Four Poems by Craig Flaherty







my brain guides the fingers each a hand
patterns sequences of line hardly a chord
for or against and the surprising key change

my eye leads scouts four beats in advance
of the fingers deaf to what they strike
phrasing expression substitution dynamics

fingers track each note an arabesque
of positions each note detached from the prior
in a soliloquy of measures the expanse
of one beat’s syncopation

j s bach genius unfurled in the music breathing
my heart wanders the baroque splendor

the music mine by performance the muscles
the arcs of bone the bent of elbows the audience

late night you tube

rambling through the rubble that leads
to the gates of elusive sleep snack bowl
empty remote in hand under my wandering thumb I
scroll down fast forward to

elephant child lost unheard his squeaky
trumpet from within the sinkhole but
village children beseech the elders to secure the
harness thirty with the thickest rope
followed by links of makeshift cablechains

village upon village gather to rescue children lower
water toss bundled grass I am
the elephant child the elders’ makeshift chain

on the fifth day five hundred men haul chant
tow the throbbing line ears out first the youngster his trunk next
rears jubilant amid midday shouts of “hurre hurre” I am the
fifth day I am theshouts of hurre
pause click “home” “search” enter “downhill”

I am the colombian mountains I am skateboarders racing the
snake tilt twist turns of my ungraded challenges the thin air the
sweeping tenderness of studded greenways at the heights I
want to shrug off my keen crew our ballet squats on the wide
bends crouching at the waist for the long straight hauls shifting
the rear wheels our arms outstretched braking through the
convolutions of my traffic below

the tree line my racers skirt a motorbike a bus holy mother of
god deliver us past the on coming line of cars no officials no
saw horses no signs no one

officiates the death defying drop over shattered patches over
pooling waters over pebble filled repairs under the murked
shadows of overgrown jungle into the shocked blinding sun my
race ends at the first stop

browse search “uphill”
I am the craggy foothills of the french alps
I am fuel injected an engine screaming
cocooned in a lattice of welded pipes coated
with red neoprene my earlier scampers
scale the dirt packed granite outcroppings
tearing through the yellow taped pathways

my chrome plated double exhaust pipes
gush a basso profundo of guttural splendor
my oversized wheels tear the hillside dirts
into a cloud of brown euphoria

nearing the top I am tossed backward by
the failure of my incline I am turned by a tree
trunk spun to tumble against the layered face
of rock I land upright swerve to grip again
the climb I gun the open throttle my white
helmet strap tightens with piercing whines

the last assault slight of the perpendicular
leans into the height’s plateau my rear
wheels catch on a big surface root I tumble
forward plow a new furrow into the meadow

click on “fios” press tuner “off”
press recliner remote to “lift” switch
heating pad to “off” unplug earphones
click sliding balcony doors to “locked”
turn on oxygenator and c-pap machine

seat face mask press “go” dial to level “3”
secure knee guard tighten hip brace
rumple the double bed covers close eyes
breath “out pain” “peace in” “out pain”
“peace in”

let not our heart be troubled

by the burning ganglia
the evening total pool

by the wayward hysteria
the gentle offshore breeze

by the escalated heart beat
the floating dove’s feather

by the avalanche upheaval
the last of the sun the first
of the stars on the still water

by the biliously woeful cries
the rising tide lifts the clear
pool the white feather the
the ebbing light the inlayed
stars into the embrace of
the inland sea

took my breath away

remember my father heating the water
in the copper stack in the kitchen
over a bed of blue flames – behind
the stove but it was never enough

two kettles filled with tap water would
wait one whistling on top of the stove
then poured into the bath around
my feet careful not to burn but
to embellish the milky soap dissolve

sometimes it was not enough mother
with one arm balancing between
the cast iron tub and the heavey
kettle pouring to make it better
as the snow storm shook
the window frames the wind
whistled around the roof

her flesh fell to a conclusion
over me submerged the kettle
on the floor she would kneel
by the tub reach in with her
soapy hand to touch

Craig E. Flaherty, writer of poems, reader at poetry groups, publisher of Coastline Window Poems, The Nature of Light, The Glossy Family, presenter at the Takoma Park Thursday Poetry Reading, poetry group leader, member of Writing a Village. His poetry has appeared in Viator and The Raven’s Perch. A lifelong  performer of church music, organist, carilloneur, pianist with Dotke Piano Trio, husband, father, grandfather, and accompanist to Jordyn Flaherty.

Image:, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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