Once I Walked | Linda Chown

Once I Walked

Once I walked yellow with flecks 
The Berlin wall was falling,  far away
I could not have then seen strawberries
glistening on the hedge.
Endings are old new beginnings.
They do cry for salt after all. 
They mix sears of pain with a curse of Cain.

On my walk I fried tulips
Cried aloud the names of lovers their races and places. 
Until all at once  the field of strawberries glistened  
and my beating heart 
a Euphoria of happiness.
 Beginnings are new old endings.
And we start out over again.

Growing Up Hard

Murder and defamation shook my house down,
left me lying in cold damp weeds, squishy.
Persnickety. Sometimes going up Snake Road,
the stars outside in open night made
my thumbs bump uncontrollably and I ran
to find the top of any hill,
any thing 

Those days I thought of James Meredith,  Medgar Evans
and I screamed into green air with the crickets
piping red loud. Death was in the air and how,
like Mercé Rodoreda's epic “Death in Spring,”
hypocrisy was snapping my garter belt tight on my thighs.
This mystery time went two  ways for or against.
Cucumbers and carrot sticks kept us soused
in quiescent racism and maudlin pretense.

Death in Africa and shootings in Alabama left me
knowing the world was in apocalypse now 
Bleeding sheer bone spit. Meanwhile people
everywhere kept dying, electrocuted hung and shot.
UN speeches blared.
A bleeding bristling bone split.

Flower Arrangement in a Landscape
©2022 Gerry Shepherd

How we face the world

We should go up at once, and possess it, 
for we are well able to overcome it.  
—Caleb, Num. 13:30
Whenever tides spun avid 
Wherever it was inevitably dark
Annie sang soft whisper memories, 
of what was said quiet in her parents 
At first glance she was a small circumference
in others views—
one gentle cell dreaming.

Her mind waters welled
like the tides blood 
and Annie without knowing 
why searched in her gentle blue  
for Caleb a man all strenuous!
He of the mind’s rough face.

His voice a rocket to Annie’s
stillness   Sometimes she even 
thought quiet like a night star,  
some times calm dreaming 
her intransitive wonders running. 

Caleb he burned too hot for her cool 
she felt in this soft black cave the souls,  
spirits of the balmy present, turning and turning 
Annie could not reach the off switch 
to silence restless Caleb burning. 
She tried turning off that switch
To un-wriggle his wrestling
ongoing transitive chaos.

And Annie bless her she said 
I want to slide 
not to possess
to roam not to own 
reds periwinkles and blue hyenas
the best.

Me a cauldron flaming

The sun is fading before my eyes
As I try to make sense of my life that
is in many baskets. Many kitchen doors
with high ranging stoves and tilting floors and bonfires.
It’s odd the sun is fading and I am not.
My heart is a cauldron of music sound love and sadness.
The sun will not always fade. While I am around
I’ll stay a flaming cauldron. 
This year many leaves are thick
with matter and hang themselves on,
burning with unique brightness
in the cauldron of life loving eyes.

©2022 Linda Chown
All rights reserved

Linda Chown…

…was West Coast Berkeley born and raised with the light of freedom. Educated at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State, Linda has taught, protested and lived internationally. Her last book, Sunfishing, can be bought at Amazon. She grew up surrounded by radicals, experimentation and innovation, and is proud to continue her radicalism.

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