Poetry Album #1- Greetings from a Barren Place

1. I don’t live here anymore

I never remembered these roads being so crowded and busy,

or dark as they were when I returned from a long absence and those curves and narrow turns made me dizzy.

I spent a restless night in the downstairs room by the stove, a brace against the cold wind outside.

My thoughts were thick and convoluted, unable to sleep,

the night was restless, my thoughts came and went and reminded me that I had no where to hide.

In my dreams, in and out of sleep,

came the hurtful reminder of why I left and more.

No doubt my roots here run deep,

but it is true – I don’t live here amymore.

Woke in the morning to a cold Northwest wind blowing.

I decided to walk the neighborhood streets to remember and to try to believe be again,

all around the atmosphere seemed to have stopped growing. 

I made my way home listening for all those echoes,

spoken words from yesterday, possibly still heard or maybe faded and gone forever.

Mostly what I found where ancient, shrouded, dead empty, shadows.

I don’t live here anymore.

Yesterday is now the stuff of lore.

I don’t live here anymore.

Yesterday is suspended like an unwatched movie in a now closed store.

I don’t live here anymore.

Feeling low and disconnected, I separate as with the heart of a traitor.

The morning came and the day went by as if it was a short chapter in a long book.

When night returned the book was closed and put back on a shelf.

Looking in the small mirror of the small bathroom as I shaved I told my weary self….. “I don’t live here anymore.”

2. Outside looking in

I wish I could elevate, levitate myself to the height of the big window and look in on them whenever I felt the wish to do so. 

Then I could see and sketch a personal portrait of him and her and all that passes between them.

On evenings in one of the furnished rooms, in the recliner by the China hutch or by the sofa under the eastern window there they sit and between them passes a lifetime of memory but interrupted by silence as if portions of the tape had somehow been erased. 

Maybe downstairs by the big French doors where the brown chair sits back against the glass, bathed in the soft orange light of the fire and the full blue glare of the television. 

He does not like to be interrupted but she asks if he is ok? (Sometimes provoking anger or a quick rebuke.) 

Outside the night goes on and I, just a stranger walking by, observe and wonder.

They talk about who will get what chairs and furniture, who will take the pictures off the walls and what will become of the house? 

All the while in the darker corners of the house are the lingering secrets that he has balled up and thrown away over the years that wait to be opened up and unraveled.

She keeps her secrets close to her chest as if they were pressed clothes to be out on hangers to be hung in the closet in one of the spare rooms but they are only to be worn by ohters at a much later time. 

The night continues until the sun shines into the eastern side of the house bringing light to a new day and then throwing off the chains of delusion and then grows tired having to face another day without knowing what will come later on. 

She tries to walk on egg shells to avoid his anger and I notice how she wears the expression of a lonely person.

I remain silent as my voice would not be heard anyway, I remain outside looking in, unable to intervene in the constant verbal chess he plays against the slow fade to black…..

He is restless and unable to remain still and he blames everyone but himself and his need for control, the clock ticks on the wall, the windows catch the fading sun in the hall, on the hour, the sound of chimes, reminding and marking the passage of time.

In his room he pulls the shade to block my view and then sits and stares at walls of blue.

My mind is tired, heavy and worn, those curtains are pulled down and drawn, there is nothing left to see…..

3. The Black Chair 

At my father’s house there is a black chair in an upstairs room, a reclining chair of handsome black leather with brass nails holding the upostelry in place.

From the chair he tells stories that he now struggles to remember (names, places, details) 

It is the centerpiece of the room and catches all eyes that enter especially when he sits and reads his paper, it would be a fitting memorial to sculpt him sitting in that chair but he would have to be placed in a younger, better time before his mind started to go.

Back when his wit and wisdom were sharp as a razor and he could hold his audience in the palm of his hand, instead of the cane he now carries to lean on and to carry his shifted weight up and down the stairs.

Since he is so restless and is up and down so many times a day and he always makes his way back to that black chair.

His throne, spirit having flown, mind becoming barren all the while pretending he has the qualities of a claren.

His throne in black, under the weight of his time becoming ready to crack.

Someday that black chair will be empty. 
Gracing some other room in another house the black chair of the once great cognoscente. 

4. Old Man 

You and I are one and the same.

Everything of me is of you.

Similar beyond mere name.

Old man, everything I know and practice is from the book you wrote.

All the negative and all the positive wired into me beyond simple DNA.

I wear your words like a heavy, old, winter coat.

I see and interpret your actions and now I stand by as we split into factions.

I have watched as you bully.

Never understanding your motivation fully.

I have watched as you lash out at my mild angelic mother and then belittle myself and my brothers.

Old man you have reaped and you have sown and I have watched and grown. 

Old man the sun is setting, the end is coming I am betting.

I can’t say that my gaze is never done in admiration, it is now and again.

But I can say that around the corners of my mouth and in my eyes there is resentment.

Greetings from a barren place, where nothing ever grows, and as the night builds in the old man sits staring into space.

5. Mother

My mother is the kindest woman I have ever known, angelic nature, God given, gentle spirit.

She has endured it all, even kindness and mercy unshown.

My mother sits lonely in her house.

Her children have moved away, encouraged to by their father, sometimes returning.

Homestead company except that of her deteriorating spouse.

She is smart and lonely, graceful and elegant.

She takes his moods and his bullying rants, rageful face betraying her nature by interacting roughly, he is arrogant.

The last is gone away from here and he knows best or so he says, father knows best, mother should defer, so she does and still she stays. 

One hundred days have gone.

One hundred more to come. 

One more day to many.

One more is not enough. 


You have not gone unnoticed.


You have not lost your lustre.

Figure enshrined in grave, living under strife wearing a laurel of elegance…

Figure of patience.

6. I know better

Why do you question me so boldly?

I am coherent and stable, nothing about me is feeble.

Then you sit and ask me why I stare at you so coldly?

Why did you leave me in an unfamiliar place? 

It was unnecessary to the extreme and besides I already told you, I know better!

So please take a long, deep look at the determination on my face!

I know better than all of you and I have no need for your constant streams of advice.

I know what is true, I know better than all of you.

There is no need for a dictor, my knowledge will suffice!

I don’t recall any of the things you allude to.

I don’t recall any of the things you say that I have count to.

I don’t require any evaluation.

I will use manipulation! 

I remember perfectly well everything that you can’t see.

My younger brother has come back to see me so I need to get ready for the visit.

When he comes as will visit, he and me.

I can find my way around this house, I choose to wander and he unsteady, I know better, can I have the keys to the car?

I want to go and buy you a new blouse! 

See how he wanders and stares? 

He wanders around, speaking out loud and thinks no one can hear him.

He has lost his way and still he says he knows better.

All of this is his business and he can’t imagine why anyone cares!

Pictures become turned around backwards in a broken frame.

Posted and hanging on the edge of your soul, cracked glass front.

Everything always the same.

7. Greetings from a Barren Place

How do I know?

I got left behind.

I have already day looked and he is gone. 

There is nothing left to show!

He sent his greetings from some barren place.

He asked me to look but I did not dare.

Being here was hard enough with all those feelings competing! 

Greetings from a barren place, there is nothing left of him, not a trace.

Greetings from a barren place, such a blank stare on his face.

No longer a boy, I catch my face in reflection .

No need to speak there is no one to listen.

It remains, a shiny, sinister toy.

Now the angle of light has shifted and the days are coming to an end, he stares and wonders who is looking back? The past and it’s hold on him has lifted.

The mirror does not lie!

Captured images of yesterday, up and down the stairs mirror at the top, the pictures perfect spy.
T.S. Deary

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