Saturday, March 1, 2014

Michael Keshigian- Three Poems


Awakened by a clap of thunder
and a sense of duty, he peered
through the blinds
at the thick pewter clouds
that swallowed the sky,
the containment wall of time,
relegating him to the toil of obligation,
morning rituals followed by a walk in step
with the other inmates toward the yard
where he will be compelled
to exploit expertise for survival.
His link in the chain gang
is education, reading books
only to disseminate their contents
to the younger detainees,
though, at times, admits
to knowing less the more he ingests.
Still, they call him teacher,
for he attempts to unlock
the steel door for a view
beyond the buttress of daily life,
a warden of sorts
in a prison without locks
where he implores the inmates
to deviate toward the realm of imagination
as he once did and risk escape
from monetary intimidations
into freedom and expression
by opening the door
to witness the euphoria of discovery
buried between the breeze and blue sky
before it slams shut
and the sentence is implemented.


The first winter I was able
to discern snow from sleet,
I was on the porch with my grandfather,
quite garnished with coats and gloves,
who told me when he was my age
he hid behind a huge boulder
in another country across the sea
and watched soldiers cast flaming torches
into his parent’s home
whom he never saw again.
Soon thereafter, a skirmish started
and he was transported
to a more civilized culture.
Later when the world war started,
he was old enough
to fight for retribution.
He showed me his keepsakes
from those battles,
a legionnaires army cap
and a bullet hole
beneath his left buttock.
He later explained
how my father experienced war,
loading a howitzer
in another world episode
during his eighteenth year of life.
He too brought remembrances home
four years later,
an enemy captain’s sword,
uniform buttons, a bugle,
a muddied red flag
with smatterings of blood
and incurable deafness in his left ear.
Years after, when I was in college,
I earned a lottery ticket
with a very high number.


Expeditious time,
a pace with which
I can no longer compete,
forcing a slower stride
pass the mirror of days
that reflect the embattled
older man I’ve become,
desperately seeking a future,
if only for the short term,
rather than to confront
the inevitability
of what lies ahead.
Like long distance runners,
drafting each other
through a marathon’s turn,
the finish line for me
will be adorned with flowers,
sadness and groaning crowds,
the winner, time itself,
will raise its victorious arms
amid the silence
of my departure
then immediately seek
another running mate,
a young and foolish toddler,
confidant, strong,
momentarily out-pacing
the eventual winner,
who is never winded, nor fatigued,
an endurance
only the embattled stars
may someday defeat.

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