Winter 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Three Poems
   John Kryder

Loon Autumn

When I saw you swimming
through the slate blue water,
your white breast breaking
a northeast October wind,
you silenced my ears
and held my eyes
from wandering among leaves
the flurries blew further
into their red and orange deaths.
Your wave play stunned me:

diving shallow then long deep,
smashing chill surface chops
into calm swirls swelling
with your plummage preened,
mad perhaps with gray molting,
flopping and sprawling
like a clown after he juggles
and dances his dreams,
careening into another
abortive flight Ė flapping
your wings hard but dragging
your feet and tail, spraying
yourself like a barefoot skier;
lost then from my sight
into a plunge as sleek swift
and soundless as the otter's,
holding me, holding me
as I wait for your return
which, like your appearance,
freezes me still in awe
of you in autumn air,
turns me, turns me
from my inner grasping
for the green summer past
to an inner going out to play
in cold October winds before
winter deaths descend again.

Open Flight

How quickly we slip into an easy confidence
with the unknown he or she we never see
except that one hour or long trip to the where

we will again not go at least in that precise mind,
in that talk intimate almost as loversí chat,
in that pulse of voice we pump with friends

or therapists and neighbors, talk about who
we love and how, our dreams in crucible,
our living dead, our wrongs made right,

the jaegers that daunt us, talk that soars
as golden eagles above the dingy din
of fast food noise in its rarely common flight,

elemental talk of new fruit hanging on the tree
of happiness, talk of housesí square footage
and all the habiliments we therein wear, talk

in that muscled tone so steely able, turning
and tensing calmly into talk of our turbulence
over, our turbulence to come, of the wild rapture

of our heartsí wings over slums and malls
of feeling, talk that wafts over the skin of air
as landing gear unfolds before the swift descent

into silence out of which that high and fabled
speech ascends, the two of us moving to a kind
and shared destination we never imagined

and to which we never can return, our goodbyes
hastened yet sweet in that by and by we say is time
but know we never really can define or grasp.

Eric Clapton and My Father Play It

Whether you sit near the stage or not,
while you listen and sing along
or wander in the brain of his making,
you see his foot steadily in its New Balance shoe

keep time, keep rhythm precise: Layla is
the river of tears is blue eyes blue
and the foot like forever man the foot moves,
moves a gesture of wholeness, a sign of the vibes

and his sound voice through loss running on faith.
Faith. He picks the strings, picks the blues
and the perfume of heartache wafts and in
the spray from the lily electric the chords

lift up, play the feeling, the strings of faith. Play.
Faith like the foot keeps time, keeps rhythm precise
whether sounds acoustic or words from a pulpit
ring around the hall as they ring within the ears

of our ears, as I see too in the weight my father
lifts up in bench press work his foot steadily
in its New Balance shoe pace the push out
and the breath in to push again and again breathe in

as I have heard his songs at funerals and weddings
bring Love closer than the high the arresting pain
of cocaine, as close as tears are tears in heaven. Play
faith. Find faith within, push the barbell up. Where

hangs the weight the blues upon the heart let play
spangles of the morning strings, the feeling electric.
One gesture in the leg of their goings and two
tuneful men upon the same stage of our waking,

keen as we can see a friend in anotherís eyebrow raised,
in lips pursed in slanted light, in a shock of hair
or the outstretched hands. Pick the strings of faith.
Shine the feeling electric, one gesture like two feet
keeping time, keeping rhythm in the faith of being.

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