Chicken Water

Adrift in a sea of fog; no sign
of shore nor sounds of waves lapping;
only maddening silence.

I cry out for a god but hear
only my own echo, a desperate voice
of desire flung on the shoals
of a ghost land.

The life I have constructed is crumbling.
The new has yet to unfold;
the whys, hows and wherefores vanish
like mirages.

As kids we called it chicken water, cast
upon blistering asphalt, cutting
through endless miles of low desert scrub;
sunrise, sunset, nothing changed fast
enough for us then.

Now here I write from the comfort
of my chair miles from those desert sands;
yet and still, the road beckons.

Caked earth yields to concrete laid
down everywhere to accommodate
our leave-taking. My dry mouth waters
at the approaching oasis,
as nearer it appears and nearer;
then vanishes.

~ bj 2001, bj image Upolu Pt., 2006


22 thoughts on “Chicken Water

  1. Me likey πŸ™‚

    I have actually been adrift in a dense fog a couple of times. You think you can just hold the helm straight and hit the shore sooner or later, but all you do is keep circling back and hitting your own wake. Probably an analogy of lifes travels in there somewhere…

    Very disturbing experience being lost in a thick fog. I did eventually learn to keep a working compass in the boat at all times. Which means even a clod as dense as me can learn something from the fog πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mahalo, Shell! Yes, well – I did get caught in real fog once on our family boat – I’d never seen my Navy dad freaked out like that before. We had a ship to shore radio which refused to work. Our entire family of nine was on that boat. But you know, the fog cleared eventually and we made it safely to shore – I don’t remember how. I just remember the collective sigh of relief.

      The fog I spoke of here was metaphoric; mental. But it’s all the same, is it not? What we imagine strongly enough tends to mock the real thing πŸ˜‰

      Aloha, and thanks for weighing in with your voice. ❀


      1. Yeah, I knew you were using fog as a metaphor, but yes, it is kind of the same thing after all πŸ™‚

        Actually being lost in the fog can cause one to do some serious soul searching, and some serious soul searching can lead you to the fog. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Caked earth yields to concrete laid down everywhere to accommodate our leave-taking. ”

    Yes we certainly leave our mark.. The oasis.. yes, it beckons within our vision.. we know its there, within this illusionary world we live, yet still it leaves is parched .. As we wander between bricks and mortar.

    A wonderful descriptive piece Bela.. Sending huge waves of Love across the Ocean.. xxx ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aloha, Sue:

      I know this poem is more obscure than some I’ve written. I love your takeaway – your interpretation differs from my own only in context. My own meaning in this last stanza particularly was written at a huge crossroads in my life in 2001(!), a time when my youngest was finishing up her undergrad and preparing to leave for parts unknown; when I was going through menopause and losing energy for the hands-on work I was doing; before we sold our property in Maine and decided to move (back) to Hawaii. It was written symbolically to express angst at the existentials of life, the disappointment in discovering that things change, people leave – and in that case, I did know it was as it should be, but it was so hard, as I’m sure you recall.

      Anytime I might yearn for ‘easy,’ for an oasis from suffering, there’s life shaking me down. Again. The temptation then (not any longer, I’ve learned a bit since that time) was to simply move on, hit the road, grass being greener elsewhere. So there it is, right in my imagination, the relief I seek, but of course what I needed to encounter then and what I encounter now much more willingly and freely is inside myself. Thus the chicken water – the mirage – the ephemeral nature of desire.

      Blessings to you, sweet Sue, across the miles! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Profound and poignant Bela! Your reflections cut sharper than swords.
    This seems to be one of your older poems or a memory that still haunts you. I can relate to this fog, which often obscures our view when we have too much of anxiety around us and we are at a sea to handle those challenges of life…even faith seems to betray us and we don’t even have the maturity to tell ourselves – β€˜this too shall pass.’ We all pass through those crumbling times, yearning to scream louder, eager to race faster to leave those aches behind us. Yes! Nothing seems to change.
    We find our oasis only when we have learnt all the lessons that life teaches us in a harsh manner by putting us in the cauldron of fiery experiences.
    Thanks for sharing another wonderful piece. Stay blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aloha Balroop! Yes, older- written in 2001. Thankfully I no longer feel this yearning to find something outside myself to salve the pain of existence, though I know many who do. (I explained a bit of my process over the years in my comments to Sue, above.)

      I love how you describe going through the fires of transformation; the burning off of the fog in order to accept life on its own terms. Thanks for weighing in with these words of wisdom! Blessings right back at you. ❀


      1. Our poetry absorbs our pain and the yearning drowns in our words…what a blessing we have been endowed with to welcome life as it comes and then weave it into the web of our words! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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