snapdragons

snapdragons in my dreams are rare
there’s a shadow following me around
my size 8 foot is split in half
and i don’t know when the last time i wore shoes was
you’d be surprised to know
i used to be a marine standing tall
upholding our liberty
i had children and a wife
and snapdragons in Gloria’s garden
where she’d watch our kids
splash in the little pool with Nemo
fish painted on it
black dragons are aplenty
in these sordid streets at night
in the alleys mostly charging at me and Chuck after we smoked a couple rocks his lips bleed from the broken light bulb pipe
the sun still lights i think i’ve seen it clutch the wooden slats between its
solar flares from where i pass out in the mornings
snapdragons are in my dream today
my youngest daughter placed them
at the foot of my grave

reasons

for reasons they dont understand
we must pass we must toil and then die
they dont understand why they rule the way they do just a pure desperation
for reasons they dont understand
they too suffer maybe more than us
we are challenged we devise the fighting strategy we battle and we win or die
but for reasons they dont understand
their fight never ends and they take our children again through the mortal coil sausage machine
for reasons they dont understand
they suffer indefinitely
we suffer into a second skin
and life moves
we hang on
then reasons no longer matter

the yellowing cranes

the riverbed is cool the cranes have a yellowish belly but are beautiful nevertheless there are bleached soda cans but the logos hang strong against the California sun i sit by the reeds and watch the Chinese couple dig in the mud for long lost jewels they explain the husband is originally from Kansas she says i watch on until pitch black leathery little birds with mean diamond tinged eyes and beaks yellow like egg yolks begin to crowd around catching tadpoles one stands on a mossy Takis bag on the trail bicycles travel north to south and vice versa i only see helmets from my shivering reeds somewhere by the train yard an old trash truck backfires and the mean little black birds lift up into the sky like a flamenco dancer’s skirt my eyes pause at the rim of Dodger stadium and out of nowhere my mind drags me to the summers eating sticky juicy watermelon slices with my sister as the grown ups drank howled and listened to the game on an old radio from their army days and now i wonder if they died knowing that some day i would be leisurely sitting by these LA River reeds sipping fancy tea watching treasure hunters and fancy bicycle helmets wiz by and are the yellowing cranes the souls of our lost boys from the Hanoi Hilton

when the singer dies

the laughter in between the rays of the sun was missing i only noticed three days back when no eyes had shown glimmer or soul all were downcast and on the path cutting through the park the brown quilted fuzz on the cattails had fallen off and the wind and bird beaks carried it off to pollinate and line the nests for spring but the gravel under my low top white converse didn’t sass back with the crunchy feisty sound spurting from each tired step today was the today i had been counting back thousands of todays to my early youth of pink cheeked days by the legs of soldiers brothers wounded in battle combating through life while my post toddler mind wondered why the choir lead was laying down asleep in the blue and silver box as his wife and daughters cried over the flag blanketing him and while my shadow creeps under the shade of the upcoming crabapple trees i came to know this is what happens when the singer dies

when i was

mbrazfield (c) 2020

in a room 1942 there i stood walking slow lights aglow in silent agony

across my street i heard the feet of the walkers in the dark

my eyes they’d dart inside and out of those walls that did contain me

on my lips a hunger creeped that caused my throat to scream in silence

and in these halls the books do hold the history of everything

my arms they mourn that he is gone away from the safety of my hold

and in this home i live alone because outside there stands the lie that is the bane of my existence