Poetry and Rants by DC McKenzie

Posts tagged “grief

Walk or Perish

18 November 2k18

“The Day the Flesh shapes and the Flesh the Day shapes.”  — Frank Herbert

 

Greetings, Dear Reader,
on 16 November I once again celebrated Life after Brain Surgery.
Twelve years: Feels like a lifetime crammed inside a hot-minute.
I adapted to being broken. Then something changed. It always does, nu?
I moved to an Oasis in Spenard; whilst through the blessing of CBD,
the seizures that plagued me for years were finally reined in. Sort of…
Blessings Uncounted.
So…I kicked that Wheelchair to the curb. And haven’t been in it since last Spring.

Eleven years is a long damn time to go on Wheels. I am still shaky, still sketchy.
But I have learned that with each step I grow Stronger…and Stranger.

 

 

Blackstar icon

 

Secondhand Scarecrow

 

I must go on walking.

Choices                                         are for those

   who have such luxuries.

We shall not speak of them.                    No, not here:

 

One step.         Crutch-step.       Two step.

Crutch-step

Back step.

S   t a    gg    e    r
-step.

 

Aluminum sticks                         splayed, guarding

against capricious                       Gravity, Her cruel insouciance.

 

Pain is no paltry obstacle

It is a taskmaster: the Instructor of Survivors.

Pain is a goad.

 

i.
Walk then.                                                       Walk

lest I become                                                   rooted where I stand.

 

Ah! But the temptation                                 …it is terrible.

To embrace the Winter                               of permanent Wheels, at last.

 

To become twisted—bone, tendon, gristle

into a secondhand scarecrow.

 

That boneskin-stickman

misshapen oak-man

of my unremitting dreams:

 

gnarled branches I would grow

to crook into puzzle shadows upon snow

to croon with ravens roosting

as Williwaw winds keen raw

 

frost-finger limbs I would form

to drum rattle-a-tattle rhythms

aside raise the dead

sky swept flurries

 

Guttural—my song                                                           to ice crystals

bitterly encrusting                                                            twig, bough, and burl

alike during fathomless                                                    auroral nights

grown like brutish spurs of bone

on the sockets of worn, arthritic joints

will echo the baying                                                          of outcast wolves. Caught

therein, under the spell                                                    of loneliness and moonlight

 

ii.
A taproot I would send                                                      down to Queen Persephone

on Her throne                                                                    in darkness built;

there to beg an Indulgence

for a small measure of Spring

come lavish, come too soon.

 

The weight of sunrise

on hoarfrost

burgeoning nacreous, lushly white

when land and sky appear as one

shall incite                                                                              sleeping sap to flow

amongst fellow                                                                       trees. Transformed

into rime-laden                                                                      soaring sunsparkler cathedrals.

Standing sentinel                                                                    in clouds of our own breath.

 

Ever so,                                greenleaf sweet

or

grueling snow

I must go on walking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackstar icon
DC McKenzie
16 November 2k18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

::End Transmission::

 


Red Feathers

14 November 2k18

 

Greetings, Dear Reader. ‘Tis an entry full of frayed ends, of uneven odds.
Low cards again. Guess I just call ’em as I see ’em…
What could I possibly say this time? Should I speak of my father?
Well, seems I already have. But I left out one of his critical lessons: The Gambler’s Fallacy
Much has been said of it, and you’re welcome to draw your own conclusions.

But, while watching a herd of sheep all running one stupid way,
Pops said to me of the Fallacy, “Never fall for it, kid.”
He pointed at one old goat doing his own thing,
“See. Mind your own cards. You must learn to trust Instinct.” 

Oi! Go ahead, flip a Fair Coin,
a full score of timesand you tell me, nu?
Did’ya fall for it?
Against Lady Luck, did’ya Count Coup?

 

Blackstar icon

 

 

 

Red Feathers

 

Screaming
Lung Gasoline

Heroin
Cocaine
Violation
Heroin
Alcohol
Empty Sex
Rage
Tyranny
Gabapentin
Oxycontin
Seroquel
Screaming
Fentanyl
Grief
Depakote
Vicodin
Hate

 

:such is the tale of my Coup Stick.

One wing dipped in blood.

 

i.
Hard to explain

Why?

what has not killed me                              served only to teach

my yet fragile soul                                     how to survive.

 

I can’t put it down                                       to Junkiedom, USA;

for of the score,                    Ah!                 So many…we were

blood enemies                                             at first sight.

 

ii.
Now, my father was a consummate Gambler.

An archetype of the Old School.

A man for whom defunct notions like: honor, trust, respect

meant that line so thin twixt

Life                                      Death

 

And taught me                   in his own methods: the Way of the Gambler

He said,                               “Never welsh.                    Rake the table

   take what you will           and pay for it.”

 

It took all                             of my cards                     : nearly a lifetime

to understand that              a jackpot                        can reap a heavy loss

 

that so often                        winning                           is turned on its gilded head

that what is lost                  is never a loss.                 If you learn the lesson.

 

iii.
Count Coup                         upon your foes                  come away bloodied

and you learn                      Living                                 is the gamble: even odds

 

Pops said,                            “Draw low cards                 and you play ’em

             Play ’em like they’re royal.”

 

I have learned                     believe me…

when

Counting Coup                    against a Devil

it is best

to dance

on a river.

 

 

 

 

 

Blackstar icon

DC McKenzie

 

 

 

 

 

::End Transmission::


How Not to Kill yourSelf: gambit no.13

6 November 2k18

“Suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.”     ~Anne Sexton

“You want it Darker. We kill the flame.” ~Leonard Cohen

 

Greetings, Dear Reader. There is nothing easy about this post. The last one was simple.
Rage always is; ’tis Empathy that requires work. Venting is easy. Living is difficult.
And while I freely admit to some cathartic venting in my last post, nevertheless—it needed to be said: Screamed.
However, I have recently learned that a Human I care deeply for made that Choice.
There is such profound suffering in this Life that some flounder beneath towering waves.
Please remember, swimming so far from land, that You. Are. Never. Alone.

L’amour soit avec toi, mon ami.

 

I have been asked, enough times to lace cracks in my heart,
“How do you survive!? How? With all of this…how is it that you survive?”

I could never answer.
I never knew how. Still don’t…not really.
It is just what I do.

I think that I am not special, in this regard.
There is no adversity I have endured
that you too cannot survive.
You must remind your battered Self

—It is not over…I am not Done.

 

Blackstar icon

 

Flare Gun

 

i.

Heels to haunch

in the mental whiteout

of a breakdown blizzard.

 

I cradle a flare gun

unsure whether to fire.

For every blind S.O.S.

carries a heavy measure

of uncertainty:

It is said that freezing to death

bleeding out

is like going to sleep.

 

It is not.

 

There is more icicle

than dreamsicle

in the reality of such a slumber.

 

Passing this skin-searing

metal chunk of grip

trigger

barrel

from cold hand to clumsy hand:

 

despite any resolve to soar away

there is no freedom

in a transition to fleshberg.

rather they will find a broken bird

lying on pitiless tundra.

 

ii.

Williwaw winds

Depression

are ruthless when wrathful;

cruelty matched only

by sheer indifference.

 

A whore-frost gargoyle, Winter

Suicide

broods insistently,

skulking on your back.

 

Ah, the treacherous

lies

it whispers

will undo

all that you

know of you.

 

Wishing to die, you wane;

a winter scarecrow of fallow field,

shriveled remnant of the Self

 

facing emptiness, you perilously

resort to stuffing in fistfuls

of moldering bracken, sour grass

 

wrenched by the roots

out of abject fear.

Being a Scarecrow,

 

the Ravens will help you

disastrously discover

what you are made of.

 

Yanked apart at the seams

by rending talons, by bitter beak

to find what is good in you.

 

iii.

Raising the flare gun’s weight

up to an opaque vault of sky,

vexed by snow-borne wind into a fury:

fingers ice-gnawed into claws

I fumble in the maelstrom

—slip but for a moment

and pull the trigger.

 

About Suicide.

Just between us

||who tread that bone-strewn path

as only the Suicidal can.

 

Among the ten thousand

useless ways to die

there is always a choice

to die well.

 

Especially when

you do not see it coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackstar icon

DC McKenzie

 

 

 

::End Transmission::

 

 


ME TOO: Poem for a Monster

1 November 2k18

“That is not how to Love me.” ~ Fever Ray [Karin Dreijer]

 

Me Too.
By now that statement is enough to inform you that I have been sexually assaulted, harassed, violated…You know this from those two words due to the immense courage of women from every walk of life. Women, nay Humans, who have stood and added their voices to the clarion chorus of Survivors. Humans who are calling for an end to the grotesque culture of abuse and rape in our society.
Though it matters not, my gender is male (mostly). I am the 1 in 20.
Male Survivors, I beg you, join your Sisters. Raise your voices against the Monsters.

We accept atrocities.
They have become so ingrained, so prevalent, that as a society we add it to the statistics of annual horrors in apparent apathy.
Statistics that are tracked and charted: they grab, they grope, they nestle next to the unspeakable as if we cannot change.
Yet, we can.
WE can change this sick paradigm.
We can drag it into the light. We can watch it burn.
Individuals know how to change. Often, we just collectively don’t know how to stoke an ember into a conflagration.

Me Too is a collective social outcry.
It is the thunder that incites lightning.
I pray it cracks the world.

 

 

Feast for a Monster

Oh, how you must feast.
Gorging on a memory banquet
my child hands on your flesh: unwilling.

Suck marrow from husks of vile memory
the way you sucked your lips then:
all venom and petulance.

Torpid. Sprawled on a ratty couch.
Warning me, “Don’t you dare throw up.”
—just as I see you in nightmares:

Massive and fearful
the way only a child
could remember.

Lick hoarded reminiscence
from your fingers,
Monster.

Let it drip down your elbows:
wring, throttle, squeeze
those final drops
out of the places
you ripped open
inside of me.

Scars grow upon scars.
Such wounds never heal clean.
You shall never know that
healing
has served to make me formidable.

Yet, you own nothing of my survival.
For that emerged from within,
where your maggot fingers
could not dig deep to reach.

Whilst you grow evermore frail
I banish you to the Past.
A predator become vulnerable:
choke now on your last sustenance
of corpse-liquor remembrance.

Monster,
how will you possibly
crave anything wholesome again
when you have supped at such a table?

 

DC McKenzie

 

::End Transmission::

 

 


I Scream Like This

31 October 2k18
Good Hallows’ Eve, Dear Reader. This day the Veil is thin.
Go to the Crossroads, tear the Veil away:
The first step is the hardest of all.

Blackstar icon

Night Prayer post

 

Blackstar icon

DC McKenzie

::End Transmission::


Forty-Seven

“I’ll find a place to rest my Spirit if I can.
Perhaps I may become a Highwayman again.
Or I may simply be
a single drop of rain.
But I will remain…” ~ Jimmy Webb

 

19 June 2017
Greetings on this post-Father’s Day. I’ll never know why it seems to be my function to be the buzz kill. Don’t get me wrong, I dig a good buzz as much as anyone. But there are times when my mouth opens and these things just come out.

For example, one glance yesterday at the multi-headed beast of social media was all it took to put a fresh crack in my admittedly hitherto broken heart.
Yet, have no fear over this fractured heart, Dear Reader, for I have been well assured that these cracks are how the Light gets in…

Yesterday I was wished a Happy Father’s Day. And that’s complicated for me—hell, it’s complicated for a lot of people. In truth, there’s endless pain, regret, and suffering skulking about on such days. From dysfunction to grief, in every holiday survivors are camouflaged.
We smile, we say thank you, and wish you a happy day as well.
While inside us a tiny piece of breaks off and dissolves.

I was adopted, but that’s not the complication—it’s a long story best left for another time. Let’s just say that I am grateful to have been twice-blessed. First by being chosen for adoption by a family who made me their own. And later reunited with my birth family, whom I have come to love unconditionally.
Adoption is a rare gift, too often overlooked in our society. For those who make the most heartbreaking decisions, and those willing to accept a child as family, are humans of empathy; they are humans of immense empathy and courage, regardless of what tragedies that may force such choices. 

No, the difficultly in this day is that I lost my father when I was only 28. Please understand that I realize countless people are not so fortunate as I, to even have had the years we did—to have even had a loving father.
But nothing can stop grief. It is a tsunami, we can only be inundated and Survive.

I could write pages about my dad, Red McKenzie. But I’ll share a memory my mom is especially fond of. I was nearly two years old…

1969, Christmas, San Angelo, TX
Dad, known to his older relatives as Billy Chris, was sitting out on the stoop playing with my brother and I. An old friend, one who’d lived in Mother McKenzie’s building since dad was a kid, stopped and admired the two darlings he was bobbing up & down—one on each leg.
“Why, Billy Chris, what beautiful babies!” she gushed at him. “So, which one is yours?” She asked, knowing of the adoption—as doubtless the whole building did. According to my mom, he simply looked at her and answered mildly, without rancor,
“Both.”

That was just how he was. A man of few words, but you listened when he chose to speak. I learned from him that our actions often matter most—that coming from a poet is something of an irony, I freely admit. So many lessons I learned from my father only really sank in after he died.
I never had a chance to thank him for giving so much; even through the worst times, when I was a delinquent thug bent on leaving a wake of destruction in my path. Using Tough Love, my parents pushed and pushed to save me, rather than let me rot in McLaughlin juvenile jail when I was sixteen.
They never gave up on me, even when I had.
They allowed me to earn back their respect, and helped me find some for myself.

For those adopted: never forget that we were chosen…no one gave us away.

Forgive the rough edges of this poem, Dear Reader, for I wrote it 21 years ago, and in mourning. I have only edited it here for clarity.

 

Forty-Seven

In the box with my memories
I have a short deck of playing cards.
Only forty-seven are left.
The rest I buried with my father:

a straight flush in his breast pocket
to best St. Peter at the Gates.
Born and died a cowboy in the end
his last word went unheard.

We have put his pistols in the ground;
fought with the wrecking company
to remove his saddlebags from
the maroon Taurus in which he died.

I have stood beside
my mother, my brother—
as if exiled by thick, awkward pain
we faced the line of grieving friends
and bore their condolences with grace.

I smiled when I had to:
at heartfelt tales of yesterdays,
of shared sorrow, and keen-edged kindness,
for elegies both solemn and bittersweet.

Shed no funeral tears, he’d have said.
For an honest gambler he remained.
He always taught—
We have to play the hand
we are dealt in life.
That the turn of a friendly card
is the best we can hope to gain.

I drank with his partners.
Howled on asphalt dusty
Anchorage streets—
until my throat cracked
until bore-tide tears ran
clean tributaries down my face.

These things I have done
will honor him as best I can.
Yet they all pale
when set beside
the East Texas man

who claimed me
from the cradle
and made me his son
not through blood
but through love.

 

 

 

DC McKenzie
 

 

::End Transmission::

 


Memory and Music

26 September 2k10

~In Memorial Gayle Janecek~

These songs are dedicated to you Gayle. And for our reunion on Saturday, 5 April 1986.

24 years, 5 months, 21 days have gone by…and though you have crossed the veil of this life,

I still count the days until we are reunited once more.

~*~

~*~

“Twilight at Rainbow Lake”



~*~

On that Saturday of our reunion, Gayle and I drove from Anchorage out to my Birth family’s home at Rainbow Lake. Needless to say, it was an emotional day. Even my Mom, who lovingly supported my quest to find my Birth-Family, and to learn my history, shed a few happy tears at seeing my long dream of meeting my Birth Mother fulfilled.

During the drive we talked, haltingly at first, but soon enough the dam burst, and we made peace with the long years of separation. And we have Paul Simon to thank for releasing the deluge of emotional turmoil. For during the drive this song came on the radio, and within a minute Gayle and I were pulled over on the roadside, hugging, crying, and laughing. As we shared a moment of beautiful synchronicity.

For that, and all that came after, I will always be grateful.

So began a lifetime of friendship and love.

~*~

 

~*~

 

—end transmission—