Category Archives: Erosion

Erosion of Poetry

Splash of vivid orange, gaudy against (skin/sky/strobe/stroke),
as if plastic was bleeding, as if jugs carried segments
made whole, and then squeezed them into a Dali-esque breakfast.
There, Mother, that’s what you always wanted, wasn’t it now?
Walls thrumming like a bass drum, so loud you clap your haha
hands over your hard ears. No one was listening anyway.
It’s all a joke, right? Words dripping like Yorkshire pudding,
words gone muddy and blurred, words gone sour and covered with sweat.
You want to shout, “Cover yourself! Be decent, why don’t you?”
but it comes out wrong, “Commander Cody, the cover band!
I think that’s enough, isn’t it? After all, no one cares
what you call it, as long as it has a great beat. Let’s dance.

Erosion of Self

Spend twenty years deciding who you are without knowing it.
Get a job, have kids, make jokes about who you’ll be when grown up.
Then one day, you think you’re seeing the doctor for nothing big
(your blood pressure’s too high or low, need to tweak your asthma drugs,
it’s “The Change of Life,” or heck, you’re just getting old, darn it),
and it starts. Confusion, forgetfulness, mood changes, and worse,
your hands shake sometimes (“guess I need some coffee!”), you’ve got a twitch.
Then you realize you don’t recognize yourself. “Damn pills,” you curse,
but that’s the good news, if you see it. You can change or stop pills,
but some folk find the twitch or tremor persists, their nerves cross-wired.
The guy on the bus this morning, unable to just be still,
drummed his foot on the floor, not looking, trying to stop, so tired,
but when he drew his foot underneath, it crept back out in front
and drummed again, his rhythm an unwilling dance: pause, movement.

Erosion of Reticence

Pic of the day - Fuzzy Bracts

In February, a warm spell
might trigger the brief eruption

of budding, with next the cold snap
searing off those false starts.

With the next warm spell, buds come slow,
hesitant, reluctant, reserved.

What will be a flower armors
itself beneath a thick bract.

“Bract – a leaflike part just below,
protecting an inflorescence.”

See? Inflorescence. Blossoming.
“The time and process of budding

and the unfolding of blossoms.”
The flower grows behind the shield,

cautious and tightly furled. Later,
there will be blooming, there will be,

unfurling, opening, and loose
as laughter. There will be blooming.

Erosion of Expectation

After the webinar, we went around the room
saying what we thought it would be that it wasn’t.

Leaving the building, I heard the loud, crackling snaps
of the flag (a hundred yards away?) that had been
limply at half-mast the day before. It rippled

across the grey front of the broken Belltower.
A year before I would have checked it for the time,

still unlearning the habit of decades, listening
for the chimes on the quarter hour, singing
along, looking to the clock as if it still ran.

The wind spins and twists my ID badge on its cords
until they tighten around my neck. Fuzzy bracts

litter the ground and tumble across the sidewalk,
torn from the flower buds, the petals and branches
whipping wildly in three dimensions, tearing loose,

falling, sticking to the damp packed-down dirt until
the ground blooms with tattered pink and white magnolias.

Erosion of Loneliness

Riding the same bus at the same time, I see the same people,
at least most days. The tiny frail white-haired lady usually
sits facing me, on the other 3-person seat, but today
she smiles brightly and carefully sits across both of the two
remaining seats on my bench. Odd, I think, while reading my book.
A few minutes later, a gentleman slowly climbs on board
with his cane, asking courteously, “May I squeeze in here?”
She scoots a couple inches over, closer to me, leaving
a generous gap between us, then smiles and replies, “Of course!
Squeeze away. After all, none of us get enough of that, eh?”
I can hear the blush in her voice. “No, none of us do, do we?”
he replies, smiling. She smiles back. I can’t see it, but I know
anyway. Their shy conversation floats past, filled with awkward
hopeful gaps. I smile, too, studiously reading my thin book.

Erosion of Memory

Did I already write something with this title?
I’m not sure. Maybe I should look. Searching, searching …

Oh, look what I found! That’s really interesting.
I bet other folk would think so, too. I should share

before I forget. “Oh, you liked that? Yes, very
provocative!” I fake thinking deeply, briefly.

Meanwhile, no longer searching, I’m browsing chiefly
for items of interest on topics often scanned —

tech, health, mobile, games, learning, science, social, brands —
links flicker through my eyes straight to my fingers, swift

over keys (flutter, return; flutter, return). Drift
to the edge of sleep, clinging to the keys. Then: What?

What time is it? What was I doing? Oh! Darn it.
I wanted to be done by now. Where’d I leave off?

I’d finished that post, loaded pics, just started … ah!
Did I already write something with this title?

Erosion of Caution

Yellow tape surrounds half the street, torn up
by heavy construction equipment.
In the back, bald patches on the roof show

where shingles have fallen. A block away,
yellow scaffolding climbs an old building
being deconstructed. From the corner,

it appears there is little or nothing
left inside. All the guts have been scavenged
and recycled, moving on to new lives.

We climb the stairs to my daughter’s place.
She is a newlywed, having eloped
last month, and I haven’t seen her since then.

We’re here for dinner, and (I hope) to watch
the wedding video. They eloped, I heard,
in part because someone was done waiting

and made all the arrangements — from planner
to limo, and everything in between.
Makes it hard to say “no”, especially

if you don’t really want to. Romantic,
actually. She was a beautiful bride
if eccentric, all in a low-cut black,

skin traced with lacy color, lines, symbols.
What I noticed most was the way her eyes
darted from place to place in the dark room,

swift as a bird’s shifting from point to point,
nervous, returning more and more often
to that one place where she finds calm, settling
like a wild thing into trust without being tamed.

Erosion of Fear

“Oh, but we’re afraid of silly little things,” I explain,
“like my daughter won’t phone for pizza even if she pays.
I won’t phone new people, especially if they’re single men,
even if I need help and not calling means huge delays.”
“Why not?” asks my friend the priest, puzzled, then says, “Never mind.
Just call him. He offered you a ride. Or I’ll help. Call me.”

“Really?” I ask. “We’re ‘family’,” he shrugs, “I can give rides.
Just let me know if you need a ride to Mass. I’ll agree.”

I still can’t make myself phone, though, but when I see the guy
I ask, “Are you coming tomorrow?” “Sure,” he says, “Need a ride?”
Mutely, I nod. “No problem. That’s easy.” I want to sigh.
It’s easy now, I guess, but seemed so hard. I don’t confide.
Back to business, there’s work to do. I feel pretty silly.
Later, he grins and mouths, “Easy!” Alright, then, it’s easy.

Erosion of Scales

bald patches on wings
show where butterflies have shed
the bloom of their youth

late Spring stars, pastel
green & cream, teeter over
a red passion point

the sunrise place shows
the price to be received, or
the price to be paid

fish for dinner means
the dull knife scrapes the wrong way,
scales fly everywhere

the indigo just
shed its skin, gleaming black-blue,
(dry, soft, tasting musk)

hairspray mists around
teased hair stripped roughly downward
for the school’s Spring play

dark surrounds the flame
of one lit candle, carried
by a voice singing,
its melody bent modal,
as it winds from old to new

Erosion of Now

This moment, now, sitting in a dark distorted
by the hum of a computer’s fan, the too bright screen.

This moment, now, sitting in a silence broken
with the hushed ellipsis of car wheels over cracks.

This moment, now, sitting, trying to sit, drooping
chin in hand, tilted off center, eyes jerking wide.

The computer hard drive grinds, stops, chirps a question.
It wants to rest. So do I. Alright then, alright.