Dragon Tears

I thought (for sure!) that I'd find some great definition of "Dragon Tears" in the urban dictionary online. Alas, there was nothing. I didn't even bother looking up "Saltillo Tears," which was the first title of this poem. I added something for "Dragon Tears" though. It made sense to me.

I think this all happened because I inhaled too many tile-cleaning products. It was during a day when I was simultaneously missing my family, listening to Mahler's 3rd Symphony, and editing engagement photos for my dear friends, Laura and Jay.

Oh -and I was cleaning tile too. I didn't just breathe that stuff in to see what would happen. Our house is full of the Mexican "Saltillo" tile which we put down (by hand) years ago. Beautiful stuff, but the acrylic/wax coating on it needs rejuvenation from time to time. Not an easy task. I've done it with rags, brushes, and even a finishing-sander in the past. But, I found a great machine to help out this time: the Oreck XL Pro. Fantastic thing. I can't say enough about it. If I'd discovered this a decade ago it would have saved so much time that I'm pretty sure it would only be 2013 right now.

Anyway, though an "orbital floor cleaner" is great, there's nothing that can save you from having to uncork all those cleaning products. You can use a good mask, which I did, but when you're living in the same place that you're using the stuff...well...there's no escape. Deep inhale and... who knows! Maybe Oreck will invent a machine that can save me the years I'm losing from this too.

So, Mahler's 3rd with the BRSO (fantastic), then looking at photos of dear friends (and the flickering acknowledgment of how photos are so immediate but can terrifyingly seem to lock themselves into the past), then a movie about passionate particle physicists ("Particle Fever," because Netflix thought I'd like it...). It all started to get to me. All that music -all those sweet crazy scientists turning into Christmas-morning children over experiments at CERN...

Plus, I'd poured myself a little wine to enjoy the movie. (It would sound so cool now to mention that the wine was called "The Seeker," which it was, ironically enough. But, the truth is I only had it because it was two-for-one at Publix. If I'd had more money, I'd have probably bought a bottle of "The Prisoner" instead.)

So I was watching the movie, but then I suddenly stopped because I'd finally had some kind of chemical-induced realization that the "dirt" I'd spent all day scrubbing out of our tile and grout had so much family history in it (don't groan until you've tried all the drugs I was on). Indeed, I hadn't probably gotten down on hands and knees with a scrub-brush like that (the Oreck only does so much...) since before my youngest daughter was born. It's a super-cheesy thought, I know, but you can blame RoVal for that -whatever chemicals are in their pink stuff. Actually, you can't. They're out of business, as I woefully discovered. But, I digress...

Apparently, there was a poem in me about all this. And, it came out pretty quickly. It's for my youngest daughter, and I hope she'll appreciate it someday (maybe she won't mind a dirty house so much). I hope you like it too. -B


Dragon Tears


I am closer

physically bent

the archaeologist of my own past


I see the creases I made years ago

between saltillo squares

the acknowledgement of tradition

to segregate and move on


dark layers come into light

history unaccounted

calling back feelings of seeing my daughter's sketches


confetti’s distinct frequency

they were overtures to a world un-materialized


She drew me a hero

a Dragon who could carry macaroni


I was supposed to know this before, She told me

“wagging an acceptance”

avatar in hand


I remember ushering that Dragon into a pile of its relatives

as if the family was gathering


not a pile maybe

only a place where other unknowable receipts 

laid in wait for understanding


alone now

crouched over my mexicans and their walls

on a chemical low

digging down the buildup of a child's entire lifetime


I would hold this dust forever

put it with the Dragon


just a smear of disintegrating sealant in my hands

with some of the dirt

from an urgent step of her shoe

as She ran into my arms


the Dragon could carry this too, I think

if I would only ask