CRY OUT TO THE HEAVENS



by D.L.McHale, Sept., 2021

i.

Two sparrows
beneath the hand
of fate –
does the omniscient eye
behold need
or does it blink
and look away?

ii.

Life offers choices…
to accept the solace of belief
in a benevolence
that oversees;
or to know the loneliness
of your singularity
in a vast universe.

iii.

A guiding hand
that shelters,
that traces a path to follow
is security;
yet the soul is strong
who charts his own course
through infinity.

iv.

Cry out to the heavens
and listen long
for an answer
that does not come…

except in the heart
of the believer

THROUGH A LOOKING GLASS DARKLY


I grew up in Wonderland. I can say this now, after having lived and died a little in some of the ugliest cities. Brevard, NC is an impossible town, and it should have died like it did every night at 9 PM when the traffic lights down town went off duty and reverted to four-way flashers. It should have hemorrhaged to death when so many of us left it, bleeding.

Life after Brevard consisted of marrying your high school sweetie, snagging a second shift job at Du Pont or Olin with the right influence, and hopefully, getting a double wide so say, in ten years and with a lot of overtime, you’d get a real home one day. Or you could get out, go to college, find a decent job never once thinking of the wounds or how inane it was, back then.

Exactly an hour later almost as an addendum, the one TV channel with consistent reception reminded our parents it was 11 o’ clock, and somehow, as if it were possible, not knowing where we were was the last thing they heard, the constant back question: Do you know where your children are?

Yes, we were cuturally deprived. The population inside city limits strained to top 5500. You knew everyone and everyone knew you, and even if you did not comprehend it, there was security in this, and a little resentment at not being able to live so unanonymously. The lone radio station was AM, and on week nights, the melodious voice of John Anderson brought us serenely to “the close of another broadcast day”, promptly at 10 PM and the strains of his voice were the last heard of the day for many of us.

You waited on everything in Brevard, and you waited for Brevard to catch up to the rest of the world, but it could not, and you knew it.

Mustangs, Barracudas, Chevelles, Impalas- all those horses and nowhere to run- the dichotomy of excess speed in a town that prided itself, almost to the point of codification, on operating at the pace of thickening molasses.

Go ahead and laugh at this, but on Friday nights in summer, the parking lot which now comprises Princess Plaza was cordoned off for square dancing. Do-se do, I kid you not. The whole town turned out. You slapped your face with Canoe or English Leather, slick in your favorite jeans, leaning against -something-until you found the courage or waited for the competition to die down so you could sidle up to Anne or Beth or Cindy or Marsha and ask for this next round?

You could not help but worry just a little because what if the Hokey Pokey really IS what its all about? How would you know? Left foot in, do-se-do.

Maybe you’d get lucky. Maybe a friend shared a can of beer with you, fresh from a “run” to Hendersonville. Not enough so you could feel it, but enough to leave a taste in your mouth for more, and enough to taint your breath and enhance your image. Image was all we had at times.

The bowling alley was the hottest place in town, except of course for Hardee’s. Before everything and after everything, there was Hardee’s. The simplicity of it was its appeal: you want to be found, go to Hardee’s. There you’d catch a glimpse of a wild Mustang perhaps, or split an order of fries. Even the cops had names like “Elvis” and “Tinker” and most of the time, they’d be hanging too, only parked conspicuously in the center of the lot with the window down.

Paegentry and dances were relegated to the American Legion, and we cut up, showed off, smoked an joked under the ancient machinery of a WWII anti aircraft gun whose trajectory would have placed a round about three feet over the court house and made impact say, close to Wal Mart, windage and elevation being considered.

To the students at Brevard College we were “townies”; to the tourists we were “hicks”. Always, there was this battle for our own town. Some of us fought it while others hung back considering Brevard not worth an ass kicking. But we shared a common perplexity, and try as we might, could never grasp the concept of driving 100 or maybe 150 miles just to look at LEAVES. White squirrels were common as mud, and any kid who had his driver’s license over 60 days knew every waterfall within 30 miles by rote.
.
As inevitable as daffodils in spring were the well-intended young women who arrived from UNC-Asheville. I never asked, but there had to be some deep spiritual power that propelled them onto the capstone of the court house retaining wall to save our dying town.

This was done usually at the top of their rather expanded lungs and usually, when mixed with the background of traffic, was for the most part unintelligble. But you learned to read their faces and even if you missed your appointed hour, you knew something serious was going on, and that there would surely be a next time.

“The City On The Hill” has been euphemised since the time of the ancients. In the Bible, it signifys both strength and depravity. Nostradamus saw it over and over and over. Those few of us fortunate enough to have lived there knew its pinnacle conjoined at the corner of Main and Jail House Hill, precisely where the wisewomen from Asheville stood.

They call Rome the Eternal City. I argue with history from time to time.
If you lived this Brevard, you know it like you knew your first kiss, you know it now with your eyes closed, it has always been. It resides on tongue- tip like the good news ready to spring forth across the land, it is deeper than skin, a fabric of which a part of you is indelibly woven.

My best years. Wonderland and “The Last Picture Show” with a Buck Owens twist. Red pill or blue, it is waiting for you.

THE LOST LITTLE GIRL


ALINA CHILD

The Lost Little Girl
Thrust into a bitter life,
Abandoned on a train
Is that little girl,
The girl, who never bothered,
Who only wanted love…
Her looks,
Her curls,
Her dress,
Her mess,
Her pimples,
Her dimples,
Lost is that avid child
A true Romani princess:
No Gypsy myth this.
She who had a dream,
She never bothered what the world said,
She who walks with a high head,
She who never let a tear drop for herself.
She whose glittering eyes once housed joy .
I am sure,
deep inside,
she is still alive,
and, to discover her,
into myself.
I will dive,
I will let the veil be lifted,
And, let her breathe in the open air.
She will be reborn,
she will live fearless,
she will live a life of dignity,
respect and honesty.

HAIKU CHAINSTREAM


haiku_symbolfb

angry thunderstorms
across deep blue ocean swells
star-kissed explosions

star-kissed explosions
lover’s passion-clenched eyelids
soon sleep descending

soon sleep descending
life demands its sacrifice
death a bitter toll

death a bitter toll
human souls ascend the scale
stars suddenly aglow

stars sudden aglow
midnight meadows bathed in light
winds begin to blow

winds begin to blow
softly swaying, children dance
to music unheard

to music unheard
new life from true love formed
the world rejoices

the world rejoices
eagles screech their summer songs
eyes glancing upward

eyes glancing upward
a silent voice offers prayer
clouds begin to weep

clouds begin to weep
lashing rains, the voice of God
angry thunderstorms

A CARNAL CONVERSATION


Butterfly

Like a butterfly, obsessively fluttering in my mind:
Open-winged and delicately perched within
her soft pudenda; smiles in kind
dripping dew, and all for the want of a kiss.

She is…vinegar and vanilla, vaseline and vagina.
breathing the soft whisper of invitation.
I am a prisoner to her intelligence, her volition, her erudition.

She is a cascade of vulva vocabulary:
vibrant and vivid: the supreme vivisection of vacuous idolatry.
Her dictionary is a thrashing of vague innuendos;
and all meaning is encoded in the fluttering of her labial wings.

Splayed out on her gypsy brass bed, she calls to me
in wet words and moist verse:
songs sung in disdainful agitation – her cheeks,
red as those of Modigliani’s whores.

Teasing, she baffles me with the pink virtuosity
of her tongue and seductive mouth.
In vain, I reach out to the heat of inevitability,
the dark depths of her cavities.

It was she who devoured my strong ancestors:
she who left Christ crying and gasping for breath.
What hope then for me, with only my poet’s pen
and second-hand adjectives to protect me?

THE BEAUTY WITHIN 


Beauty, I’m told
comes from within
From the depth of the heart, 
not from the skin
From fierce independence 
softened by grace
From the splendor of hope, 
not just the face

I didn’t see this coming, 
yet I accept it as true
I was seeking my equal 
the day I found you
When I look in your eyes, 
my heart is inspired
And I think to myself, 
“She is filled with such fire!”

I was captured by beauty, 
but I’m held by respect
For what makes you strong 
makes you perfect
I’d gift you my heart 
and my soul, if you please
If you walk by my side, 
not to follow or lead

Perhaps one day 
we’ll share deep love and desire
Built not upon beauty, 
but these strengths I admire

THAT’S ALL THERE IS, I THINK…


Reflection

All I would want to hear is that you are in a good place.

That’s all there is, I think.

I want to hear that you like yourself more than you did all those moments when you told me we would never amount to anything.

I want to know that you’ve changed for the better, but not how, not why, or how much.

I want to know that someone loves you.

That’s all there is, I think.

I want to know that you wake up everyday looking forward to whatever it is you have in your heart.

I want to know just how far the painted golden path of your dreams have led you, just how much it is that you have sacrificed to gain something far worthier.

I want to know that the wind has blown away every piece of me that didn’t quite resonate within you.

I want to know that you are free now, washed clean from all of my lies, the dirty blood that flowed through your veins whenever you looked at me, the dirt on your knees every time you bent over with such compassion to tend to my own weakness.

I want to know that you’re still that kind of person who would never let anyone go home alone.

I want to know that you never have to look over your shoulder, worrying about those days when I would get into trouble and make you cry all over again.

I want to know if you still like french press and if your fingers still bear the same raised skin you got from working so hard to make us work, the same raised skin I held on to for so long.

I want to know if you still find the good in men; if your faith has reached an ultimate standard now that I’m out of the way, if your convictions have brought you home.

I want to know if everything that reminds you of me no longer hurts as much, if it hurts at all.

I want to know if you’re still the same person underneath the protective arms, the breath of calla lilies, those sleepy eyes that became sadder and sadder with each day that passed until the clock told you it was time to break my heart; until those same eyes decided they no longer wanted to see me at all.

All I would want to hear is that you are not the same person as the one I was fortunate to meet and love.

That’s all there is, I think.

HEAVENLY SOJOURNER by D.L McHale


In the quiet spaces of my mind
there is  a softly sleeping figure
with the relaxed repose of an angel.

I kiss her cheek and lightly stroke her autumn hair
with a hope that she might slightly stir,
becoming minutely aware of my presence,
if only for an instant.

Heavenly sojourner, you are there in my dreams
laughing with me under the wild canopy of my fluctuating soul;
in between moments of consciousness
in between exhalations and eye-blinks.
I am caressed and buttressed
by the elegant strength of your tender spirit.

You are freedom after centuries of imprisonment.
You are a heavy rain after a cruel drought.
You bring the stars closer to my eyes.
You pull colorful spiral galaxies toward us
with your heart-bending gravity.

We explode like kaleidoscopic fireworks,
splattering a longstanding dream
across the churning night sky.
Refilling our palette of sensuality
with shattered rainbows.

We bend down to pick up the myriad jagged pieces,
our heartbeats bouncing again and again
to the hypnotic rhythm of evening descending;
our hands touching, our eyes devouring .

Our minds uniting, and our bodies shaking
as fiery desires are sporadically quenched
and rekindled, slowly dying down to embers
of nirvana whose warm afterglow
is eventually extinguished by the cool,
refreshing stream of our parallel thoughts
drifting weightlessly towards the sandy shores of eternity.

9 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD by D.L.McHale


“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” 
~ Margaret Mead

ONE:
Hold onto the faith that what you can do, and are willing to do, matters. Nothing matters more. You are not solely responsible for the solution. Bite off only as much as you can chew and trust that it will be enough to directly and indirectly feed a multitude of others.

TWO:
When you do pray, pray for purpose. I promise you, the answers will come.  They may not come in a way you were hoping, but they will come in a way that you need.  And you may not see that your prayer was answered until you look back one day and see how all the answers fell into perfect place.

THREE:
If you don’t do so already, make time to meditate. Oftentimes, we are so deafened by the noise of our own hectic lives and the demands pressed upon us that we drown out the quiet whisper within ourselves that reveals our inner compass, our hidden strengths, and our unique gifts.

FOUR:
Recognize that the person most in need of comfort and support may well, at times, be you. Allow others to do for you what you cannot in this moment do for yourself. In accepting love and care from another, you allow other individuals to fully actualize their humanity.

FIVE:
Empower yourself to change the world. Each of us, individually and magnificently, can do something by simply reaching out and offering the gift of comfort, assistance, and love for that one person who cries out in need.

SIX:
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves our paying attention “on purpose” and in “this moment.” Marathons are more easily won if the runner can simply focus on putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly, and in equal measure. They are generally lost when all the runner can see is the 26 miles stretching ahead.

SEVEN:
Accept the reality that you are not powerless. You are infinitely powerful. The answers you so desperately seek are within you. But do not confuse power with purpose. Power is simply the fuel necessary to propel your purpose.

EIGHT:
Look to those closest to you in need. Discern what your “gift” is and extend it to others. Resist any temptation toward personal recognition or reward. Empowered individuals are in the business of sowing, not reaping.

NINE:
Believe that what you do not only matters, it is essential. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but you just might inspire another who then inspires another who then inspires another.

ALWAYS BE SINGING by D.L.McHale


by http://www.dlmchale.com on October 10, 2016.  © Dennis McHale, All rights reserved
Painting by Rajesh Shah

sing

Sing of leaving the warm wetness of her womb
Of falling into the room, wide-eyed and softly agile
When life stretched before you, innocent spirit so fragile
Sing of the crawling to horizons yet sailed
Into your Father’s strong arms lightly held

Sing the hushed lullabies in your Mother’s sweet voice
Who when given the choice, brought you into this world?
Sing of your childhood, each moment a treasure
Such memories we measure in toys now long broken

And white lies then spoken in giggles and laughter
For then ever-after the truth held the day
Sing of your visions unfolding and carefree
As children’s dreams are meant to be
Of bruises and cuts from climbs gone amiss

Of band-aids and the healing of your Mother’s soft kiss.
Sing of the loss of those long carefree days
No longer to play, for in sadness we yearn
To simply return to our youthful ways.

POET’S NOTE: The title of this piece, “Always Be Singing”,  is meant lead the reader immediately into the atmosphere of the whole poem, in which the child (or the child within us) and the parent seem to move in the circle traced by the irradiation of love. The words, movements and gestures of the child/parent correspond to the interior movement of their hearts. It is possible to understand the language of love only through the prism of this movement.