Sunday, April 30, 2017

Remembering to Hope

By Kelley Lindberg

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Being a member of the “sandwich generation” isn’t necessarily all bad, but it certainly isn’t all good, and it does squeeze time into configurations Einstein would have marveled at. But I’m back. So let’s do this.
To restart this blog, let’s think about hope. Last weekend, I was at the Las Vegas Writers Conference, where I got to see Donald Maass give a keynote address about hope. That’s right, hope. In a time when the world feels like it’s falling apart, this remarkable man reminded us that even when things are dark, pinpricks of light shine through, and they grow brighter the more we focus on them.
In honor of Mr. Maass’s theme, and to mark the first 100 days of a peculiar time in America’s history, and to celebrate the last day of National Poetry Month, I hereby offer a poem I wrote on Inauguration Day, back in January. Thanks for rejoining me in this writing community.
The Disruption We Didn’t Want
January 20, 2017
By Kelley J. P. Lindberg

Years of leaves, scatter-spun yellow
orange gold red purple brown,
no longer drift. They lie,
layering intentions and spiderwebbed ribs
of rotting sunshine
over last year’s stymied green shoots.
And the year before’s.
And the year before’s.
New life pushes up through soil made fertile
with spent potential,
then folds in upon itself, curling under
the weight of futility. Layers and layers of
"This is how it is done."
Inevitable pattern, expected cycle,
the known devil.
Winds of change breathe
against the leaves, tipping edges to the air,
almost like anger
or hope,
but evaporation is the salve
that persuades the leaves to lie back,
heavy again with inertia,
lighter with nowhere to go.
Rustles fade, colors of decay—yellow
orange gold red purple brown—
muddied together, dark and pointless,
await the new year’s failed layers,
falling like promises.

Comes a fire.
In an hour, a day,
a blink,
The leaves are gone.
Branches are gone.
Naked trunks tilt or fall, landing
on char and dust.
Half imagined, fully feared, absolutely regretted.
Nostalgia is immediate.
And distorted.
Layers that stifled are eulogized.
Colors that bled into dirt, unsung,
paint memories of rent clothing, and keening
starts for winds that had decades to blow
but never did enough.
A single flash of destruction,
and the damage stretches, irreparable, for a century.
But in the old soil and unbearable heat, new seeds crack
open. Fiddle-head ferns coil out
from knotted existence and a half-century of dead layers
are not there to keep them from tasting the air.
Ashes drift, gray black white brown, pretending at
becoming a layer.
But sunlight warms the space
where once lived decay.
And ash dissolves faster than dead leaves,
disappearing quickly, like a bad taste,
fertilizing the soil in spite of itself.
We did not want this destruction.
The forest is forever changed.
And yet.
And yet.
Green shoots make moon shots,
And we grow.