THE HOBO

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It was 1971, I met a hobo in far North Texas. I was living in a Christian commune and we were giving food to anyone who came knocking. This was not a young man. He had long ago accepted gravity. Had fallen and kept falling and kept falling and kept falling. Everything about him was the color of road dust, except his eyes were slivers of a meteorite that long ago hit the ground but still was burning. His shoes were beaten dogs. Insulated with newspaper, the soles tied on with twine.  And the ball cap he wore had a bill replaced with a curve of cardboard tied on with the same twine that secured his shoes.

I offered him what we had, a kind of chicken feed cooked up as cereal. That and stale doughnuts, always a favorite. And after he had eaten I tried to do my duty, talk to him about the love of God but the man interrupted me and said, “I’m neutral about that.” Pointing to the world outside the window, he said, “I’m neutral about everything. I’m neutral about that rock.”

Forty-eight years passed and I am able now to take his meaning as my own.

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THE INTRUSION

Frozen Waterfall Icicles Closeup

 

by Carol Hopkins

 

There is a cold in winter that gets into the bone
telling us time is short, dust to dust.
Between two piles of ashes we build a castle,
a mirage in the desert that disappears with a blink.

But when the spear pierces the heart and the veil is torn
we see clearly we are the lucky one.

A fire comes to the heart that is heard as Sound and seen as Sight.
Then we remember the forgetting.
In the marrow of the bone we remember
that while time is short, forever remains
forever.

FROZEN FIELDS

FROZEN FIELDS



by Carol Hopkins

 

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We live here as individuals painfully locked

in frozen fields of private dreams, opinions and self-righteousness. 

If we are lucky, the separation becomes so unbearable we are pierced through the heart.

When the heart is torn open, we step out of time into the open arms

of the ever present Beloved One.

 

Beyond this, all words fail.

 

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LETTER TO MY OLD FRIEND, JANE RYALS

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It’s snowing today
but the flowers in our rock wall are still blooming.
Even the geranium you left with us is outside and alive.
So little snow this winter, local pre-teen Republicans
have bolted antlers to their football helmets. I saw them
running through a clear cut yesterday, above the drainage.
They were chanting in a language nobody taught them
that boils up inside them from another life.
It’s that kind of neighborhood.

You say the cottage Carol and I built from one April to the next
is beautiful and you hope we can stay living here.
Yes, it is built of April and of May and of the first two weeks of June.
I know I should be proud of it but I am not much.
There is no home for us anywhere on earth, no matter how badly
we want it.

Your husband, Mitch, has grown his hair long and tied it in a pony tail!
He has a new respect for women, you say.
I got a new respect for women in 1983 when my first wife left me
alone with two children to raise.
Not for her so much, but for the rest of you.
Mitch strikes me as someone who has always respected women
but maybe I am wrong.
I was raised to be that way, without an example as to how.
Certainly I loved my mother for a long time, though that time is now
long gone.
Still, at 97, God bless and keep her sleeping. Let her be pleased with herself
until the day she dies.

You tell me you don’t know my friend Freddy well.
Me either, although he is a nice fellow, artistic and erudite.
I am a mostly a nice fellow too, unless you cross me. My sword
hangs always ready in the old magnolia tree, a rusted sliver of moon.

“I have my third cold of the season… not a good sign. I think it is dust causing me problems… I can’t see house dust any more… so it doesn’t get removed. achooo!”

This made me laugh.
I remember well when my mother stopped keeping her house spotless.
I was 29 or 30, which means she was in her middle 50’s.
Starting to loose her mind, I thought.
Carol still keeps hers perfectly clean and coherent, except under the kitchen sink
and one closet, which are like Venezuela.

The snow has stopped. Guess I’ll have to take a walk in the rain.
Hope your day today is a happy one, Jane, and that you see
something beautiful out there in Kansas.

Poem For My Son On The Eve Of Surgery To Repair A Shattered Bone

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By Carol Hopkins

Awake at 5 in the morning, the angels come and say,
“Look at the liquid light in this dark room.”
I stare into molecules dancing and rejoicing in the eternally unfolding
Love of God.

There is no difference between
chair, book, aging body, slipper with a tear in its sole,
and the stained  glass art my son made as a little boy.
None of this can ever be anything other than what it is,
liquid light.

How can I explain this to the child in us who wants Santa
to bring the latest game,
unaware that we are eternally resting motionless in the Mother’s lap?

Still, regularly I bend my knee and ask for Grace.
It’s the way of this world.