Behind Green Eyes: A Child of the Ozarks


Ozark Girl

Photo Credit: Jeff Jones, Photographer
(image of his daughter, Valerie)

Skin softly bleached like the Southern twilight
freckle-kissed face ‘neath the Ozark ‘s skylight
fire-red locks and curls tossed by stormy winds
Pa’s softly-pressed dimple upon her boyish chin

     Green eyes revealing her faded innocence
     a determined gaze, a child’s jaded reverence
     for a young life lived beneath the savage blows
     of poverty’s yoke, though no one knows
     for this girl who bravely looks right through you
     wears a forthright courage, honest and true

She rides a bitter storm that’s never-ending
twelve tender years in fields deep-bending
with calloused hands plucking earth’s creations
like her kinfolk have done for generations

     Laughing like a banshee, she dances in the rain
     holding back her tears as she swallows her pain
     A motherless child born to a colorless world 
     still she sings of a future, of hope yet unfurled
     she sings of the woods, and the trails, and the streams
     of infinite hope and impossible dreams

She could never be pressed to surrender this hour
‘neath the soft Ozark moonbeams that fill her with power
to endure what she must, though she’s only a child
under dark gathering clouds she stands there beguiled
filled with wonder and light behind a soft-freckled face
she presents to the world the persona of grace

Love in a Coffee Shop


coffee

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.
Yet, I’ve sat here all morning
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer,
drinking in the realness of her,
sipping the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.
I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.
Every few minutes she looks
off into the distance
with a blank and distant stare,
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.
I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.
I also know that I love her,
she, who I do not know,
and she who no longer loves
in return.
She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

Cut Gently


cut-gently

 

Be gentle with your words
they cut like knives and twice as deep
if you’ve hatred to spew, just keep
searching for a way to express yourself
without completely diminishing
everyone else around you.
On more than one occasion
You’ve carved me up until I had
nothing left inside to support me;
Loving you isn’t hard, it’s the most
natural thing I do,
but listening to you sometimes
takes such masochistic effort.
That said, we all need to express
those emotions that bind us up;
in those moments, cut gently
and give me some time to heal.