"Roots?" - Patrick Conley


Whose Roots
Yours Mine Ours
Whose Ties
And Who's Tied to Whom
What slow seeping sweeping tentacles 
Of Memory
Could Reach
So Far Back

Like That Book Your Grandmother Read
Soft with your Head
Nestled in the Ample Bosom
Of Security

Drifting Off to Sleep
Into Dream
Lusciously Numb

Unable to Tell
The Difference
The Truth & The Lie

So Softly Woven
Into That Magic Fabric
 of Memory

And the Memory of Really Feeling
Of Trusting the Hunch
That Turned into a Deep Secret Revealed
In The Blood and Sap
Of Both Glory
And Scorn

Displaying & Betraying
The Hero

And His Left Sides Thorn

You Know The One

The One that Digs So Deep
The One That Judges
The One that Replays
Over & Over & Over
 That Reaction 
To Some Unplanned Event
At The age of 8, 12, 16, 20
When you Thought You’d always have
So Many 
Pockets of Plenty


Then They Come
Those Days
When you See
 All Is Not Well
And People Do Die
Or Worse
They Just Fall Away
Flashing Seizures of your own Decay
To Become Food
For Your Childrens 
 Their Childrens Roots

And Then
It’s Not So Casual Anymore
Is It?

So You Start Pushing
Pushing So Hard Against Yourself
And Those Eyes
Those Fucking Eyes
That Look Back From the Mirror
Reminding You of All You’ve Done
And All that’s Been Done To You
And Every Other Prophet 
And Every Other Fucking Fool

Then the Many Years
In Utter Disbelief
You Really Took Them All So Seriously

 All Those Petty Tortures Received
Back In Water Boarding School
By Those Petty Tyrants
Those Burnt Out 6th Grade Teachers
And Everyone of those
God Damned
Mother Fuckin
Politicians & Preachers

Deconstructing Our Stories
In Our Memories 
Thick Shallow Pool

With Their Damnation’s Judgment
Feigned Monumental Praise
 Laid Level
 Face Down
On The Gravel Road of Truth
Gathering A Breathe
Rhythmically Saying 
Rhythmically Saying 
Rhythmically Saying
Occasionally Praying
Oh God Please
Just Get Me Through This Day
Without The Shame
Of All My Fathers Deeds
And Now Those My Own
 Done in his Name
 Beginning To Worry
Coming To Terms
With All the Days 
That Are Numbered

That Those Times
Swinging From The Branches 
Like The Number Of Leaves on the Tree
 The Same Number Of Chances
And  OHH
It’s Late September

And All These Leaves
They Start Dropping 
Like Newton’s Apples 
Falling and Flowing 
To a Will Beyond Our Own 

 Our brief time in the Free Fall
Well That 
That My Friend
Tells All

The Panic 
The Grace

When those Moments
 Make easy
The Surrender 
To The Roots
To The Free Fall of This Round 
Releasing to the Ground
Coming to Terms with the Undeniable Fact
That We Will
If Our Time Falling Meant Anything
Good Food
Really Good Food
For the Dead Memories Fire
That Our Stories
 Our Influence Will Remain
Living in the Grain
Of Each Roots Ring 
In The Joy and The Pain
Of All Our Pieces
From The Roots to The Sky
Of All Our Lives
Even Those That Slip In between
Till The Birth, The Life And The Death
 Become a Reoccurring Dream
In Our Collective
 Cellular Memory
Our Collective Unconscious
 Calls To You
Like a Ghost
From Your Roots
My Roots
Our Roots
With The Memory 
Of Being 
The Leaves
Of Holding So Strong to the Branches
Spreading Like Sails
 In the Gentle Wind
 Of a Crisp

So What Will
 Your Roots Say?
I Know We All Still Carry
 The Pain & The Praise
 Of All Those by Whom We Were Raised
For these are our roots
They Do Sink deep
 And Grab So Hard
They give the strength
Of Generations
 That allow
 Our Trees to Sway
To Deposit the Seeds
To Ensure a Future
And Hopefully
Another Fruitful Day

So What Must
 Roots Say
To All the Leaves
And All the Branches
 The Spirit Sponsors
And All Those that Rest In Their Shade

They Will Say
 Open Yourself
Without Fear
Spread Yourselves Wide 
Stretch Yourself 
Beyond Your Belief

To the Full Light Of The Noon Day Sun
& The New Moons Night

And Relish
The Un-judged Glory
Of A Simple Leaf 
On the Branch
Like a Sail
 In the Gentle 
 Of a Crisp

(2013 photo of Patrick Conley by Grady Thrasher)

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