Comes The Night

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Darkness, you bring  rich deepness
tantalizing mystery
blessing and fear
stealing blankets of warmth
from our comfortable resting place.
You show us stars, planets and galaxies not visible
when you withdraw.

You clothe our world in a blanket of cold,
a womb sheltering  seeds of dramatic sunrise.
You are our Mother as much as Earth.

When light appears over the curvature
bathing our faces with tender regard
you take only partial leave,
lingering in shadows and making a home
under our own hats,
hiding in our marrow
a kernel of corn in a field
awaiting the sun
to stir its birth.

You bring us dreams –
relief from ordinary life,
an existence outside of sometimes banal days.

I would not give you up
nor ask you to stop returning,
for you help me see the substance
gleaming daylight often hides
behind her skirts.
Truth hidden by the bright light of the sun.

©Photo and poem by caf

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Even in Winter

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The Orchid

Even in winter
when fields sleep
awaiting spring
and arrival of simple seed

Even in winter
when cattle stand
chewing their hay
awaiting the fresh grass of spring

Even in winter
when rooms shrink
and knotted energy
awaits returning warmth

The orchid uses the quiet
to flower
her beauty assumed
even in winter.

©photo and poem by carole fults

Children of Aleppo, Children of Flint

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Children of Aleppo
bulls eye on a target
schools, playgrounds, homes
cold weather, no food
flying barrel bombs
evacuation
cluster bombs
lucky ones stand
on top of rubble
the unlucky …… well
politicians shake their heads
it’s complicated
negotiators stall
no simple solutions
mass homicide is mundane.

Children of Flint
waifs playing in potholed streets
fresh water from taps a memory
bathing can be corrosive
drive by shootings
burnt out homes
murders everywhere
every day
politicians shake their heads
it’s complicated
investigators report
no simple solutions
poisoning a prosaic possibility.

These are plain facts.
What more is there to say?
Children of Aleppo
Children of Flint.

 

©photo and poem by caf

Crossing the Street

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 At 89 she still wears high heels
with skinny straps and rhinestones,
she clicks right along in them
while holding onto my arm for balance.

I’m gonna wear high heels and big earrings
until I die, she declares.

Noticing the oncoming traffic she asks
if I’ll help her write her obituary.
I know she sees her future and it hurts me,
but I agree, knowing that even when
the final road is crossed
things will not be finished between us,
for love doesn’t understand
red lights, stop signs, or death.

©photo and poem by carole fults

Sign of Hope

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The Sign

a star appeared.
glowing evidence of love
brilliant radiance
from eons ago,
though nothing indicated
I was worthy.

a hope appeared.
dazzlement of mercy
gleaming possibility
dispelling the dark night sky
though nothing indicated
I deserved such generosity.

I spoke my dreams
hoping you would hear
and when you did
my hope became faith

©poem and photo by carole fults

The Pumpkins

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The Great Pumpkins

I think of you now
the farmer and the gardener
working in a field
heavily laden with bright orange melons,
loading them on wagons one by one
backs bending
many hands
careful not to break the stems.

I heard the gardener say to no one in particular
Peter, Peter Pumpkin eater
had a wife and couldn’t keep her

She cleaned off a small pumpkin and continued
put her in a pumpkin shell
and there he kept her very well

Hundreds of people came to see
what you had grown
arranged small, medium, large
the farmer stood among the magical gourds
chatting and smiling
while the gardener helped children pick just the right one,
I watched – so proud to be there –
knowing everything in the world was good.

© photo and poem by caf

The Visit

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                              The Visit

I imagine you to have perfect vision
that sees dirt in the grout,
on the floor,
cobwebs in corners,
spider web in the lampshade,
dust balls under sofas,
the disorderly garage,
cluttered studio.

I clean all day
yet intractable unacceptability
bends to no cleanser
no duster
no mop.

Finally I stop and sit
looking at my home.

I see no matter what I’ve cleaned, polished,
dusted or waxed
I’m here in the midst
of still more flaws,
my eyes eager to see you
voice ready to greet you
heart anxious to love you
arms impatient to hug you.

When you arrive in your road grimed car
I see lunch on your shirt,
nubby sweater,
lipstick smeared,
smiles stretched large around aging teeth,
saggy arms spread wide as you can get them,
and we laugh and say
how happy we are to be together

and how perfect it all is.

© photo and poem by caf

Saturday in Flint, 1963

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Saturday in Flint 1963

Saturday mornings
after we cleaned house,
washed clothes,
scrubbed the car,
mowed the grass,
watched Mr. Magic and The Three Stooges,
we would go to the bread factory (was it Tastee Bread?)
for a loaf of fresh baked bread
hot off the line
wrapped in a clear cellophane wrapper
made cloudy by the steaming of the loaf,
a twist tie around the opening.

If we got to the factory
at just the right time
we would get a loaf for free.
Otherwise it was 25 cents.

The thing smelled so good
we hardly got it home
without tasting it.

So soft it tore
when you pulled it from the wrapper,
so moist it was hard to cut
and stuck to our teeth when we chewed.

The bread factory is gone now
as is the half of Bennett Ave that ran into the river,
replaced by an expressway (I-475?)
bridging deserted neighborhoods
to the canyon where DuPont Paint and Buick once breathed
the fumes of industry and financial security
into Flint air.

This morning
I opened a loaf of fresh bread
And OH!!! JOY AND WONDEROUS BLISS!!!
My mouth remembered
Saturday mornings on Bennet Ave in Flint.

© photo and poem by carole fults

Joy and Suffering

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                                             Joy and Suffering
In the afternoon butterflies gather on purple flowers for a meal.
Do they ponder death and the suffering of torn wings?
Maybe sometime they will know of painful things,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only of the blissful sucking of nectar
from warm blossoms.

There are scores of tiny frogs joyfully jumping through the grass.
Do they understand about getting chopped up in a lawn mower or
stepped on by clumsy feet?
Maybe sometime they will know about cut off limbs and ensuing death,
but not in this moment.
Right now they know only the delight of sunshine, the wetness of leaves
and the safety of rocks.

The old woman sits among the flowers where her son’s ashes are strewn.
Does she think of death as she sits, back broken and bent?
Maybe sometimes she considers her mortality,
but not in this moment.
Right now she savors the fragrance and colors of the blooms, the whistling finches,
the softness of the afternoon sun and says she feels like Eve in Paradise.

Breezes blow, cease, and blow again.
Rivers flow, tides move in and out.
Coming and going, movement and stillness, breathing in and out, birth and death,
each is marked by a pause, a moment when the motion turns.
Maybe sometime I will consider all this,
but not in this moment.
Right now I am enjoying the clouds that partially cover the sun
and the unspoken love caressing my heart.

©photo and poem by caf

 

Flint, Michigan

flint house 2The Poisoning of a City

The streets are lined with burnt out houses.
I found your old place looking as
vacant eyed as a crazy person’s mind.

(We are black, we are poor.
We are white,we are poor.)

Death – immediate and still forthcoming,
lives shattered
children living in despair ….
their relief ? … poison from a tap.

(We are black, we are poor.
We are white, we are poor.)

Chaos and violence rule the streets,
anarchy is master
and hopelessness grows
in the city that has never been loved.

© Photo and poem Carole Fults