The holiday

The holidays always come faster than you think

and then they are here and you almost want them to go away

it seems to be a reminder of what you’ve lost

of the memories that once were

and the people no longer with you.

Today I have a family

but it’s not my family from birth

I try and be joyful

but I am sad.

One day

maybe things will feel differently

but until then

I celebrate for being alive

when once I thought I wouldn’t see another year.

The Glass Cutter

January, cold and bleak, the shore again imprisoned,
The lake, the house, the memory, the dream I once envisioned.
Neither animals nor I ever heard the metal snap,
Crimson blood on pristine snow, fooled by a father’s trap.

There were schools, Father said, down in Thunder Bay.
If he didn’t bring me, they could take me anyway.
I am métis, from the North, I am neither here nor there.
I didn’t understand their laws, and I didn’t really care.

He ignored my mother’s pleading cries,
Made it clear there was no compromise.
Family had become a burden, his was a trapper’s life instead.
He harnessed up the dogs, filling me with dread.

Father took me to the boarding school and told me to obey.
They would teach me to be white, to read and write and pray.
Cardinals appear to us when a loved one passes o’er,
I saw the Cardinal that day in all his red-robed splendor.

I learned his Catechism, I learned to read and write,
And what the Cardinal prefers when he calls for me at night.
I was scared and broken.  I hid the fear and bleeding.
I looked for solace in the moon, as my ache began receding.

Star shine danced upon the snow and it beckoned me with light,
The flakes like fractured bits of glass called me forth into the night.
Winter into spring, then with summer on the way
I said a word to no one, I just walked away one day

Many nights the sky was graced by northern lights displays,
A Superior reflection all the way to Grand Marais.
Electric hues that lit the sky, arching pinks and greens
Like a whispering collection of colored figurines.

I came to stay in Grand Marais, a quiet little place,
For in that pine-draped sleepy town, I found my saving grace.
A man of silence, skill and sight, a man whose name was Kirk,
A glass cutter by trade, he explained to me his work.

Church window panes, he said, as he cut and cracked the glass,
As he soldered the lead, to make it worthy of High Mass.
He fused the light together, he captured colors of the sun.
He created brilliance, love, and beauty, for the Father and the Son.

The colored hues inside me bled, like a prism in my veins,
Planted where the flame had fed, then purified by rain.
There must have been a reason our lives had intertwined,
Where colors come together, white light starts to shine.

Through Kirk I came to see small shards of redemption.
Patterned after love and hope, and nurtured with attention.
Like a cathedral calls us home, Kirk had shone a light,
And my dark and withered soul found colors in the night.

copyright Dec 2016
by csherar

 

 

Middle School

Minnehaha Middle School,

Grades 5 through 8.

 

We had butt ugly brown and yellow tote bags

for our gym clothes.

 

We were the first class to use

the new band room,

 

the new locker room,

classrooms and library.

 

I had Mrs. Sega,

then Mr. Schreyer,

 

then B.J. and finally Black Joe.

These were my homeroom teachers.

 

I was in love with both the Widen girls

cos they were twins

 

(Cindi and Wendy) and

I couldn’t tell them apart.

 

I had my dad for band.

I wanted to play the drums, but

 

he said, I’ve got ten drummers already.

You’ll play the French horn.

 

Thank God for basketball

at Minnehaha Middle School.

 

 

 

 

-Copyright Timothy Downs

Dance

If you put your head on my chest,

you can hear my heart playing the drums.

If you put a seashell up to your ear,

you can hear the Beatles.

If you put your ear to the ground,

you can hear the earth ticking.

It won’t be long now until

you and I and everything

are buried by water and sand and

all of this,

the fighting and the fucking,

will mean nothing.

Look at the stars.

Turn the music up.

Let’s

dance.

-Copyright Timothy Downs

In response to my friend Brian Garrity’s short story “Sirens of Franklin” in his new book “Cig”.

Go home
You all yell to the woman with the covered head
As you drive by bravely
And you all laugh again, except your heart is breaking
You yell together the N word as you pass a lone black man and you see the fear
Someone throws a beer can and it almost hits him
You see his fear, his anger
Your fear, your anger
Queer
Freak
Faggot
Fairy
Nasty mean words thrown up and out of the mouth
You yell as you drive by
Your friends
You all laugh and have another swig of beer
You, you yell your hate out, hoping somewhere inside it will go away
This is not how you want to be
You know that queer, that freak, that fairy, that faggot, that foreigner is in you
You are them
You don’t belong
You don’t want to be found out
You liked his/her dress and heels
The purse was beautiful
You envied her ability be who she was
You hated her being who she was because you can’t be who you are
The ‘boys’ want to beat her up
‘You’ want to beat her up
Beat yourself up
But no
You keep driving
Now you’re the pussy
Yes you are, but not because you won’t beat her up
You have another sip of beer and swallow everything

 

Copyright Don MacLeod

Midnight River

No one understood how deep the darkness was.
This darkness was not the redeeming darkness of night.
It was a darkness that crept across the page, between words.

River water ran through her blood.
It renewed her soul, flowing both deep and muddy
in places, and rippling with sparkles in others.

She looked for redemption in these waters of contrast.
She tried to let water wash the darkness away but it was too heavy.
Words and water alone were not enough this time.
This was a darkness she fought with everything she had.

The road out of town she followed was not others’ road.
Her road was a solitary journey, of discovery, of quietude.
She stood for a moment in silence, just breathing,
absorbing the energy and history people left behind.
It’s what made places holy.

She had always wanted to fly.
To spread her arms and effortlessly take flight,
bending her fingertips just so to catch the breeze and glide,
to follow her heart without blinking,
to feel weightless again, but an open cage door
is of no use to a bird with a broken wing and though
glass birds sparkle in the sun, they shatter when they fall.

She knew some paths were meant to be lit by the sun
while other paths were better lit by the moon and stars.
Moonlight changed her when she breathed it in.
It seeped into her veins and silvered her soul,
awakening her anew to the wonders of night,
helping her see things she couldn’t,
helping her understand things she didn’t.

She inhaled the night like a bouquet,
Taking comfort in landscapes darkness hid,
the glaring imperfections of a man-made world
overtaken by soft purple shadows of dusk
and even softer grays of moonlight.

She wondered what was out there.
Fearful but aching to fly.
Because when she felt the wind in her face,
she could see, she could create, she could be.

She looked for rain to wash down on her,
baptize her soul with color.
So she would always have an artist’s eye,
a musician’s ear, and a poet’s soul.

Her poet’s voice urged her to write,
her inner fears held her back.
Voices within argued over her pen.
She wrestled between opening her heart
and keeping it safely closed, protected.

Allowing herself to be loved was so much work.
She wished she did not understand…
– what it felt like when a heart stops beating
– that love cannot conquer everything
– that the night does not hide everything
– that she could not fly like a bird.

copyright Nov 2016, Cynthia Sherar

Taste of Infinity

I tasted Infinity last night
Right on the tip of my tongue
It’s sweetness was overwhelming
We danced in the moonlight of many earths
The suns were pinpricks, too many to count
The silence was deafening, but was a beautiful song
Our hearts were joy and we became one

 

 

Copyright Don MacLeod