always permanently gone 
as long as we hope for regaining what is missing.

copyright 2016, Martin Willitts Jr.

About the Author:

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY. His poems have appeared in Blue Fifth Review, About Place, Kentucky Review, Perfume River Review, Bitter Oleander, Tipton Poetry Review, Black Poppy Review, Nine Mile Magazine, Comstock Review, Centrifugal Eye, Stone Canoe, and others. He is the winner of 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016). His forthcoming books include “Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed” (FutureCycle Press) and “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Press).

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