BEFORE WE DRAW THE LINE

seriousChris

Christopher Slater-Lunsford, who will never draw the line.

Wayne Slater-Lunsford Spring, 1991

The World is both within us
and without us
Before we draw the line.
When we have not yet slowed
our rising forward fall
up into life.
We still trail clouds of glory.
We still own all that we perceive.
We permeate our universe
and grow diffusing
through the ether of experience.

Clear jello with little colored spots
spreading out toward each other
each color cloud another life.
You’re East to me, I’m West to you
our colors mix in the middle
and there’s a new shade in the rainbow.
We as children many selves perceive
other than the ones that elders see
those elders call us make-believe-
the persons that we know ourselves to be.

JESSICA’S WALTZ

photo of Wayne & daughter dancing

Jess & me dancing at the cotillion which inspired me to write the song down

For my dancing daughter, 1979

Dance—
and I’ll hold you near.
You dance divinely,
tho your feet don’t touch the ground.
Sway—
in the air up here…
lean on my chest and then
laugh as I whirl you around!

Oh, you’re my little girl.
You’re a joy and a beauty to know.
When you smile, I feel good-
and that’s why I’m pinching your toe . . . .

You—
are a child of love.
Gentle and joyful,
dancing your way through the world.
You float—
like the clouds above…
Go where the wind goes,
my light-hearted, light-headed girl!

Oh, you’re my little girl.
You’re a joy and a beauty to know.
When you smile, I feel good-
and that’s why I’m pinching your toe . . . .

Cry—
and the rain comes down.
Smile, and the sun shines,
laugh, and the sky turns to blue.
Frown—
and I’ll be your clown…
nasty or nice, girl,
you know that I’ll always love you!

BABYTALK

WayneSL 1987–Michael

I listen to my
baby talk
baby talk
into the dark of a sleep-still room.

Beneath the moon
a jet lands
a car sings by
and the leaves of a sapling applaud
a clever night breeze.

He’s speaking words of his own invention
a song of good and happy thoughts
no lies.
He is what I was
unlimited.

His mother and I lie arm for arm
leg on leg, sharing
a long unguarded border
like shadows of each other
in suspended animation.

I ignore the cramp that bids me move
as long as I can.

What Is A Dog

My wife thought she wanted a dog.
She wanted what she thought a dog was.
She envisioned a kind of animated plush toy
that would play or cuddle or go for a walk by her schedule
and then it would hibernate while she was at work
or busy with chores or friends
or just not feeling like fooling with a dog.
It took actually having a dog for her to understand
that a dog has a lot of needs
a lot of characteristics and habits
some which need changing
and some which cannot change and must be accommodated.
After a trial period of caring for the sweet young animal
she realized that she was not able to spend
the time and energy required
to afford that real dog a good life
and that making our home a good home for a dog
would also be impractical.
She knew intellectually that dogs pee and poo
and need to be trained where and when to do it.
She knew that even when trained
a dog has a biological clock that may override her plans
and that accidents are almost guaranteed.
She knew about feeding and watering and medical and grooming concerns
but it was vague head knowledge
not the pitiful whining and yelping in the night
the tired rising to the smell of urine and feces
or coming home
to barricades toppled and possessions shredded
by a bored, too-intelligent pet left alone too much.

I had insisted that we were not ready
to outright adopt the beautiful, intelligent and sweet-natured young bitch
so we kept her for a month, until someone who knew dogs well did adopt her.
When my wife realized what a dog really was
It became plain to her that she did not want a dog
but her former inaccurate idea of a dog.

This pattern can apply to
a child, a car, a house or a lover.