After the Chocolate Bunny’s Gone, Even the Ears

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday: Downtown’s

as lonely as my living room now that

the celebrations have all ended–the processions

long over, the dishes washed from brunch,

the lilies already beginning their wilt–and I

am cycling around deserted streets under

granite-coloured skies threatening the storms

that come up suddenly in unstable spring;

I’m delaying the necessary return to the old

routine of Sunday-evening fears, drifting

through restless dreams into Monday’s panic.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Plastic Egg

The icicle lights still hanging from the eaves

of my neighbor’s house the week before Easter

tell how we now move from feast to feast

without fast or feria, always in celebration,

never in mourning, repentance, or even reflection.

The fight is not easy against our adversaries,

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, nor do they

in themselves embody evil; but exaltation

overdone fails us, leaves us empty.

We crack open the plastic egg

and find it empty.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

A Sad Display

The icicle lights still hanging from the eaves

of the house across the street in the middle

of May, the dumpsters still at the curb down

the block three days after garbage collection,

the paving stones for a terrace still in piles

two doors down make it clear enough I’m

not the only one who’s overwhelmed and

going down, but sometimes I still feel like

I’m in this game alone, afraid to tell friends

or admit to myself that I’m hung over and sad

on a beautiful spring day, not for the first

time, and probably should go to rehab

or something, except that doesn’t sound

like it would be much fun. And anyway,

maybe it’s not the disease, but only the

symptom of something, loneliness maybe,

the deep and desperate kind that you,

well, I, feel, sometimes even when I’m with

a friend, but mainly late at night when

I can’t sleep or on a Sunday afternoon

when the fear and dread sneak in.

But now, the guilt and self-deprecation

that make me pour another glass of wine

and crawl back into bed to hide

from reality under the covers and promise

myself that I’ll reform, though it’s unlikely.

Out the window, the wind ruffles the green

weeds under the clear blue sky and reminds

me that life renews, with me or without,

and somehow, oddly, that brings comfort.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Half There or Half Here?

Halfway to nowhere,

moving slowly toward stasis–

enlightened or stuck?

 

Would Buddha in dilemma

disappear the muddy road?

 

Does the way of the crossways

that my crossed way crosses weigh

me down as I cross myself,

or cut across to open

new ways forward out of time?

 

Is the present moment free

of past regrets and future

reincarnations,

or is it the product of

their sordid union?

 

In my tracks I stop

and try to track my stops,

my lurches forward,

and my lapses back.

 

The end is near,

so very near,

the beginning

that progress seems

like only not going

too far backward

all at once.

 

Vive la holding steady,

tracing circles

in the gravel

of my zen garden

to dull the knife.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper