(NSP Meditations features regular contributions from Correspondents. If you are interested in becoming one, contact Matt Love through the NSP web site for more details.)
What follows is the consequence of a dying poet confronting his genesis.
Doodled idle note in study-hall margins, this
Callow student turned his words for her to see,
Blossoms, Love they are called,
Think it’s spring all year round,
When ‘twixt you and I are planted.”
He might succeed making himself understood.
Shortly thereafter, blithely blathering
Archaic drippings from last term’s World Lit. influence,
“Were but every blade of grass a quill pen,
Were every pond and ocean ink,
All those drops of ink
Even on the biggest paper cloud,
Write nearly the love letter
In the student lounge he assumed staged pomposity,
Striding broadly, limp wrists flipping melodramatically,
He proclaimed for all present to hear,
“What flame is this that leaps
Between our eyes?
What spark that electrifies
The space between our lips?
Love, one of us plays the positive,
The other plays the negative,
In the polarities of our love’s electricity.
Between us flows the current of
Fidelity and devotion.”
Imposing drama into his words,
Calculating her reaction, he continued,
“My heart is a vessel.
‘Tis Love that this vessel holds
Within its thought carv’ed walls.
I search your eyes to refill its emptiness
With love that bubbles from
Fountains that lie within them.
Only then, I drink of happiness
One time over coffee,
Under protest-music’s folksy complaint,
He wrote with poesy sotto voce phrase,
“Wouldst you love me, long from now,
As you do love me even now?”
(“Hey now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s goin’ down.
There’s a man with a gun over there,
Tellin’ me that I got to beware…”)
(“You tell me over an’ over again, my friend,
How you believe we’re on the eve of destruction…”)
“If you and I will love ’til the end of time,
Then, one day, we will rewind Love’s clock
To relive our happiness again.”
(“Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me…?”)
Raped by poetry, her lifetime
Catholic fears gently manipulated.
The Beatles words guided him home.
In calligraphy class, taking ever so much care,
“Nestling in your flesh, I am secure.
I have found, at last, a nest.
Here I live nursed on succulent love
From the breast of Venus,
Goddess that inhabits your heart.
Take my strength and take my love.
The one is not puny.
The other is not slattern.
All for you,
‘Tis all I have.”
After erasing a less than average grade,
He gave her the card.
Later he penned his thought’s embryonic feelings
Prior to the birth of prenatal developing change.
“So far, my heart has found but one home,
Within you, my love.
Within you is every shelter.
Under your steady gaze lies the light
Empowering me to bury my dark thoughts.
I have found in you
One being I wish to share with,
My food, my life, my grief, my elation.
I know this to be true.
It is rekindled every night,
‘Twixt you and me,
In a gaze, a gentle touch, our quiet dreams.”
He signed it after adding,
The parsonage and the shotgun wedding behind,
The stifling above-the-café apartment closing in,
Daily and tuition debt clutching;
One day he attempted this offering of comfort
Around a mouth full of food,
“A valley covered by a blanket of fog
Is frightening, no matter how friendly the fog
Was trying to be.”
Morning sickness bewildered him.
Retching he understood.
His friends drank him under the table,
Slurring their praises to sons to come,
Manhood unable to hit the urinal.
Finally yielding to mentored guidance,
From Creative Writing class he learned to craft
Artful, introspective, hopeful words.
Contrasting his own childhood, he wrote,
“When my child learns to sing,
He’ll learn to sing from Pan, the woods god
And not so mythical writer of brook-song,
Tree-song, and forest animal-song;
The lyrics and melodies of Nature’s musicals.
“When my child learns to talk;
He’ll learn to talk from the world,
Having first learned to hear because
He couldn’t talk, and the world is
Just loud enough to drown out
His father’s admonishing and
“When my child learns to see:
He’ll learn to see from his elders.
Only they can tell my child
What a hell the world can’t be,
While his father woos the dollar
Fights the creditors, and
Curses the world with alacrity.
“When my child learns to love;
He’ll learn to love from his mother.
Only she can tell him what it is
To anticipate, carry, give birth to, and care for
A strange, but beautiful, new human being;
Spending her life watching him grow,
Only to later lose him to a world
She will have grown to fear.
He then, contrary to his own upbringing,
Finished with the following verse.
“When my child, at last, becomes a man;
I shall burst with pride.
I will have taught him to dream.
It will have to be such an enormous plate
To hold the food needed to become a man.
But, take your time, my son,
It isn’t wise to eat too fast.”
But then came her post-partum guilt, as well as
Her desperate need, wish, or counsel to escape
Eating the consequences of playing grown-up games,
Finally, his abuse, the choke-hold of self-disassembly,
Led to bitter dissolution, and she made a getaway
From the lies he had enjoyed telling himself.
Some place among Silverton’s unmarked graves,
There is concealed a recorded but weed-covered,
Neglected umbilical strangled child in his tiny box.
Still-born still waiting to be born decades later.
Writing became the rough draft of his conscience,
Protected phrases wherein he’d follow heart and whim,
Privately plumb truths he wasn’t prepared to speak of,
Craft answers to questionable fantasies he created.
On paper he learned to think before speaking.
Words flowed, a nutritious blood transporting
Guidance and spirit, mentor and mother,
Reality shoring up his maturing sense of theatricality,
At last he wrote emotion,
“Leave me, O Devil of Turbulent
Bastard of Hades,
Sever my bonds!
“O, God, let me sit
In a little brook, and
Let me listen to
One of Your babbling concertos
In Peace Sharp Major.”
As petitions go,
This plea was both needed and honest.
It was never answered?
It has not yet been answered.
EARL E. MOHR was born in the Glendale Sanitarium, Glendale, California in 1943. Stolen by his father in 1953 from his Choctaw/Chickasaw/Irish-American mother, taken from Calabasas, California to Silverton, Oregon, the ten year-old would learn being an Oregonian meant getting an education, rather than simply buying a driver’s license.