Sonnet, with dark wings

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Sonnet, with Dark Wings

1. A thin, slender neck road. The ocean stretched forever left. Wooded marshlands, right. A crow dropped in and attacked from the top of a wind bent telephone pole. Scared the shit out of me. 2. “I’m from the UK,” he squawked to the back of my young, foolish head, “that’s a million miles from here. As the crow fl— forget that, cliché.” Black wings flapped around my face as the beast hightailed it back whence he’d come. 3. Chills pinged the length of my spine, as I pushed on, biking into the wind down the cracked asphalt, looking back, watchful and afraid. Finally, something had actually happened to me. Something weird, possibly mysterious. Maybe a portent. A harbinger. An omen. A forewarning. Who could know these things? 4. Night. Inside my unheated knotty pine cottage of overdue rent and flickering courage, I tapped out my stories on my mother’s old typewriter, a Remington. Of black winged memories and of my grandfather, who near his end, stood in a midnight rain, ancient, spotted, bony hands pulling and pulling at the door of a cruel, empty car. As if that old car was the all of it, the whole wide world, leaving him. Through a curtain I spied him begging for more time, more something. “Room for one??!! Room for one??!!” he shouted. I went outside and took him home. In fits and starts I wrote what I didn’t know — the beating heart under my paper thin skin. 5. The stories were always the same — only the chords changed. A man who was young and old. On a road of some sort. A coming from, a going to. Arrival always in doubt. 6. Creatures real and not dashed onto the stage. Beagles and nuns and coaches, wine-glugging, boy-loving priests. A rain stick house. A neighbor kid with the All American story: soldier, husband, civilian, divorcee, murderer, convict, ex-con, ordained Deacon, Harley rider, excessively tanned resident of Florida, and finally dead on a desert highway. Tattooed ex cons. Hundred year old rowhouses, beautiful, hundred-year old crack-smoking Muslims. The lonely dried-flower lady who loved gossip. And Chester, who cold-nosed his way into the center of my being and made me love him. 7. So apropos of nothing – this was just the other day — I looked up crows. They are carriers. Of life magic and the mystery of creation. Of destiny and personal transformation. 8. It seems I’m slow on the uptake, it took me decades, but black crow, I take your meaning. I accept. 10. And so this is a song of gratitude. This is a song of a million miles of thank you’s. A song of trying, of beginnings, of asphalt roads, of black winged words, of unheated shelter, of flickering courage, of sad rememberings of a dying man lost in the rain who gave me so much more than story. 11. This is a song of being. And of being together. 12. That old black crow is gone now, his ghost haunts the causeways and the spits searching for the next kid biking past a briny sea, a wooded marsh, dreaming how maybe one day he could be a writer. 13. How he might find his long and thin slender neck road…meet his dark winged crow, his life magic, his night rooms of sorrows and ardour 14. and shed his tears such as Angels, Dark Angels, weep…

  • John Jordan
    July 5, 2018

    Excellent, Richard. Makes me want to write another one.

  • Therese
    July 6, 2018

    Richard this truly is a beautiful piece of writing – tears guaranteed, but in a good way. Thank you, it’s brilliant. X