Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Art and Poetry by Chris Dankovich

The Elevator
by  Chris Dankovich

I just woke up from a dream I had about you last night
We rode up in an elevator, ever so slow, looking out at the light
From the sun setting on clouds kissed red from its glow,
You, as I imagine you now to be, and I as I am now.
It´s been 8 years, over half as many as we were alive back then
When you were a girl who was a woman, and I a boy who thought he was a man,
And I held you in my arms but never made another move
Because I knew for you to be close I needed nothing to prove to you
But to be something more I might need to be something more
Than I could have been then, so we left it there.

Back to the dream: we stood mere inches away
And you lifted me out of the dark in the same way that you always would do;
And then the dream did what dreams always seem to do:
I ask if you´d let me buy you coffee, which you did, and we were back on the rise
In the lift as the sun set and I looked into your eyes
Just like I did with the paper pictures you sent me until I was almost 19 years old,
That spirit that kept me company on the wall by my bed while you wrote me your soul.
Five years have passed since the last picture and eight since I last heard you speak;
You were older, and stronger, but still wore those summertime freckles and mischievous smile
And your voice still echoed like an angel ready to cry.

While in the dream I followed like a disciple at the Last Supper
Every word that you said,
I lost the meaning of your words this morning while I was lying in bed,
Trying to call your back to me with my eyes closed, arms around my pillow, but instead
My eyes adjusted to the dark, for the sun hadn´t yet risen like it had in the dream
And I reconstructed, relived, something that had never really been,
But which I held on to with all of my heart,
And we were together again after 8 years apart.
I smiled in the dream and I smiled for real
And I felt the same as I used to feel around you.

You smiled like the waning moon smiles at the stars
And I pulled you into my arms as you held me in yours.
Not even God with a crowbar could pry us from one another
Then only our heads parted so we could gaze into each other.
I was nothing but my lips as I kissed yours and I was nothing but our kiss.
When I woke I cried and prayed and hoped and wished
To go back 5 minutes and not even 8 years
Because 5 minutes ago I loved you and 5 minutes ago you were here.
And though I told myself that none of this really happened,
That feeling didn’t fade.

Even in our dream we must breathe and so our lips parted,
The air in between us as gentle as when the kiss started.
I looked at you and you looked at me,
And we were all each other could see.
Then the elevator chimed and you walked out the door
I let you fade away just like I did before (in real life).
That´s when I woke up, looking around, knowing you´re not there,
I closed my eyes to find you, to bring you near again.

Because I would give up anything real
To have one more moment with you
To do whatever it is you do

With one moment with someone who saved you.

Social Darwinism
by Chris Dankovich

We live in a nation
that has incarcerated
one percent of its population.
In many major cities, everyone,
or at least a relation,
has experienced this directly.
We, as a nation, spend significantly more
on incarceration
than on education.
Who we are as a people is reflected.
Our children deserve more.

In a war of "us" versus "them",
the vast majority of them"
have used or sold drugs.
A commodity fuelled by desire, one to
which the majority of Americans have
at least once succumbed.
--Is a law democratic when the majority of those
under it have consciously chosen to break it?—
Too often we're reminded of it being "us" verse "them"
But can we call it a solution when
"Them” will become "Us" again later on, and do it again?
When will we tire of seeing our money
and our people
wastefully spent?
There is a strength, bravery, and compassion
that exists in the hearts of Americans
that is conspicuously absent in the rhetoric
and demagoguery of tow-the-line career politicians.
Instead of spouting off about problems, blaming others,
or sticking to answers that have failed, let's try another...
Can we try to solve the problem instead of just complaining that it exists?

Here's an attempt
(and you may disagree, but
at least can we try something different
than those things which have already failed?):
Maybe a different kind of social Darwinism instead of
institutional Darwinism is what we need.
If those who can't handle their drugs, like those
who can't handle their liquor,
break the law, THEN we lock them up  tight, or
even better. . . so the light in their life doesn't
die, but merely flickers –

"We, the law-abiding citizens of this land,
carrying on the tradition of order, ancient and grand,
forged from the wild, tamed by mind and by hand,
Do solemnly banish you, sentenced to exile,
for actions our elected officials have deemed to be vile,
to try your survival out in the wild.
Do you think that a society
can exist consisting
of people like you? If it can,
do you think that you can endure?"
“To the first I believe so…
To the second, I'm sure…"
And for the rest…
put them to the test:
put the violent to work
for those affected by their crimes.
Have them do something good
instead of wasting their time.
Locking a dead man, or one
who might as well be,
in a box for 50 years
is a waste of money .
No rehabilitation, and no restitution—
Is that your solution?
Any solution has to be
better than that .


Surely a nation that can
make magic happen
can at least attempt
to figure this out.
We've put men on the moon
and the power of the sun in a box,
but can't do better than
putting men in a box?
About no other issue
is so little thought through
or done.
So our children don't fail and fall down,
falling all the way to the bottom,
let us give them more
than that.

Nine Haikus 
by Chris Dankovich

Introduced myself,
But tried to be extra smooth--
That was a mistake.

The sound of hair cut--
Now that I know I look good.
I walk with swagger.

Stopped relationship
I had with crazy person.
(I learned from that one)

Dot on the ceiling
Minutes passed contemplating
Ноw did it get there?

Juice drips from my chin.
Flavor explodes in my mouth--
The taste of a plum!

My back stiffens up.
The weight is tremendous, but…
I accomplished it!

Dandelions nude.
Tendrils, having lost their fur,
Search around, confused.

Phone 1-800
You will not be charged for call
But, no help given.

Was watching TV.
Suddenly an hour passed.
Don't know what happened.


By Chris Dankovich

What can I say to the person
whose love I've abandoned, betrayed?
It makes no difference that it
happened so quick--
in the fire of a moment
that's destined to last
forever as the echo of death
of a connection that was a pillar of my life.

I never meant it so,
but how far can intentions go
into Hell to retrieve a mutual soul?
And will it look back before it gets out
and be forever trapped--
or become like a wraith, undead,
trying to eat us alive?

“But why?" I imagine
you asking in this imaginary conversation
(pain in your eyes, anger at me--even though
this is a hypothetical fantasy).
And why is the question I've
been asking myself over and over;
as if finding the answer would
convince you somehow to return to my life.

Why? is easier than answering what
I was thinking, or else Freud would
have found himself out of a job.
What if I could go back to when
this occurred and begin anew?
But despite all my prayers,
God won't grant me a second attempt
at seconds or years…would you?

This is not an apology, though
it would be that too
if I ever spoke to you again--
but I’ve no magical spells
to resurrect what's gone,
and I'm afraid if I did
I'd merely open up wounds
of how you were wronged.

Instead I write a eulogy
to what I've lost and may have been.
A speech I must give, even if
you won't forgive
so that at least I won't
sin again.
And to answer that reason why--
in that moment I didn't put you up as high
as you earned your place to be...

A mistake I've learned from now
and will not make twice…
If we see each other in the afterlife
may it matter there that
I've tried to make things right.
(But is that enough in this life?)

Then I will wait until the fates
will turn back time
and I could make the mistake not once,
and only then will I no longer merely say
if only I...
if only I...

Written 2010


(Untitled l)
By Chris Dankovich 

 If I could see you again,
what would I say?
Would I break down crying
like I did so many days?
Since you've been gone
I've grown stronger
and weaker
and more of the same,
so very different
you wouldn't recognize me by name.
But while I've changed
for the better
or worse
more than can possibly be,
would you be the same
as you used to be?
Did my tears implore
as they fell to the floor?
Did my prayers have the strength
to climb Heaven's stairs?
Heaven --a place
I never thought you would go...
You believed you'd stay on the Earth
and walk to and fro,
over and under,
through and below.
But I don’t want to believe
I sent you to Hell
though you stole my soul.
I want to give you an n-th chance,
but not because I need,
and certainly not earned
by any one of your deeds.
Instead it was one of my own
that gave you this place
and brought this face
to tears for you.
So if in this place
--my heart--
I could see you again,
I now have begun
to know what I would say:
I can only pray that you're in peace,
and I will remain silent
to keep it that way.

Diaspora Redux

I have lived longer in the
                place where I am
Than anywhere I have ever
                lived or been.
So how do I determine
                where I am from?
Where was I born?
                In a place where I spent
                merely two days.
Then I lived out my childhood,
                living as a child in every way.
I spent half of adolescence
                somewhere else.
The latter half of it and adulthood
                another place where I became myself.
Were I to travel back to the first three
                they would look foreign to me.
So where can I say is
                where I am from?
Were I a hood in the city
                tattooed “East Side--
                Do or Die”
                on my eight arm at twelve years old,
Single-parent mother; father the gang, the streets, the road;
                Transported, transplanted to a new city, its West Side--
Or rural Slovak, sent to live with his Grandparents
                At ten in a new village with new customs and new clothes.
--What then?--
An army brat, with a twinkle in his eye--
                Does he have to lie?
A teenage runaway, pregnant by the former love of her life,
                leaves the child at a fire-house station;
                the child grows as he bounces through foster care,
                                no one in relation,
                                no place to call home.
What is home? Do you merely live there?
A place to run away from like that girl who if
                forced to stay would tear out her hair?
A structure of brick, wooden frame, but devoid of a soul?
A nomad, feet never on the same land again,
                sleeping in animal skins stitched together around a pole?
--Do weeds have one, or do they simply grow?—
Is where I am from where I feel most at home?
Can I say that I’ve never been from anywhere yet?
                But “from” is definitely past tense,
                Suggesting arriving is part of a specific mission.
If I refuse to give an answer, then will you
                look at me with suspicion?

©Chris Dankovich 2015

Walking Dream

It’s night and
The walk is closed.
If you are found on it now
you may be shot.
Brown brick structures surround me,
impeding my foresight, but
at least the sky is free.
To my right, the ground gives way
to a flexible wall guarded
by 10 million little soldiers
armed with bayonets.
In the sunset they are a silver waterfall,
but now natural illumination gives way
to artificial moonlight that
reflects itself in innumerable glimmers
on miles of woven ductility.
It’s quiet: a whole city sleeps
dreaming visions far removed in
time and place.

©Chris Dankovich 2015


Here we meet again
At a place we’ve never been,
In the doorway of the home
Where I never lived.
I trigger one alarm
As I enter the back door
And I stand waiting for
The security company to call
For confirmation or report.
While the sirens
Were going off in my head
A knocking, though gentle
To go to the mouth of the house.
I walk to the door
And I open it up - -
In you walk wearing
A black dress hidden up top
By a black sweater with buttons on front.
It has red accents
That match the colour of your hair,
Above green eyes I have, that stare.
Though our gaze locked
I can’t believe that you’re there- -
My eyes are telling me you are
But my mind isn’t prepared:
For the first words to come out of your mouth
That you’re so glad that I’m here.
We are
Standing together
After so many years.
You look like you, older,
Not old, just more mature:
Unexpected but appropriate
For memories exist to make us aware
Of how things could be.
Your billowing lips
thin out, not to ??, but to smile
and we embrace, you holding me
tighter than I can hold you for a while
(until I am sure)
Then I pull you as close as I can
Before I lift you into the air.
I set you back down
And swallow a tear
I have seen and felt you - -
Proof that you are here.
And you speak to me
With words that show that you care
But by the time I accept
It all as real, you disappear
When I open my eyes, but I blink
And your image is there –
Why come to me
After so many years
I ask, but I know these are words
That you’ll never hear

You are
I am…
In this land, in this air
just for ten seconds
lasting ten minutes,
felt for hundreds of hours
remembered for years

If nowhere else

and never again…here.

©Chris Dankovich 2015

Chris Dankovich 595904
Thumb Corrections Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like the artwork that you have posted. Thank you.