Burn the Bridge

I imagine you think I lit the flame
That would burn the bridge
Between our islands

Perhaps it was an accident
A spark let loose from a temper
Allowed to burn from youth
Too distracted to pay attention
To the fire caused by inaction

And yet the bridge held out
With only occasional flare ups
Quelled without effort
As living tissue and living
Relationships are water filled

I imagine you think I fanned the flame
That would burn the bridge
Between our islands

I could have been better
A bridge needs maintenance
And I did not maintain
I did not cross it enough
To know it was cracking and dry

And yet you did not notice
The damage of the bridge
Perhaps we were too busy
Walking the other ones
New or still being built

I imagine you think I fanned the flame
That would burn the bridge
Between our islands

I shouted at you that this bridge
Was likely to crumble, to fall
Because you wouldn’t help
(A bridge has two ends)
It was nice if you would wave

I should have walked over
Put in new boards and nails
Lacquered and waterproofed
New experiences to strengthen
The structure of something grand

I imagine you think I fanned the flame
That would burn the bridge
Between our islands

It was a pretty thing but old
The wood so dry and creaking
It was nostalgia covered in ivy
Childhood strength without
The endurance of adulthood

We were busy building other bridges
A bunch of sturdy basic wooden ones
From mine to other islands
And one elaborate marble one
You built with a newer friend

I imagine you think I fanned the flame
That would burn the bridge
Between our islands

Marble won’t burn, will wear down
Slower from any neglect
It won’t dry and crack and break
The same as the wooden bridges
That children build by the dozens

And yet these wooden bridges
Are carved and painted
Colored with life, worn down
And can be rebuilt easily
By a skillful carpenter hand

I imagine you think I fanned the flame
That burned the bridge
Between our islands

We both fanned the flame
We both neglected the fire
Now imagine the hands that can build
And imagine the arms that can swim

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Fall Drive

Oh hey, New Year, Old Poem. Got to get back to this…

I drove the black flowing highway through forest alive with death
Or what we may see as dying, only a lifeless sleep begins
And to my ears I set the air with strings on movie soundtrack
Which conjured up dragon treasure, journey long and friendship
A silly grin I bore with serious though in mind:
Oh quickly color comes too shortly to therein die.

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Capitis sans Dermis

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Smooth unlined forehead thinks nor grieves no more
Expressionless but for a grin: not wonders, reacts, delights
Eyes once seeing have gone to soil or lab or coffin, dark times two
Here the tears cried lachrymose at seeing what’s beneath
What for the empty nose- no longer curious at death
No longer shall it grow when the lies unspeakable show
A bite remains without much force
Those molars separating individuals when flesh is gone
Reminder of lineage: eat meat eat nut eat plant eat dirt
Chin held up strong and properly
Without body or layers- hard but breakable
No nodding head, no “yes” nor “no”- separate from axis
A spine no longer but here held a past
Essential foundation, cranium protection
Slowly dissolve to carbon, decaying grin
Be mouse or horse or encasing human brain
Organ moldering years less than the smiling, eyeless skull.

The original poem was written during the A&P Practicals I was proctoring on October 17, 2013 where I drew a skull looking at the lab manuals (picture to be posted soon). The title roughly mean “head without skin” using the Latin/Greek words generally used in Anatomy and Physiology

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Things I Lose

if I ever lose my buttons I hope someone finds them
in tact with the sharp end still piercing
they will wear them on their jackets with pride,
attach to backpacks where they may fall once again

if I ever lose a scarf may it warm another’s neck
or be found as bedding for a winter burrow
and not bound up in a larger animal’s intestines
or dashing into windshields causing havoc

whenever I lose an earring I hope it sparkles
perhaps in the nesting of a mother bird
or reused and refurbished into a necklace
adorning another person’s neck

when I lose a to-do list or friendly note
I hope I can remember the tasks myself
or that someone gets a good giggle
and that it gets recycled, not thrown out

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Sunrises

Poems inspired by last week’s sunrise outings
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Morning Routine

No matter what time you wake up you feel like you should sleep more
It is best to ignore that feeling as early as possible
And greet the rising sun or the lifting fog
Even as the sand is in your eyes let sand sift between your toes
Or the pavement feel your footprint pounding a slow erosion

No matter how many excuses you make to stay in bed
It is best to face the day with eyes wide and waking
And trade dreams half-remembered for memories
Even the hours stretch longer when you flex muscles earlier
Order is better retained with a waking morning routine

People by the Sea at Sunrise

She rides wears bright pink shorts and a tank top even when it’s not quite 70 while riding her bike
He runs down the stairs and parallel to the waves somewhat erratically with unathletic shoes
They have a tripod, one of five, trained eyes on the daily wonder of that fire on the horizon
We yawn as the glowing, blazing sphere ascends and waves crash on the beach
And the teenagers with their iPhones prepped for sunrise selfies

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Groundfish Poetry

Poems I wrote up to educate a group of 15/16-year-olds about ground fish. Hopefully you too will remember a fact or two from my attempts at rhythms and rhymes. I will be adding and crediting photos from online later to give you a better idea of what animal I am talking about (or you could just google the name!)


Black Sea Bass

I am almost always born female
But as I grow older I become male
And if I am male I may turn blue
With a blue hump on my head too
That’s only for mating season
I’m usually black for a reason
To lurk among shadows to eat
Any crab, clams, worms, or shrimp meat
And hide from flounders, little skates
Spiny dogfish, monkfish, and spotted hake

Chain Dogfish
I am not a dog nor a cat
Though named a fish version of that
I’m a small ground-dwelling shark
Pretty with a dark networks of marks
I am mysteriously fluorescent
May use it to make sure a signal sent
I prefer rough bottoms for protection
But am often swept up in fishing action

Cod
Green or sandy brown with a white lined side
Coloration depends on which depth I reside
Active I hunt for crustaceans and mollusks
I will even eat squid and other gadus
I’m plagued by parasites attacking my gills
Overfishing as well by gill nets and trawls
Fried or breaded and baked is my fate
My once abundance providing name to a Cape

Cunner
I am Bergal, Conner, Chogset
At home in rocky environments
Changing color is one of my traits
Stealing baitfish, and also being bait
I’m like the tautog but smaller
With a pointy snout, no throat molars
I do tend to eat their leftovers
And live near the same protective boulders

Goosefish
I’m all mouth yes I am
I’d eat three whole hams
Possibly fifty yams, if that were an option
But I live in the ocean
So I take seabirds and herring
With a modified fin used for luring
Little fishes come to the fishing rod
Where I wait patiently camouflaged
And then GULP, down the hatch
It’s why men are wary when I’m in their catch

Haddock
I am much like the another whitefish
White-bodied, black lined, a seafood dish
You may see a dark blotch above one fin
Called St. Peter’s Mark or Devil’s Thumbprint
I eat small invertebrates, oh the delicacies
And you most definitely will eat me
From fresh or frozen to baked, smoked, or dried
I am particularly adored when I am deep fried

Little Skate
I may look like a kite or a ray
But I am distinct evolutionarily
I have one dorsal, two pelvic fins
But no spine to offer protection
For reproduction I’m oviparous
My egg sacs called a “mermaid’s purse”
Food for groundfish is often my fate
I am an elasmobranch, a little skate

Pollock
Like my close relatives I have a lateral line
That is white on a greenish black side
I am also eaten because of their overfished populations
But you’re most likely had me as crab, imitation
Lesser known than my two cousins cod and haddock
I am named usually “whitefish” but really I’m Pollock

Tautog
Some call me blackfish
Though I’m sometimes more orange-ish
Mottled with different colored blotches
Helps me hid in rocky crevasses
My thick rubbery lips and skin
Helps protects from environment
Molars in mouth and throat crush
Crustaceans, mollusks to yummy mush

Yellowtail Flounder
As adults on our side we lie flat
Though we don’t start off like that
One eye migrates as we mature
Both eyes looking up detect predators
But our camouflage is famous
And useful for an ambush
You can find us a many fish markets
We look like the ocean’s flying carpets

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In movements and music you remain

I see you playing violin when I hear that song
I remember strumming hands, picking fingers
I picture the dances on wooden floors
I hear the tunes once in chorus sung
I miss the singing voices, as well the talking ones

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Poems from Work

Two little poems that came out of thoughts I wrote down while waiting for a field trip group to arrive at the Ocean Explorium where I work part-time educating people about the ocean.

Window Shopping
I spy cute dresses
In a store called Calico
Sexy red, black, white
Geometrical

Work and Eat the Ocean
I have sharks to speak about
Stingrays to touch
Crustaceans to show and tell
Many bivalves to shuck

No, I must save them for education
And buy some later for my digestion

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Honesty

hon·es·ty
/ˈänistē/
Noun
The quality of being honest.

hon·est
/ˈänist/
Adjective
Free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.

A girl across the lab was talking a much quieter girl’s ear off about honesty. She complained about how people always lie to each other, so her honesty should be a breath of fresh air not regarded as mean or hurtful. But there is a gap between honesty and spewing out everything that is on your mind, there is a difference between constructive criticism and criticizing someone’s world construction whether it’s their clothes, their walk, their talk. There is such thing as tact and taste that come with truth to make it meaningful, to make it a breath of fresh air, a new way of thinking. To throw insults disguised as truth-telling is worse than a superficial lie, that righteous air won’t make one care about the actuality but the reality of your loose tongue and mean words will stick in a hurtful way. Even if you are sincere as sin about an opinion you have of the house they live in, the group they chill with, the profession they’ve chosen; your earnestness is covered in callousness if you don’t think first what that might do to them. Even if change comes from that spring of bitter truth, it’s tainted by the lack of sympathy and empathy in such blatant, barefaced “honesty.”

Truth may be fresh air but it doesn’t always flow pleasantly into our body cavities: often it’s cold and sharp, some times muddled by moisture, and fresh air can’t come from another one’s lungs.

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John 3:16 on Clothing

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son…”
So I could buy this poorly made dress at Pay Half
Redeemed by being made in the USA
Not by cheap labor in bad conditions
Though how sure can I be?
Trust in a short tag that will shrivel
After a few wash cycles
Or merely believe because it tells me
“…that whoever believes in him shall not perish…”
Like those who simply trust eight characters
Without knowing the words at all
Deeming the purchase righteous
Believing it more blessed than brands sans verses
Hoping it ends up in consignment
To be picked up and possibly worn again
Not to be trashed or shredded
“…but have eternal life.”

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