This past year we lost a special friend, Terry McNemar. Although I did not know him well.
he was very kind to me as well as other fellow writers. I was in the process of writing him
a poem when we all learned of his sudden illness, but was unable to send it before he left
the world. I didn't know who to send it to, so I decided to publish in on my humble blog.
A poem for T. W. McNemar
I wanted to tell you a story about this brown finch that hid in the raspberry bushes each year as spring approached. It was a story that, in its telling, would take only one breath. The story itself is known for fundamental syntax, unexpected emphases and misuse of semi-colons. It’s a noteworthy story that ends with loneliness when the small, wiry bird flies into an overcast summer sky, eats the clouds and begins searching for a new melody.
First, I wrote about its beak, not forgetting the tiny, dark lines that made up its nostrils. Then, I whispered little word feathers into my journal and made them spikey like the tail of a squirrel in a rainstorm. It was difficult to draw the spread of its wings using metaphor, so I gave up, fell asleep and awoke laughing about a feathered shadow singing carefree someplace north of my window on a cold day. It was a pleasant awakening because I knew its song was fastened to the air.
Once fully awake I thought about its body, heavy in the wrong places and wondered if its legs were strong enough to carry the little bird from branch to branch, white flower to red berries as it hunted for new hiding places. In summary, I decided frailty never counts. It’s more about balance and feather-like skin that tears blue air from the sky, replacing the it with pale undertones that reach toward earth— a cliché metaphor that might help the story achieve a deliberate sobriety all its own.
I never saw the finch close its eyes, so I made sure my words kept the unblinking orbits vigilant, moist and enigmatically dark, with an indiscernible spark reminding every dreamer twilight ebbs and flows unexpectedly. I made its secrets reach out for everything formless, all things lost and potentially forgotten.
That’s all—just an incomplete story, something I wanted you to believe in; melodies hiding among wild raspberries that grow from little white flowers inside everyone’s garden, something tiny, non-descriptive: