Here's my new poem. Let me know if you think it's actually a little long. It's a sequel to that one poem I recently wrote called "Five Seconds in a Starbucks Tips the Scales to Life" that was set in a Starbucks where the man is fascinated & enchanted by his cup of coffee, which charms a woman doctor who's watching him; this time, that same woman doctor is now the protagonist of this poem.
At the very end of the night, just before she peacefully drifted off to sleep,
the woman doctor looked out her bedroom window at the night-time sky,
where the patterns of stars looked like finished artwork.
Earlier in the night, right after she left the restaurant,
it was as if hundreds of silver trumpets,
adorning the roof of the restaurant like a metallic circular crown,
had blared in joy and sorrow up into the night,
and each of the hundreds of silver musical notes from the trumpets
floated to the dark surface of the night sky,
and each note fastened itself into the sky's shadowy dome before blooming into a star.
She had studied organic chemistry for many years,
fascinated by carbon compounds,
the essence of life.
Her microscope had peered into: the vibrant teeming ecosystem within a single cell,
and the jeweled jigsaw mysteries of DNA.
One day, she wondered if she could peer into the human heart,
and she wondered what she would see there?
Not the physical heart, which distributes blood,
but the spiritual heart, the source of emotion.
Her resume was impressive:
scientific degrees from universities,
groundbreaking medical research for biotechnology companies,
and years of care for her patients.
After years of enjoyment from seeing the vast strange worlds at the molecular level,
she got the metaphysical idea to try to see human emotion,
not the outward expression of emotion in the physical world,
but the inner mechanics of how sorrow, joy, fear, and anger are created.
She walked through the city at twilight in her green and yellow dress to get some dinner,
and strolled across a bridge over a pond where a chorus of frogs
croaked in the swooning darkness below,
and she averted her eyes back to the city's neon lights ahead.
She entered a restaurant,
and was escorted by a host to her seat.
She made herself comfortable in the booth, and wondered to herself
what kind of miraculous apparatus could help her to see
the inner workings of human emotion?
And also, whose emotions would she want to see?
Whose life has brought sparks into the sea of shadows?
Whose presence in society had been like the Christ Child arriving,
like a match struck to flame in a dark world?
Whose heart, of some great pioneering soul, would she want to peer into?
Perhaps she could see into the emotional architecture
in the heart of a pediatrician,
who had cared for many children with a calm and steady hand.
Or what about looking into the heart of a farmer
who had worked the land for decades,
who, every day, saw the faithful sun
rise like a hydrant of heat
and fall like a slow diving rocket
like God's sky-mounted lantern drifting over his land,
where the farmer had sown seeds for many harvests,
to make grain for the bread of many families.
Or, a soldier perhaps,
who had walked lonely miles in deep moral conflict over unknown mountains;
who had given up health, time, and plans he held dear;
who had cut through heavy swaths of damp vegetation
and sliced through thick green rope-like vines
to locate an injured fellow soldier who needed help.
Or, a school teacher:
the hands of a school teacher are unique,
with traces of chalk in the lines of the palms,
and emotion sewn into a teacher's tattered clothes
from when a child tugged
on a woman teacher's dress to ask a question
or from when a child yanked
on a male teacher's sports coat to share excitement over understanding a lesson.
Or, an author,
perhaps a male journalist who had traveled the world
to report on breakthroughs in science;
or a woman journalist who had traveled the world
to research the origins of every major kind of music.
But, through what kind of miraculous instrument or window
could she peer through, to see the inner mechanics
of the creation of emotion?
The waiter arrived to her table, and she ordered her dinner.
Then, she wrote the five professions onto a napkin: doctor, author, teacher, farmer, and soldier.
She relaxed for a little while, and, in a few minutes, her meal arrived.
But there, in her solitude, while enjoying her meal,
a stinging sorrow suddenly came into her eyes
when her field of vision drifted through the glass beside her
and she peered outside the restaurant at a homeless man, wearing a purple jacket,
sleeping on his stomach in the dirt.
While reflecting on this man sleeping outside,
she began to feel like a ghost in the restaurant.
Then, she looked down at the list she had scribbled on her napkin
and she wearily remembered disappointments from her past and troubling stories she had heard:
a pediatrician friend who had taken months to answer her phone calls about her ailing nephew;
a novelist who wrote with tremendous passion and skill
but spent years in forgotten isolation;
a school teacher who was an icy tyrant to her students;
a farmer who got forced off his land
and spent years in poverty thumbing through classified ads with his calloused hands;
and a soldier who returned from an armed conflict overseas to an ungrateful neighborhood
that mocked the war where all the young men in his platoon
had their innocence extinguished like burning candles stabbed into wet mud.
Enraged by her hollow visions,
there in her booth in the restaurant,
she crumpled up the napkin in her angry fist,
and, in the shadows of her heart,
she felt a sudden wound.
Her heart was cold and empty,
like an abandoned pot thrown into a dark alley.
And, in her mind's eye,
she saw a cold, iced-over train, left to rust in a stale forgotten junkyard.
She wrung out her heart like a cloth,
searching for even a drop of light to fall in the darkness,
but her heart now contained only ashes --
and yet one red flower remained in the ash,
but when she reached out to take hold of it,
the flower was wet from her wound.
In her soul, sweet memories from her life
began to vacate from a hotel,
the guests were leaving for warmer shores;
once the sun shone over the hotel,
but now a fog was settling with bitter ice.
And she saw within herself a strange scene:
men and women with faces painted white, living skeletons like during the Mexican holiday,
Día de los Muertos within her soul,
with Aztec marigold flowers placed on an altar in her quickly crumbling heart.
As hot tears began to stain her face,
she pushed herself up to leave her booth in the restaurant ~~
when, through her steaming, wounded eyes,
for one fleeting second,
a quick, rotoscoping sight came into view
that would etch its blazing fingerprint onto her soul forever,
as a three year old girl --
led roughly by the hand by her tall, cold, impatient older brother toward the bathroom --
looked through her scared mist-filled eyes
into the eyes of the woman doctor,
whose eyes now softened
as the girl's eyes relaxed.
And, through the window of the girl's eyes,
the woman could see the emotion of hope vibrating into existence like an electrical charge.
In a flash of memory, the woman saw the moment from earlier that afternoon...
a despairing man in a Starbucks, whose face suddenly brightened into a childlike reverie
when he looked at the swirling lights in his coffee cup;
and, returning to the present moment, the woman saw in the girl's eyes
the joy of childhood submerged into tragic icy waters
like the sun itself captured by a heavy anchor and sinking into a pitiless ocean.
Then, taken to a dark and empty place in the spirit,
the girl and the woman stood across from each other
as they each held a key in their right hand:
a golden key held by the woman,
a silver key held by the girl,
and, as if a great magnet had come to life,
each of their right arms swung forward
and the keys flung out from their hands toward each other,
the silver key moving toward the woman,
the gold key moving toward the girl,
until each key burst into blinding white light in front of each of them.
And now all that the woman and girl could see was the white light that surrounded them,
and they could barely see each other,
and they heard a loud piercing sound from every direction
as if they were in the center of a large jungle
with wild animals, birds, monkeys
all shrieking together in a terrible chorus.
But, immediately, the girl felt the comforting arms of the woman
surrounding her in maternal strength,
and the woman looked down and saw
the girl opening her eyes into the blinding white light,
and the girl still heard the screams of the animals,
but the woman could see in the girl's eyes that she was not afraid.
In fact, the girl felt wonder
toward the largeness of the white light
and the vastness of the sounds from the mysterious animals.
Looking into the girl's wide and excited eyes,
the woman felt oxygen released to her soul.
The blinding white light departed,
a peaceful silence descended like the comfort of the Holy Spirit,
and the woman and the girl were back beside each other in the restaurant,
the woman seated in her booth,
the girl still paused in the moment of being led by her brother to the bathroom;
and, the woman could see that, above their heads on the ceiling of the restaurant,
there was a chandelier of sadness
that had formed from the combined sorrows of the woman and the girl.
The chandelier, with dozens of blue spinning crystals dangling from its outstretched arms,
was being tugged from its mounting on the ceiling,
stretching toward the center of the space between the woman and the girl --
the chandelier now quivering, then shaking, and finally breaking away from the ceiling
and diving toward the space between the woman and the girl
until, in the middle of the chandelier's flight,
it burst into a dispersing flock of silvery blue dragonflies
as if an angel had struck the chandelier with an invisible mallet.
Then, the girl walked on, past the woman, with her brother into the bathroom;
but, the girl was no longer crying.
The woman looked back at her table,
and breathed a sigh of relief and remained still for a minute.
A red flower, resting in a vase on the table, soon got drizzled with water
from a waitress's watering can,
and the waitress smiled and walked on to the next table.
And the girl returned from the bathroom with her brother,
with a bright calmness on her face as she walked past the woman.
The girl sat with her brother at their booth, next to the woman's booth.
And on the girl's table was a birthday cake,
with three candles that a waitress had lit into flame.
The woman doctor realized that now she had something to write about,
and she could describe how to look into the heart to see emotion.
She finished her meal, got up from her booth, and put money on the table.
She heard a family talking at a table nearby within the restaurant,
and, while listening to them, she enjoyed the musicality of Spanish.
She smiled at the family and they smiled warmly in response.
Then, she walked past the girl,
just as the girl was blowing out the candles on her cake.
The candles gave their sighs of smoke,
and the girl looked up at the woman with a happy smile,
while the girl's older brother coldly barked a command at her
to quickly eat her cake so they could leave.
On her way out of the restaurant,
the woman reached into her purse and discovered some coins,
which all felt like gold.
And then the woman, once outside the restaurant,
looked back inside at the girl,
and the girl's face looked a little older to the woman,
and the woman's face looked a little younger to the girl,
and the woman was ready to walk back into the chill of the night.
The girl would sometimes remember this night as a feeling of protection;
and, on one occasion, years later, she would have a dream
of being in darkness and resting on a spectacular hand of light,
and the girl curled up happily in the hand as it closed in love around her
while a hurricane of sound blew through the darkness like the breath of a dragon.
And the woman walked on toward her apartment in the night,
beneath the high darkened sky that made her feel so delighted
beneath its expansiveness;
and she walked past a large semi-truck parked on the side of the road
like a curious sleeping dinosaur;
and she walked past a large tree, while she noticed the warm syrupy yellow light,
pouring from an over-hanging streetlight through the tree's branches,
which made the tree's leaves look like illuminated honeycomb.
And, looking up at the night-time sky,
the woman saw that it looked like the surface of a champagne glass,
with all the hundreds of stars shining like silver bubbles in the vast sparkling cup of the night sky.
Then, a helicopter descended down the dark sky
like a vibrant red and purple flower floating down an invisible vine.
And, before entering the walkway that would take her from the sidewalk to her apartment,
she felt the presence of her Father in heaven,
his arms holding her in a strong embrace.
Originally posted 2011-06-28 17:25:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter