Sometimes he must stretch –
must stand on tiptoes
as he seeks to find what he has found
so many times before: a poem —
because he knows that somewhere up there
there’s a residue of words
that he must get a hold of
and move them everywhere
until the sense he hoped to harness
yields to his many manipulations.
He’s been known to fail the find he seeks
and days and even weeks might pass
before his stretch might fetch some satisfaction.
He finds it difficult to wait
but wait he must and wait he will until –
until the gifts he seeks are found
and eventually are shared with some folks
who seem to care.
There is a rock in CT
on the edge of the Long Island Sound
that gets covered when the tide is up
and yields its water whenever the tide goes out.
It Is a great place from which kids jump and dive –
or at least it was back when I was one of them.
Memory allows me to claim
the feel of the rock beneath my feet
and the splash as I jumped into the water
and the gasp when at last the deed was done –
only to be done again.
Maybe what I did still happens.
I hope so
Russ Peery Oct. 2018
The ten year old little Sally
one night in the early nineteen thirties
walked one mile at around nine pm
from a friends house back to her own –
did that in a small town darkened by sunset.
Sally’s brother, Bubby,’“the world’s greatest pest”
had been bad-mouthed by a classmate
who had invited her for a sleep-over.
“No one has the right to say such things.”
Only Sally was “allowed” to castigate
that little boy who lived
in the same house as she did.
Their love-hate ties eventually
grew to be a pleasurable sibling love
but way back then their Mom sometimes
despaired about the animosity between her two children.
On that particular dark night
the unexpected daughter sounds were welcomed
by parents quite surprised and wondering.
Explanations later shared were such
that even now that night occasionally stirs memories
too vivid to discard.
There are those days when I spend a lot of time
trying to imagine what my imagination can’t handle.
I can’t imagine how all of our galaxies were formed.
I can’t imagine how the world was formed.
I can’t imagine any life beyond death.
People much smarter than I
likely have better equipment for imagining.
I don’t imagine that – I know it to be so
I cannot imagine how the stand-off between
Judge Kavanaugh and Doctor Ford will turn out.
Opportunities to use our imaginations
come to us mortals from time to time.
Some folks handle them better than others.
Most of mankind has died
but some of it remains alive
and a small portion thrives.
I, myself, have yet to die
and even though I’m still alive
I often wonder why
I do such wondering concerning dying.
There will come a time when I will cease
and though I do not wish to be deceased
there’s sure to be a welcomed peace
and surely I will find relief.
I think about thoughts sometimes:
how we get them and how they leave us.
Mostly dependent upon our emotions and surroundings
our thoughts move in and out of our minds –
sometimes controllable and sometimes not.
I thought I’d write to you briefly about my
thoughts about thoughts
and thought how you might receive my thinking
I think you’ll think less of me
and you’ll forget me soon enough
if I continue writing stuff about
stuff I know so little about.
Recently I made a hole in one of my sneakers –
the left one – a hole made with a saw tooth knife.
I thought about my electric drill
but I have rid myself of all my power tools.
The hole coincided with a wound on my foot –
a wound whose origin is a mystery.
With it not touching anything
its pain is minimal and not intrusive when I walk,
Three months ago a foot doctor suggested
that I have it daily attended with ointment
and then covered with a taped-on gauze.
The problem persisted for more than a month.
I then went to another foot doctor
whose credentials are impressive.
She said that nothing should cover that wound.
I found some sandals that did the job – somewhat.
The wound has never gone away
and I’m afraid it’s here to stay.
But I “did” my sneaker and am walking with it on
and no one sees the hole I made.
I received my greatest help from Dr. Russ.
Take time for your sadness when it comes.
Do not think it’s always best to smile.
And nurture it with memories and love.
One can be sad and thankful.
Temptations toward self-pity often lurk nearby
and some resolve might be required
to ward it off.
Hopefully you can handle that.
But who am I to tell you how to be?
Listen to your inner self.
Pay little heed to me.
The autumn leaves I wish were mine today
but I’m unable access them
for the trees where I now live
do not deposit annual gifts of beauty
beneath their boughs.
And so I have to take two paths for my indulgence:
photographs are one of them – the other: memory.
Some years ago I raked a pile of leaves so great
it seems in retrospect to be the greatest one I ever made.
And added to the pleasure of my swinging rake
whose sound I now so easily engage
is the body of a little dog ploughing through the grisp remains –
a white, long-haired creature who brought his joy to mine.
Nostalgia offers happiness, and yet its presence offers sadness, too.
The past is really over even though it clings to us
when we employ the gifts that recreate our yesterdays.
Russ Peery Sept. 2018
I guess (and that means “I don’t know”, or “likely”
that most of us who get to be ninety
look at TIME as if it were a reality that has gone very fast.
It seems that memories have power over Time’s awareness
and we’ve been known to say “It seems like yesterday”
when, in fact, it happened years ago.
We feel that suddenly we’ve grown old
when, in fact, it’s been a long and slow process.
Some folks keep diaries that help keep the past present
and others collect photographs.
These days videos are likely to do the same “work” better.
I sit here and often play with my past with little effort
checking into my wasness
but aware that some folks I know are much better than I
in retrieving thoughts of what has happened to them.
Could I say I envy them? Yes, I do.
Memory keeping is a gift
and some folks are more gifted than others
and at least a few of us wish
we had better recall than we do.
So be it.
I used to say “That’s the way the ball bounces”.
Russ Peery Sept 2018