Final Flight as the Fog becomes Night
for David Hayden
matter of days, a
matter of seconds
to descend into the ever long sleep we face
when the clock reaches its final count.
One weekend can bring an end to life
so precious and fragile in the tempted wind’s course.
David, a coach, instructor, author, father, and husband
claimed by the heart he nursed since
the widow-maker created a new plan.
Kobe, a man made from men like David,
who take the clay of boys & mold
with many years’ persistence and commitment
along a heart that loved and did it well
in mellow temperament.
we are all
in this period.
I’m sure my fallen friend would have sighed
upon taking in the news of Bryant’s chopper
down on its last route to LA for his daughter’s game.
This detour to maintain the body instead of two hours
stuck in bumper to bumper traffic via automobile.
Despite the cash flow, he, his daughter, and seven others
rest in the ground due to a wall of fog;
one of which seems to have drifted to our state and taken
not only residence but more residents as well.
help but see the image
of fathers holding their daughters while
flames grab ahold of them, knowing
this is the end, & there’s nothing that can be done.
Another shot of a daughter with her hand placed
on her father’s chest as he takes his final breath
haunts me as we are at least 10:0 against death with no
free throws left to help tie up the score.
pep talk in this hour
when I am in need of guidance as my mother
takes flight in the fog of the unknown battle
she fights at this very moment?
The tumor, it may grow like the fog,
and so we must take it out and prepare
for what comes next just like Hayden did
when he heard a knock at the door
back in 2012 when many thought,
I’m part optimist, part realist;
I don’t want to write my mother off,
but all options must be considered,
for I don’t like surprises.
These foggy days
see me begging
for Joseph Fulkerson
There’s a hodgepodge of go-getters
sifting through this literary scene
like drowning men doing what they can
to gather attention from the others.
You have those who try too hard,
flailing their arms & ultimately succumbing
to the waves rejection brings
Then you have those who breathe
with the calmest of demeanors
while floating on the inevitable high
of their own majestic creativity.
know a man so prolific not even
the cockroaches that’ll survive us all
will ever be able to finish what he’s started
long before man’s catastrophic ruin.
He’s one of three poets I’d ride with into the fire
to entertain & enlighten those
content with their own destiny
before smoke or flames consume them.
There was a time when I stood guard / like one of those Brits in their furry hats / without any
emotion / just doing my duty / as a good gentleman should / never looking elsewhere / but
straight ahead of me / The cruelest taunts / always failed to break / my gaze / with posture /
not unlike the great / rustic cross / which held / the alleged messiah / long before / this time /
One afternoon / while busy / at work / a storm cloud blew / it pushed me / into the Knottseau /
Well where / the not so well / often dwell / I thought / I knew all / the tricks / on how to escape,
but it seems / that I may have been / in this place / for longer / than I think / All around me
there are / weeping shadows / endless rain / no hope to make / the climb / It’s much too steep /
even for the most / experienced climber / of which / I thought I was / The well fills / and it fills
with the tears / of the crying / and undying / sorrow / Another man / down in this well / asked
me / Don’t you know / you did this / to yourself? / like my hands / held the shovel / that dug
this hole / we both / find ourselves / That’s when / my mind went / blank / for a brief period /
I came to / with the man / lying / on the bottom / I noticed / that I am / still digging/ the hole.
for John Berryman
tension bellows a soft echo of muffled ruffles when a body hits the water
at full speed from the buildup one towering bridge standing over seventy feet
can offer a professor whose intelligent mind feels reduced to nothing but a nuisance.
Some students say they saw Berryman wave as he descended toward sweet relief
almost in celebration of the chapter to come in his grand farewell to the witnesses.
Henry and Mr. Bones would weep & not sleep for a hundred years for the loss.
I have this dream of meeting the dead poets who urge me to confess my own
in formal and free verse for others who have written notes hidden to be found
by loved ones or respected peers. My pieces echo, “I didn’t. And I didn’t.”
They can’t fire us for we are the choosers in this game of outcomes where
all must roll the dice like Plath, Sexton, Snodgrass, & Lowell to see
how long one must endure the cycle which only ends with the inevitable black.
A constant worry that only subsides when the host ceases to care is the mess
the body leaves after trauma has been inflicted upon it to free the caged bird
whose voice can no longer sing the songs poets hoped would never fade to silence.
Us artistic types seem to live fast and die way before biology tends to let expire,
and yet, if we didn’t cultivate a lifetime’s worth of beautiful expression to fight
all that tears society down daily, who else would offer to bear the crushing weight?
Tim Heerdink is the author of six poetry collections, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Ghost Map, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, and the novel, Last Lights of a Dying Sun. Heerdink is president of the Midwest Writers Guild. His short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2, won first and second place in the guild's annual anthology contests. He also has poems published in Poetry Quarterly, Fish Hook, Flying Island, Kissing Dynamite, Auroras & Blossoms, Tanka Journal, Landslide Lit, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Dumpster Fire, Alien Buddha, Voice Lux Journal, and various anthologies. He graduated from USI with a BA in English and resides in Newburgh, Indiana with his wife, daughter, dog, and two cats.