The shrill whistle of the wind
at brick, mortar, and panes
rattling through the air like a Katrina hurricane.
Between the lightening sirens
screams of discontent
thoughts on other storm fronts
erupted like dam breaks
flooding my mind
with thoughts I had hidden away
to my God
I could grab each one
by the throat
and throw them all off
the highest ground
could finally rest
The eerie silence of the fourteen year old
military prep student who couldn’t speak for days.
Pillows, sheets and bedding bloodied
and face fractured spoke for her.
A father’s revenge would be swift
if she had been mine
an act for men everywhere
who had daughters
in places that needn’t be.
His large hands
scarred from general stints in ‘Nam and Iraq
were tied behind his back
so all he could do was hold his daughter
the day she finally let go
and cried openly in his arms
Bobby Womack’s rendition of California Dreamin’
wafting through the hallways round midnight
of my Ivory Tower job
that owned me like a plantation worker
working for peanuts
and my owner’s wealth.
Five years later
I finally stopped performing
a purposeful dance
around my master’s campfire,
a tango of civility,
to those creatures around me.
Not so long ago I was vital
to poor readers and worse writers
who needed someone, anyone,
to guide them into deeper thoughts
than multiple choice and show and tell tap dances
until I was terminated
by popular demand.
Then music stopped entirely
the day she had entered my life.
Hip Hop was her favorite diversion
the scent of her was mine,
the one who promised me
the time of my life
but only left me with the residue of desire
and a revealing text message
of guilt on my cell
that led me to sign away my rights
on another stack of papers
my wife filed three months later
for custody of our seventeen month old.
Hail ping-ponged on the tin roof
and ricocheted off the glass
like paintball pellets
used on civil protestors on campus
who screamed for less war
more tax dollars for the poor.
What had I done?
I ran for cover
cowered behind a set of tall bushes
next to the WWII memorial statue
home of the brave.
Swept up in a tornado
swallowed up like Dorothy and Toto in Kansas
my Jack Daniels bottle tipped over
onto the mattress, rolled over and over again
as I gazed at the blown-in window
while twenty foot elms flew around the yard.
Ol’ Blue Eyes played softly on YouTube
as I looked into her baby browns
framed like an angel
in my bleeding hands
the ones who would never hold
or sing her to sleep
Before I heard
the click of the hammer
after I pulled the trigger
I prayed my little one
would never hear about
my final act
until she was old enough
or found a calm in her life
that I never could.