1968 by Joseph Edward Najera

1968

I was searching for you ages ago  

When the night wings flew by my window

And the air felt cold.

 

I was looking for a piece of memory,

 a remembrance of your face.

Maybe if I ran across your name

On a headstone,  or in a hall of fame,

maybe on a late night radio show

or at vespers during a dark and lonely thought.

 

Just a fragment is all I have, just a glimpse into a younger day,

When good and bad were neither right nor wrong,

When it was enough to feel your breath upon my face.

 

It was a time when there was never enough heartbeats between us,

I carried the school books in my hand

And the nightly newsreels

The tracers and the glow of the silent moon.

I would read those books even in my sleep

from the backpack where I carried my grief,

Down the sidewalks and dusty shop displays

To the lonely hollows,

Under the shadows of the night wings passing by.

 

Through the windows I would watch the clouds,

Wishing I was back in that tender place.

Where my footsteps danced lightly on the cold concrete

Like sparks from the sun.

 

Maybe it was Chicago or the Viet Cong,

Maybe it was the demons we both carried inside us

Or maybe it was the restless hauntings that disturb me still

Like the drag of the dark wings on a vengeful night

 

I didn’t want to walk or run any more

Or feel the chill of the dank air on my face.

I didn’t want to lie awake and hear the sounds,

The sounds of my own lonely bed

The sounds that kept ringing in my ears

like the beatings and thrashings

Of the night wings whisking by.

 

There you were

with your blackened  eye,

Lucky to live and lucky to be alive

When the tires lifted from off that dark highway

And made you airborne

 for a hundred yards and more

And the moment that the tree top brought you down,

Setting aflutter the night wings from their watch.

There were only questions then

And no answers came forth

Only tears that gushed

 when they took you away

With your blackened face

 and your shattered leg

And the truth of never seeing you again.

 

I had that moment once before,

Maybe I was two or maybe three or four

When my mother was taken away like that.

And that was when that empty feeling

came inside me, like the deadfall tree crashing down.

 

Forty years now have come and gone

I’m still a walker but I don’t cry.

The bone spurs and my knee joints

 have slowed me down and I now land

my  footsteps  with a dull thump

as I make my way back home,

away from the silent invisible

wings  still catching the wind

 

I’m in the kitchen, now that the house has stilled,

And my thoughts are dancing

in the valleys and hills

With the guitar strings and the dance steps

I had that moment before

In the purple of the evening,

In the blazing embers

Backlighting the clouds,

In the whisper of promise

landing upon my brow.

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About jedwardnajera

I am a Poet. I live the life of a poet. I am an artist, a member of Gallery 9 in Los Altos, California. I published a novel Nena the Fairy and the Iron Rose, available through Amazon Books. I spent over thirty five years in a classroom. My father kept a living record of his lifetime as he lived through the Twentieth Century. He was born in 1908 and almost lived long enough to see us enter the new millennium. He was a mechanical engineer and had a wonderful love of history and science. He entrusted to me nearly 400 pages that he wrote through the years. He wrote in Spanish and I have spent six months translating these pages into English. Now I am in the process of editing, rewriting, and revising them. I am trying to post a new entry or chapter each Friday. Check in on us at least once a week for the latest post.
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One Response to 1968 by Joseph Edward Najera

  1. you have always been great poet jackie

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