It is always thrilling to have someone buy your book, more of a thrill when someone buys several, for friends and relatives. It is a pleasure to receive a note or email from a reader, telling how a certain piece or photo impacted them. But, it is humbling when another person is moved to create something of their own as a response. Here is something I received from mignon ledgard of Lima, Peru, after she viewed the photos in the posts of my recent road trip to Detroit. It is genuinely appreciated. She knows me as Bluejay, my screen name at a writers forum.
A huge rusted barn, drops of rain,
each unique, one weathered, one
fallen to freeze exposed to vibrations.
Emu has nothing to do with it.
A blade of grass, a reed, a song
through the winded blow of the lungs,
yet unseen, in the breeze of the colors
of autumn. No sound.
Does the lion roar? Does the lion bite
into a deflated ball the color of a pale sky?
Gray, abandoned, no birds, no clouds,
just an eye through a camera lens.
No shoes, no sandals, hat is off
to the ragged window. Cloaked
beauty of all that is closer to earth.
As we are.
As we are, we walk barefoot, feel the sand,
sink into the soul of rough skin
to soften the edges:
those we build--these cages
around ourselves for protection--
to keep each of us safe
from experiencing life in a splinter.
Who cares about someone who speaks
of a yellow leaf or about each drop of rain
being unique, having memory.
Who listens to a jingle of nuts in a pocket,
a bag full of birdseed or stops
for a bucket of sand left from the castle
built by the sea for a mermaid.
Yet, we will all turn the doorknob, inhale
the lead paint from old peeling frames,
drink aluminum from boxes of cornflakes
or swallow pink, blue, yellow pills
prescribed for an ailment.
(I think of Christopher Hitchens,
wear a C on a t-shirt for cancer).
He laughs at me with his teeth and his mustache:
the lion carved in a wall like a cantilever,
those three-stooges empty chairs and a brick wall
with leaves stacked off the sidewalk.
Where does the tree begin and its shadow end,
while I look at the pointed point at the top of a church
with no steeple, an old welded blue gutter.
Oh the steeple, it is there! So little.
We start again. One, two, three, four, five blades
of grass, a yellow leaf, raindrops, and eyes.
My eyes, your eyes, we conjugate the verbs to see
and to like. And to read and to read and to read.
We play. We play at being humble
on the way down the spiral
where Borges will greet us
as if we were famous.