Forever Home on Mind

by Kyle Erickson


I wept into the sea; it did not overflow.
(Buddhist meditation)

Spread out over a great distance
        like a tremendous giant fallen dead,
            my heart, heavy with sadness, covers over my daily duties.

I can’t eat, write, work, speak, but
        walk the familiar corridors—
in rooms I’ve danced with friends,
in rooms I’ve philosophized,
in rooms I’ve sat as I do now,
        red eyed and staring as in meditation but
            only feeling pain without enlightenment—
        till I grab the keys and drive to the shopping strip
            bubbling with beautiful people
who love the machinery of consumer competition.
            The mob about me—blonde, small, large, brown—
                shuffle up, down, back and forth, comforting me
                with the wishing that I could be comforted
                by the bags they carry.

I hit the streets
        and pass the town—the three stop-lights of Grove, Oklahoma—
            down to the low-water bridge
        where a light stream trickles over small rocks between bare trees
            where I once strummed songs
                while peers drank the evening down through Coors Light cans,

        then down to the Water’s Edge—
            a gravel boat ramp in a small bay of Grand Lake water
                with eternal western view of twin moons, water and sky—
        where I myself got drunk the first time
            with my doe-eyed older brother
                and he with glee punched his fist bloody
through a dock door window,

        then back to home,
            but outside the familiar corridors
                where the expanse of green bluff hums memories in the distance.
        An occasional deer, close enough to toss a rock at, eats mother’s vegetables
            under the single telephone pole for miles in the back yard.
                The pole where my father hung a make-shift basketball goal
                    that rarely felt a ball and decayed
        as my mind does
            while I turn to see tears shine on my face reflection
                outside my bedroom window.

My eternity bounces me to and from this homestead
        in dreams and reality, nightmares and reality—

home where my pregnant mother fell off a shoddy doorway ramp
        to the mobile home door and
            bruised her legs black,
                cursing God for poverty and an unexpected pregnancy,
home where my parents’ shallow life savings was spent on
        rheas, awkward exotic birds, that ran scared—
            chased by our neighbor’s dogs—
        and died of heart attacks and
            Dad cursed God and cried on pregnant Mom’s belly,
home where my doe-eyed older brother ran away,
        cursing God and Mom and Dad,
home where I, frustrated in sleep,
        kicked through a storm-window barefooted and
            awoke bleeding on the bathroom floor
                while Mom held the vein and cried for God to heal
            to save from the emergency bill.

Home dear home,
        forever clear and profound on the senses,
            forever never disappearing.


Kyle Erickson was born and raised in Grove, Oklahoma. He lived in Tulsa for several years before moving to New York with his wife in 2007. He’s read his poems at KGB Bar, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and other NYC venues, and he’s the co-creator of the original poetry series, Kick Assonance (which was named a “Critics’ Pick” by Time Out New York).