Tim Vrtiska CC
A Broken World II
For Jackie & Jim
I would think the world less broken
if my friend wasn't rage-dying in Manchester –
parts failing like an old car crossing that threshold
of being too expensive to repair.
For her, there are no replacements coming,
no trips down to Doctor Frank's used body parts
for a spare leg, a more functional kidney or
blood that isn't spending time as a double agent.
It pleases me that she's currently spitting fire.
Every month or so someone gets hauled
to the marble orchard,
and if it isn't you,
the world starts to seem
like it's disappearing around the edges,
and you're running out of places to hide.
A walk on the beach is foreign territory
where you speak familiar names into the wind,
and the gulls, as if out of respect,
withhold their plaintive calls,
leaving you to parse that vacant silence,
and consider the refusal of the world
to offer up an echo.
Angry at the Sky
for Jeff Sampson
Because death takes the good
for no good reason.
Because bone cancer eats children.
Because no one has ever been cured by prayer,
but many have died waiting.
Because if there were a god
and that god
and honest about it,
death would be the sweet final rest
the books go on about,
not the scraping pain of a head-on collision
or throwing a clot after successful surgery,
or withering away because you made love
to another human being
or ministered to their need for medical care.
There are too many suicide notes,
too much suicide silence,
too many park bench expirations
on a frigid Sunday morning
before eight AM mass
at the first church of the collection plate
and the padlocked door.
But this doesn't speak
to the endless varieties of demise
that bear down on us like a comet
on a dinosaur.
We are helpless in the face
of existence and non-existence,
and it always seems to be the gentle ones,
the artists, the teachers, the peacemakers
who leave us wanting more.
Yeah, Jeff, I am angry that you died.
J. Barrett Wolf has been writing for over forty years. He has received numerous awards, including First Place from the Performance Poets Association of Nassau County and a Broome County Arts Council grant to produce the reading series “Here & There: Poets from Near and Far”, He's been published in Black Bear Review, Portland Review of the Arts, Long Island Sounds, Rubber Side Down, PPA Literary Review, Writing Outside the Lines, Passing and was on the Connecticut Touring Poetry Roster. His first volume, “Stark Raving Calm” was published by Boone's Dock Press. He travels to Scotland annually to confab with poets on Arran Island. He lives in Binghamton, NY, where he hosts the monthly Bundy Museum open mike, and voices “A Time For Words,” poetry interview show on WBDY-FM 99.5 in Binghamton. He also holds the Bronze Medal of Valor from the San Francisco Police Department.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.