Love is all that will remain,
And grow from all these seeds.
In my memories you’re singing “Flesh and Blood” by Johnny Cash,
I can feel the fingers of your voice brushing my skin,
A whistle from an Irish reed, with freckles in your tone.
I don’t remember how we started to grow.
I don’t remember when we first stopped beside each other’s mountain streams.
Honeydew ideas were allowed to grow ripe,
Confessions allowed to breathe.
Questions fermented in baby blue.
You told me you loved me,
But I didn’t know it was a secret.
And I loved you back out loud
On a string of buck-eye beads.
My flesh was your flesh,
Your blood was my blood.
But maybe that was too much.
(You never brought me flowers.)
Maybe my serenades were trumpet blares that woke you from your Walden,
And maybe my touch was too civilized,
(And maybe, nine years later, I’m still learning not to blame myself.)
You didn’t need my soul in flesh and blood,
You needed the quiet wild.
(You never gave me roses,
But you walked forget-me-nots.)
Nine years ago we started to grow,
Nine years ago you left,
Nine years later I’ve forgiven you,
Nine years later I wonder if you still think of me.
Flesh and blood needs flesh and blood,
But a person can find that herself.
I’ve waded in other rivers,
I’ve even learned to swim,
But you’re always the first step.
Flesh and blood, blood and flesh needs
You took my flesh but left my blood,
Filled with lilac seeds.
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments and welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**
Camryn Tiner is a burgeoning poet from Los Angeles. A graduate from UC Berkeley with degrees in Spanish and Linguistics, she is an avid reader and a lover of words…especially the word “burgeoning.” She is working on a manuscript of short poems between part-time jobs and applying to graduate school. This is her first published work.