Oct 182014
 
The rain's continuous throbbing pours
roaring as a cataract.  Inchling Spring
is edging towards its green strength again
and my thoughts turn to roots--To you,
brother, I turn my slow thoughts, plough-
like--to the soil where my brothers and I
were sown to growth beneath a beating sun.

Long before angry time had made us men
and carved hard marks in cheek and character,
we'd discovered an old abandoned well
that held hidden light below a wounded
wooden lid wreathed in leaves gone black 
with mold and oldness.  How strange
the intense interest each ragged crack contained,
lightning-shaped shadows just open enough
to let dropped rocks knock echoes
up to our ears!   How strong the burning noon 
allowed slim glimmers of the sharded sky 
to reflect into our nook-invading eyes.  
Wild as fox kits, we'd swat afternoons away
with races through the castle-high trees 
of Dad's estate, crying 'cuckoo, cuckoo'
back at birds we'd startled from their naps--
coming round again at eve's cooing onset
to the well that had not left our thoughts
alone for an instant.  Down the deep well 
we boldly brayed our loud-sounding secrets, 
our canvas dungarees kneed a filthy khaki
with the daylong play of dirt.  What each said
was wrung lowing into a deeper register 
than either knew or recognized--it was as if
our future voices resounded brownly back
in the brawny familiarity of manhood 
from the receiving deep of that black well.
How cool we thought it all was back then,
our piping voices booming back like bulls.
Sworn secrets and youngsters' oaths
we hallooed a hundred times into the dark
before the dinner bell of an inverted bowl
and wooden spoon orange with squash stuff
rang us back to Mom's steaming table.
What oaths, and what secrets we dropped 
into the welling earth, let our lives 
and thrivings show, fruit of buried truths.

Outside, the storm is still coming on, a bleak
conveyer belt of darkness on the news
stretching back half a dozen states.
My regrets, too, go far into our past,
shadowing the many memories of life
that trained our vines to twine as close as twins--
two brothers blessed, and best of brothers too
for a time when time was young.
What has made us break with what we were,
untwine what sun and childhood had braided?
Is not this night, spent undreaming and alone,
contiguous with the ten thousand darks
that have marched in line before tonight?
The sound outside is like a wall, a thick 
wet against the walls of my condo-abode.
Yet there is a silence in the flailing rain,
as if too much sound must cancel sound,
and repetition wash drummed distinctions
to silence in the night.  So, too--too full
of memories I write, and all that's past
transforms from stories lived and told, to one
reminding tone of feeling sounding over all.

I listen down the well of years, and hear
how time has brought us onward and light-
ward, through a void we did not understand--
bands of doppler effect expanding blandly
into the numb enamelling of now.
Outside, a ripple of hitting wind unveils
how the universal rain, invisible, still
keeps ringing down in loud-dim chains,
links of the unknown mating then and now.

These days we nod or share a cordial laugh
at politics, renew some well-chewed gristle
of family gossip--secrets no one but us
still keeps or cares to hear about.  Despite
the change of costume that flesh and accident
have rendered to body and embodiment,
I see us crowded round that boyhood well even now.
I see us crowded round that boyhood well even now.
You at a steep fantastic angle as you lean
aged but dapper on the silver orthopedic cane 
a reckless SUV leapt a Jersey barrier like a salmon
to deliver to the shady eddy of a hospital bed,
your body pooled crooked as a questionmark.
Me, thick-waisted with grim reading
at my remote IT management screen, thickening
eyeglasses aiding my old-man myopia;  me,
thick-tongued despite my serial confessions
of pen and of poetry nimbly repeating:
"me!"   Soundless I hold you, folded
round by arms as I take my Easter leave
of thee and Holly-- a half-dozen empty, 
river-green Heinekens gracing the lace placemats.
We two old brothers wait a beat, 
twined deep in the years steeped 
between us, our now silent vows 
echoing well in hidden hearts.


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