A Thought

This has been an active week concerning same-sex marriages. A couple of decades ago I wrote a short story – “X-Chromosomes” – part of a collection of short stories. As I was hearing news reports about equality, I thought of this story. It contains some of the fears parents had about losing custody of their children if they were found to be lesbian or gay.

Well, here’s my offering, and we are still concerned about inequality. What silliness when all we should be considering about any portion of life is – good hearts.

X-CHROMOSOMES by Kieran York

“That’s the ticket,” Dolly Riggs reassured. She leaned down to give the child’s plump cheek a soft tweak. “A smile is better than a frown any old day. Why you got a sweet little face when it’s smiling, Violet. Your name suits you. For a fact, it does.” Standing back, Dolly gave a frisky nod toward the five-year old. “We all like happy endings.”

Violet Thomas blinked into the sun. She focused her squint on the spry octogenarian. One of the neighbors had called Dolly Riggs a senile old bat of dubious sexual leanings. Miss Agatha Dillard, Dolly’s dear friend and housemate, had died two years ago. Dolly had shared a home with Miss Agatha for over fifty years. Everyone on the block had called the two women spinsters. Some however, were more graphic. Violet had no earthly idea what ‘leps-beings’ were. And her mother told her it wasn’t of any true importance anyway.

To Violet, Dolly was only a nice old neighbor lady. She wore strange garb. A huge pagoda straw hat was always worn in the sun. And long-sleeved shirts and pants, because Miss Agatha had always said that Dolly had a bad way with the sun. Dolly’s wardrobe may have set her apart as eccentric, but even that seemed to endear her to the children on the block. She always had time for them. Time to give them apples from her giant apple tree. Time to tell them stories of Joanie Appleseed. That was the feminist version, naturally. And she insisted the kids call her by her first name rather than Mrs. Riggs. The formal title annoyed her.

“Davey run off with my favorite seashell. Aunt Lana brought it from the ocean. Brought it special for me. And Davey stole it,” Violet tattled with a grumble inside her jaw.

When her parents divorced, Aunt Lana had moved in with Violet and her mother, Jody. Aunt Lana was a traveling business woman. She often went near the ocean, and always brought a special shell, and a t-shirt, for Violet.

“Why on earth would Davey do that?” Dolly quizzed. “That boy has more toys than good sense. He’s as selfish as the day is long. Why his big brother never acted like that. He was a gentlemanly youngster. But that Davey!”

“Well, he did it. He took it offa me. To be mean, I ‘spose,” Violet incriminated her playmate. She gave a sway of her curly blonde locks to confirm the crime.

“Never thought I’d see the day when he could get one over on you, Violet Rae Thomas.”

“He did it to be spiteful. Aunt Lana tells that Davey is a spiteful little shit if ever there was one. And my mom says Aunt Lana knows character. Why Aunt Lana even told Mommy that my Daddy wasn’t right for her. Mom says I was the only good thing that come outta getting married. But she had to try marriage on.”

“Lots of folks don’t pick the right flavor first off.”

“Aunt Lana says she’s amazed my dad didn’t goof up with a Y.”

“A Y?” Dolly questioned, gawking down at the child.

“Yes. Instead of the X-chromosome.”

Dolly grinned. “Aunt Lana said that, did she?”

“Yep. Now, how am I gonna get my shell back?”

“Why that’s clear as a fresh scrubbed window.” Dolly’s frown broke. Memory, she mused, is where the past is reinvented. She found similarities in most events trailing from her many yesterdays to today. “One time I wanted something that was taken from me. I set my mind thinking and came up with a plan.”

“Criminy sakes,” Violet squealed. “I just need me a plan.”

“Can’t use my exact plan. It’s been used up by me. But we can change it about.” She crossed her spindly arms defiantly. Leaning down, she asked, “Want to try that?”

“Sure. You can come up with a plan for me.”

“You’ll need to be clever as all get-out.” Dolly hesitated. “Solving problems can usually be done in one of two ways. Blossoms or bullets.”

“Blossoms or bullets?” Violets face squeezed with pure bewilderment. “What’s that all about?”

“Blossoms, well, that’s giving folks a smile. You serve Davey up some tea-cakes and sugar.”

“Davey is too spoiled for that business. His momma bakes a bunch.”

Dolly reconsidered, “Well, I mean by being kindly to him, but I do believe he’s far to strong-willed for blossoms to work.” She dipped the brim of her hat. “Blossoms are out.”

“I got no bullets,” Violet whined with a shrug. “I don’t even got a gun.”

“Bullets don’t mean real bullets. It means you use tactics that aren’t so kindly.”

“That’ll get me in Dutch at Sunday School.” With a puffy sigh, she asked, “What did you have so you needed blossoms or bullets?”

“My best friend wanted my husband. I married him. Thought I would have family of sweet little ones. That never came to be. Anyways, my friend still wanted him. So I gave him to her. I sort of traded for her roommate. Well, she regretted the trade. And I never regretted it for one minute.” Dolly cackled. “Not one minute of my whole life. Agatha and I were better suited.”

Violet’s lips protruded. “I want my shell back,” she brayed. She stomped her foot. “And I’m gonna get it, too. Aunt Lana said not to be in-tim-a-dated. Not by him, or any other boy in the world. Tells me never try to be equal to boys ’cause that would be lowering my standards. She tells me I’m already better because of my X business makin’ me a little girl.”

“What’s your mama say?” Dolly quizzed with amusement.

“Says Aunt Lana is a radical, separatist, feminist Sapphic.”

“Gracious,” Dolly said with a bolt. “But that’s your little secret.”

“I got another secret, too.”

Dolly’s eyebrows lifted. “I’ll bet I can guess.”

“You can?”

“I’ll bet your Aunt Lana isn’t really your aunt. But she’s a pretend aunt.”

“How’d you know?”

“Just a wild guess.”

“Yeah, but I can’t tell nobody. Besides, Aunt Lana is the best aunt I could have anyway.”

“Yes. Now then, little Violet, what do you intend on doing about your special shell?”

“This blossom and bullet tactic isn’t for me,” the small girl answered. “I’m gonna give Davey a shake or two. Smack him in the tummy if I got to. That should do the trick. Aunt Lana said it was okay to tear a strip offa him or any other bullies. An’ I’m gonna do just that.”

Violet stormed down the sidewalk. Pure determination was her ally. Dolly shook her head and snickered for many moments. She watched until Violet was out of sight. Then she returned to tending her begonias. Dolly fussed over her flowers with the tenderness they deserved. Several times she put down her garden shovel and chuckled to herself.

“X-chromosomes, indeed!”

COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you are interested in romantic fiction, please consider the Lambda Award Finalist Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are available through Amazon.

Bookmarked Romance

My grandmother always said things turn out for the best. I have searched for decades for my personal best! And I’ve always hoped everyone else finds their best.

All those years ago, my special Lady appeared. It was to be temporary – I was a pastime, and she was designed to patch my broken heart. Death had robbed me of my true love, so my Lady Jen soothed the time.

I knew Jen would be leaving after her education was completed. She knew I would remain in Colorado. She was in her mid-twenties and I was in my mid-thirties. She was too young, and I was forever in mourning for my lover. So, it was a perfect – safe – fit. And we knew ‘goodbye’ was something that one day would have to be said.

After she left, I realized the songs and poetry I’d written for her were meaningful – more than I’d imagined. A song I wrote told so much:

SHARING YOUR DAY

*Did you feel you had to run so far?
Don’t you know I’m there wherever you are.
So go ahead and move away
I’ll still be sharing your day.

You can remove yourself from my sight
If you think that moving might
Turn off that old emotional lever
You don’t understand love reaches into forever.*

You can mouth the word ‘forget’
But I’ve memorized you from the day we met.
And you can’t get me off of your mind
Try telling me you’re leaving me behind. *

And I’d written dozens of poems about her. Two have been published in Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3 – Roses Read. They are “Visiting a Pink Shell” and “Tangerines” – and now I’ve written an update poem. Because my love and I have updated us.

BOOKMARKED ROMANCE

Ours was a bookmarked romance that waved us to and fro.
As the years passed rapidly, there were greetings and partings.
Our eyes twinkled remembering the tender accolades.
For dreams lifted our marquee high onto a relic plateau.
Who were these youthful women crossing one another’s vista?
Astonishing sweetness spread layers of love with our first glance.
Romantic intoxicants packed our vessels with excitement.
Heart songs lulled as we explored one another.
How could we be content to allow another sad departure.
Fate was an evil marker that saw to it we were parted.
Our heritage appeared to evaporate.
We regretted our delay.
The long flaps of day continued closing.
Our relationship mistakes were gimmickry – without selected significance.
Although tears prowled our lives we knew we must correct the past.
Sunset’s mighty cruise was before us.
We were weary of the ache of incorrect love.
Portrayal did not replicate the destiny of what we felt.
We each knew the elaborate mistake of years ago.
If only we would have reached, and returned.
Dreams that had been chased away were now grasping us.
Faux romance of yesterday provided my today.
Hope concerned itself with happy endings.
Now I recognize the weave of sunbursts across my sky.
Nature is perhaps as holy as any human soul.
For it directs us with guidelines of fresh sky and exquisite earth.
And this is where love makes its home.
We subscribe to the promise of country stars.
Two sculpted forms could forever awaken beneath a cordial moon.
When tattered bookmarks dissolve,
 there remains the one who loves you.
There is no need merely to remember.
For a touch reminds me that I belong in today.
The best of all my days requires a final bookmark.    
The location where I belong to her, and she to me.
COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

My grandmother was correct – everything works out for the best – eventually.
As the songwriter said: Love reaches into forever.

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 Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collection, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3; and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you are interested in romantic fiction, please consider the Lambda Award finalist in the Romance Category,  Appointment with a Smile  by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are available through Amazon.

Songs, songs, songs –

This blog is songs, songs, songs – I’m posting some of my song lyrics – written decades ago. These were songs sung by a regional Colorado woman’s band. I was fortunate to be a member and friend of the women. I wrote songs, and was a barely okay singer and guitar player. And so I’ll include the lyrics of three of my personal favorites.

The group’s theme song was “Denver Dreams” and we opened every performance with it. The second is a song I wrote for a very special woman. The final song is a love song I constructed so many years ago, I’m not sure of how it evolved.

DENVER DREAMS

* It always seems those Denver Dreams keep bounding across my mind.
Thoughts designed to comfort me, won’t loosen up and be
The way that dreaming takes you back into a yesterday
Mellow dreams of Denver times, seems they’re here to stay.

We shared so many mountain walks
With late night campfire talks.
Mica that reflects the stars
And country songs on our guitars.
So many ways that we both seemed to care.
Scouting trickling rocky streams
Blended with our wildflower dreams.
So many times I reached and you were there.*

Evergreen brushed weekends
Aspen, pine, the scents they send.
Wooded paths we wandered through
And cabin smiles I’ve smiled for you.
So many ways that we both seemed to care.
Those coming home to Denver drives
Coming back to our city lives,
So many times I reached and you were there.*
Copyright – Kieran York

ANNE, HAVE I EVER TOLD YOU

*Anne, have I ever told you
I’d give my world to hold you
And lace sunshine into your day
Kiss your troubles all away.

So give your love without a fear
I’ll have kindness always near
And soft and warm just to build
A world that’s ever daisy-filled.
Entrust me with your days ahead
I’ll beckon smiles for you instead
Of frowns that might have come your way.
You can count on me to stay.
So here’s my promise, I’ll be strong
If you’ll allow me to go along.*

Let’s turn our dreams all around
I’ll share with you the songs I’ve found.
With happiness to pave your time.
The beauty of a simple rhyme.
Turn your tears back into a grin.
Allow my love entrance in
And slide the sun back into your eyes
Place rainbows thick against your skies.
So here’s my promise, I’ll be strong
If you’ll allow me to belong.*
Copyright – Kieran York

WARMED BY YOU

I want to touch the leaves
As they fall down through the sky.
Finish with a somersault on the wings of a butterfly.
And when I land I want to finally settle
In the middle of a columbine petal.
Nap against the grasses in the afternoon shade
Dream about a caterpillar parade.
Listen to the stream striking over stones
Making up music with magical tones.
And as the day drifts out against midnight’s blue,
I want to snuggle up and be warmed by you.

As the clouds sweep across the air I want to glide
And finish with a rainbow slipper slide ride.
Down onto a water-lily afloat
With rays of love spraying around as my moat.
Rest in a pond of sparkling sunshine rain.
Under a bluebell umbrella I’ll remain
Tranquil with my heart set into a smile
Hope I can stay right here for awhile.
And as the day drifts out against midnight’s blue,
I want to snuggle up and be warmed by you.

Copyright – Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the best-selling poetry collections, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3 and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. It’s a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Books are available through amazon, and e-books through Kindle.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 3: It Was You Who Understood

This is a reblog from last year when I’d explored the definition of love. So what is love? The best answer I personally could come up with was: It is all speculative conjecture. Translated: I got nothing.

The emotion of love covers such a huge area. Perhaps each definition differs for each love affair. Each woman in my life has been and is a poem. Certainly not an object, nor have I objectified women.

My search has always started with the heart beginning its bloom. It ends with the majesty that spreads petals as the sun hits and sprays radiance. The person’s energy, truth, kindness, and love, are essential.

Forgive me if I idealize women. It’s my calling, I like to believe. As for love – poetical expertise only expresses what is felt by one singular poet. Is anyone rational when love is involved?

Maybe reminiscence is the great categorizer of emotion. How we feel about love – after the fact – might be most valid. Understanding before, during and after, is sought.

The third stanza of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Remember You” is about understanding.

I’ll remember you
When the wind blows through the piney wood
It was you who came right through
It was you who understood
Though I’d never say
That I done it the way
That you’d have liked me to
In the end
My dear sweet friend
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan 

I’m more convinced than ever – if it is love – it is never less. In my years I’ve come to realize that love impersonates a fragile latch. Love, like life, is perishable. Years ago, death took the love of my life. The loss of a woman I adored became a story I told in my novel, Appointment with a Smile. I had believed that life’s ‘piney wood’ emptied my future.

This Autumn, I could have lost one of my best friends – an ex. She is a woman with whom I spent a decade of my early life. After the breakup, our friendship has remained for the past three decades. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Now, after surgery, and radiation, my dear friend is doing well, and the prognosis is good. Another reminder to show love.

Why do I mention loss in a Valentine’s blog? Because the one thing I know about love is that it is an enormous gift. Yet we must never forget it is a tentative and interim gift. Taking love in an embrace, and holding on tightly, is one of existence’s truest luxuries.

I believe being cognizant of time is vital to life itself. Treating one another with love and respect is crucial – for we are impermanent. The value of loving can never, ever be diminished. Smile at your lover, as if it were the last smile. Make it matter. Secure each gaze – don’t merely glance. Taste lips tenderly, and be present in that kiss.

And if love ends – I hope there is letting go with love. If both people leave the relationship with respect for one another, friendship is possible.

Fortunately, most of my past loves have converted to lifelong friendships. There is only one estrangement now – and that will remain a permanent estrangement. Post-breakup behavior is revelatory about character.

My experience recommends letting go with love whenever possible. This is important for many reasons. Naturally, a conversion to friendship is exceptionally great. Second – cupids might decide to return.

I am fortunate and blessed. I am thankful that a love of many years ago has returned. The opportunity for romance was provided because we had let go with love. Effortlessly, love simply returned. What a great tribute to mutual respect.

You to me were true….At the end of the trail….It was you who understood.
~ Dylan must have known me when he wrote this song.

Examining what I do know of love – well, we should be kind to one another. Enjoy the moment of love, be swept away with one another for as long as life allows. Cherish the exquisite emotion that is love. Tumbling toward the center of one another is the best ride ever.

Never giving up on finding love is a reaffirmation that we are there for romance. Brand new love, lost love, longtime love, or reestablished love – it is to be venerated, esteemed, fostered, and protected.

I’ve come to value sweet, gentle, and loving moments – where love lives. The treasury of love is abundant. I recognize the glory, the unique charm, the soul’s serenity, flame-fueled passion, and other of love’s secret ingredients.

No – I still don’t have the definitive meaning of love. What is most important is that I know love. Did I happen to mention how truly blessed I am?

I wish happiness to all – every single one – those women who have touched my life. I wish happiness to all of you reading this. May everyone find, relish, and appreciate their special ‘designer’ love.

Yes, I still do believe in angels. And I shall forever believe in love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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For J-SW.YTT.WL.k
Now and Always!

Please check out my poetry in the latest, best-selling Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Red, volume 3, and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. Soon to be released Delectable Daisies, Volume 4. Another great Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series edition!

My newest release of fiction is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider by Appointment with a Smile, a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are available through Amazon.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 2: At the End of the Trail

This second installment in the Valentine Trilogy is primarily about solid, long-term, committed relationships. Last year I issued the disclaimer that my knowledge is limited primarily to ‘trial and error’ affairs of the heart. There were also the times when destiny parted what might have been. So any wisdom comes from the reference point of my years of observation.

This Valentine’s Day, my romance has lasted well over a year. That duration is only enough to say we’re comfortable, and planning. I love and respect her – more than anyone I’ve ever known. She is magnificent. And she is my smiling enchantress. (Smiling Enchantress is the name of my Valentine’s Day poem for 2014. I’ll be posting it on the 14th.)

I honor the couples who have endured. Through it all, they’ve matched up; they maintained their love; and romance has prospered in their care. The couples forging durable relationships  have my admiration. They are an inspiration.

The Bob Dylan lyrics are a gentle reminder of the tenderness required to make it through the trail. This stanza – well, it says it more eloquently than I might attempt to describe it:

I’ll remember you
At the end of the trail
I had so much left to do
I had so little time to fail
There’s some people that
You don’t forget
Even though you’ve only seen’m
One time or two
When the Roses fade
And I’m in the shade
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan

Memories stack up as we age. I still don’t know how love is jump-started. Is it elevated endorphins? Is it some fortuitous event? I wouldn’t want to guess.

Falling in love seems so much more effortlessly achieved than continuing the day-to-day refurbishing of emotion. Kindling and rekindling its magic is a tricky part. What secrets for success do ‘connected duos’ have? Married, partnered, in relationships for decades – melded together with expectations of the long haul. They believe in the important prospect of love forever.

Adoring relationship seem to know about the key ingredient of fun and laugher. Humor goes perfectly with love. They create a chain of cherished memories – lovely, to be sure. It is sculpting the divine out of the promise to never renounce loyalty. It is the sharing of happiness and hardship. It is an uplifting story of the intertwined soul’s endurance. It is being unable to do without one another.

The cherishing – well, there must be unspoken guidelines of love. In all cases, the couples work at protecting their relationship. That requires maintaining, tweaking, diligence, and cooperation.

My personal belief – honoring and respecting one another is paramount. Subheadings might be: honesty, kindness, humor, whimsy, passion, dignity, trust, and loyalty. In short, signifying the relationship. Lifting it to the highest altar – the one about ‘plain ole’ consideration.

These, and many more, are qualities that seemed seared into each heart as couples wreath their lives together. Two people have entrusted everything. They’ve invested precious life itself. Growing love as they go. With time assisting them in their creation. They get it right. They keep one another warm.

So, for couples achieving a sturdy, well-aged, and wonderful relationship, I commend you all. And I aspire to have achieve that – now that I’ve found the finest woman I’ve ever known.

There’s some people that you don’t forget…

These marvelous couples haven’t skimped on their true and abiding emotions. I celebrate this Valentine’s Day with their romances in mind. I thank them for giving us a lesson – and an example.

Happy Valentine’s month to all ‘lifer’ couples. And, to all who aspire to be a part of permanent love. As I do.

Thank you for reading this, I hope you’ll join me when I blog the final installment of my Valentine Trilogy. Part 3: It was You who Understood – will be published on Valentine’s Day.

Copyright: Kieran York

Happy Valentine’s Day. J-SW&LH.YTT.WL.K
ps – We Belong to One Another!

 

Please check out my poetry in the latest, best-selling Sappho’s’ Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3 and Wet Violets, Volume 2. A wonderful Valentine gift idea is giving your loved one ROSES READ. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. Watch for Volume 4 – Delectable Daisies.

York’s latest book is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York, Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2013. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

VALENTINE TRILOGY Part 1: When I’ve Forgotten All the Rest

This begins my Valentine Trilogy. Each part will feature a stanza of “I’ll Remember You” – by Bob Dylan. The magical, mystical words of the legendary poet/lyricist have captured me.

I’ll remember you
When I’ve forgotten all the rest
You to me were true
You to me were the best
When there is no more
You cut to the core
Quicker than anyone I knew
When I’m all alone
In the great unknown
I’ll remember you.
~ Bob Dylan 

The splendor of these words were my inspiration for this trilogy blog. For I was reminded of yesteryear and those magnificent women who have traversed my life. This includes memorable friendships, as well as the rendezvous of intimacy and of goodbyes. Although some highways have parted permanently; many others have been resurfaced throughout the years. All are stories of love.

Gentle memories of the past make their way through the currents of our being. We sway, tilt, swerve, elude, and scurry to where we must be. Predictions never unfold our futures. Tomorrow is a guessing game. Certitude is that raw collectible moment of now.

Those leaving our area of life might move away, run away, or stealthily redirect. Nearly everyone experiences loss at one time or another. Events are terminated, exchanged for different jobs, locations, or situations. People – family, friends, acquaintances, and lovers – are disbursed toward their destinies.

We are left behind by those with whom we’ve gathered near  – loved. We’ve felt the estrangement in many ways: abandonment, replacement, and loss. Horizons have recast us all. The days of pertinent people are rewoven as yesterday discards them from our lives. Others coast slowly away because they must. There is an overriding commitment – an obligatory reason.

Reunions also differ. Some partings have left only skimpy memories. Others create indecipherable aches in which we realize how sad parting is. As if there is a missing wanderer who has not been beside us, the trail is emptier. And inside, inherent knowledge announces that there should have been two on that path.

Our eras become provisional fate where romance is concerned. The mind continues to be drenched in remembrances. Questions forever arise that invite a longing. We desire one more lustral flare to be held up for another glance at possibility.

Years later, many friendships reunite on a soft landing, and become relevant and joyful. Years simply are picked up like fine embroidery, and the stitching continues. Many of those have become a treasured luminosity within my heart.

When the love is deep, secure, and resiliency is everlasting – the heart-print remains completely intact. Indelibly bonded, with time having intensified its clasp – it endures.

I find complete amazement as to how one gets from dot-to-dot as we are slid across life’s game board. The lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Remember You” recently set in place my game’s contest rules with precision, elegance, and truth:

You to me were true…

I wish you all a Happy and Loving Valentine’s Month. And I hope you’ll catch my next two Valentine installments – Part 2: At the End of the Trail, and Part 3: It was You who Understood. They will be published in the next week and a half.

Copyright: Kieran York

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Please check out my poetry in the latest, best-selling Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series: Roses Read, Volume 3 and Wet Violets, Volume 2. Edited by Beth Mitchum, the books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

Kieran’s latest book is Careful Flowers. If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please consider 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN UTOPIA

I haven’t done enough, written enough, lived enough, or loved enough. I’m glad that I haven’t – because ‘enough’ connotes no more to come. There is too much left for me to do, to write, to live, and to love.

Life’s magic elixir might be laughing, caring and sharing, and loving. 

I’m so blessed with family and friends, and the joy of never having felt to be invisible. I have never been a laureate. Nothing I’ve done has become a grandiose landmark. Yet the love of those around me has been my enormous treasure.

Another part of my treasury is my home. I also believe, and have stated many times before, that where we live contributes to our happiness.  My backyard is the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Its beauty has made me grateful.

It has been this place on the planet that has gifted me with its loveliness. So I can offer no more than my words of praise.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN UTOPIA

Morning’s face spans the continent.
Night’s star-freckled sky is abandoned as sunshine approaches.
Day’s pulse inspires silence with its cadence.
My awakening is beside the mountain’s strong shoulder.
Banking against the panorama’s solitude, I wake.
Rockies echo an everlasting, ever-changing universe.
Foothills ruffle their taut passion.
Within the globe’s cathedral a moment pauses.
Pine’s redolent intoxicants mixes with the crisp air’s breath.
I live under a treetop canopy.
With bowed limbs and intricate finger sprigs, it inhales.
Blazing mountain pigment designs the color of tranquility.
Contemplation gives time for random words to coalesce.
Empirical knowledge searches guidance.
Wisdom is a romanticized edition.
For darkness and light step through my trajectory.
During each animated click of time we are registered.
I ask the myth of belonging – are we synchronicity, or coincidence?
From my balustrade of jagged peaks, I examine my sturdy playground.
My ledge allows me an ethereal view.
I am centered where infinity wears its smile.
Belonging is why trails were invented.

Copyright: Kieran York

 Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, Edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3,  will be published and available this month. 

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile  by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Book Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon. 

 

Contented Flowers

Poetry is the ticking of my heart. Energy from words flow through my veins as music might through my body. The light of each syllable sparks from a newly created flash.

CONTENTED FLOWERS

Carefully, the day grows with colors encroaching.
Flowers press the top layer of earth.
So tender are the petals.
They pretend to be silk dressings of garlic cloves.
They breathe as if they’re recently incubated.
They turn the page of top soil.
We tend the garden of them.
They are where our memory lives to unfold their story.
Spun around, their centers feel yesterday and soon to be – today.
The planet’s dream takes each drop of breath.
The glitter of butterfly wings releases a breeze.
They zigzag through tufts of foliage.
Those wings appreciate the lopsided curves of earth.
The lands are where seeds scatter.
A script is being written.
Each word is savored by the sacred colossus.
Moments are elevated with a harp’s sunlight.
There is a mythical heart beating out prose.
If unfurled, each flower’s price tag exceeds the cost of glory.
Harvested terrain renders a journey of tomorrow.
Vining roots, venturing stems, and leaves are all exposed nerves.
Contentment grows steadily within rich loom.
Blooms stand like sundials.
Mysterious, shadowy agents tame the light.
Canonical rolls of rays dash the fields.
There are flowers growing with sampler colors.
As if kissed on the inside, petals are dipped in a multitude of hues.
As if caressed on the outside, leaves shelter.
Cast in the wonder of wilderness, blooms lift their heads.
And we recognize the side-effects of contented flowers.
Copyright: Kieran York   

 

Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, will be published this month.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books Distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

van Gogh’s Message

Over a year ago I visited the Denver Art Museum’s “Becoming van Gogh” exhibit.  Those of us in the area had awaited the exhibition for months, and years.

The career retrospective of Vincent van Gogh included seventy paintings, drawings, and prints. These masterpieces were borrowed from forty institutions and private collectors around the world. It required seven years, and twenty-two separate shipments.

Some wonder what is so important about seeing actual paintings. The answer is that in books and reproductions, so much flavor is missed. Lost in imitation of the original.

I have never been more impacted by artwork than seeing the van Gogh collection. I wanted to know his soul. I’d reached into the words of hundreds of letters he’d written during his lifetime. They were of his odyssey as a misfit and an artist. His exuberant art mirrored letters of elation. His depression was also captured in both word and paint.

But nothing prepared me for standing near his work – near enough to hold out a paintbrush and dab paint as he had. I witnessed it from his vantage point. It was like falling into the magic of the canvas.

Works were thematically selected to show van Gogh’s beginning. Early art, yet each seemed to forecast the explosive, unique, and emotional images. With his well-executed striation, he rearranged reality. From the density of paint evolved tremors of visual elasticity. Great tangles of brush strokes radiated energy. Bold nuances allowed exotic pictorial resonance to bloom.

How did Vincent van Gogh become the master of the Post-Impressionist period? Many critics consider him to be the greatest painter of all times.

From the amazingly different way the Dutch-born artist approached his art, we all came to look at art differently. Other artists were influenced by his thick, heavy colors. The public was impressed with his enthusiasm, and coloristic warmth. Across the surface of his canvases, and paper, we saw intensity, and felt his restlessness.

I’m not an art critic. I’m not an art expert. I’m someone who simply loves the creation that art is. So I shall not attempt to do anything other than give my own slant on what that marvelous day spent with Vincent meant to me.

Van Gogh wasn’t a perfect human being – he was admittedly flawed. But his search to give the world perfect art was not flawed. After reading his entire collection of letters numberous times, I found so much humanity – in both the man and his art.

From a letter written to his brother on July 26th, 1882: If you work with love and intelligence, you develop a kind of armor against people’s opinions, just because of the sincerity of your love for nature and art. Nature is also severe and, to put it in that way, hard, but never deceives and always helps move you to forward.  

His words and his works tell so much about his becoming his own artist. The essence of the man is difficult to know. But I know more since seeing the monumental exhibit of his works. Viewing the herculean collection was up near the top of my bucket list. Achieved!

To share with you what I felt when I was within the interior of this group of paintings seems an impossible task. What I can say is that his work displayed in books does not touch the surface of emotion. His soul seems to have bled onto each canvas – which is visible in person only.

The downtrodden, bedraggled, eccentric had the melody of genius tapping to the tune of his brush. Of that I was convinced as I moved toward the painting A Pair of Boots, I heard the click of the boots as they hit the cobblestones. Van Gogh had recorded the battered worker’s boots – giving them their own dignity.

His paintings Peasants Planting Potatoes  and The Potato Eaters are done with a combination of reality and reverence for their work ethics. In one of van Gogh’s letters he explained: I plow my canvases as the peasants do their fields.

He had painted and sketched those fields. He filled his brushes with paint and exacted elliptical, dynamic strokes, and repetitive linear structure. He worked quickly, producing a treasure trove of work in a short lifetime.

And when criticized for the rapid creation of his impressive oeuvre, he responded to his brother Theo: So if people say that my work is done too quickly, you can reply that they have looked at it too quickly.

Thankfully, he continued to rapidly thrust pigment in his unique curvilinear flow – creating surface rhythms. As I walked through the museum’s rooms, I was in no hurry. I wanted to memorize the magnificence of wheat fields, portraits, and still life.

Works such as Pollard Willows at Sunset, Basket with Oranges, and Head of Gordina de Goot, brought tears to my eyes. One of my very favorites, Cineraria, bound me to it for nearly twenty minutes. As did Peach Tree in Blossom and River Bank in Springtime. As if being embraced by the paintings, I did not look too quickly.

The exhibit’s exit was with one wall of three of van Gogh’s self-portraits. They had never been together before. I looked into the agitated eyes of Self-Portrait. I saw the dignity, and tenderness of Self-Portrait with Straw Hat. And the many expressions at once in the eyes of Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat. I saw in three sets of eyes that he was probably self-critical, intense, autodidactic, and acutely aware that his life would be one of struggling.

“Becoming van Gogh” had indeed shown the roots of his trademark style. The exhibit made my pulse rush, my mouth become dry, and all else in life paused to make way for the viewing experience.

If he were to have whispered to me, what words would the great artist have spoken? Perhaps he would have told me his style had made him an interventionist of modern art – without his having known about it. Or in secret, he might have mentioned that his paintings were devoid of props. Life was his only prop. More likely, he would have smiled, saying only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime.

Maybe his tears fell in tune with all other artists. His works were selfless gifts to humanity. For van Gogh, it was a canvas, a paper, and his image of the world’s metaphors.

For me, that would be like a poem unclasping itself and falling into the enormity of existence. All those who create seem to echo one another’s achievements.

In his final letter to Theo, he wrote: As for my own work, I risk my life for it and my sanity half shot anyway because of it – fine – but you’re not one of those dealers in men as far as I know, and you can chose the side you’re on, it seems to me, and act with genuine humanity, but what’s to be done?

His words seem not so insane. It might be a message to us all. We can select to act with genuine humanity. 

  

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If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or order through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.

Please check out my poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon. The latest volume, Roses Read, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 3, will be published in January, 2013.

When Evil Visits

After writing a poem years ago, I’d believed it to be completed in six pages. And it had provided me with a small national grant.

Years later when my community was impacted by the Columbine High School massacre I took the poem back out of its file. The school is less than a dozen blocks from where I’ve lived the last forty years of my life. I added a thousand words to the poem after the emotional addendum of reality that was Columbine. I believed the event had irrevocable changed our future – it had softened our hearts, and yet toughened our resolve to make certain it couldn’t happen again.

Yet our nation braced with pain as we endured 9-11. Again, we interviewed our souls, and I added another two thousand words – making my poem a volume. Each time, my own certitude was dimmed.

Now, another loss of innocent victims. This time equally unthinkable – small children. My heart breaks with the loss of these youngsters. My prayers and good thoughts go to their families.

In Columbine, we had signs, and bumper stickers inscribed: We are all Columbine. Today, in our hearts, we are all Newtown.

We inhale both rancor and vengeance. We exhale sympathy and regret. Our country endures, and hope is smudged. But perhaps it is time we examine what the violence is telling us. My poem, “We, An American” is now just under 4000 words. I can locate violance and evil. But I can’t describe it.

Years ago I’d gone on a quest to search out the soul of our country. Perhaps it is now complete, yet I feel the subject matter is still as unknown as it was before. For how does one ever understand a mind gone so far away from empathy. Here are excerpts from WE, AN AMERICAN:

WE, AN AMERICAN

We, an American
as written by a cynical jester,
as written by a melted stoic –
We, are the heart and soul of an American.

Printed in desperation,
hoping for a storybook ending,
yet we realize our conclusion
is a fragile and fated gift.
For we are published by accurate reason.
We are strung with beads of confidence.
We chain with an adhesive grasp
to a heritage believing in possibility –
thwarting impossibility,
often confusing the two.

We are a masterpiece community of Americans.
We interlock a continent with our wealth.
We often ignore poverty,
and we blend and believe together.

We are in concert with our own self-deception.
We are in unison with the brief reality
of our covert hearts.
And of our candid souls.

Spirituality ripens us;
false god concepts rip us.
There is the lonely rift that persists
when worship evolves.
And when crowds insist on perfection
of their belief.
There is the genetically charged armor
made of knitted humanistic love.
We are rocked by changes
brought by louvered rules

We recoil from dreams
that become a trap-door.
Sin inherits the caves of our minds.
Indiscretions are stationed within the limitlessness
with which crime allows itself.
For murder diseases humanity,
as corruption become intolerable.

Humanity, with transgression,
harkens as an instrument of its evidence.
A fine-tuned perception is in error too many times.
A tribe, we are, of selfless altruists.
A community, we are, of egotistical misers.
A citizen, we are, of autonomy and amazement.
Our cities are ransacked,
as our weakest are brutalized.
With contusions, we await praise.
With abrasions, we trace our ambushed pride.
Behind the guard rail hides silence.

Treasures are lost to looters, and lovers.
They become our religion, our residence, and our heart.
With a see-through soul, we wish to be located.
Yet our heart is cloistered.
We become disenfranchised from our own tranquility.
We do not understand the main ingredient of our fortune.
It is a simple blessing.

History prods new formats with which to grapple.
Youth grants permission.
For we, an American, are pious and pugilistic,
and self-loathing, and tyrannical.
And all is a primordial and authentic description.

Violence consumes us.
We bolt from the deep grief of it
but are transfixed by the mystery of it.
How can the wild musculature of hatred
and its expletives,
wander across our lives?

We advocate objectivity,
and philosophize about subjectivity.
Maximizing doctrines of isolationism,
we minimize program of selflessness.
We sample what is synonymous
with empty words in majestic speeches.

Above all, we, an American,
are members of a two-hundred year journey –
mapped in misery,
and highlighted in esteem.
We touch today’s disarray,
financial crisis,
secular and religious aspirations,
and we often exclude reason.

We are guided by hopes
that we execute in daily smiles of youth.
The homily of those with integrity is often lost.
We are obscured behind actuality,
as we view it and as it is.
Explosive, intimidated, prodding, and generous, we are.
Crowned, corrupt, well-staged, and clandestine, we explore and expand.
We insulate opinions, we polarize into sub-cults.
We act as conduits for humanity’s irresponsibility
as we fracture kindness.

Automatic public relations smiles that we wear,
and we believe, meet the world.
We are angered, and then we continue on.
We extend our hand in friendship.
We bribe and we are bribed.

We, an American, take up causes,
and we charter beliefs,
and we climb toward optimism.
We elevate humanity;
we enrich the arts.
We structured truth,
and through gaping holes,
we fall, and keep falling.
We remain arrogant, productive, portrayed as fools
and monsters and saviors and saints.

We, an American,
are sometimes involved in our red, white and blue wrappings.
We are sometimes uninvolved in our impassioned trust.
But always, we are fortunate in our own way.
Though that way be blurred and steaming and singed,
and stretching
as we are poured
out onto the red coals of existence.
We stand again and again.
With our ballads sung by a cynic jester.
With our anthems chanted by a melted stoic,
We, an American, are.

COPYRIGHT: Kieran York

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Please check out some of my other poetry in a collection called Wet Violets, Sappho’s Corner Poetry Series, Volume 2, edited by Beth Mitchum. Books are available through http://ultravioletlove.com and Amazon.

If you’re interested in romantic fiction, please check out Appointment with a Smile by Kieran York. Books are available through www.bluefeatherbooks.com. Or ordered through Bella Books distribution for books or e-books. Books and Kindle e-books are also available through Amazon.