#154 Theme: Home Again Home Again Jiggedy Jig

1. Only Those Who Are Dead Rest In Peace by LeVan Hawkins

The family home is trembling

The stairs have been shaking for years

I have called the Carpenter

But he is in demand

And this job

Too small


The two story Georgian

Moves back and forth

Back and forth

Until it rams against the future.

I search the mansion for a witness

But my home has been deserted

And begins to whirl like a midwestern tornado

Until it collapses off its foundation.

I search the street -

Animated cars of

Lime, sienna and terra cotta

Make me a target

Screech, aim


Screech, aim


Bullets, fires and animated cars keep me running

I struggle through familiar streets

Trying to remember my home address

Elusive as my high school locker combination.

I hear aunt Florence's voice

Proclaiming the next time will be fire.

I see our home in the distance

The carpenter's work has been completed

The stairs are sturdy monuments

And the house has been painted

Lime, sienna and terra cotta

I grab my spirit

Hold her to my chest, lower my head

And dash to one hundred forty-first street.

As I reach the door

The old man

Face unseen and cloaked in darkness

Reaches for his weapon

I am tired of running, I scream

I hurl my spirit through the door

Stand erect

Expand my chest

Turn to the old man

And demand he take

His best shot.

© LeVan Hawkins

2. Swine by Tom Mueller

This little straw-house piggy

was driven to the market

in a wedding white

stretch limousine.

She lounged in the mobile sauna,

sipped an orgasmic cocktail;

rhinestone sunglasses

concealed ill-bred identity.

Paparazzi chronicled

her plight and flight

down posh and wolfless


Pigs who live in fragile houses

often hit the road.

This little stick-house piggy,

snorting powdered Prozac,

stayed home and miserly

stacked stones into piles

to the beat of Bolero.

She ordered them daily --


had UPS slip them

through cracks in the walls,

Yes, second pigs

form solid convictions

that sticks

and stones and names

are seldom broken.

This little brick-house piggy

wasn't stacked,

had no wheels,

but had a beef roast

boiling in the kettle on a potbelly stove.

Priggish and prudent

all her long life,

she survived

every huff and puff

external danger

till sepia grayed,

razorback dulled,

her tail lost its curl,

loved ones dwindled

and then she had none.

She choked on her wisdom,

fell feeble and blind...

cried wee wee wee

all the way

to the home.

© 2000 T. Emmett Mueller

3. Of Homes and Hearts by Patricia Fiske

Not knowing how or when or where

or what it would look like

I found both home and heart

patient, trusting, floating on intuition,

open to possibilities, I found them,

a home and a heart,

places to plant my spirit roots deep

But both needed major renovation

paint and pain stripped from walls

replaced with vibrant, happy colors

new carpet, tile and hope for floors

once sullied by scar-tissue, debris

and too much traffic

lighting changed, now lit with love

my home, now occupied by me

my heart, ready for occupancy

© Patricia Fiske

4. Home by Mary Eastham

You told me to imagine

the lights were vultures.

'Blink once,' you said,

'and we'll be eaten alive.'

My will is strong.

I paralyzed the muscles

around my eyes

to stare into faces

the color

of sanitized


I realized

I was living

a Las Vegas nightmare.

At the hotel

our pillows

were hard

and flat,

the kind

that block out dreams.

You held me

as we waited

for the rose glow of dawn

to return.

Around two a.m.

or was it three,

we jumped from the balcony

of our first floor room

to follow the sounds

of night fires in the desert.

'Beware the salamander

on the rock,' I said.

You wanted

to touch

its soft, moist skin.

Walking through purple darkness

my bare leg

caught the edge

of an Indian fig cactus.

'Blood looks different

at night,' you said

moving toward me

like a scientist

with nothing to fear.

You stopped the bleeding


as the moon


a twister

of light

directly in our path

its sterling silver glow

surrounding us

like captured rain.

© Mary Eastham

5. An Afterness by John B. Lee

I hear

an almost silent drumming

of this human heart

and know

it is my own.

And then

between the quickening

and the slowing

of sleep

between the rising

and lulling

of that exited inner touch

with all the thump

and thrum

of something captured

in the dark

I'm lost


the fearing of the known

and unknown ecstacies of life

as at the end of every


the stilling pulse

will seek and find and soothe so lovingly

the long lacunae of an afterness.

© 2000 John B. Lee

6. Full Circle by Marilyn Injeyan

From a dream so well digested

it leaks from my pores

to perfume and distill thoughts

if only for a sleeping moment

I'm tucking words away

in an unfamiliar house where two

strangers remain in the darkening

room as I'm asked an offering

for the bereaved daughter

who stares through me searching

I don't know how much

to give and why

Outside, I join a ring

of people, hands held, enclosing

a small pile of ashes, powdery and fine

Sadness washes over me and I weep

waves splashing down my chest

as I become the circle, connected

I've traveled countless miles

and years to disembark at last

I am the grieving daughter

in the warmth of hands

while the gray-blue light

of evening calls me home

I'm now the quiet listener

thirsty ears drinking in the silence

© Marilyn Injeyan

7. Home Again, Home Again by P.T. Paul

You wondered, when you walked into my low-rent bungalow,

how I could sit on a ladder-back chair

and laugh as I recounted how I flicked on the light

to see my black velvet Christmas flats

swirling lazy do-se-does

on the river that had come to visit me while I slept -

how could you have forgotten Hurricane Camille?

At the family reunion that heat-scorched July,

you shook your head as I crowed how the doctor,

upon first seeing my blistered torso remarked,

"that's one WHOPPING good case of the Shingles!"

(It would seem that the asbestos fibers

that burrowed under our skin that summer

of Hurricane Frederick the Homewrecker

would have left at least one scar on you?)

"You NEVER lived in your car!"

you remark disdainfully

when I relate the story of my marital exodus

to yet another appalled family member -

"yes, I did," I think to myself,

"because a moving target is harder to hit."

We are survivors - from a long line of survivors -

lower-middle-class curs who recoil when kicked,

growl (if only inwardly),

then find another, unguarded, route

to the garbage cans.

My refugee story is remarkable only in its newness -

another hardluck manmade natural disaster

will bump it from the front page soon enough - but,

it is my own fairytale, warts and all -

and the ending is happy

because I chose it.

© 2000 P.T. Paul