William Blackburn: 2 Poems

Parabolas

All those folk tales told of long ago- fountainheads

Heads will roll if new ideas get too extreme

Extreme sports played in extreme weather, whether or not

Not likely, given the forecast. Foreman casting lines

Lines in the sand box, rock gardens guarded by ceramic gnomes

Gnomes and Faeries flit about: alight upon chicanery

Chicanery chickens clucking in the side yard pecking

Pecking one finger typing achingly slowly to the finish

Finish peeling and flaking without dandruff shampoo

Shampoo and soap-on-a-rope will wash away most problems

Problems solved with applied mathematics

Mathematics done: graphing answers in wide parabolas

Parabolas, parables, riddles and kells, fables all

Spelunkers

Before our trip abroad to those grand vistas offered

A repast in cafeteria-styled dining proffered

Provender under heat lamps

With trays laden before cash register coffered

 

Being low on funds, pocket more lint than lucre

A salad side and toasted whole wheat couture

Perfection in cream cheese

But some miscreant did purloin my bagel future

 

As eggs in cartons, lined up to take the tour in dungarees and old shoes

Flashlight at right, father left, we slipped down into that open sore

 

Clamorously climbing jumbled tumbled rock stumbling like a ball pit

Bully pulpit for echoes and that slow, steady drip abounding

Surrounding and caressing as the hand of mother at crib side

Gentle progress deeper gone, sliding and scraping knees and knuckles

Gloves for kid-handling might be advised in all things human

This adventure, familial indenture to slavish attitudes

Father and son separately return to that virginal orifice of Mother Earth

 

Limestone and postnasal drip, this gullet wide and seeping

We went in creeping, hand on map amid bleak blackness and wonderment

 

Impediments, obstacles along the road- barring fruition, inconsistent climb

Stacks of books and board games in nooks toddler gates drawn up

These early warnings sprung up in the way on the way to next steps

Must learn to walk and then to run, each a segue to ventures beyond

The exit at the end of the tunnel, this funnel we each must pass through

Breaching, reaching the terminus of childhood and freefalling to parenthood

The lengthy cycle circles back once more each time and tries again

 

Crawled we caving headlamps beaming

Through fissures of earth, deep spasm of scheming

As worm amid the apple of my eye

Barreling through sheltered chasm of dreaming

 

Some skeletal, secret closet unstepped from 

Spiraled down, embarrassed as flushed to this slum

Amish-made for barn raising

This framework of exploration, my solitude and freedom

 

Explorers, implorers, exploding potentials in the dark

Radiating waves effervescing, coalescing prickles on my skin

 

Raised hackles, raising alarms, sounding off by ones and twos

These cavernous thought bubbles, streaming mistranslations

Cosmic, comic-book speech balloons overhead like Signs

As a heavenly beacon to lost ships and wanderers found

Giving away my inner monologue, inside voice shining

Unrepentant, unmitigated, unwilling to assuage

Then falling silent as this waterfall trickle over stone

 

These walls open out upon a vista turkey-carved of rock

Spiny gate guardians of the way, masticating, gnashing of teeth

 

All those premonitions of monstrous dentition: eyes wide glaring

Borne of childhood fantasy, a misunderstanding of the words

Each hovel a new tunnel, a cave of fancy for prowling fingers

Those walls adorned with scrawlings and scratchings

First inklings of communication beyond childhood slurs

Decorating the refrigerator doors of our insulated world

While real monsters do exist: they wear sheep's clothing

 

In these languid days of preschool squalor

Little mensches playing games in the parlor

Obeisance to our daily gods

Those schoolmarms dressed in parental pallor

 

As cave art in France, those colorful sensations

Decorous, festive hangings in museums of our relations

Such primal playthings in crayon

Monsters as naturally occurring, uneducated explanations

 

There in that deeping darkness star chart cast upon roof and walls

From flashlight seeming, Greek stories beaming skyward gleaming

 

In the vastness of our sepulcher, wandering in the mind's eye

Along ancient transit ways, those rivers of the sun suffering its end of days

That heavenly visage, bringer of life and sunburn, once more with feeling

Drawn now to other suns, other worlds basking and baking

Other children somewhere dreaming and thinking fondly of us

In dankest dark cosmos of the night, some fickle chance of fate

Each day should spark and coalesce into these magnificent happenings

 

Stargrazing as cattle "ooh" and "ahh", seeking sense amid the silly

That central question at the heart of it all: WHY?

 

We are handcrafted so much stuff of stardust and dreams wondering

Just add water then brew and blossom minor godlings everyone

Asking now as ever, "How can we be the only ones?" Now gaze:

Omnipresent in this moment casting stones across the abyss of knowledge

Catching twinklings and inklings writ among those stars

The next, great American novel, published serially with movie rights

All stories have been told before, laid out at picnics of thought


Currently based in OH (USA), WBlackburn still struggles to find his car keys. His work appears in SCRAWL, Emerald Press, Route 7 Review, and Edify Fiction. He is a contributor to Adirondack Center for Writing's PoemVillage 2019.

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