Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Ray Whitaker


I ask myself-
it is a question that
I wake up with

if we all go together,
and the past is
so distant as to be unseen

those that pull us apart
seem ‘way over there
that their influence seems subtle

if we all go together, into the unknowable
Is the future only a big orange maybe?
Can we move towards it anyway in the ways we are able?

We are just expressions of the star energy
billions of years of stardust
congealed in a spate of life

you have always been here.

Unsee-able in the dust that the gale blows in our faces,
stop long enough
for the whirlwind to pass

opened eyes to the paces of all that
influences you
feel the synchronicity

its not important to see the past so clearly
the future, mystical, comes anyway
ollie-ollie-in-come, free

our child like nature
has us step towards the corner
to peek around and see.

We have always been here

staring at the dolphins on the surface of the blue ocean,

learning to swim.


People you meet
shoes shuffling the sidewalk, walking down the city street
avoiding the crush of the passersby’s thronging by
looking in the shop windows at the illusion of you

is that really what I should look like
is that what my life is seen to

the different colors of different persons going by
is Karen really back
or is she hiding out like many of the rest of us
frumpled on the brown couch, head on a pillow, watching tv,

or perchance looking out a window
does she have a small balcony
like the ones in Spain’s Rhonda, near the bridge
up on the second floor

she could be looking out over the high Peruvian fields
full of green coffee beans growing
and towards the downrange Andes
waiting for the next rain

maybe she is in a third floor apartment in downtown Amsterdam
her small balcony offering a distant view of the harbor,
in between the billowing sheer curtains, the bicyclists look like small moving coins
putting their bicycles in padlocked racks near the train station

how much does she see
from behind the perimeter walls of the Bali house in Batubulan
can she see the silversmiths doing their filigreed work near the waterfall
and the tourists deciding which piece is best for their daughter

oh, Karen girl, no matter your age
what do you see in those fields of view you have
are you one of those women browsing down the street
singing a soft song written by Bruce Springsteen?

The streets have several out of place lonely trees in their prison plots.

We mostly live with sight of grey concrete, even when the windows reflect us.


We had argued again
Thru the love we shared
Another means of expressing a point, meanly
It was an accident
That the resolution of the argument never happened.

I saw the broken body there in the hospital
Bandages covering the face
The RT’s at the ventilator
Chest rising and falling
That body I loved was oh-so-still.

Always there was a stop
A glaring stop. A stopping of the argument…
Where one of us would walk out
Going to another room, or outside
To decompress. From the stubborn-ness.

I have never argued as much with another human being.
There was no arguing now.

The doc’s were not optimistic
And all I could do was listen to the prognosis
And think, tears in my eyes,
About the last time we finally agreed
About the last time we argued.

The combative conveying of each’s “The Right Way To Look At It”
Then the hot storming out,
That came after.
The rain and the cold out there
The driving off in a space of anger.

We drove naked once
Just ‘cause we could, there in the beachy summer night
It was an amalgam of the senses, love, and oncoming headlights
Wind caressing chests, hair all a-blowing
Hands holding hands, with hot smiles, towards love-making.

Thoughts arising, briefly wanting to argue again somehow about
How could you be so stupid as to get in an accident?

How does anyone make sense of the monitors…
All the squiggly lines and sharp lines of a beating heart
It’s a reeling visual
Smelling of some kind of cleanser
Orderly white sheets be-lying the broken-ness under them.
Wake up, I want to tell you
That I forgive you
That I didn’t mean it
That I’ll hold you and kiss you
Like we always did… after arguing.

Facing our family outside this hopeless room
In the waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit
Another set of sad faces,
My set is in amongst all the others
Sad faces.

Where is that hand I loved to hold…
Why can’t I feel it thru the bandages?

Always there was a stop.
A glaring stop. A stopping of the argument.
We loved, seemed like it would never end, and never hated the other
We shared the same passionate life, the same last name
Going on, one of us will always survive. In the other.

Note: This is a compilation of in-hospital experiences, not like TV, not like movies. These experiences actually happened.

BEAUTIFUL GIRL [for my grand-daughters]

Its so many differences
so many choices to make
its so many differences
so many choices to make

what could, what can be
pushing yourself to go and get it
where will you end up
when are you going to start

moving from the womb
of family life under one roof
moving in the newness
from the twoness of how having been raised.

Its so many differences
so many choices to make
it’s so many differences
so many choices to make

graduated. Being the one
that thinks about the way
somewhere in there, there is
the woman that becomes

which way to say
the going forward
into your chosen way
looking all around

waking up into a bright dawn
drawing the curtains on a new day
where you design
what is going to be your say.

Its so many directions
so many elections to make
those so many differences
so many opportunities to take

which way could it be
making your way thru a darkness
into the sunlight
of a green dew-covered meadow in the morning

and walking thru the moistness
getting your shoes wet
there is a rainbow
deciding which color in it is you.

Its so many differences
so many preferences need to be made
such broad alternatives
so many choices towards who you will become.

Gorgeous girl, you are walking
with women everywhere
you have the strength capability
of striding with powerful women

what can you birth
in this capacity that you have
a career that gives back to the world
that muscular wiry ability enhanced.

Its so many differences
so many choices, wading thru what could be
there’s so many directions
so many choices towards who you will become.

Born into genetics that are a plus
to overcome the negatives in life
born to give new life into
the hopes and dreams of the many, of your family

reside in your choices
that you can make on your clean slate
on your freshly washed blackboard
keeping in sight the beauty in Life.

Beautiful girl striding purposefully
into a newness of light

keeping your eyes open
daring to keep your dreams in sight.


Ray has three books published: “ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Poems From The ‘Nam,” a two-volume set; and “23, 18,”, and “For The Lost and Loved.” A chapbook, THE SCUPPERNONG WORKS”  was published last fall, by Newness Twoness. Ray has done readings around the state of North Carolina and Colorado. He is a member of the North Carolina Poetry Society and has been a member of The North Carolina Writer’s Network. He has thrice been a ‘Writer-in-Residence” at the North Carolina Center For The Arts and Humanities, at Weymouth, in Southern Pines, NC.  He is the father of two daughters and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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