Scatter the Seed and Go on with Your Life; I Mean it

A Tree to Watch Over Them

Plant a tree for me, said someone I know—
as we know people these days.
The notion caught my attention.
What a lovely thought, I said to
the space in my mind that receives
and holds onto all the words
created by the space in my mind
that tries to tells it things.
Oaks and pines, birches and aspens,
crabapples and cherries, spruces and maples.
Ah, maples.
Make mine a maple,
with beautiful leaves
and big, brawny branches
to hold a child or two
when a child (or two)
needs a place of her own—
a place where one space
in her mind
can make words
for another space
in her mind.
But don’t plant a sugar maple for me.
The thought of syrup and synapses
that no longer fire is a sticky mess
in my mind.
Did I mention death?
The person that I know
(as we know people these days)
mentioned death.
Sort of.
He never actually used the word.
Instead, he chose a nice, soft
euphemistic phrase meant
to replace the mean, hard, forthright word.
When I’m gone is how he chose
to phrase it. He could have said,
After I pass.
My sister never says Died.
Instead, she uses Passed,
as in How long has it been
since your mother passed?
and she says it in that soft,
lilting, apologetic voice
that sometimes drives me crazy.
But the crazy is my doing,
not hers.
We get through this life
and on to another in
whatever way seems best
at the time.
She doesn’t practice saying
How long has it been
since your mother passed?
in a mirror hung on a bathroom wall.
She doesn’t compare those words
to more graphic ones like
When did she kick off? Or
So, she’s pushing up daisies now? Or
When did she die?
I don’t think that she even
passes the phrases from
one spot in her brain
to another.
She simply lives her life,
feels her emotions,
and says what seems
appropriate at the time.
Speaking of appropriate,
I guess now is the time
to tell you that I don’t want
you to plant a tree for me.
If I can take a moment to
choose my words carefully,
I’ll tell you in this way:
There is no need to plant a tree for me.
Wildflowers will do.
Then you won’t have to think about me
all the time, only in season,
and you won’t have to worry about
weeds and watering,
pruning and paring.
After all, I wouldn’t want to
have to do the same for you.
It’s not that I don’t love you.
You know that I do.
But the dead are to bury the dead.
Which I guess means that
the living are to go on living.

 

Thank you, Peter Notehelfer, for getting these notions into my head and these words out into the world.

Logos in Reserve

Word Hoard

My word hoard
continues to grow.
Soon there will be
no room for me.
The stack
is becoming
too big,
too teetering,
too good-for-someday only.
I try to add nothing,
try to take nothing.
I need the silence,
but can’t remember
where I put it.

Proofreader Rejection

Proofreader Rejection

In retrospect, I see the foolishness
of offering to enforce the rules
when I long ago stopped believing in theirs.

How does one cross the T’s, dot the I’s, and fix comma splices
when the world has been written in bad English
and the editor is only concerned with too many questions?

I appreciate boundaries and long to work within them—
unless, of course, they’ve been drawn by a salivating fool
whose speech defect and shaking hand describe just one dimension.

If your main character was created in a college lab
and thinks a kiss will send him to the bottom of the pond,
you’ll need to look elsewhere. Get another long pair of eyes.