Friday, December 31, 2010
some faint tongue of fate whispers, “Accidents
happen.” There’s my daughter in the window,
waving goodbye, voice faint behind the panes.
Is it life or my perception that slows?
Somehow that moment crossing the flagstones
fills with such longing and love and regret
as though every tragic, comic, mundane,
epic journey of the Mandelbrot set
of life grows from each goodbye and hello.
Still I go and come in a bittersweet
ballet with many storylines wending
where they may. A world blooms when the car starts,
its fragrance accidentally undoing
all other worlds for now, for today. Then
the day transpires, and soon I’m returning
home safely. (My wife asked for this ending.)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
when i think of light
i think of nuclear bombs
a dazzle so bright
capable child of our technologics
lit, it melts our eyes
the nun from africa
talks about how
it is too hot mid-day
sun is a menace
where she lives
night is the balm there, night the time
for getting things done
night, the cool, receptive darkness
enswirls her, a time of conversation
laughter and action
because of sky god confusion
some burn their eyes in upward glances
i will gladly receive
the gifts of worm duff and leaf goo
the rot of earth
this toasted hazelnut rice stuffed squash
these little leaves of thyme
minting my tongue
some sun, sure, but remember
the greater embrace of clay (volcanic molten ash balls long ago
lobbed to our now, capable of holding water and so many minerals)
and the endless dundering sundering
rock tumble of pangaea and glacier
across geologic aeons which gives
us this fertile
down into the dark caverns in earth belly
down the earthworm superhighways
down the muckpiles and festering fresh rot
fungal beloveds and mycelial mushroom muscle
down into the cunt of the earth, the earthwomb,
the throbbing life always in labor and always in birth
somewhere fallowing elsewhere nourishing
beyond our projection of terror given by birth-stealing
religion (pretense of fecundity)
beyond our learned aversion to mystery and
glorification of cause-effect
beyond our recent primacy on sight and
loss of low light or night
we can still walk the night path, a life
giving chant on our earth loving tongue,
gently receiving the moist cool linger
a kiss of darkness to bless our way
as we learn to stop poisoning the earth and it becomes
impossible for corporations soon denuded of their false bodies
to profit short term off of long term poison
as we lose our fear of the wild rampage of life
and reconnect with our inner wilderness
our sex high howling pleasure and savoring succor
i will give you back your sky gods and internecine
nuclear fire shatter; you give me back the earth
no need to ask or give; we reinhabit.
in slither and wriggle,
dance and shout
in organic dill and dogwood blossoming
this gorgeous, fertile
arm of our arms,
leg of our legs,
huge and healing
dark and moist
26 Dec 42010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I am imaging us at a winter table, sipping tea. We are enjoying a mellow evening of poem making with scrabble tiles near a roaring fire. Some of the words I might use would include quiescent, quaff, blooming, razzle, bless, sail, and gloaming. Please feel welcome to make a poem with some of your favorite words (or you could use some of these). Your poem could be spare like a leafless tree or frolicsome as your mood depends. You can write your poem in tiles or letters, evocative haiku or splendid word-fountain, laser beam or galaxy, your choice. Holiday blessings from : ) Scooter near Solstice 2010
Label: Razzle, Poem
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
lock it seal it stuff it bury it
shred it burn it wipe it drown it
no light allowed
no one must know no one
secrets stay secret
what i am doing you will not
you will never
no one will ever
secrets stay secret you will never know
this thing buried thoughts
my plans I did
no one will ever our little
those who have an inkling
locked sealed stuffed buried shredded burned wiped
have been eradicated
no light allowed
no one must know no one
what i am doing you will meltdown
shut not know
no one will ever
see, ever know
this i have done
these things that
sealed in blood
away imagine NO
nailed down shredded
melt no photos no one gets hurt
and their assassins shot
no one knows
quench no notes the light
squelched stifled drowned
seal it sew
nail it shut cement it down
cover it forever
our little shut your
Friday, December 17, 2010
somewhat cloud muzzled,
winter comes, spreading her cape
of dead plants and twigs,
birds in droves
of pippery, and deep
fallows. the core of me slows
to a crevasse, a whisper,
not even wind in this
valley. the only snow's
inside, but that's enough:
to be wiped clean to nubs,
nibbled by those
who aren't fully asleep--
and slumbering in the slow breath
of those who are.
a time of bedazzlement
if sun peaks through to the smile in me.
but mostly blackness wombs me
the almost full moon
in a circle of light, a glowsphere miles out
from her fresh gaze, accentuating the fathomless
blanks of space.
deep in clearing the heart
of me, that deep in
these moonportals of cold white
embalm the night in me.
these inner snow flurries
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
over tiny us, slide in in new skins.
Winter pours from the ground
to lay across the woolen world
in cool, nest-sitting repose.
It abides, eating my certainty.
The shapes of summer’s purposes
melt in its smooth belly.
I can’t guess what I knew
in fall or spring. For now,
just walking to that chair and
sitting down seems the only thing.
The dark left as itself
impresses upon me a whole,
a depth incomparable,
a wonderment beyond
what typically is taken
as the simple absence of light
For the dark is itself
a deep nourishing, a salve
to my bones and beingness as
I walk in the dark, sampling
this exquisite treat of the
True would be the loss
to suffer nyctalopia*, although
many do without knowing
this condition is theirs,
we've become so blind
within the hierarchy of light
Dusk finds the ground within
such that surfaces dissolve
give way to the softer core heat
This communication begins
its emanation, naming each
thing anew as dark arises
In contrast, intentioned light
overshadows and can carelessly enter
the exquisiteness of the dark
where naturally listening things
recede into their essential
incognito. The dusk is that listening
What do we have in common
with the dark? Are we not dark,
dark in our marrow, in our quiet,
in so many yet to be
And how are we similar to a flame?
The flame, kin to the dark, is it not
ever tender to the shadows?
Lighting a flame, our dark
dances within, with, and around us.
As a sweet melancholy
I am drawn to take to the dark,
an exquisite entry
A prescription unique,
walking forward looking deeply
eyes open and open again,the vastness of the dark field,
to deeply see
what cannot be seen
through a different wonder.
noun ~ the inability to see in dim light or at night. Also called night blindness .
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We would sit in the cherry tree,
high up on thin limbs that could barely hold a breeze,
looking for fruit that had ripened yet somehow escaped the squirrels.
We would sit under the bushes,
inside the bushes in fact, where grown-ups would never think to look.
We would hide inside cabinets and closets,
sometimes hide so well we wouldn’t know
the others had given up seeking and turned to snacks.
We would haul the dog up to the tree house
and pretend we didn’t hear our parents calling.
There were screens on the windows, of course,
but just the one screen in the house,
the size of a sheet of loose leaf,
and we were forbidden to watch its black and white opinions most of the time.
The phone was attached to the wall,
which was fine because people rarely called,
certainly not during dinner.
We didn’t think it was idyllic.
It wasn’t. It was just the suburbs
and kids came home from Vietnam in boxes
or ended up like Uncle Ray, pumped full of lithium
in Pilgrim State for trying acid or being gay or both.
The girl next door got picked up for breaking in
and stealing mom’s jewelry while we were on vacation
and suddenly the cat was missing an eye.
A microwave was merely some mystery of radio relay,
so dinner was more likely to be cold...
and it wasn’t called domestic violence yet
even though the churches were full of folk music.
We would hide under the eaves.
We would crawl beneath our beds.
We would sit inside the bushes,
bitten by brambles, bleeding from needles and thorns.
But it was quiet there, secret and safe,
and no one could find us for hours at a time.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
you don't have to teach me
once two hands are on,
and my fingers close around
the scuffed, oil honed snath
into angled reaping lance
i am gone, can't hear you anyway
in the morning we are quiet as harvest begins
gruff greetings as each arrives
animals provisioned, cow milked
get ready for a long day now
that the sunrise has boiled over
from all that madness
into a bend of pure blue,
and the dew has all returned to heaven.
now even the birds have begun
attending to everyday chores.
check your blade for sharp up against the sun
any dull bit, too wide to splice light,
will glint and sparkle and needs attending.
your back stays straight, arms as well
arc your torso a stiff hip twist
follow the elliptic side to side
with every full swing
as if your pelvis were the earth.
i go in and out of believing in human past lives,
sometimes ancient antiquity
is tirelessly thronging with my people,
my blood kinned to so many of history's helices,
that i rest confidently cradled
in the long learning journey i ride.
the rest of the time it is obvious
that mostly i have been dirt, tree limbs, stones.
and that is that, beautifully.
until i pick up a scythe. or a sickle.
and then god plucks me,
the ground cracks and swallows me
and with instantaneous precision
drops me directly onto a sweat painted field
into the metered beat of swinging tools
the whole farm full out to help.
metal flying close to the ground
without knocking rocks
grain sundered into swaths
braced to be banded
and stacked in stooks.
i am content here
as regular as breathing
as familiar as the smell of my bed
reaping by hand
the wedded cells of sky earth and water
united in biological matrimony
a million times over
in each golden stalk, each budded head of wheat
that sways in the rosy acreage
as one breathing thing
which we have come to bow, fell, level
and lay down to dry
for a snowy night's worth of bread.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
If you feel inspired, you could even invent or revisit poetic forms in the time machine.
Welcome to the rifts and wild adventures of timespace!
This week's keywords: "poem, time machine"
Thursday, December 2, 2010
secret identity told in tchotchkes,
smudgy paraphernalia sitting chaste,
where are the doors opened by all these keys?
Yesterday’s faded clarities have chased
postponed questions from this walkie-talkie:
Why shouldn’t I eat up the cold, red plums?
What messages live in these inky streaks?
Who speaks from the holy medicine steam?
This drawer collects the whimsy of your choice.
Decant the junk onto the floor. Vacuum
off the layer of homogenous dust.
Now you have to winnow, to make more room—
so meet each object anew and adjust
the boundary between preserved and decayed
memories. Then close your shrine to sweet rust,
your miscellaneous matters of trust.
to write a poem.
Just give it up!
Do something else instead:
basketball with a homeless kid,
laundry, taxidermy, nap.
Send roses to the obese neighbor
in the blue house up the street.
Email your dead mother.
Call three friends and make fun of them.
Walk across town barefoot
in search of the burning bush.
Gargle with baking soda,
brush your cat's teeth.
Wait for a moment when your heart is quiet,
then grab a pen and paper
and quickly scrawl
your soul's most recent dream -
not a poem, not a poem.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I was in the kitchen washing dishes and feeling sorry for myself
when suddenly I realized that the Holy Spirit of God was in the room
and I said Hey, aren't you supposed to be in heaven somewhere or maybe
some dark cathedral in Italy? And what's with the baseball cap?
But the Holy Spirit of God just stood there
as silent as you would expect
and I felt a breeze in my hair, I really did,
and I suddenly thought of you alone in that big house with just your goldfish and your beer
and then outside my window a small cloud caught fire.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
these are my sins: (and their true meaning)
sin (with; truth)
sincere (of one growth, sound, pure, whole, with the crescenting moon)
sinecure (without care)
since (in the evening)
sine qua non (an indispensable condition)
sinews (to bend)
sing (voice, oracle, incantation)
single (individual unbroken)
singular (remarkably good, unusually rare)
singultus (a sob)
sinister (more useful, more advantageous, veering leftward)
no no i mean these are my syns:
syn (together with)
syncopate (to shorten)
synergy, synergetic, synergistic (to work together, cooperating)
syncopy (to cut through)
scintillate (to spark)
synaesthesia (sense with)
synapse (clasp, fasten, junction)
synaptive (connected, copulative)
synchronized (same timing)
sinclinal (to lean together)
syncretic (reconciling different beliefs)
synagogue (to gather together)
syndic (publically advocate)
synecdoche (part for whole)
synechia (continuity, to hold with)
synonymous (having the same name)
synopsis (to see all together)
syntactic (ordered, arranged with intention)
synthesis (put together)
succulent (to suck the juice)
snuffaluffagus (shaggy lumbering goddess)
sesquiquadrate (two celestial bodies separated by 135 degrees)
cinquant (fifty; homonym: 5 aunts)
please praise my sins/syns/scins/skins, for they are magnificent and holy, praising creation
Friday, November 26, 2010
pay handsomely for the privilege,
borrow, in fact, more than we’ve ever had
just to slip our necks inside the noose.
Yep, we cook our own goose,
fry up golden eggs while we’re at it
and invite our friends to dine
as if it’s a joyous occasion.
We buy objects that no one needs, in bulk,
unpack them into cabinets, cavernous,
and lovingly recycle the plastic bags
by tying them tightly around our necks.
We shop so carefully for our poison,
hire experts to help us estimate
exactly how much to consume each month
so we can die alongside the neighbors,
lawns as perfect as cemetery plots.
We buy our chains. We buy our locks.
We save our pennies in a box,
fretting about where it’s cached
while dreaming of a larger box.
for each and every debt is less
a measure of pleasure in present tense
than memory of a past defense
against that which awaits each of us
regardless of interest or last address.
Held through two rock valley,
past the nude sheep and singing lambs,
through shafts of light offered only
after the dead have fallen away,
past deer carcass, skunk, barn owl,
offering, as they must,
roadkill married to moment’s glory.
It is never one thing
in the aching span between
in and out, pausing
at the tip of the tongue before
creation, again, saying,
How about this?
And then this?
One breath, shotgun wedding of truth
that this is your life, choice
to linger at the nectar of nothing,
the intermezzo before another starts,
the making of worlds
in the bellows of your sweet accordion
Think of it as a kind of palimpsest:
|Example Palimpsest: Codex of Ephremi|
Keyword labels: poem, palimpsest
Thursday, November 25, 2010
bring your candles
bring the lantern of your heart
and strike the flame high
we are beloved friends, so long
warming each others' homes
come I will kindle the coals of you
and you will flare the fire of me, my life, my heart
this is the truest gift, vibrant, brighter
than spring air or bloom—
in the middle of cloud lid and winter's promise
of silence, of grey quiet,
we break out in lanterning, in frolic
this is why they call it housewarming.
friend the gift of your presence is a lantern
whose light will stay with me,
ever resuscitating, alive,
a beacon in memory and
kindling the skin, the fiber of me
my heart and health,
a full moon smiling, then wax and waning,
ever replenishing, visit and visit again,
brighter than bright and wholeness creating,
bright and beaconing again,
infinite and warm.
providing guidance, surefooted, dancing.
ever replenishing, visit and visit again,
brighter than bright and wholeness creating,
bright and beaconing,
infinite and warm.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
what comes is what brings itself to this
what rests there and what moves on
these are both a part of the same stuff
the stuff of emergingrecedingpausing
bring your feeling sense to what I am
pointing to if you will, if you feel to
there is an ‘empty’ state or open, spacious,
receiving, nothing being grasped for or at
that pervades the formerly preoccupied
ground such that ground becomes being
being breathes just as awareness is quietly
cascadingshoweringbathing itself ever anew
things get done yet no doing ~ on and on
spontaneously refreshing, involuntarily,
with and without innocence both
nothing you can or need to do about it
but be in and as the receiving,
the flowering of this, engaged in this
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
If I were you,
I could snap open the moment,
an impatiens seed pod ejecting dozens of tiny eyes
into the corners of this personal sensation
as it happens now
one eye to watch a sky so inviting
through blinds beneath the eave,
an aching toward sunshine and the way breezes
open the throat to drink,
and colors rise in my face
one eye to fly up, to see the rolling surface
of land and sea, two to sink
into the depths,
drift from eddies to roots
to sky again,
dancing between terrestrial chambers
like blood through the heart's mansion and
the hallways between moments,
the causeways that plant you in plains,
and bog me in the marsh for now,
and roll us all up again
into one skypod
and the longing, the longing
throat longing as though
to emerge burstingly
to sky beyond sky,
to your seeing
and to seeing beyond you,
to the reverse of shutting,
to swallow, to stare
stretch and plode
proto-birth verb spasms
Theo onomastic moving picture thingamabob
Wash theo eyeball ofay theo blackboard.
[This poem was composed by taking each word from the first stanza of Wallace Stevens' "Twenty Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" and replacing it with the very next word in the dictionary.
"Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird."]
Friday, November 19, 2010
Explore the connections and shared energies among all poeming. You might pick a poem by another IMUNURI poet and offer a harmony part. You might take an ancient poem from another language and translate/update it. You could make a solemn or a playful nod to the entire body of work by a poet who has influenced you. Or Google "poem," find some random sample and delve into what you find there. There are as many possibilities as there are poems, or maybe more.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
with a red and black thin-legged monster.
i am protecting a young cross-eyed girl
from the dream spider's scorpion whiptail.
she is screaming and scared, it's on her head
in invisible, quick, lethal gestures.
it comes after me, mad now, tail poised up
only thing not moving, graceful arrow
of death. i begin to skittle skattle
as if quicker than death: i'm not. in greece
they danced to sweat out poison, a rite
of exorcism for the convulsions of the bite.
now in italy a dance entrances:
whether bit or not, we become spider.
but in the dream, i am not fast enough
(and that's saying a lot).
is being a workaholic like dancing
tarantella 24/7? i wake
to the poison of this day, brightly
and innocently, calm light proclaiming all
is well, dream's over, whether it is or not.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The architecture of my dreams: hallways.
Red velvet or broad as betting parlors,
the spaces signal transition—always—
and sometimes I come to a subtle door
that opens into a dark and small maze.
It’s familiar but not particular.
I begin squeezing down the labyrinth.
It is as wide as I am. Yellow earth.
Unease rises. I crouch. Ahead, the depth.
I know the secret—I have all my days!
I backtrack from the anonymous earth,
shut the basement door, return to the hall.
Hors d’oeuvres. The opera. No way to assert
what was...where I went. Must wake to recall
the dark, the door, the secret I forget.
Through that grave, I wonder if there’s a caul.
I think through the nothing there is the all.
Monday, November 15, 2010
You sauntered up, all legs, and calmly said,
“Just dance,” so I held you close,
head high, hips sly, tossing off bon mots
while keeping your sleek body
between me and that goon with the gun.
I ignored the nuns in the casino,
letting you sit in my lap for luck and black jack,
snapping your garter with each new card,
a surreptitious little superstition
that made you smirk
but quickly attracted the eye in the sky.
“Slide the winnings in a suitcase and fetch my car,”
I told the cage, flipping the dealer six chips as a tip
while surveillance cameras swiveled
to see the seams on your stockings
strut out to the street.
It’s remarkable anyone could drive
after all that cognac and champagne,
yet such a relief to know
you’d never slip something in my drink,
except maybe an organic lychee.
I went straight back to the cave,
not bothering to blindfold you
or take fake turns or
even worry about a tail.
Sure, they chewed me out the next day —
but I knew what I was doing.
The boys down in the motor pool
keep filling in the bullet holes and banging out the dents.
The lab has scrubbed the interior so many times,
our history could be told in a series of cigar stubs
and strands of hair in tiny, labeled plastic bags.
They even installed that baby ejector seat in back.
It’s been a long road,
with our share of ugly scenes, bad dialogue,
and more than a few continuity errors,
yet you’re still there
when I have to drop the top and hit the gas.
And before I even ask,
you’re elegantly passing me the pistol from the glove box.
You freshen your lipstick. I talk to my watch,
then we exchange familiar grins.
It’s going to be fine, baby.
It’s going to be just fine.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I dreamed I was awake, and driving
on the very same freeway
on the very same day
and every driver in every other car
knew me and waved as they passed.
Some honked their horns and smiled.
Small children pressed their faces against the windows
and gestured wildly.
It felt good to be known and recognized.
Everyone drove safely,
and gave me lots of room.
I did not recognize a single man, woman, or child
though they seemed to know me very well.
I wondered - had I known them in some other life?
A taxi driver wearing a turban
rolled down his window
and motioned for me to exit.
I pulled off at the next freeway offramp.
I found a place to pull over beside
a field of golden barley.
I waited for him to come to my window.
It took a while, for he had but one leg
and he had to walk with crutches.
"Do you remember me?" he exclaimed,
smiling broadly but with tears in his eyes.
"I'm sorry," I said, "I don't remember you at all."
"I am Mansi, your son in law," he said.
"I married your daughter."
"I don't have a daughter," I said.
"Your daughter Gloria, with the beautiful voice."
"I'm sorry," I said, "I don't remember a thing."
"It's okay," he said. "Remembering
He embraced me then and I woke up.
I was still driving, but on an unfamiliar highway
that seemed to stretch on forever
between foggy rice fields
without another car or farmhouse in sight
and no way to remember
from where I had come from
or where I was going.
Write about a dream, as if in a dream, or through the image of a recent dream.
Write of a nightmare or an image of sanctuary.
Or write the poem as a dream interpretation, as if you are each of the characters in a dream.
Loosen your edges, defy gravity, roll between realities, as dreams do.
Tag with "poem, dream"
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Guys with clipboards herded us into teams.
My team, the Ravens, chose me to start.
My mission: to hold my head submerged
longer than any other teenage fool.
At the whistle, I plunged into water
cold as space, silent
as a whale's womb.
How could I not taste death?
My team shouted words from far away.
Loneliness embraced me like a ghost.
I hid there for what seemed like hours
beneath the stones of duty
until my lungs heaved, grew wings,
lifted me back
to the world of the living.
One other child endured Sheol
two seconds longer than I.
I felt deeply for her.
in a strong Korean accent.
His stethoscope pressed cold against my chest.
In a frame on the wall, his medical license
butted up against a print
of the lovely Mona Lisa.
"Why is she smiling?" I asked.
"Why is who smiling?"
"The young woman in the painting," I said,
"on the wall behind your back."
"I can't stand that painting," he said.
"Everytime I walk into the room
it's as if she's smirking at me.
She's thinking, 'You call yourself a doctor?
You're just a quack."
"Well, are you?" I asked
as he looked into my ear
with a strange device.
"Well she sure thinks so," he said
in a brusque physician tone.
"She's the Mona Lisa. She must know."
From an examination room across the hall
I heard an old man scream.
The doctor tapped my kneecap
with a tiny rubber-tipped mallet.
"I don't think you're a quack," I said.
"I think you're very competent.
You did a great job on my ruptured spleen."
"Do you really think so?" he said.
"And remember that band saw accident last year?
I thought I'd never write again.
And here I am, on my third novel."
"You're very kind," my doctor said.
"I need more patients like you.
What color bandaid would you like?"
"I'll take green," I said.
"I want to prescribe some medication
for your invisible nose," he said.
"Whatever you think is best," I said,
although I'm okay with it, actually."
By the way," I said, as he wrote my prescription down,
"why don't you replace that painting
with something a little more uplifting?
Leda and the Swan, perhaps,
or maybe something by Warhol."
"I've considered that," he said.
"But at this point in my life
I just don't want to make big changes.
And besides," he said,
"Mona Lisa keeps me humble."
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
office computer blacks out—walk then
even as the static rain glazes
what’s now a perfect day
insomniac worry how health
is worth the price, but now
before the phone call,
a snoring family
(cost per inhalation)
return on investment.
save on breath in bulk—Dow
Jones in dust
down some points
heart suffocating staccato as though
wrapped tight in comforters
panting for the call
sculptor knows how i feel—
painter, dancer, engineer,
horse, axlotl, plumeria tree—
job done and done well
pump pant dance and sore
wild wind on the floor
shoes are on—and gone
door wide open hinges
on faces, feet, dirt—
the hallway from here
to the dimly lit room
she burns energy
like gunpwder on blacktop—
the gates open
the highway to the sun
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
just a regular sweet motion,
waves lapping on a lakeshore
aura light blue, you don't even notice.
until there is a jagged tear
or the timing goes all wrong,
breath too slow, too quick
startling the birds from the trees.
like if you lose your pregnancy
in an 8 hour rush of blood
all by yourself on a long road trip
soaking through five pairs of pants,
pooling the seat into a red lagoon of despair
and your air comes in a panicked rush inoutinoutinout
trembling all your appendages for lack of oxygen,
transforming everything into the wrong world of crimson.
but there is nowhere to stop -
you can only
slow your lungs into the draft of a warrior,
breath is the umbilical to spirit they say,
which is how we know
that your body is part of every god
since breath is umbilical also
to your very earthly life.
best to notice it
while everything is right in the world.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Running, in bodies no longer built for
running, in wing tips, in heels, gasping for air,
uncertain even if we’re running away
or running after something, sitting,
merely sitting at desks and
drowning in our chests,
running, we suffocate in stress.
An entire office inhales and holds its breath.
An entire industry, afraid to exhale.
Running toward deadlines
with nothing save adrenaline for lunch,
running to stay ahead,
and a million brilliants coming up behind,
running on and on in electronic sentences,
sitting only yards apart and never speaking
except to scream. Running out of time.
The system is running but fragmented
and prone to fatal unexpected error.
Shut down. Restart. Running,
at last stumbling into the street.
How did it get so dark?
Running for cabs and buses and trains
still dealing with messages and claims,
running toward a receding line,
legs twitching helplessly,
lungs grabbing at nothing,
how is it that we're still singing,
as the life runs out of us,
singing for more, more, more?
Sunday, November 7, 2010
These are times of listening within
along with the expanding out,
into the field where all things
pure and clear. Our familiar states
we stop on in mid-air
to move, no other option. How do
when our true state of pure beingness
the very ground, the matter and
every breath and non-breath.
and simultaneously also conjoined.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
vaulted me sideways
clickety clack track wise
into a hurried suitcase jumble,
don't even know what is in it
(all the wrong clothes, a smooth red stone,
two napkin poems and a wind's worth of autumn leaves)
and off to the station
for a whir of metal to wild me away.
i am jetsam on a leaping wave, forth and back
between a nimble rise into
the nectarine taste fuzz on her almost cheek
and the visceral return clunk
to this echoing room, someone's cigarette dank jacket,
the blue news hum stare of wayward strangers.
but, wait for it....
another minute and gone again,
lifted all the way to cirrus clouds -
on a wing of future touch
belly butterflies fly in formation,
eagerness drinking deep
train station limbo
between very right here
and oh so soon.
Today you will be removing your clothes.
Ladies and gentlemen. Captain. Seat belt.
Carry-on luggage. Overhead bin.
Be sure to wear socks that don’t have holes.
Flight attendant. Mobile phones.
Navigational equipment. 10,000 feet.
Choose shoes that slip off easily.
Tampering with. Disabling.
Prohibited by law.
Select an outfit without a belt.
Television monitor. Seat pocket.
Full attention. Safety features.
You will be undressing in front of other people.
Metal fitting. Loose end. Strap.
Release. Buckle. Turbulence.
They won’t care much how you look.
Emergency exit. Floor lights.
They won’t slip tips in your waistband.
Air pressure. Decompression.
Firmly over your nose and mouth.
Just strip quickly and move on.
Unlikely event. Cushion.
Life vest. Pull firmly on the cord.
Keep nothing in your pockets.
Uniformed crew member.
Inform you when it’s safe.
Present your documents and think before speaking.
Seat backs. Tray tables.
Full upright position.
Avoid being ethnic.
None of this is personal.
except for plastic or round-bladed butter knives.
Meat Cleavers. Razor Blades.
Sabers. Scissors. Swords.
Baseball Bats. Bows and Arrows.
Cricket Bats. Golf Clubs.
Hockey Sticks. Lacrosse Sticks.
Pool Cues. Ski Poles.
Ammunition. Compressed Air Guns.
Firearms. Flare Guns.
Flares. Gun Lighters. Gun Powder
including black powder and percussion caps.
Parts of Guns. Pellet Guns.
Axes and Hatchets. Cattle Prods.
Drills and drill bits. Saws.
Tools (greater than seven inches in length).
Billy Clubs. Black Jacks.
Brass Knuckles. Kubatons.
Self Defense Sprays -
one 4-ounce (118ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in Checked Baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self Defense Sprays containing more than 2% by mass of Tear Gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in Checked Baggage.
Night Sticks. Nunchakus.
Stun Guns/Shocking Devices. Throwing Stars.
Blasting Caps. Dynamite. Fireworks. Flares (in any form).
Hand Grenades. Plastic Explosives.
Realistic Replicas of Explosives.
Aerosol. Fuels. Gasoline. Gas Torches.
Lighter Fluid. Torch Lighters.
Flammable Paints. Turpentine and Paint Thinner.
Realistic Replicas of Incendiaries.
Chlorine for Pools and Spas.
Fire extinguishers and other compressed gas cylinders.
Liquid Bleach. Spillable Batteries -
except those in wheelchairs.
Spray Paint. Tear Gas. Vehicle Airbags.
Gel-type candles. Gel shoe inserts.
Flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint.
Snow globes and like decorations
regardless of size or amount of liquid inside,
even with documentation.
The city slips away in the wrong direction,
a breath-stealing, helpless realization
that takes place too late,
like discovering one’s manners
vanished with one’s drink.
Having boarded the incorrect train,
leaping off at the next station
is not always the best solution…
Yet eager to rectify an error,
who stops to think?
The reward for decisive action:
a desolate platform, the squat, dark stationhouse.
Shattered windows, dangling doors.
No schedule of future arrivals, no one to ask,
no relevant vocabulary even given the chance.
Disembarking is as momentous
as departing — or should be —
but we heap the glory
on an audacious beginning, and on the journey,
taking for granted a safe, if haggard, return home.
Tar-dipped telephone poles,
now wireless, recede into humid thickets.
The afternoon buzzes
with a pilgrim’s silence,
alarming to any still in transit.
Solicitous, suspicious, hostile, indifferent,
the entrance of any eyes would be welcome,
would likely dictate the day’s outcome,
except the only occurrence more intuitively improbable
is the blessed spitting of another train’s brakes.
Rash decisions can leave one stranded
in burgs served, revenue permitting,
by a limping, subsidized local.
Prop up the legs of that splintering bench.
This is not an island
of sirens, witches, giants, storms.
This is a place,
alone, to wait.
Which may be the most fearsome adventure yet.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
bound far to south, at height of cranes,
and higher still, our oared bird flew.
To my core all sundry selves drew
in hope of flying whole, no strain
greater than ancestors' refrain:
"bring us back to earth" - in great pain:
the roiling clouds, cumulus brew,
before the long last breath.
The sky opens. Sudden and plain:
a blue coherent height. We gained
ancients on wing, steadfast, and grew
to thousands, passengers and crew.
Ghostly, winged, by window framed,
before the long last breath.
Near Hallowmas 42010
we stop. Smoke anticipation
butts. Pretend to read. Check the screen.
Everyone sits paused mid-careen
toward disparate revelations.
We pine for our destinations—
homecomings or recreations—
clutching our phones and magazines.
When we arrive
all thoughts of our hesitation
will stay here for the time being
to sit with all who pass between
now and the gratification
when we arrive.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I’m reeling it in, A Virginia Reel across the strings
Plucking the lower keys with my big toe,
Lay my toes
across the mahogany,
my mahogany southern body
my key, my white teeth clacking middle C
This is where I’ve ended up
blood flowing through ivory
dear elephant who never lived on my street
but dies in the living room each time a third grader
huffs her way through Chopsticks.
Bow your head to the pachyderm tapped in every note
Bow your back to the staccato plea of each key
And each tiny bum on the leatherette bench
One key per breath,
finding the space between the notes,
that gap-toothed smile
with an airport security screener.
"Please remove your shoes," she said,
"and place them in the bin."
I stared at her, unable to speak,
grateful - so grateful -
for the lilt of her voice.
"Sir," she said,
"remove your shoes."
Outside it was snowing.
All around me, anxious travelers
divested themselves of their
I crawled onto the xray belt.
"Scan me," I cried.
"Look into my heart.
See that I am an
Friday, October 29, 2010
|Art from http://habit-of-art.blogspot.com/|
2. Real shit is the wealthy business man who purchases a first class ticket to Cambodia in order to rape a ten-year-old enslaved in a brothel from which there is no escape.
3. Real shit is the mountain of refuse on the outskirts of Manila that regularly avalanches down to bury the children skipping rope below.
4. Real shit "happens" all right, but lets not diminish that truth with a dumb shit sticker tacked onto the bumper of a chunk of metal spewing real shit into the life-sustaining air we breathe.
5. Real shit "happens" because we allow it, dispense it, toss it, fan it, eat it, smoke it, sling it, and imagine it into existence.
6. Real shit begins when the sperm of greed meets the ovum of dark fantasy and births naked carefree indulgence.
7. It's not what a human ingests and which later drops into the latrine that equals real shit, said the Rabbi; it's what oozes from the dark corners of the human heart that stinks up the world.
8. Hitler's real name was Adolph Shitler. Mao's real name was Mao Tse Dung. Stalin's real name was Joseph Shitionovich Stalin, otherwise known as Little Shit. But despite their atrocities, let us not think that we are less capable.
9. Real shit is the 10 acres of tin foil manufactured each day to wrap eighty million Hersheys Kisses made of chocolate originating, by the way, from the Ivory Coast cocoa farms where child slaves work 100 hours a week making us happy on Valentine's Day.
10. We are shit athiests refusing to acknowledge the existence of shit we can't see. Which is why the plastic pebbles swirling in the Pacific now cover Hawaiian beaches and catch in the throats of gulls and crabs but don't really bother us much.
11. Real shit isn't the dog feces on the bottom of the shoe. Real shit is the shoe on the top of the dog feces made of materials that won't decompose any time soon.
12. Real shit is the plastic straw and styrofoam cup into which I stare in my daily Starbucks ritual.
13. But then again, who really gives a shit.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Strolling through a college town is like playing lead inspector
in some curbside murder mystery —
clues strewn everywhere in the gutter —
broken glass, an abandoned shoe, latex gloves,
a boutonniere that lost its bud, leaving only lace, brown ribbon, and a pin.
Who done what to whom and why?
Even the police drive those humming little hybrid cars,
which sneak up likewise on pedestrians and bad guys,
and when elections roll around
a slate of suspects reveal their motives
with little plastic signs posted on every other lawn.
In autumn, a cast of characters arrives,
dressed to the nines and rushing in out of the rain.
They bear boxes packed with military precision
and a series of bags marked with a Target.
It’s all smiles and bright expectations for the pursuit
of knowledge, pussy, and some really good parties.
Yet we all know, as they innocently lug
freshly painted bookshelves up the stairs,
that at least one of those objects has a bull’s-eye on its back.
Winter is the time of appliances.
Everyone has an alibi:
vacuum cleaners gargling carpet, dryers churning denim,
and the incessant tap-dance of computer keys.
It’s enough to send a man over the edge.
Instead, walk the streets at dawn when everything is silent
or late, when it’s all reveling stereos and studious tequila shots.
Bang! Suddenly it’s May, and they return to the scene of the crime.
Threadbare sofas, moldy futons, and the odd barber chair
come outside for air, lining up on the sidewalk
alongside the milk crates and cinder blocks
pressed into service as undergraduate furniture.
The ringleaders strand them there by the dumpster
and head home for summer, gossiping
about who done what to whom and why.
But despite parole, garbage like that don’t last long on the outside.
Soon enough, it’s swept up by another gang,
thrown in a dormitory cell, where,
surrounded by the scent of bud,
it must hold up a liquor store for one more year.
Monday, October 25, 2010
my mind was a recycling bin
like a blender with a wonky blade
cattywompus cerebellum bloating and blistering bubbling
i would never have thought the trash i pick up on my morning stroll
would be the thing i tossed in the brain
of me, head hinged up like the hood of a car
hoping for recycling as a poem
of course there is no such thing as trash
really. it was a word first applied to humans in 1604, in othello
comes from the norwegian "trask" ("'fallen leaves and twigs'") which reminds me that the trasks
daughters were friends of my older sisters',
and that they only ever ate on paper plates which they then threw out
a form of women's liberation, no dishes: trash eating on trash
one of them, the younger, d.,
beat me up when i was in kindergarten
what does it mean to be pulped by garbage? lower than low
i can tell you
my memory, half used refuse, brailles over the date: 10-25
knowing seventeen years ago something significant happened on this day
but the letters have faded off the page of my memory like scuffed newsprint mouldering in a recycling bin
instead of trying to figure it out, dig through the boxes of papers carefully
sequestered on basement shelves (the same storage system as my dead wife)
i just hunker down in the midst of an october storm that promises to rip every gorgeous
[indescribably colored which we will call] crimson leaf off the dogwood:
there are ghosts in my blender
my feeble brain, my lower than trash trash compactor
to make paper
you take the riffraffand duff, the broken bits, the shredded paper refuse, the trask
and blend it - all the letters and meanings bleed out into pulp
and then push it on a screen, flat, and let it dry
memories in my recycling bin brain are just so, reconstituted
my grey matter, pulp and my memory a pulping screen
taking the glimmering memories, faded lettering, and bits
and making something new, something clear, a canvas for the coming day
soon we will move beyond othering and there will be no other-than, no refuse
no refusing, only this recycling alzheimer-like montaging
or even less than this, no trash to pick up, a time
when our dead fade and the ghosts stop yammering
[a time of erasure?]
a time of clarity and peace
Taurus Moon, Scorpio Sun
Friday, October 22, 2010
This is your wand/feather fan. You’ll be glad to have it.
You know where to go. First and last step is listening.
As you enter, brush the foreheads of the moss-covered cousins as you pass them. Bow before entry, first at the door, then at what you know to be the sanctuary.
Bow to the stone people. There is a seat waiting for you. Take it.
Put the Spanish moss on top of your head. Not a peep from you.
You can’t still the voice in your head. It is making little assignments even now, or rehearsing speeches, or making up recipes, or witty poems—listen to everything but that.
Every cousin around you is calling its name in your ear. Every auntie is baking delights for you in the spent grass and rotting leaves beneath you.
Turn away from your own thinking. YOU have already thought 90% of this yesterday, and the day before. Turn, then, and let wind be your lover. Let it kiss every pore. Lean into the tree behind you—it knows all the secrets and then some.
Notice the mysteries of the scat by your foot. Shh. Quiet. There is something we have to tell you.
here’s the catch: this will save you, but only if you don’t expect it to. Sometimes a breath is just a breath. Sometimes it is as lonely as a siloh.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
before now, when lemon tasting was the thing
that short teachers with large hair dedicated to
used to wake us up
that is what woke me up
now the lemon wakes me still, in the Rockies of Colorado
a bright limn of rose and lemon rind 7,652 paces closer to stars
the first hint of light brings up the point
that we are cradled by rock mothers
whose shoulders are taller than any ever
held me other than skybirds
they are drawing us around, these stars,
and the mountain arms, pulse of starbeings hidden in october snow
from the land of neversummer glaciers, a landscape with
kinship to the moon, where marmots whinny and pica scamper
above the thrillion elk bugling in praise
binocularless, on the ledge of wind, ground iced in mounds
she handed out a plate of lemon slices and it was passed
hand to hand
across the too-many square desks with plastic chairs attached in long rows
(California schools after Prop 13)
she handed out the plate of lemon slices and read us a poem,
forgotten now. she prepared us, woke us up to pay attention
we each had a lemon slice on our 2x2 plastic fakewood desk top
like a mountain, as sunrise, light itself, she woke me up
to pay attention: healing touch, savor, bugle, flavor, lemon
and today, more than thirty years later, more than
15,000 turns of the earth round the sun
what i remember is biting into the lemon
a galaxy opened within me
my mouth, a portalway
my tongue, a dragon waking
my mind, the canvas of creation
mrs. woolf and her lemon slice woke me
i have been awake since
stalking the night and the day
perhaps it's the sun's fire we sense
in the moments when the mountains turn us over
to day, that flash of pink and lemon
the creative fire, each day, a bite of lemon
waking us up waking me up waking me up
waking me up to mother mountains of the world this morning,
the 15,828th day of lemon-tasting earthrising brightness
pink dosey doe's with bright and a hit of the blue that beacons night transition
and summons day. the mountain mothers of the world roll us over
in our slumbering, a gentle touch
showing the way
the mountain mothers of the world
roll us over
in our slumbering, a gentle touch
showing the way
raven who likes shiny objects draws the pink light in her beak
smearing it like a thin jelly across the mother mountains' shoulders
singing wolf lets loose the nightsong turned morning
lone pine in a party lets loose the arms that will embrace the new light
a splendor arises
a splendor arises
mountain chickadees croon lemon rinds from stars and snow
mountain mothers of the world gently turn us over from our slumbering
plucking brightness from snowhair, creating daysong, and light
mrs. wolf struts with creative purpose in 3 inch heels and a bouffant
that might bring her to five feet - composed, filled with verve, her generative power
that sparked world history
she gave me Byzantium, ancient history,
and the wakefulness that births poems
the mountains swoop up light in long tree cloaks
hiding the glowing coals of day in boulder dens
so that marmot and pica and elk and human
can remember their home the stars the earth
tangy, bitter, cold
every poem since a pang
a wake up call
Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park
16 October 2010
rev. 21 October 2010
we'd find her in the oddest places:
back of the toolshed weeping unconsolably
or shuffling into the bedroom at two a.m.
disoriented, half asleep,
breath vapor fogging the cold blue windows.
"Tante Martha," I pleaded, "tell me what's wrong."
"It's not how they advertised it.
It's all overrated."
"What is?" I asked. "What?"
"Death, you dummy.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
the soft light of morning through the steam of my tea
or how whirling flings of a hundred starlings
undulate as one being, lifting from a sugar maple
flashing a dark breaker of wings against autumn's crimson,
both particle and wave.
looking backwards it is comical and horrifying
how it always began with me then
usually the middle and the end as well.
in particular there was that shout of a poem
four long columns on purple paper
asserting in the first line 'i am an amazon!'
like a raucous caricature of what i hoped to become
which i could not yet embody with quiet elegance.
i proudly photocopied that piece
and stomped around town taping it up anonymously
hoping to pique the curiosity of the world,
quite oblivious to the wind dried salt on her seaswim hair
or how the ocean crashing
was as loud as anything on the street
if you listened with the right frequency.
embarrassment eases into relief
that i have grown more into the fabric of things,
am on the inside looking into, pointing out
rather than coaxing eyes to look my way.
now it is all about
the bold silver of jupiter playing consort to the moon
or how the glinting red efts come sinuous walking
suddenly everywhere after the rains come.
i can just say thank you to that 20 year old self
for shaking the snow globe reeling
so that it could all come gently to a blanketing rest
and pile up to insulate the house of me.
so that now i can crunch out in the full moon winter
crying out in wonder
at the sparkling white bed of mystery
laid out for our angel wings.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
slowly the black of your room
begins to take shape...
the curve of a curtain,
the slant of that lamp,
soft edge of your bed.
I wait, and watch, and wait,
as my midnight eyes adjust,
reluctant to rush to your side.
It's too soon for me to know
your apartment in the dark.
Then you give a start,
rolling over with a charming murmur.
"A glass of water," I explain,
though I know you're not awake.
Spilled drink, skinned shins,
broken bric-a-brac —
there's little to be gained from
stumbling about in the dark.
Yet isn't that what we've been doing?
We hold tight to one another in the night,
hand to hip, nose to nape,
knee tucked neatly inside knee.
But what do you really know of me,
a mystery perhaps as dangerous
as I appear, looming
in this Victorian doorway.
Yet it's you, tiny you,
that I see as a threat,
a sighing silhouette guilty
of inexplicable crime:
trust, unearned, falls asleep
on my chest week after week.
My clothes, my keys,
I could just leave...
yet there you sleep and dream and breathe
with me upon your threshold.
I wait, and watch, and wait.
And at last, yes, I step
carefully, consciously, into your room,
unsure of my footing, unsure of the way,
but continuing to seek our equilibrium.
Our days grow shorter, my dear,
the year grows dark —
will you meet me completely
in autumn and still
retain the faint outline of yourself?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
you lie on the couch and mumble
that the tree’s leaning to the left
as we jam it in the stand.
until he steps back and informs us of this fact
as if you’d never said a word.
leaving melting footprints on the rug.
and also abandons the scene.
the euphemism, immediately.
You should never have been discharged without a plan.
and let you direct the routine.
while storms swept through like grim adolescent moods,
sleet, hail, snow, rain, and random days of clarity.
Now you sit there, watch movies, and wheeze.
although I put no stock in Christ.
screaming of hell and slavery,
swinging wildly at nurses and orderlies…
with its blinking red and white lights.
and you know I don’t mean the tree.
Dad grunting as he shovels snow.
and it’s kind of hard to surrender to the weather.”
where reindeer graze on a neighbor’s lawn.
so I darken the room and doubtfully listen to you breathe.