Thursday, December 9, 2010

Okie Audio: Forever Home on Mind

I wrote this over several months in 2003 and 2004. At the time, I was writing my senior paper over Allen Ginsberg, which is apparent. This is the first poem I was proud of having written.

Forever Home on Mind

I wept into the sea; it did not overflow.
(Buddhist meditation)

Spread out over a great distance
     like a tremendous giant fallen dead,
          my heart, heavy with sadness, covers over my daily duties

I can’t eat, write, work, speak, but
     walk the familiar corridors—
          in rooms I’ve danced with friends,
          in rooms I’ve philosophized,
          in rooms I’ve sat as I do now,
               red eyed and staring as in meditation but
                    only feeling pain without enlightenment—
     till I grab the keys and drive to the shopping strip
          bubbling with beautiful people
               who love the machinery of consumer competition.
          The mob about me—blonde, small, large, brown—
               shuffle up, down, back and forth, comforting me
               with the wishing that I could be comforted
               by the bags they carry.

I hit the streets
     and pass the town—the three stop-lights of Grove, Oklahoma—
          down to the low-water bridge
     where a light stream trickles over small rocks between bare trees
          where I once strummed songs
               while peers drank the evening down through Coors Light cans,

     then down to the Water’s Edge—
          a gravel boat ramp in a small bay of Grand Lake water
               with eternal western view of twin moons, water and sky—
     where I myself got drunk the first time
          with my doe-eyed older brother
               and he with glee punched his fist bloody
               through a dock door window,

     then back to home,
          but outside the familiar corridors
               where the expanse of green bluff hums memories in the distance.
     An occasional deer, close enough to toss a rock at, eats mother’s
          under the single telephone pole for miles in the back yard.
               The pole where my father hung a make-shift basketball goal
                    that rarely felt a ball and decayed
     as my mind does
          while I turn to see tears shine on my face reflection
               outside my bedroom window.

My eternity bounces me to and from this homestead
     in dreams and reality, nightmares and reality—

home where my pregnant mother fell off a shoddy doorway ramp
     to the mobile home door and
          bruised her legs black
               cursing God for poverty and an unexpected pregnancy,
home where my parents’ shallow life savings was spent on
     rheas, awkward exotic birds, that ran scared—
          chased by our neighbor’s dogs—
     and died of heart attacks and
          Dad cursed God and cried on pregnant Mom’s belly,
home where my doe-eyed older brother ran away,
     cursing God and Mom and Dad,
home where I, frustrated in sleep,
     kicked through a storm-window barefooted and
          awoke bleeding on the bathroom floor
               while Mom held the vein and cried for God to heal
          to save from the emergency bill.

Home dear home,
     forever clear and profound on the senses,
          forever never disappearing.


  1. I love these! Keep 'em coming. This was one of the first poems I heard of yours and it still gets me every time.

  2. This is profoundly beautiful. I can hardly say anything else--it feels both familiar and rare. Thanks, E.

  3. This is good stuff. The truth in it shines with your words.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Sundance. Yeah, you can probably remember some of this, eh?

  5. It's raw like an Oklahoma wind with cadence you can hear. Keep that voice!

  6. Thank you very kindly, rohjo. Will do my best to hold on to that voice.