The Old Days

That old bench.

 

Now it’s covered in snow.

Not many come to sit during the snow season,

Though you might, sometimes, see an old man

In a dark brown overcoat and an old, but cared-for, brown felt fedora

Sitting for an hour or two.

The faded slats are still solid and holding fast

To the wrought iron frame with the curling armrests.

 

The snows eventually give way to rains

Which do their damndest to soak the old wood and rust the old iron.

The wood is well treated and the iron well painted, though.

As the weather warms a bit, the occasional lunch-time passer-by fails to pass by and stops for a pause.

The man in brown still stops by to sit sometimes.

 

The rains give way to pollen,

Coating the bench in soft green.

The nearby trees don’t have enough leaves, yet, to shade the bench, but

The sun is still weak enough that shade isn’t needed.

Kids play more frequently around.

The green dust pollen barely has time to settle before smaller hands and behinds have brushed it off.

Our fedora-ed friend comes later in the day, when the bench is likely empty.

 

Summer heat has long baked the boards from deep brown to a grayed tan.

Despite the trees’ efforts to bring some cool shadows at mid-day,

The iron rails can get hot enough to burn the unwary.

The bench has no lack of sitters and leaners and shoe tie-ers.

The old man still wears the hat but the coat is stored for the cold to come.

 

Brilliant colored leaves,

Scarlets and golds and pale yellows and crackling browns,

Drift and scatter across the bench.

Evening strollers sometimes stop,

Sit,

And enjoy the view and the quiet.

The old man is wearing the coat again.

 

I’ve heard that he and his wife used to come sit

And talk

And enjoy the view

And hold hands.

I’ve heard she’s gone now.

 

I don’t know if that’s true but I like to think that it might be.

 

It makes a good story.

 

If it’s true then maybe the old man is just coming out for a visit with an old friend from the old days,

That old bench.

Deep in the Woods

Deep in the woods,

Deep and far back,

When the sun sinks down

And the fog rolls in

You can find where the magic still lives,

Where the fair folk walk,

And the Wild Hunt roams,

And Children  (in red hoods or leaving bread crumb trails) outwit the monsters of the world.

 

Deep in the woods,

Past the eyes,

Far under the skin,

Dreams wake into beautiful, fantastic, horrible life

And shape the world.

 

They say iron killed the magic of the world.

 

Standing in a factory,

A forest of steel and electricity,

Full of cold lines and sharp edges,

It’s easy to see the heart of that thought.

Stay in that forest long enough

Any you can feel the magic of a different sort of dream

Dreams of tamed rivers, crossed continents and even of journeys to distant stars.

 

Iron can’t kill dreams.

 

We are dreams with iron spines,

Waked deep in the woods,

Deep and far back,

With the sun sinking down

And the fog rolling in.

Wearing the Day

Today had a hole in it.

 

Not a great gaping hole,

 

No vacuum, sucking joy and hapless animals in,

 

But a tangible pull,

 

A drawing in,

Like an indrawn breath.

 

The sky was a deep and creamy blue,

Layered with clouds of cotton and pewter.

The air was fleece-throw soft,

Warm for December

But gently chill,

 

Like frosty wool.

 

All the grass has browned

And settles for a sleep.

 

A few green leaves still cling

But most have drifted into senescence,

Resting on the brown grass like carelessly scattered fruit

In muted golds and reds.

 

I felt a pull,

 

The day drawing me in

To the center of itself

Where I would settle with a muted click,

Drawing me in, to a hole in the center

 

Shaped just like me.

Air

Just let me breathe.

 

Please!

 

Just one breath.

Just one.

Just one breath free from this tiny world of bars and locks and stone walls.

Ten by ten and one by one and none by none,

These walls, just beyond my reaching fingers and closer than my skin,

Keep me from one full breath.

 

You sit.

You sit and watch.

You don’t swagger or bluster.

You sit.

Impassive.

Unmoving.

You built this cage with my own hands.

You gave me the keys and hid the locks.

If those damned bars weren’t there I’d jump.

 

I think I could fly.

Even a fall is a flight, though a short one.

I think I could.

 

You say “no”.

You sit, impassive, and teach me that the walls are stone and the bars are iron.

You sit, wearing my face, twisted, and weave a cage for my words with your words.

 

Your voice sounds like mine.

 

If the stone and iron are words….

 

“No,” you say with my voice.

 

“Yes”

 

One step

Then the edge

Then nothing but air.

 

Words are thoughts wrapped in air and backed with steel.

 

Fly or fall,

It’s time to take a breath.