Lyrical Light

The Mother to hurt, she sings old but enchanting melodies; and as I sit listening, her voice, the sounds of lyrical light, spin, illuminating a mystery of webs. To her every thrill, I surrender; to the rise and fall of nuances, I tremble. Where ends the nervous tide rushing the stream? The preponderance of waters slipping over the falls? Only she comprehends sweetness in darkened light, the tenacious tenderness that is her fingertips.

The woman’s ardent simplicity allures me. She is the flower, the stormy skies, the steamy rains. This ageless beauty whose delicate lines characterize her face. A timelessness without void. The degree of everything assuring one thing, one thing-but take care, the illusion of midnight…did you feel it?

Strangely, such simplicity conjures critical thinking; questions better left to higher intelligence. As such, I could father neither psychological nor emotional critiques as to (even) begin conversations of worth. Yet, here, I sit as she bends and shapes me, molds me, reconstructs this dinosaur into something It could never be, something It would never become. She is Mastress to metamorphoses, Mother to the moment, and this moment and as her creation, I am:

RAWDATA

The moments lapse, while next to me you sleep.
Outside, rains feed the starving skies and foliages.
Outcomes, matters of choice or chance? I am better
served by forgetfulness but submit to memories.

Lying here, the terms, like water, flow into my mind.
Oxymorons, palindromes, portmanteau. Willingly,
we don pretentious masks, caring to believe that
without them, we are forgiving, honest, truthful.

Did I ask of you; and did you offer, memory fails me;
for, forever, it seems that loyalty and even support are
not the obligations of crutches. What brand of repulsion
ravishes raindrops; and then makes them cry;
and is it not sad?

Unlike non-negative roots, our radical emotions
negate; degrees of despair whirling wildly, soaring to
fourths, fifths, higher. And then acquiring the nth
degree, we violate critical thinking.

Borne by unknowns, we are rawdata, variables, pieces
adorning Chess Boards; our end games subject to the
Heavens and Hades.

The mirror reconfigures our appearances. Our reflections
regard us deceitfully. Anatomically, and inside the brilliant
womb, we experience metamorphoses, we mutate. Nevertheless,
the bending of our forms fails the bending of our lives.

Healing is relative and time heals, sometimes. Recovery,
distant; discovery: daunting. Like honeybees, sorrowful
tears lure us; they sweeten our lives, they are our lives.

Inside the Cosmos, colloids randomly connect, and
during which, esteemed questions of life arise, choices
are never chances, but and apparently, the answers are
non-sensical.

Shortly, the rains pause and then the clouds illuminate;
Science and the Heavens entice me, I am content and at
ease; and then effortlessly; and, almost as if consciously,
susurrating winds disperse the clouds, exposing lost dreams.

Breathlessly, I cannot help but wonder, which of them are
yours, mine…

…Every one.

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes

Not a Father’s Son

Delbert H. Rhodes

His mind sinking his body hurting the stars stare down at him, his vision dimming. The pounding of his heart seems louder than the sounds of his breathing. As a boy, Tony often visited this beach, and now this would be his last. Out there, the waves swell, as stars swim back and forth in the water.

The dune upon which he lies was his favorite as a child. Snake tracks ever graced its sands and fluffy turf, but the creature was never about. The dune pushed him higher while the sky leaned closer, the clouds brushing his face. The boy loved thinking, the daydreamer he walked inside his thoughts, and the adult, the curious storyteller. No matter its  influences, thinking is passionate, private. Now privacy and thinking have little to offer him, as he openly lives his final moments. Odd: that a man could blindly perish in plain sight. Years ago, his great-great grandmother met with death here.

This man has experienced many things, yet one thing would never be his. You see, at the age of fourteen the boy asked of his father, everything a curiosity. “He stopped coming to see you when you were four years old,” his mother’s eyes looking at yesterday. His aging ears replayed her voice, and now the words swim with his mind. “Strange,” he quietly says, “to live and die without a father’s love. ‘I am not a father’s son.’”

 A chilly night, and the trees hush the winds, crickets blow whistles, as ancestral arms embrace the lost man. Like a loving mother, the night keeps vigil, she watches him. Slowly, the feelings in his legs lessen, and coldness blankets him. “Tony, bring me a wash cloth.” He remembers how seeing his naked mother always embarrassed him. Strange how the mind works, the taste of Bazooka Bubble gum slides around his tongue, a smile seduces his cheeks.

His breathing suffers; he feels trapped. He has no children, he has only death; the connective links of mind and body deteriorating, somehow, the man reaches into his pocket. The carcass of an old reptile lies near him, its body cold and his body cooling. Death is romantically ironic, unwittingly; the viper and the man finally meet. Darkness closes his eyes, and soon, a paper flies away from his hand. During an early morning run, a man finds the body and within a few yards, a paper in the sands:

Father’s Day

 Where is my dad
Oh hear me say
Who do I call
On Father’s Day 

To the skies I look
(And) God sits there
To Him I cry
To me a stare 

Oh, daddy, daddy
Where are you
In a world of colors
My color is blue 

On that last day,
I close my eyes
Fatherless I have lived
My father dies

Copyright © 2007-2014 Delbert H. Rhodes
 
 

Darkness, A Fulfilling Light

By Delbert H. Rhodes

A February morning and the sunlight slowly brightens the skies. I have enjoyed sleep, yet laziness embraces me and I prefer stillness. The day disappears quickly and as much as I desire laziness I relent to responsibilities. Each morning, various instructional texts which include The Bible, a grammar bible, a mathematics edition and a book of poetry shake and sharpen my mind. At some juncture in the day and for the thrill of it, a suspenseful novel adds more twists and turns.

Occasionally, the words in the Bible impress me as worthless entrapment, counsels of which I too could write or might have written. Other times, they summon passionate suffrage even causing tears to well in my eyes. The book is filled with smaller books of taunts and tales boasting lessons for all willing to peruse the pages. The storytellers are adept at portrayals which unearth deep recesses of human thinking, feeling and even rage.

Sometimes religious teachings appall me: causing me to curse the writings; mocking them as I toss the Bible into the trash. Somehow, I retrieve it, continuing the suffrage. Jesus Christ is the Savior for some; however, I do not fully support or revere him. Moreover, I do not ‘fear’ him; and surely, he hears and feels ‘my’ wrath from time to time.

That said, and honestly, there are moments when I invoke Jesus’s name; especially during prayers learned in my childhood. The benefits of prayer are proven, and though I cannot actually account for His presence in my life, during prayer I afford Him the benefit of doubt. No one is perfect and (accordingly) Jesus Christ certainly was not.

Imperfections occur in the whole of humankind, and whether man made or not, it seems that their presences in our world account for positive or negative manifestations. The wonder is whether certain families may be (genetically) responsible for the psychological burdens borne by children early in life. Further, and possibly, prior to fetal development, what if the genetic plan could be altered.

That is to offer, if the organic materials could somehow choose the receiving host. Preposterous? Perhaps, nonetheless, before birth and in this way, the life forms later to become children would have a say in the choice of parents. After all, if we dislike whom we are is it then possible to love whom we are?

Families represent everything we are, and are the first avenues of instruction, the first hands delivering punishments, the originating sources of pride in our lives. Pride is deeply personal and each person hosts and hides his and her viewpoints of family and self. Yes, some of us dare ask questions of whom we are and wonder whether we would change outcomes before birth, if this were possible, if opportunity were ours. Would you?

Some would embrace the miracles, others would stand rigidly steeling their souls, BLASPHEMY! so sayith. “The gates of Hell will receive you.”

Of the heritages born to my family, my Seminole (Creek) ancestry is closest to my heart. I embrace the lifestyles of Native people, I feel more secure and sensible celebrating the natural elements as deities, refusing to permit others to decide how I worship; or the path I follow, force-feeding me with unsolicited versions of doctrine.

I assert a shared path to creation, a cooperative venture to man’s heart and mind. Therefore I pray to the Earth Mother, and to God and the Virgin Mother.

Additionally, I neither fully nor blindly relish Christian teachings but these and others selectively provide plausible insights quickening the pace to informed choices. On the other hand, and with man at its helm, religious towers are lighthouses staring down upon so called darkened waters, the arms of light are fishermen whose nets strip away fish scrambling to what appears as safer waters.

Wealth, Control and Power: the bases of religious zeal. Truth, Honesty, Honor and Integrity are important human traits; these are attainable and teachable without lashes of guilt, or ligatures of lies.

In my opinion, religion and politics share podiums, that is to say, in many ways they appear to be forms of mind bending, agents of dominion and control. The masses are the easiest to fool, simply construct a tale insert fear, and especially regarding women, children, loss of culture and race or finance and then SELL IT.

The wagons quickly circle by the powers of psycho-emotional suffrage; and for them eager to fight, the horizons brightly glow beneath flames of blinded vision.

There is a time to worry and a time to war and these demand undeniable truth; a truth supported by untainted facts, and regarding information presented by the Media, this information must be qualified by question. For, though the topic be religion, politics, money or power, and unless the sources are independent of Puppet Masters, the Media too and accordingly, act out of special interests…

…The soft ticking of my wristwatch offers a pleasantry to the morning. Sitting atop the bed table, the wristwatch cannot know of its powers of influence but the morning senses the effects. Somehow, the ticking provides a pulse for the melodies inside my head; the tempo for an invisible orchestra of which I am the Maestro.

Attentively, I listen to the ticking; the call of its voice is soothing and hypnotic and I fall deeper into its spell. Until last week, realizing that my watch ticks escaped me.-Strange. I have owned it for about one month.

Morning evolves and its shape all things living inside the moment, the day. The dark sky shies sunlight as specs of sunshine lightly brush the clouds. In some places, the clouds appear as creating light. The brilliance emerges from within the puffy masses. In other areas and like fingers of delicate hands, intricate etchings masterfully create the canvas.

The magnitude of the heavens is vast and mysterious. Would we ever understand the worlds living above us, could we truly appreciate them?

The miracle of the day is before me and within it I am but a tiny insignificant being; nature’s plan flourishes without my input. On a day like this and in a place far from here a young woman pregnant with child broke water in her doctor’s office. On a Monday and sometime between 5:15 and 5:30 P.M. I was born, sixty-one years ago. My Mother was a seventeen year old turning eighteen in nineteen days.

Often I think of my childhood, today is no different. I think of the tiny house on Seventh Street and the Catholic school that I would later attend. I think of playing alone, at first, in my yard and later with Louis my neighbor. I think of Blackie my beautiful Black Lab and first friend. Stepping out into the street, I look yards away to Rhodes Ville; owned by Thomas (Papa Tom) Rhodes, my Mother’s paternal grandfather.

I think of the many days I enjoyed playing in the sands outside of Papa’s store. I remember Stanley and his large bulging stomach with its protrusive navel, and the few days before our meeting, when his big brother, Freddie, said, “You can’t beat ‘my’ brother.” Meeting the challenge, I asked for the whereabouts of his brother, and then upon meeting Stanley wrestled his fat belly into the dirt.

I think of the first time someone referred to me as “small” and how terrible it made me feel. Before that moment I never realized that I was tiny as a child. Afterwards, I disliked the woman who tagged me with the moniker. I reflect on the few times White people called me “Black Boy” and the one time that I was indirectly called “Nigger.”

I remember the many times White children sicked their dogs on me as I by passed on my way into town. I am saddened by the (little) boy never wanting to grow (up) and today while reading a passage from the Bible it is written that as we attain more knowledge we accrue more sorrows, I cry for the child.

I recall the few moments of happiness in my life. I feel sadness for my old friend, Stanley who, about four weeks ago, went to walk with his ancestors. His death would occur prior to his sixty-first birthday. Stanley was my nephew’s Father.

A Father is something that I have never had and would never know. Truly, I wonder about the men whom sire children to end abandoning the innocents. I hurt for the mothers; I sorrow for the children. I have no children; and therefore, upon my death would leave only life.

Among my cadre of books is a wonderful poet, Mary Oliver. Her book, “New and Selected Poems,” Volume One is a recent gift. The gift is a treasure. Miss Oliver has a style all her own and her portrayals of the world and life are spectacular. This morning I read a poem about an owl she has observed and how, in the end, this moment delivers to Miss Oliver a rethinking on death.

She (now) views death as (possibly) not a place of darkness but rather a wonderful and fulfilling light, an entity forever holding us within its sweet illumination.

While realizing that characterizations of death are different individually, culturally and throughout the world the imagery painted by Miss Oliver is splendid, indeed. Moreover, and paralleling differences, the human emotions of crying and laughter seem to share similarities.

Whenever we cry or frown, the morose characteristics in unhappiness are distinctly evident. Conversely, the radiance in laughter, smiling and joyousness of one person appears identical in another. Perhaps, and because as people we connect or share similarities during events of sorrow or moments of joy; the fulfilling light shining on Miss Oliver’s view of death is representative by an universal brilliance in life.

Miss Oliver’s poems are wonderfully expressive and per poetic license well written. Her expressions of mornings are serene and my favorites. Her mornings are filled with stillness or movements, and colors and animals, flowers and living and non-living things, her mornings are beautiful. Because I write, I am happy to have access to this great poet. She is inspirational, improving my writings and me.

I am alone on my birthday. I am always alone. My Mother is far away; I have siblings, they too are far away. Most times, I feel that our Mother is the only link connecting my siblings and me. In accordance to this thinking and whenever our Mother walks with her ancestors, metaphorically, I would be totally alone.

The solitary call of a “Coo” bird stills the cold morning. Seemingly, it too is alone; seemingly, it too walks a dark path. Shrouded by the unknown and as do I, somehow, it must find its way.

Copyright (c) 2013 Delbert H. Rhodes

A Mental Mesh: The Question of Thinking and Understanding

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

By Delbert H. Rhodes

Life is a moment forever adapting and adopting, ever witnessing changes to all it embraces. Within this sphere, the human mind offers its hosts endless situations and circumstances, events demanding considerations and results.

Throughout our lives, we experience networks of thinking, but how many (of us) understand the processes involved, the electrochemical chain connecting the illustrious spans to the bridges of the mind. The system is complex and until time ceases, forever, this mental mesh, this matrix would hold us in its hands.

Can we (always) understand every sound every thought every (thing)? The provisions of thinking afford us a sense of the world within which we live. Without thinking and understanding, as humans, we would be lost in aimless not to mention mindless behavior (s). Join me, and in this discussion, we consider a number of situations, events common to us (all), situations deserving acute attentiveness.

Daily use of automobiles is commonplace, but how common is the knowledge of the engineering, the mechanics? For instance, what actually happens after inserting the key into the ignition switch and then turning it? Or and if you have a newer model, either an electronic key or automatic starter button ignites the process. Most drivers understand (only) that after completing ignition the engine should start, they engage the gearing, turn the steering wheel, manipulate the gas and brake pedals, direct the vehicle forwards or backwards and then off it goes.

Ok, and this makes my point, a lesser group of people (actually) care (or know) that the mechanical worlds of the engine and other related parts provide the resources to propel the vehicle, allowing drivers to attend daily needs.

In the human worlds, and in my opinion and experience, all events are (seemingly) met with the same degrees of attentive focus; we either know or not; or care or not.

Encountering situations and circumstances is relative; whether individual or group responses may vary. In a college classroom, the professor offers students food for thought, hoping to encourage active thinking. The students (individually) may have similar or differing points of view; as a group, they may engage in passionate discussion and debate. Left alone the individual may simply choose to daydream, in disregard.

Do we understand why birds sing, or why dogs bark, and what is Meow? Why is it that and with some exceptions, only humans speak? According to the “professional thinkers,” many animals have the vocal constructs for speech, yet simply do not. (And) What of the professional thinkers, why are we quick to accept their points of view, or at least lend to them greater credibility? Do degrees and dogmas offer better pathways to truth; and are the pathways any less encumbered when brightened by PhD, MD, or DDS? We are taught to think…Yes.

Please, and here is a peek into my ignorance; tell me, does “well educated” assert “educated well”? Does he, or she (actually) have acute knowledgeable understanding, and ability to verbally, or in writing, and or, physically demonstrate and to what degree, the skills regarding the area of study? (Huh! What!) EXACTLY.

Should I seek the doctor, or dentist with many degrees, or one whom has credibility? That is, one who has demonstrated the competencies in medicine, or dentistry? Ok, most of us believe, and feel assured, that whenever our professionals have many degrees in representative areas of study and or practice (hum-“Practice”?) they are “good doctors,” “esteemed professionals,” they are proficient. Therefore, we search for the best of the lot. Still, considering the possibilities, WELL EDUCATED may not mean EDUCATED WELL.

Colloquial Speech: Notwithstanding various forms of communication, speech is central to our comprehensive growth and development. Even before birth the child learns from its Mother. Afterwards, its family, friends and acquaintances. The localities, the cultures from which we come instill within us all that we know of the neighborhood and the worlds around us. Yet and even if parents are educated the level of speech may demonstrate colloquial, non-standard, rather than standardized forms.

The use of phrases such as “I/we been,” “I had came,” “I/you done,” are colloquial forms of speaking, and may be demonstrated by people with formal educations, unless holding degrees in English-still, as Teachers the literal is demanded although informally, and privately non-standard speech may be used. Personally, I know of someone who holds a Doctorate Degree; nonetheless, demonstrates poor speech, and cannot properly write a letter. Yes, many of us graduate from the Halls of Ivy, however, may speak, and write, poorly.

Apparently, this fact and truth exists in-some-commercial establishments. Occasionally, and while watching televised news, I noticed that the reporters, and on camera, continually misused the English language (as we know it).

Years ago while listening to a talk radio station, and a favorite program of mine, the host said, “I had did” and then I wanted to run screaming into the woods. Again, I am no perfect speaker, but incorrect is incorrect. We should endeavor to speak correctly, but the problem is, how could we if we fail to recognize the need. That said: Poor speech during company meetings serves no one, denigrating both the company, and the speaker (s).

Alas, where rests blame for the lack luster educations that some of us have acquired? The Teachers? The Professors? The Institutions? Perhaps, but students, and parents share the blame, as well. As students, we have responsibilities to attend schools, and colleges armed with intentions to learn. We too must toe the lines, and without excuses. Naturally, allowances are permitted for special situations and circumstances.

In the world of misunderstanding and failure to “get it,” lives the aimless and carefree.

Here: I offer the ridiculous:

Why are (some) women seemingly careless with their children? (Men, get off your high horse, you are next in line.) In example, in a parking lot a woman, with a young child in her arms, walks over to a couple, the couple has a dog. The woman with the child lowers the child to the ground in order that the child can play with the dog. The small child is standing less than two feet behind the rear bumper of a parked car. The driver (of the parked car) begins to back the car out of the parking space.

Mommy, busy playing with the dog, notices neither the reverse lights (the reverse lights are on), nor movement of the vehicle. Stepping away from my location, I (placing my hand into the air and in the “stop” position) alert the driver, he immediately stops the vehicle-apparently, he could not see the child; simultaneously, I advise Mommy of the danger. She (now) secures her child.

HELLO! It is a PARKING LOT and NOT a PLAYPEN.

Ok guys, your turn: Why is it that (some) men tend to enjoy reading a newspaper (or electronic notebooks or whatever) while driving on busy roadways or even bridges?

COME ON! STUPID is STUPID!

In either case, and as adults, we have had enough time to realize that the world around us deserves-our-immediate attention to details.

Mommy, whenever out with young children they must (always) be secured and safe from potential harm. Men, you may believe that you are without idiotic behaviors, if so, then the belief is short-lived.

Folks: It takes just “one time,” and entire lives change- forever. Yes, we equally share (in some way) the title of stupid, and many of us continue and no matter the known dangers, to do things that place others, and us and including innocent children, at risk of injury and or death. None of us is exempt from error, and daily, all of us (even minimally) are guilty of “active stupidity.” Therefore, be thoughtful…be CAREFUL!

The truth is and in my opinion, we can never think of, or understand everything; we therefore, operate in (a) blinded acceptance, and throughout our lifetimes. Daily, we encounter things, situations, circumstances, and even tragedies that simply make little sense. These events, and even after great speculation (sometimes) end inside the bottom drawer: the world of the lost and the unexplained; the world of the unknown and the unwanted.

Summation: (Remember, I am not a Scientist.)

Thinking and understanding are electrochemical inducements of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Therefore, would it be correct to say, that these are “intangibles”? In other words, when and how do we actually realize thinking? How do we “sense” it? Can it be touched, can we “feel” it? Moreover, if it cannot be touched, if we cannot feel it, then it is without surface and texture, absent tangibility; therefore, unreal—and what of reality?

What, who we are, is deeply founded in systems of belief, inspirational faith. What are we to think, what could we to believe should it all end, simply as, “is” not?

Further: Countless lifetimes are spent contemplating the questions of thinking and understanding; well-educated professionals are well paid, to make sense of it all. Truly: and one peek behind the curtain possibly reveals that most assurances are little more than uncertainties. Sometimes, we need only to seek the resolve of children.

I wake each morning to the sweet sounds of birdsong; and it matters not whether the experience is tangible or intangible; and truly, it matters not that I understand; however, and regardless of the interpretations, the definitions of these sounds, certainly, the matter is how I feel. The lovely alluring songs thrill me, they provide me happiness. In this lifetime: moments are few, but if we are fortunate, the few could be many.

Copyright © 2012-2017 Delbert H. Rhodes