Updated: Nov 28, 2021
One morning just passed my Winter, I shuffled to the kitchen to fix me some “umm” tasty Chi Tea, just like any other morning. A bright crisp sunny day greeted me, cool to almost warming, a cozy early Spring on my mountain - new life, new chirping all-around, new sounds, smells and feelings. Dip the routine Trader Joe’s powdered chai into a mug. Ahh, sniff an almost sneezy hint of that yummy, powdery, herby smell. Turn on the Keurig and listen to it telling me to “hit the road, hit the road, hit the road, hit the road,” as it steamed up hot water. Smiling, I thought, “not today old man, not today.” I pushed the brew button and voila - appeared a nice cup O’ Chai Jo. I swear I remember stirring it with a clinking spoon. I stir my tea in honor of the Brits - in a figure eight leaving off the stiff pinky - not that boring circular swirl like the Yanks. It’s not something I take for granted.
But then something strange happened. When I went to push the “off symbol,” so’s not to have it sit there fussing at me all day - nothing. Huh? It didn’t work (I looked into the camera)! Okay, so push again and push and push, and push, push, push that darn little digital devil - nothing, still nothing? “What the heck,” I asked out loud to myself, “I can’t turn it off,” pushing a couple more persistent, blistering times (hoping) on that fool fancy-assed off-tab? What’s going on? Strange. Real strange? Stranger still - I didn’t wake up that morning!
Author’s Note: Is the storyteller who you think she/he is and when, and more importantly, how did this work get written, considering the rather final conclusion - “I didn’t wake up“?Wait? What? Death?
Again, that unexplored space between life and death is addressed. Ask yourself, “is not death an extension of life?” Where does one begin and the other leave off? Or, in spirit, do we possibly remain? Does intellect and self-awareness extend beyond the grave? Are we allowed to experience the Chardanian transition of intellect/spirit? Which is more real? What can’t you “turn off?”
Another question I have (implied), when you die, does life before life after, continue, at least throughout some transition? Could I really have made joe that morning, part-way? No? Oh well. Or perhaps that’s just a ghost story for another time.
I employed “foreboding” as the setup for surprise (“just passed” what?) Increase the emotional impact on the reader to quickly retrace and imprint the message. The setup for Twilight (Zone) begins immediately with “my Winter” continues through “I swear, I remember,” and “Huh?,” and culminating in “Strange” and “Stranger” (Who is the stranger - Rod Serling or perhaps Death?). When did I die?
I also try to get the reader to focus on their surroundings. Lose yourself in what is often taken for granted (“figure eight or circle”) often glossed over or ignored. Life being short, I encourage you to savor every detail in passing, no matter how small. Does a coffee pot really talk to you? Really? Listen to yours. Remember what it was like to be alive.
In my work as a poet, I am reminded of the fine Appalachian American poet, James Wright. Wright (1927-1980) was elected fellow of The Academy of American Poets, awarded the Pulitzer for Poets, the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts and elected fellow of American Poets. Perhaps his most famous poem, 'Autumn Begins In Martins Ferry, Ohio' is something of a classic in the genre of deep image poetry. If you haven't read it, you should check it out. “Wright, in general, was a master of the compressed poem, the power to be felt in fewer words rather than more. For Wright every word, ever comma, every colloquially misspelled word belonged to the meaning. He, too, examined death many times over, and why not? This is what poets do.”
from “Poetry on My Mind,” p 15. SHOP for the book.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Check this poem out: https://www.tenbrunsel.com/post/that-ribbon-of-highway😉
Addendum: Today, November 28, 2021, almost a year after “Twilight Morning,” my trusty coffee pot chimes up with “You need help! You need help! You need help!” Indeed I do. But how the hell does a friggin’ Keurig know that? My God, what will it say next? This is getting spooky. My imagination is preceding me!