Things That I Forgot

when you left, i forgot these things-
   you took me to the ocean and convinced me
   that the dorsal fin we spotted far from shore
   belonged to a hungry shark just to hear me
   scream and run in to your arms
               i dream of you still

                in silent moonlit rooms
   how you threw that acorn down my shirt
   while we were sitting in church and i had
   to hide my face because i was laughing
   so hard during the most boring sermon ever
                i dream of you still

                when darkness comes to call
   you wrapped that copper wire around my
   finger and promised to marry me and that
   even if my dress were burlap, there would
   never be a prettier bride
                i dream of you still

                in midnight’s desperate hours
   you taught me how love and sex could
   live together, intertwined and that giving
   over my body did not diminish me, but
   made us whole
                i dream of you still
                in silent moonlit rooms
                your hair soft upon my fingers
                your teeth grazing the soft
                skin of my neck and
                the ragged sound of your warm
                breath in my ear
when you left, i forgot these things
                                                   for a while
© ceg 4.19.11



When I have walked my length of days
And settle in midsummer’s haze
Will I forget my songs of youth
And frantic searches for the truth
That made my life an endless maze?

Will I cease to lay awake and ponder
The things that made my spirit wander
Perhaps the joys and mis-spent sorrow
Of worries I often sought to borrow
And grieve the times I chose to squander?

I will sing those songs that I have kept
And save the tears that I have wept
I will cradle them in my new-born heart
And pray that we will never part
‘ Til the glowing sun from heaven’s swept

© ceg 6/28/08

Trout Lily

Trout Lily, Trout Lily come to us soon!
Trout Lily, Trout Lily come before noon!
We called her Trout Lily
for that was her name
It suited her well–
her eyes shimmered like a brookie
and her hair was spring yellow
Trout Lily, Trout Lily sing us a song!
Trout Lily, Trout Lily bring us along!
She showed up every April
like clockwork, never looking older.
She walked into town
smiling at the new folks,
searching for the old ones.
Trout Lily, Trout Lily what do you see?
Trout Lily, Trout Lily is that for me?
She sold her seeds or beads
or spell-laden trinkets, her
brookie eyes twinkling as she
parted with candies stuffed in her
calico pockets for the little ones
who dared call her name.
Trout Lily, Trout Lily give up your treats!
Trout Lily, Trout Lily give us your sweets!
It is April now and we look for her
waiting to see her walk into town
We get nervous as the month gets
close to May.  Even if we are now
old and gray, we wait for her still
and sing for her return.
Trout Lily, Trout Lily, where are you now?
Trout Lily, Trout Lily . . .
© ceg 4.25.11

a story before sleeping

-tell me the one about the old, man;
the one who carries the tide in his hands
(this is how i imagine you would ask me
at night when i am tucking you in to sleep)
-innuit man with aurora borealis shining in his hair-
yes, he lives in the faraway north, mamma
-as far north as the barn owl flies-i answer,
i touch your face, remembering its contours
did he fly too, the innuit man?-
-he flies each night take the blackberries back home
for his little boy to eat-
i see the puzzled look on your face
-there are no blackberries in the far north,
he has to sneak them away-
ah– the puzzled look disappears as your eyes begin
to droop
does he love his little boy very much?-
-forever and a half- i answer
what about the key?-
-it is made of bone etched with caribou and opens
secret places made of snow and ice-
(you divorce yourself from waking and begin
to fly across the moonlit ice
with the innuit man who holds the tides in his
hands and blackberries in his pockets
and the aurora borealis in his hair)
ceg 4.12.11


  How I suffered when you told me to leave-my heart heavy heavy with bass (thrumming).
I walked turning the corner and faced the burning of the sun setting giving a golden glow
to the ugliness of the day–not knowing when it was–and tricking me into thinking you
weren’t a monster.
The monster that I thought you were.
   Passing the soaped windows of stores no longer anything but crypts for yesterday’s
gotta-haves the doorsteps disappearing under a growing deposits of lottery tickets
embarrassed by their own losing numbers and bottles– dark and clear, labels peeling,
tops gone– emptied of their useless dreams (or pipe dreams or day dreams)
   And who is to blame for this death?  This death of you and me?  This death of a
landscape I once held as dear to me as Mother’s hand?  Time.  Time has robbed
Birch Street of its birches and Fifth Avenue of its fives.  All the while I chant.  Murmur.
Sing Kyrie Eleison Christe Eleison (Kyrie Eleison) because that’s what we were taught
to say.  CHRIST have mercy.
   –His mercy endureth forever–
   I carry that prayer or incantation (dammit which?) and cry them into the indifferent
air and wonder why you left.  Or was it I who left? Turn another corner –pivot
90 degrees– and curse the desolate streets and my own dead soul
(lord have mercy).

© ceg 4.9.11

Gone Away



brother hasn’t been right since
the war so daddy has him out
in the fields with the hands
they treat him right and take
his hand when he starts
wanderin’ off and sometimes
bring him back to the house
when he takes to cryin’ and
everyone gets worried that
he might go off like he did last
May, tryin’ to hurt hisself and
even raised his hand to daddy
but he never goes after me
he just strokes my head and
calls me goodpup
i know daddy’s mad ’cause he
says they ain’t no woman ever
gonna marry him up what with
him havin’ a boy who’s gonesoft
and me no bigger than a
rabbit turd
sometimes daddy looks at him
and it scares me what he’s thinkin’
not that there’s much i can
do on account of me being just
a pup or a rabbit turd
dependin’ on who you ask


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hell, i know i ain’t right
i know he has me workin’
with the hands mebbe
’cause he’s scairt of me
i dunno
funny how a furrow just
turns into a trench and
‘fore i know it, i’m back there
with the blood and the screamin’
the screamin’ and the cryin’
the cryin’ and the prayin’
i remember this pup, this good pup
he took my bullet
shoulda been me that died
in all that mud
god, he was a good pup
and yeah, i see how he looks at me
can’t tell if he hates me or
just wants me gone
next time i wander off to ypres
wonder if he’ll just let me go
dunno when that’s gonna
happen though, but i’ll tell you this
i’m takin’ the pup with me
heard it said that
war is hell and it’s true
but what they don’t tell you
is that sometimes you bring
it home with you

iii.                                                             smallsoldhouse1903

good lord, how i loved
that woman-the boys’ ma
beautiful and sweet she was
sweet as spring
we buried her while he was
off killing the kaiser
died of a busted ‘pendix
don’t know if the little ‘un
even remembers her
he looks like her though
hurts so damn bad to look
at him, so god help me,
i don’t
the big ‘un looks like me,
folks say, and now
look at him
got hisself busted up over
there and looks at me like
i’m some damn kraut
pretty sure he thinks about
running me through with
that bayonet he thinks
he still carries
cursed and damned is
what i am
woman dead and one son
i can’t even look at ‘n
the other one all messed up
p’raps next time he walks
i’ll just let ’em go
start over
find a new gal and
start plantin’ again

©ceg 2009