Monday, October 27, 2014

Flying a Kite at The Beach

I don’t remember it being much of a kite,
Blue, perhaps, or red…some gaudy color, thin wood for the frame;
Plastic, -didn’t even have a tail I can recall, real cheap
But the kid was adamant. Nothing else would do…
The need for a kite was insistently itching at him,
And when you’re 11, you scratch that itch
And scratch it NOW or no fun at the beach,
No fun for anyone. He would see to that.

I was doubtful. No boyhood kite I ever had, flew,
(And I had a bunch of them-name your color or shape).
Images of Charlie Brown’s kite eating tree filled my mind-
No trees on the beach, but an errant puff of wind
Could tangle an unsuspecting kite in the power lines
Across the shore road.  ZAP!!! Adults always catastrophize,
Kids don’t give a care. This kid wanted, NEEDED, he said.
I bought the kite.

“Make sure you get plenty of string. I want it to go higher
Than any other kite on the beach!” He knew he could make it soar.
I wasn’t so sanguine. I figured it might keep him occupied,
And that would be enough. The kite came with string to fly.
“I want more line!!!” I caved, the dollars came out. He was
The proud owner of the biggest ball of kite-flying string around,
At least around the Long Sands Variety Store.

Before the beach blanket was even down, the towels out,
The wife and I settled, the kite had to be assembled.
He hopped on one leg, then the other, the picture of impatience
As I tried to make sense of the instructions, translated out of
The Japanese by someone who knew neither English nor Japanese,
To be assembled by me, with neither the skill nor the dexterity
To know what I was doing.

The job was done, the extra string tied in.
“Run it down the beach” he cried, “And let it go
When I tell you.” I wondered how the adult had come to be given
All the work, but that ball of string was his Starship control panel
And he wasn’t relinquishing it for the world. Not to some adult anyway.
I ran. He shouted. I let go. The kite fluttered and gained altitude.
It flew. IT FLEW!!!

Into the sky it flew, Past the silly screeching seagulls it flew,
Up and up and up…so high- the kid kept letting out line,
The kite taking as fast as it could get, further and further
Until it was a barely visible speck against the blue,
Until it disappeared, the taut line being the only clue
That the kite was still there. There was no prouder boy in the world
Gazing intently into space, long blond hair whipping in the wind.

And I was proud too, and happy for him as I watched him
Try to gently guide what he could not see, taking in and letting out
Oh so gradually, carefully. He couldn’t have had more
Than a couple hundred feet of string, just enough to take the kite
Beyond eye range, but as I watched, he seemed to be
Up there straddling the kite, fighting wind monsters,
Discovering new lands in the air, and claiming them as his own.

Suddenly a snap- the hastily tied knot broke, or perhaps was
Pulled beyond its strength. Maybe one of the wind monsters got it.
String cascaded down from the sky, nothing on the other end
To keep it aloft as the kite kept flying and flying away,
Now unfettered, on its own now, no longer the boy’s property.
Things that fly never belong to anyone, least of all eleven year old boys.
I prepared for the impending storm.

I expected tears and tantrums and stomping around,
Maybe even a naughty word or two. The kid had a colorful
Vocabulary and was prone to use it when provoked. But nothing:
A moment’s sadness, perhaps. But now that the kite was away
It was over and done with. There were sand castles to build,
Waves to body surf, and baby crabs in tidal pools to terrorize.
He had flown ‘way out there where no one but he could see.
He had come back to earth, and he was satisfied.

Chip Bergeron

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Harvest Moon"

Harvest Moon
On a song of the same name by Neil Young
Don’t know if it was the new meds,
But something had me off my feed:
Did I really love you so much
Or was it all a silly illusion,
My hormones going haywire
At the diminishing hope
Of one last great grab at love.
Then I was at the dance - was it a dream?
I, who never dance - two left feet
Was out on the floor. not hearing anything,
Expertly executing the steps,
A syncopated fox trot, I think,
How could I know? Weaving in and out
To the sounds of soundless music:
My partner, was it you or someone else?
I remember impressions, nothing distinct:
You’ve been so far away for so long,
I didn’t dare hope it was you.
Then I awoke;
Whatever happened got put on the shelf,
And my life once again began its quiet requiem
To loves that maybe never were,
Don’t seem to be now,
And probably never will be.
I was asked to find music, a song
To accompany a poem , verses
Written, on something entirely else.
I found this song
And before a word could be sung
I was back where my dream had been:
A harvest dance. You were there,
You were my partner, we were one again,
All the improbabilities be damned,
And I knew, because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again,
Because I’m still in love with you,
On this harvest moon - together.

Chip Bergeron

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Not a Happy Anniversary"

It’s an anniversary
Of sorts,
Macabre anniversary:
This very night
Twenty six years ago,
A Friday,
Details are unimportant;
What matters
Is the complete fabrics
Of everybody’s world
            Just about everyone,
Was ripped to shreds
Just as surely
As if I had put it
In a blender on steroids,
Turned it on high
And watched the knives
Do their work.

People say
I’m better off,
I should be glad it happened
Because it gave me time
    To grow,
        To reflect,
            To change,
Or so they say.
Sometimes even I
Swallow that Kool-aid.
I’m less dangerous…
Dangerous to WHOM???

The desperation I feel
Maybe makes me dangerous
To myself,
Not that I am capable
Of causing myself,
Or anyone else.
Any physical harm.
It stays
    In the head,
        In the heart,
            In the soul;
And on a night like tonight
I’d rather be the man I was
That damnable anniversary:
At least then
I wouldn’t feel
So awfully lonely

Chip Bergeron