Theater of Life

By D. R. DiFrancesco

Naked and raw
Blasting from the womb like a seedling from its pod
Screaming for the first breath
So begins the amazing campaign
A politician elected to life.

Born out of love or lust
The aftermath which is indistinguishable
Unquenchable contest for sustenance
To triumph is all that is known
Primal urges the impetus to persist.

Adolescence brings arrogance
As maturity is sluggish to prevail over unrefined emotion
Enmity and dispute become commonplace
Tightening the reins like those of an untamed mustang
Welcome, right of passage.

Time quells obstinacy
While Respect replaces contempt
Competition for dominance is no longer primary
Instead wisdom is honored rather than detested
Seeing in age what we hope to become.

Understanding seems second nature
Now seen through the eyes of the aged
What once so obscure, is now clear as crystal
Modeled in the image of those that came before
To live in us as both a blessing and curse.

Son becomes father, daughter becomes mother
The circle enclosed as adolescent morphs into elder
Kindred souls flow like a river never-ceasing
Reproducing life through life’s rushing waters
Simply actors are we in this great play.

Leaving behind those we’ve reared
Progeny that embody what is transcendent
Nature and happenstance will dictate their course
While predecessors move on to nights last voyage
Rhythmically repeating the cycle of life.

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Honor

U.S. Army 4th Infantry Afghanistan

Sun blinds me,
Sweat blurs my vision,
Leaving me disadvantaged,
Reliance on the senses,
An inconvenient certainty.

Stride faltering,
Dustdevils swirl behind me,
Exhaustion clouds my mind,
I can’t think straight,
Thoughts congeal in random patterns.

Skin burns,
Ultraviolet rays scar me,
Dirt covered crimson,
Cringe to the touch,
Sundown brings little relief.

Feet blistered,
My boots, my next best friends fail me,
Rest, not an option,
I must keep advancing,
Being left behind, inconceivable.

Backpack strains me,
My worldly possessions contained within,
Life and death kept at bay,
Sustainence, munitions, reminders of home,
All I have to call my own.

Never complaining,
Unspoken duty of every man,
Doing what must be done,
Personal harm not considered,
The oath more hallowed than hallowed ground.

Honor me,
Honor me not for the sacrifice,
Honor me not for the blood I’ve shed,
Honor me not for the widow I left behind,
Instead honor me.

For my love of God and country.

The Sculptor

By D. R. DiFrancesco

You found me,
Strewn amongst your clay,
Shapeless, crying for form,
Undefined by nature,
A blank slate with which to create.

You knead me,
With water and warmth you gave me substance,
You carved and cut with a gentle artists touch,
Careful not to go too deep,
I might bleed.

You cared for me,
Soothing my jaggedness,
With your compassionate caress,
You soften my rough edges,
Leaving me smooth and cultivated.

You loved me,
Being sure to hold me close,
So that I would never shatter,
My sculpture complete,
You’ve polished my hardened exterior.

My love for you,
Embodied in the kindness of your spirit,
You have made me whole,
The shape and form of who I hoped to be,
Under the hallowed hands of a sculptor.

For the Love of Money (A Poem)

Do we know what heavens lie
Beyond those which we create for ourselves
Toiling to caress all that mortal wealth can acquire
Pushing aside that which is more precious.

Forage on with meaningless tasks if you must
Avoiding those to be held so dear
Putting distance between you and your loving child
For fortune and fame so fleeting.

You treasure that which lasts so briefly
Misguided steps divert your moral path
Placing that which is corporeal above what is sacred
Leaving family and friendships to suffer and drown.

Set opulence and copiousness in their proper place
Share abundance with those living in stark scarcity
Rekindle your union to spouse and child
For nothing in this world can be taken with you.

The Dead of Night (A Poem)

By D. R. DiFrancesco

Nightfall settles in
Overtaking the light
Howling, hooting, cawing sounds
Startled, peering up, down, left, right
Noise from all directions
Fear and angst clutter the mind.

Irrational thoughts of dread
Rustling leaves and brush
Freeze as though flash frozen
“What’s that?” said internally
“Nothing but the wind.” the reply
Nerves pricking the skin like a million needles.

Trembling, feeling breathless
Shadows unfold, something is watching
Moonlight and movement weave their tale
Nonsense as the pace hastens
Trying to outrun torment
Trepidation weighs heavy.

Lightening flashes, knees weaken
Surroundings visible in the flash
Lost, the scene barbaric
Foreboding wrenches at the soul
Uncontrollable, Tears flow in streams
Screaming, the only respite.

Senses amble untamed
Drenched, sweat cold and moist
Disoriented struggling to find the way
Surreal, clutching the sheets
Muscles tighten, eyes open with a jolt
Relieved it was only a nightmare.

The Ocean

Sunlight gleams through shards of fractured glass

Worn smooth by the tides move in and out

Peace with suns rise comes to pass

Gentle sounds as waves toss and turn about.

In mother waters, fury and beauty reside

Carving portraits out of sand and stone

Leaving scar and grotto for nature’s tears to hide

While in fathoms deep they lie alone.

Sun sets…royal blue turns to black

Ceaseless the currents move ever forward

Never deliberating or surrendering to look back

Fulfilling its expectation to move onward.

Fatherhood

What to do

None of this comes naturally

Watching, waiting, trying to define our place

Feeling silly because we are utterly clueless

The discomfort, yours is ours

It”s impossible for us to  know what it feels like

It isn’t in our make up

Your sickness comes, but passes quickly

Still we can’t fully understand it

In return, sympathy is all we have to offer

This act comes so freely to you

Like a character in a stage show

You were born into it

While we feel like outsiders

But yet we wouldn’t have it any other way

Each step is a new adventure to us

We anticipate your homecoming

Since we were there at the start

Your blood is our blood

You are part of us just as we are part of you

A bond that nothing can ever break

We will grow together

Learning as we go

You are ours

Your mother the master

We, the apprentice

Yet this is how it is meant to be

This is how it has always been

Imperfect

Stressful

Rewarding

Nothing can change our feelings for you

Fatherhood.

The Fox and Rabbit (A Parable)

By D. R. DiFrancesco

To keep the fox at bay

You scurry down the rabbit hole

Hiding behind your harvest of vegetables and fruits

A feeble attempt to prolong your existence

The fox is patient this much is true

Cunning and hunger are his advantage

Scared and indecisive you ponder what to do

“I’ve got it!” – you say

Thinking you can outsmart the fox

The fox waits, patient and quiet

You feign courage

Hopping from behind the store

Nose twitching and wriggling

You try to catch his scent

But the fox is clever and hides

You crawl out of your rabbit hole

Thinking, “If I’m fast he won’t catch me.”

As you hop out, the fox pounces

Your world goes dark.

The fox smiles, satisfied

He has done what nature intended

Hiding in your rabbit hole

With your horde of foodstuffs for protection

And still…

Greed and boastfulness could not save you.

Plight of the Homeless

By D. R. DiFrancesco

Shadow people abound,

Faceless and nameless they inhabit our streets,

Forgotten amongst the urban sound,

Left to stifle in summer’s heat.

 

Shadow people trapped,

Passed by like trash littering the walkway,

Feeble hands outstretched for scraps,

Passersby strain to look away.

 

Shadow people lost,

Beaten down by an iron fist,

Society tries to subdue them at any cost,

Acting as though they don’t exist.

 

Shadow people remain,

Vagrants, homeless, bums, call them what you will,

Put a hand out to ease their strain,

Comfort and humanity and faith instill.

 

Shadow people no more,

Take them in, in body and soul,

End the battle of class; end the poverty of war,

Lift them up, our brothers and sisters, their urgency behold.

Son

By D. R. DiFrancesco

Son,

I still remember the day you were born,

Our first,

Blonde hair,

Blue eyes,

Colic, your tears and cries brought tears to my eyes.

Then you grew,

Grew out of the innocent helpless stage of infancy,

Standing on your own two feet,

Speaking in incoherent tones,

Trying to form words,

You knew what you were saying,

Frustrated that others didn’t.

With age came clarity,

Your words became sentences,

You thought for yourself,

Such the little man you were.

School was so difficult for you,

Younger than the rest of the class,

The agony of seeing you struggle,

Given one more year to catch up with your friends.

Sensitive,

So much abuse,

So much pain,

Kids can be so cruel,

Yet you overcame adversity and became more resilient for it.

The teen years, your talents flourished,

Maturity and confidence raised their heads,

Still a sense of humor persisted,

Highlighting that which makes you who you are,

Sensitive, caring, intelligent and funny.

Now you are a man,

A better man than your father,

Strong, confident, brave…fearless in the face of distress,

Sacrificing unselfishly for the benefit of others.

We swell with pride at the thought of what you have become,

Independent,

Letting us know that we taught you well,

Doing more in your short life than we ever dreamed was possible,

Son.