This piece was inspired by a Wonderful Poetess that I have the Honor to know and the Privilege to read. Her work… “to be a poet”… was the lightning strike that started this wildfire. I want to thank her for that!
“Break your heart, hold it in your hands and watch the blood drip down”
– Christina Strigas
to be a poet
The Old Poet leans a canvas against the wall. Gingerly he places his own heart upon the edge of it and steps back, sitting to watch as his life’s blood slowly begins to trickle down the pristine surface. Rivulets of blood move and meander as they travel down to the floor. His eyes watch as they do…and he follows them one by one…reflecting on their significance…
He points to a tiny drop as it trickles quickly in front of the flow… My first true crush, at the tender age of 8. She sat in front of me in class. Her hair was the deepest red I ever saw. It was like, Red-Velvet cake batter…almost Maroon. He sighs….She never knew I existed, but young hearts try anyway. And I did. Just about every day.
His eyes drift to another streak, rippling like water...”Fishing..with Dad..when I was younger. While we were out there, nothing could touch the pure emotion of being free from Land…and Life…even at a young age I knew that a bad day fishing was infinitely better than a good day…anywhere else.”
A slower trickle, bright red and strong……”Uncle Nathan.” as he says the name his head is filled with the smells of the woods…gunpowder and the sound of scraping-ruffle of nylon pouches and clothes...”Hunting..the outdoors…being near nature. A boyhood wonderland.”
One droplet swells bigger for a moment, then moves along its track. he points and smiles…. “I stood up to Ted Torres…at PE. He lead the pack that tormented me for no other reason than I was smaller than the rest. That punch, when it connected with his cheek, hurt so badly..and felt so good at the same time.”
A deep red droplet halts….and seems to wait for the others to catch up before moving again….”Granny…I still love her cornbread dressing at Christmas. Always safe at Her house. Quiet nights listening to train horns off in the distance and the ticking of the coo-coo clock in the living room.”
A larger drop near the last, halts and slowly begins to sink into the canvas…..”Grandpa. Watching him slowly wasting….never recovering from surgery….My Mom’s Dad. Strong man…Was at Normandy. Volunteered when he was 17 and forged his Mothers name on the papers. Mechanic for the family. Kept my old piece of junk running.”
A drop trickles so much like a tear..that one is called up in his eye…..”The night I rode with my Dad to the Hospital when his Dad died. Cried like a baby not from sadness, but because I knew a heavy weight was lifted off my Dad’s shoulders. One that would have crushed him eventually.”
A rivulet in the shape of a heart….ebbs and flows…. “The first time I fell in Love. A soul burning, real and painful feeling. Needing to be with someone so badly you would sacrifice anything to be with them. My older age and Her younger heart clashed. I damaged Her by trying to make her into something I wanted. I hope she forgave me. I had no idea what I was doing…”
A dark crimson drop stops falling and begins to slowly fade away….. Nodding he remembers. “When I lost, John. Never just a friend, a Brother by all definitions. He was lonely..so much that he couldn’t bare the burden of life any longer. He drives me to be a better person to those who are in pain.”
A myriad of small droplets shimmer down in a cascading curtain…His dark eyes close for a moment and reopen slowly…. “Times I gave away parts of me to people who did not love me. I gave all of myself, including my affection. My idea of Sex was that it was a product of Love. Naive, yes. It was painful to find that not everyone feels that way…and the older I got the more I began to see that very few do.”
A large rivulet moves along as two small drops race to keep up..the smaller drops merge and reemerge from the larger flow from time to time….He smiles and points…”My Wife and My Two Children. They are the center of my life. Every day I get out of bed is for them. They keep me alive while this world tries to kill me.”
A massive red pool, darker than anything around it flows down…spinning in a counterclockwise motion…creating a vortex….it steals smaller drops from around it…adding to its bulk….. “Katrina” the great cataclysm of My time…..She stole everything from so many of us. Lives, friendships, homes…..any physical evidence of my Childhood was destroyed when She sunk New Orleans into the mud. That storm, is forever a part of my blood. And I will never be the same.”
A droplet dribbles down behind the storm….trailing a small wisp of smoke….. “My Writing….My words that I can bend and twist into shields or weapons, or beautiful flowers. It burns hot and bright..right in the center of my heart. It keeps me warm when everything else on this planet is ice.”
With a heavy sigh, he stands…moves forward and takes his heart in both hands. The flow of blood ceases and he moves back to look at the work upon the canvas.
“All these things. The good and the bad. The horrifying and terrible. The wondrous and beautiful. Vast pain..immense pleasure. All the times I could and I didn’t…..all the times I couldn’t and I did. Every whispered prayer, every shouted oath…every secret plea for the universe to stay my execution. My Hatred of Heights….My Love of the Ocean. My failures, My faults, My Heroic intentions, My Cowardice . Every mistake….every victory. Every hand I have touched….Every Heart I have cherished. Every Immortal moment in my time in this existence…Are there…”
He points to the collected crimson pool on the floor, showing his reflection….
“….in that person. And He is a Poet.”
Please Visit Christina at https://christinastrigas.wordpress.com/