Aug/Sep 1998 Poetry

Four Poems

by Timothy Hodor

Backbones in the Sand

Two Ethiopians tried
To hold themselves
On a spike of sand:
A baby boy attached himself
To the shoulders of his mother
As if he were a flame
And she, a candle.
Life flickered in his face
Until a gust of death blew it out.
The candle toppled.
Vultures leave behind
The wick of a human being.


Purple Hearts

Waves of war
Flow away from humanity
And leave their waste
On spoiled shores:
The wounded soldiers are there-
Sprawled out over the sand.
The healers come: the doctors,
Time, and awards;
But they can never
Stop the bleeding.
Beauty that has been
Blemished by blood
Runs far deeper
In the flesh
Than medicine, decades,
Or medals on a maimed man.


Autobiographical Pinball

I was shot into space
So high that my coiled body
Had to leave its fetal position.
I tumbled downward,
Bouncing off clouds of childhood.
I landed softly,
Then ended my own youth
By projecting myself
Back out into what I thought
Would be the same world.
But the surface of the sky had changed.
Time had tilted itself:
The Woodstock generation had weathered.
I saw how the rust had formed
On the dreams and peace signs
Of people I knew and still know.
I couldn't let my outlook get oxidized.
I found a different, mental playground
Where my mind teeter-tottered
Between now and then.
I managed to put a fulcrum of Utopian hope
Under my future seesaw,
And tried to live a meaningful life,
While knowing at all times
That I was destined to be
An anachronistic man:
A person taken out of his own time-
A man removed from his right reality.


A Departure from Solidity

Railroad tracks were different
When I was young.
I used to like
To balance myself on them.
When I couldn't do that,
I stood back and watched
The trains go by.
I never knew where they were going.
Today I find that I know
Too much about destinations
All the things
Pointing towards the future
Seem to have an end,
And the infinity
I thought I once played on
Was a childhood
I had to walk away from.
I remember now
The time I had to leave
The iron tightrope behind.


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