For Mother

Who was the one that tucked us to bed?
I don’t remember.
Where was mother? A child laughs
and shares his secrets with the night.

Father said not to move from our spot
or the photographs will whisper
to each other from their frames.
Who was mother?
I dream of trying to capture my first bird
with the salt shaker mother used
for stuffed cabbage. Will this work, father?

Listen to how the rain hits the land.
Then think of how the bird flies.
Can you see it? Or feel the feathers,
one by one, between
your fingers?
Ask your mother for one helping
and she’ll show you capturing love
is and is not easy.

Where was mother?
She died at sea. Pneumonia.
Or maybe the birds brought her home
through song and flight. Who’s to
remember? I cannot distinguish
between heaven and right now,
mother from father, and my lost
childhood from yesterday.

— Mircea Sauciuc

When The Body Remains

When my brother lies
in his in rogue
and his Sunday suit,
he doesn’t stop loving you.

His body rests beneath the freshly
cut grass and the stone
father had made with the hands
that buried him, and reads,
From here to the moon.

Wait. Father struggles as the sun
sets to see through the dew
as he sings to himself the song
that he used to sing to us as we fell asleep.

Mother does not join in,
since she promised my brother the next song
she sings with him will be with God,
at home. In peace.

She stands at two plots
which read, wife, mother, warrior.
The day the writing ends on the stone
is the day decay will stop. Not for her
or my brother, but for the pain that made her
a warrior.

Persimmons – Li-Young Lee

In the Fall of 2003, at a writer’s conference, I remember Li-Young Lee read a poem. A man I’ve never heard of before, let alone read one of his poems. But his reading, and presentation, were mesmerizing. Captivating. He tugged at my heart as if to say, “Here. Enter here. Do you remember my face?

To this day, I don’t remember the name of the poem he read. But I remember the feeling I had listening intently to his reading it. I remember the lady walking down the stairs. Her dress. And I remember his sadness, as ripe as this poem below.

He’s moved me ever since. He’s part of my life. And he shapes the way I see me own life. And, Persimmons is one of my favorite poems of his because it sheds light on my own memories. Thank you, Li-Young.

— Mircea Sauciuc

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet,
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down.
I teach her Chinese.
Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.
Naked:   I’ve forgotten.
Ni, wo:   you and me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and frightwren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang, The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father sat up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons,
swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.
He’s so happy that I’ve come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find a box.
Inside the box I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

A Few Short Years

Below is a poem that came to be just tonight (really in short pieces) as I was lying with my son as he was falling asleep. As people always say, the days are long, but the years are short. They are indeed — on both accounts.

And, so, this is just some words strung together thinking about the years of my children growing (currently 6.5 and 4.5). It’s a difficult piece to put together at the moment, but I needed an outlet to get it out, and so, here it is for the moment. I don’t know what will happen to it. Maybe I’ll let it sink in for now. Thank you to all who read and “Like” it. You’re all a blessing.

The expectation of what’s to come.
I know nothing.
You’re not found, but created
as mother explained
from dust and ash. We
create together;
one mold for our future.

I start to learn more
about you.
Bonding begins when we both
wonder about sleepless nights.
Anger begins when sleepless night
embrace father’s son.

Discovery is soft and deft.
We’ve discovered ourselves within
one another, especially the night
you fell asleep on my chest
and the rhythms of our hearts
played the tune that made mother,
and her mother, cry.

Independence became vast day,
while the days and the clock
gave no resolutions.

Who have we become? Ask me
about my world and I will tell you
that the sun, and mother, is the center of the universe.
We make sense of it each day.

I begin to miss you.
Who have I become? What is my name?
How old have I become? It’s these questions
that make me grow together with you.

Father's Prayer

Father: to which of you
do I owe my life. Is it you

who bathed me in forgiveness
as if forgiveness was lonely in the background.

Or is it you, the one who carries the past
from the past to heaven

with the grip of a man who lost
his spirit but not his vision.

Forgive me father. For what
have you done?

— Mircea Sauciuc

Many, including this one, are works in progress. I feel there is a space for them somewhere. And no place better than here.

Thank you to all who read and Like the posts/poems. That outcome is not my intention, but rather for their life to exist outside of me. I don’t know who they are, except they seem as familiar as the lady who locks eyes with you at the local grocer and one soul whispers: It’s been many years since our separation. I’m here. If it isn’t you, love, it must be me.

Dark Nights

Who sings the child to sleep?
Is it the night? Our first mother
and our original face.

Maybe it’s the moon.
Mother always tells us stories that it was always one
part whoever’s looking. The other part

I don’t remember.

Father worries, so his worry boils
tomorrow’s coffee. In a letter he never wrote
to us he says, My sacrifices are heavy on
my forehead, but my actions almost nothing.

Does the wind remember my
dead brother’s sleepless brow?

Or his smile after mother
would tuck him in and whisper to him

how much he reminded her of father?

Does he remember the time we played dead
and said one did not act without the other? I cried
because I had thought you left
without saying, Here I am.

Ask God who plays God and he’ll
tell you the shortest path between home
and the garden is through

the memories that have faded. Who now holds
my love?

What have I done with my God?

— Mircea Sauciuc

Unapologetically Me

Happy New Year to all! Wow…I remember in the early ’90’s I would watch 20/20 and think, “Man, imagine watching 20/20 in 2020.” Ha! Well, well…anyway, just a thought and I digress.

I don’t typically open up very much, especially online. I put on a fabulous front for many people, all the time. Happy, social guy who talks to everyone all the time (my wife says I’m like “the mayor”). Sure, that’s the outside me. But people rarely see, or care to maybe see, the inside me. The guy who’d like to be someone else or say something else because it’s really more me, rather than saying or doing that action in that moment. And in doing so, I’m not truly being true to who I really am. I’m oversimplifying the feeling because the complexity runs deep. And, I should say, what I’m referring to is actually more something that I feel online rather than in-person. Most of the time. I’ll explain.

I’ve always felt this weight that I must behave a certain way…for really (somewhat) unknown reasons. Anecdotally, from my experience, people always assume I’m a doctor or a lawyer (I’m absolutely not either — ironically, I do love reading tax/estate law journals and supreme court cases for “fun”). Always. Perhaps it’s the way I carry myself and my confidence, as well as people’s automatic social stigma for people based on the way they look and carry themselves. But perhaps it’s this stigma that puts the additional weight on me to feel as if I need to behave one certain way — the “way,” I suppose, can be aptly characterized as “professional.” The reality is that I don’t like acting that way. I loathe it, actually.

As mentioned, it’s usually online and not typically in-person. To combat that in-person, when I immediately strike a conversation with someone, I try to be me as much as the situation allows. For example, I’m one to almost immediately refer to someone as “brother,” “my man,” and saying things like “yo.” I like that informality. I like feeling real and in touch with others. My goal, if I’m candid, is for the other person to think, “Damn, here’s this dude that looks like a ‘doctor’ or ‘lawyer’ and he’s talking to me like I’m one of his ‘people.'” I deliberately try to strip myself of that social stigma based on my appearance. Because I know they’re probably initially looking at me and thinking, “Fuck this guy and his fucken horse he rode in on.” Nah, nah…not today, son! Ya boy’s bringin’ the reality heat.

My goal this year is to be better about displaying that side of me online, that I display in the real world. That’s not specific to one site or blog, but online overall. I just feel phony online because of that debilitation. And it’s quite frustrating to me. Most people, I feel are the opposite (I could absolutely be wrong and perhaps I’m stereotyping): they’re a huge personality online, meanwhile you meet them in the real world and you think, “That’s the person? Really? Meh.” That’s precisely my result but in reverse. And that needs to change.

I’ll tell you what’s hard about this change, though. The way I behave in real life, if transferred to online, would make me look like I’m trying to acquire online friends and am being unauthentic. Again, I could be trippin’ and way off base since one can technically say that for me being the way I am in real life. However, in real life it’s much easier to get a reading off someone. That is, should someone behave in some phony way in the real world, I feel most of us would pick up on the fact that the person is trying too hard to be liked rather than just someone who’s social. That’s the key, I believe. People who are “social butterflies” online can be labeled as “that phony person just trying to get followers,” because it’s hard to know any better without a real reading from their body language and other cues.

At any rate, 2020 is me learning to be more of the unapologetic me. Yeah, I curse. Yeah, I like being informal. And, yeah, I like being formal when the time calls for it. And, ABSOLUTELY YES I’m the social dude that is labeled “the mayor.” Shaking hands and BS’ing with anyone (not really kissing babies). I just need to learn to convert that to online behavior.

Thanks for reading,
— Mircea Sauciuc