voices

I recall the many voices
that sounded my childhood days
some in such lyrical fashion,
others with weightier authority—
those of my father, my mother,
brother, friends, even strangers—
and I would repeat them all
mimicking accents when alone
and safely unheard by others,
unheard and less likely to be mocked,
challenging notions of speech
and strictly defined identity,
never feeling quite comfortable
with being a singular voice.

Even now, I explore voices
while sharing them professionally
with others for pleasure.
Yet the one voice that must always
define me in accordance with
my own wishes is that of
my mother’s homeland,
land of the Stewarts and Bruces,
the Blairs, McConnells, Kennedys,
MacDonalds, Oliphants, Campbells,
McCandlesses, McWhirters, Hepburns,
and so many more clans besides
whose bloodlines still flow
in these aging veins of mine,
finding expression in the plethora
of pleading, playful voices
my heart endearingly speaks.

You are my past
and my future,
and to you all I say
tapadh leibh,
mo theaghlach.

forever free

how deceptive it can seem
these voices raised passionately
persistently clamoring to be heard
yet by nature ephemeral always
the sound fading all too quickly
the words falling like flakes
of snow melting into the pavement
another day goes swiftly by
another month another year
time plods on plowing under
the once forceful hopeful
aspirations expressed by these
our eager needful voices

but know ye this

our most truthful desire survives
in striving form not just of word
but of most courageous deed
for that is the backbone of us
actions that ensure the reverent
willful life of this national hope
actions that define this people
as strong and sure and right
actions that stand against
the appalling avarice of others
and so may the ages honest verify
the beating heart of this nation
in word and deed to be forever free

night and memories

night and the lights go out as
i wander through the rooms
and remember this space
but not just this one, oh no
my thoughts tend to roam
the halls of every home i
have ever known exploring
all the rooms where i have
ever slept sat supped viewing
each cheaply framed photo
that grayly indents every wall
my fingers tracing the spines
of every book on every shelf
my eyes stare out the windows
watching people passing by
dodging thousands of cars
in San Francisco and Salinas
in Fukuoka and Eskişehir
in İstanbul and even Çeşme
my tongue tastes once more
the pirozhki outside the park
the yaki niku down the street
the pide near the campus and
my ears can still hear them
all of them, all their voices
telling me of their gentle days
warning me to dress warmly
urging me to try again, just
try and while i long to affirm
their wishes and abide a while
i cannot but weep at this too
feeble heart, this rending flesh
and with a cracking voice
i lock the door behind me
and whisper into the dark
how very sorry i am for this
to each and every one of you
how sorry i am that i lack
the strength of you, i simply am
empty of your calm endurance
your ensuring affirmations
being only who i now am and
who i have surely ever been
please forgive me but i really
cannot do this anymore

Salt Lake City 25 Nov 2012