The story of one young man crossing the burning bridge between innocence and experience, Spring’s Fall is a narrative dramatic poem comprised of several stand-alone poems about fitting in and falling out, finding oneself and losing oneself, and discovering the meanings of life, love, and identity.
An unusual but familiar coming-of-age narrative, Spring’s Fall is a poem written in an unfashionable style that represents both the uniqueness and awkwardness felt by many adolescents trying to find their place in a world seemingly made for everyone else but them.
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Here I stand,
in a mass, seeking order
among the throng
of ticket-holders gathered
around the house the Community built
(with hands connected to collect “the Wills”),
waiting for the presentation to begin.
Here I stand,
behind a fence whitewashed
last week, sullied now
by the passings and
droppings of the days
filled with children’s fingerprints
and birds with the good instincts
to stay aloft, flying above it all.
Who will stand and come to usher me inside?
Must there be a change of the guard just to escort me,
one of the plumb luckless to miss out on the “first-come” policy?
Would I count as more, be more valuable, with a new number?
Would I qualify, then, to share laughs,
rather than to duck and dodge them
before I move on?
There they stand,
patiently waiting to be
accepted into the premises
from which we were all once banned.
What was all the fuss and clamor
back then, chatter about
the “Greatest Show” to ever play
There they stand,
fidgeting, now shuffling in,
bit-by-bit, grabbing programs,
scanning the rows to have best pick
of their position, a grand view
for the opening ceremony,
welcoming the new cast of players.
Will they serve us laughs, drama, mystery?
Will the show feature dances or magic tricks?
Illusions can stretch attentions infinitely.
Mistakes aren’t for Masters, such as our new stars,
but for amateurs like me.
Last year, I fell from my stage—silent now,
among the rows, here I sit.
THE CHILDREN’S MASTER-MYSTERY THEATER
The lights dim. The music begins
and then swells.
Curtains rise to give a clear view
of an affair ready to progress.
“Relax, and know you’ll be entertained . . .”
We sit silently with lips parted,
hands raised to scratch
when the question’s put before us,
equalized in our audience:
“For whom does your fate await?”
Instructed to hold off applause
till the last of curtains fall,
we’re allowed to watch dramas unfold,
study the actors role-playing
with an actress so near-far
in The Children’s Theater.
Kiss quick—one moves along,
lets her break out into song,
spilling a glossy bliss, unbound
when he looked into her eyes,
never betraying his disguise.
He portrayed a Master.
The little dialogue flies too high
for lowered heads.
Their conversation’s vain in meaning,
adorned beautifully, but hollow,
like the ring he pushed on her.
The actors swagger without slowing;
backstage . . . Who knows?
What a wonderful craft to stage here!
The actress is a jeweled tool to amaze,
performing the Jill-of-all-their-trades.
Worn down but sworn to sound,
whirling in her merry way,
she’s captured in her own mind.
Sweat beads form and makeup runs,
but without missing two steps or one,
she dons a new mask.
To mark the occasion, curtains fall;
we rise, make a spectacle of our ovation—
a production to behold in and of itself.
As gracious guests, we’ve shown
we’re worthy, ready for the next show.
The players line up, bow,
leave discretely—a hint, leading.
Entranced, most follow our hosts:
Back to the streets. “Die, Unity!
Fight on, self” for a body
that conceals a Master.
aged through the ways of boys and girls,
attitude climbing altitudes—
Experience excuses lines
making children rise, wise beyond their years.
obsessed with unfair fairy tales.
Confused by rings and things shining
“till death . . . do you . . . ?”
Some may try ice,
some try fire,
many try avoiding these fights
—conflicts pick, for keeping, a few.
with pink tears, blue eyes;
chances are “the fault lies with you;
some occasions call him to remind.”
“Why should a girl in grade six fuss like a baby?”
“Why chill a public swaddled in their own affairs?”
“Real adults brave these fierce flames every day.
Situations like yours must be too common for most folks to care.”
encouraged to tell all details,
too close to influence—
Circles of friends refuse less
than lined, dirt-blurred secrets.
“. . . grownups don’t fear the dark . . .”
in the public’s eyes, averts her own.
Dressing, tightly, bruised skin
lest storytime tells small tales on her.
Some may cry rape,
some cry abuse,
many cry less innocent lies
—facts play keep-away from a few.
Blinding herself, crying
with pink tears, black eyes;
rumors say “shed your tears through;
none will help fill a bucket of truth.”
“Why claim stolen property to only end up bankrupt?”
“Why force, rush your first long-living crush into divorce?”
“‘Girlfriend’ sounds much better than ‘victim, dumped.’
You’re too mature to quit now; you’re too good to let it get worse.”
HE SAID (Krystina’s Theme)
He promised not to tell a soul about those secrets of mine,
tales woven with absurd strands,
sometimes mistaken for lies.
He accepted me for what I was,
and more for what I could be
—a conversion administered
by a self-ordained Man.
He warned he had a troubled mind, “so excuse the blackouts,”
some problems stirred up at home
that ran away when he did.
I swore I could help him see through this
based on what I had learned
from my father; but this boy has grown,
and now it’s his turn.
Why run to hide and stay? All relationships go this way.
Love has thorns—it hurts. “Sacrifice” is the watchword.
Surviving travails ensures
a happy fever after.
My position’s a humble one
. . . or so he said.
He begged me to look after him; for without me, he’s lost.
With no guardian angel,
he could go on to do worse.
My girlfriends have envy-enveloped
their brown-dull, boring lives
—no handholding or promises;
they seek to sever with words.
He thinks I’m too into myself, too often remote;
yet I’m contemplating schemes
to challenge legends I’ve heard.
Black flags fly freely for anarchy
(I secretly mend one that’s white);
I swear I can convert his stalwart soul
after I reform this meek heart.
Victimhood is a must for martyrs for happiness.
How many saints are named who never suffered through pain?
I play the ways of time,
between what’s lost and what’s mine.
My role’s a silent one
. . . or so he said.
“All this will pass.”
I read that on a wall
in spray-paint red
on my way
to a day at school,
created to fall randomly.
Where is God now?
Up in the sky,
I just saw sullen clouds
(resenting those above, us below?)
to fertilize the soil.
There are snowmen and girls who build them,
knowing all too well one day the sun will reign.
There are snowwomen . . . The boys who build them
guiltlessly commit the same crime,
on these bitter snow days.
Cry over snow . . . ?
The handheld bell calls my attention;
still, it’s still ringing
in my ears, my bones,
by the snowflakes
I failed to evade.
What should I say?
The teacher slipped once
and called on her name,
but only silence replied
from that empty chair
she sat in last Friday.
There are snowforts with snowballs to guard them
from the cold and cruel onslaughts of boys and beasts.