Summer – Poem and Painting

When I decided to try painting a few months ago, it was with a vision to somehow create companion images for some of my poems. I’ve posted this poem before, but this time I’ve also included my companion abstract painting. This is my first attempt at painting a poem. 18×24 acrylic on canvas.

Summer

The sea shells scraped the bucket
as we walked slowly from the shore.
The shock of the burning sand

quickened our pace, and we skipped
on tiptoes to escape the pain in our feet.
At some point we turned and ran

back into the ocean where it seems
we have waited hours for the sun
to spill its fire into the surging sea.

after

i once walked
through graves,
tracing names
on tombstones
faded from sight.
i imagined
bones in boxes,
separated from
their souls, left
to wait for some
kind of return –
to ash? to dust?
or is there only
the shedding
of skin so spirits
can finally soar
somewhere
among the stars?

storm

the weight crushes
almost everything
except the dull ache
which swells slowly
to a roaring blast.
it rips the hinges
from the storm cellar,
winds its way deeper
down and finds you
in your darkness
searching for light.

** I have dealt with depression, and there is no shame if you have felt the same. Writing poetry is one way that has helped me navigate those feelings, but I also reached out to family, friends, a good counselor, and yes, medication has been a big help. Please reach out if you feel you are losing hope. Help is there. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

the baseball bat

as a child i can remember him
slipping away from the house
into the shed, then reappearing
with a hand-made baseball bat,

one of the many he crafted long
ago for a forgotten ozark team.
they all shattered or cracked
from wear, and we believed

all were lost. but after he died
we found a bag inside the shed
under years of dirt and dust,
twelve baseball bats remained.

i keep one near my desk, still
smooth with the brand burned
deep in the wood like the many
memories of him upon our minds.