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.

NOSTALGIA by D.L.McHale


image

In my mind’s recess, a soft caress
of memories and days gone by
A kaleidoscope of love and hope
And answers to the “Why?”

I fall within and live again
Those magic days bygone
My thoughts set free in reverie
Warmed by a setting sun

Another time in perfect rhyme
Now formed in my revision
I’m lifted up as I fill my cup
With reflection and a vision.

Within my dream, or so it seems
The best of times has past
Yet still somehow, I cherish “Now”
And tighter still my grasp

Outside my mind my thoughts unwind
And now today returned –
For yesterday is still no way
To face the future’s turn.

ALESSANDRA’S SONG by D.L. McHale


Alessandra Barlas
Just over a week ago, the world lost a living angel, Alessandra Barlas. No words can ever replace the presence of such an incredible young woman and daughter, but these words humbly seek to honor Ali.

Last night I sought the solace of an evening walk

To warm myself within God’s heavenly embrace,
Beneath the celestial canopy of midnight’s awe

To feel hallowed angelic breath upon my face
Yet this night I walked in darkness, cold and alone

This was the night angels carried Alessandra home

I came…
To mourn and to grieve her beauty, her grace
To find understanding in this cold, empty space
To remember this angel who dared to tread earth
To offer her love, her compassion, her worth
Yet true understanding slipped away from me
Like a feather in the wind, like a prayer set free
The stars fell about me in sputtering light
Into the void that exists between Darkness and Light
Except for the brightest where dusk and dawn unite
And there I saw Ali, a lone star shining bright
Her life…
Was a promise in ascendant stride
Loving generosity, the absence of pride
Like a flower upon the vine in the fullness of bloom
That was carelessly plucked a lifetime too soon
Like the sweetest of wine out-poured from the Sun
A garland of hope in a world come undone
And I heard her whisper…
“Remember me when I was in the field of flowers,
Sweet sunlight woven through my wind-tossed hair,
My eyes lit with a love unending forged by our hearts
Don’t remember me now as I lay here dying,
Weep not those tears from your unseeing eyes,
I will love you always this dream we shared.
Remember how I looked in my mother’s arms,
Sweet cries of ecstasy trembling from my lips,
My heart soaring with the fire of the stars
Don’t remember my skin…it would have faded with age,
Angelic flesh is immune to the whims of time,
Lips blue from a kiss of death, God’s breath
Remember me as I was, so bright and happy,
When our friendships were new and strong,
Our days dancing and laughing careless and free.
Don’t remember me as I am, laying here cold,
For our love shall never die broken and brittle,
Remember the flowers I put in our hair
Golden and purple crowns upon our heads
We ruled this Earth as royalty, but now I’m free
Yes, remember the joy that will echo back to you
When evenings like this are cold and dark
Feel the warmth of me always in your dreams.
Beneath this moonbeam’s glow, where soft winds blow
Remember me as i shall always remember you
With joy and warmth and laughter and dry eyes
And I prayed…
I hope her inspiring spark remains
her joy to fill our grieving chests,
enabling us to forever feel
the undying light within her death