June 2010

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This is where they came
in the name of the father,
here where sunsets
with red eyes
sink into black pines
along the Canadian Shield.
Here the rocks
bear witness to
unmarked graves, and
pigeons with crayon eyes
stare out from
cracked chimneys
to the river where
the currents still hear
the murmur of the
Bedtime Prayer.
“Oh, my God I adore you …
Protect me this night and
may your grace be
with me always…”
Here the winds sift softly
over paint-peeled walls
and ache upon the absence
of each unwanted one,
unkissed, unclaimed,
weeping in loneliness
in the name of the
father, and waiting
for the hand upon the door.
Here time still crawls with
the crimes of men in robes
and women in white and
mounties who never came
in the name of the father.
The earth holds
every strangled cry, and
shelters the abandoned bones,
and here, at the going down
of the sun, and in the morning,
it remembers them.
And nothing
in the name of the father,
not even the river
with all its eternity,
can bear the stain away.

© 2009 - Photo Blog: Residential Schools - In the name of the father

The one I knew too soon

The one I knew too soon
and left in the blue-eyed
mists of summer
receded with raven hair
and dancing eyes down
the sunlit Fundy shores,
where waves rolled in
like gin and tonic and broke in
a billion silver coins along the sand
and ran in aching melodies
to the piano rocks and died.
And sometimes on the winter air
in wisps of wood smoke
sharp and clear, a million miles
and all these years away -
beneath stars too young to know -
I sense her fragrance in the dark,
her breath along the tree line
and I hear the wistful
half rung bell of all that was,
and all that washed away.

© 2010

All the soldiers
come to Coney Island to
say farewell and kiss the sea
and die the lovely lipstick death
of cotton candy vagaries
smacked across the evening sky,
and to taste one final time
those sweet ice cream illusions
that hang like fire in the
marshmallow wind and light
the infinite chasm of longing
that cradles the American dream.

I see them in the clam bars
drinking beer and showing off tattoos
and tickets for the Wonder Wheel.
They saunter down the boardwalk
in boots that whisper Gettysburg
and Belleau Wood and Okinawa,
and every Hamburger Hill on
the muddy, bloody road that leads
from Concord down to Kandahar,
marching, ever marching,
for one nation indivisible
with liberty and baseball and
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs for all.

The feeble stars shine down
with beautiful bony fingers on
truths held to be self-evident
on the Thunderbolt and Cyclone
and every carousel that
ever whirled a purple heart
or laughing child
through the salted air of Brooklyn.

They fought for Dreamland
and Luna Park and the
Sideshow by the Seashore,
raised the flag for
Midget City and Donny Vomit
and every fool and waif
who ever threw a knife
or ate a light bulb or
trailed the red dress girl
with moonlit legs
across a midnight dance floor.

I hear them sigh beneath the sand
and breathe good night Irene
to half remembered faces
in the fireworks and
mermaids shimmering nude
among the silver waves.
This is where the patriots
come to say their final prayers
and make their peace as
Whitman passes with a lantern
and leads them back to Appomattox
and old comrades in the mists.

© 2010

David Blaikie Photos of Coney Island