Monday, August 25, 2014

Cristine A. Gruber- Two Poems


Upon Hearing the News of Mr. Williams’ Death
Monday, August 11, 2014, 4:20pm

He cut himself today,
just to watch himself bleed.

With each drop of crimson
splashing across the unspoiled tile,
he imagines a raging demon meeting
an untimely death, smashing headlong
against the pristine porcelain.

One by one he subdues his oppressors,
silencing them for yet another
day, their power drained
with each meticulous droplet
spreading across the pure stone.

Counting to twenty, he wipes
a rag across the inviolable ceramic,
pain cleansed away, no camouflage,
just flawless absorption, white cotton
defeating dark demons.  

Another slice, a new count,
twenty more down, cloth soaked,
but never to capacity, for however
many are released, just as many
are standing at the ready.  

The reins are tightened
before euphoria reigns, that elusive
place between pain and release.
Precision is key, never too deep;
privacy crucial, always hidden away.

The rag of ritual
dries hard as stone,
getting tossed out with
the evening trash, disposed of
completely, no reminder, no pain...

but in the very last moment
before closing the lid, he offers
a little prayer over the loss of life,
for the raging perdition throughout
is no less essential than the story within.

He cut himself today,
just to watch his story bleed.

Reflections on the Ice Bucket Challenge of Summer 2014

                                      Friday, August 22nd 11:57am

Streaming aquatic,
the very essence of life,
striking the pavement,
rushing downhill,

no roots to nourish,
no life to sustain,
mere waste and

sucked dry
by the sun
before reaching
the end of the street.

Yet another video gone
viral, one more group of
individuals dumping buckets
of cold water over their heads,

the baptized pavement
beneath their feet
heated to broiling by the
ever-present California sun.

Awareness is heightened
and many are grateful;
give to the cause,
an answer within reach.

But for those who can do so
without wasting resources,
the power is great,
the joy supreme.

With a tall glass of water
held firmly in my hand,
the life-giving liquid
defying the summer heat,

I shut off my computer
and walk outside, stand
in the shade and gaze
at my impoverished lawn.

Ordered by the city to turn
off my sprinklers, my once-
fertile land is now nothing
more than barren waste.  

Half the water I hold
in my hand is used to
nurture a lone geranium,
while the remainder is

relegated to nourish
a sole tomato plant.
Enduring by design,
amazingly resilient,

both provide
beauty and harvest
from nothing more than
a few ounces of water per day.

Many years from now,
when looking back on
this time, I won’t likely
remember who started

The Challenge,
nor will I recall
the amount
that was raised.

The memory retained
will be the view
from my window,
two more tomatoes

now ripe on the vine,
surviving the drought,
providing my lunch
this warm August day. 

Brief Bio:

Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Dead Snakes, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Miller’s Pond, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from

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