SORTING NUTS AND BOLTS

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What if the thing you love to do is sort the hoarded nuts and bolts
of another generation, dreaming of the ways you are saving the earth?

What if no one joins you? What if no one is willing
to use the nicely sorted piles of rust?

Let us pray you take time to admire the moon
and the colorful fingers of dawn and dusk across the sky.

Let us implore the Universe to accept your offering
of small, incomplete, and temporary joy.

ELEVENTH ANNIVERSARY

Why would someone post such a personal poem? Well…because maybe readers who don’t how to tell their partners how much they love them, and how cool it is to be together, could borrow a few phrases. I would be honored–so would my lovely partner.

 

ELEVENTH ANNIVERSARY

These years have melted like ice
in a Belizian kitchen, whirled by
like Hellgate wind. They throw
their arms around each other,
a family of years, cavort like
a wild dancing troupe
or a long, involved drama
of years. But like atoms,
the years are simply particles
and space. They are a billion
moments, trailing each other
tiny fire ants packed tight,
determined and sure
of some sort of treasure
just ahead.

Once in a while
I stand back and see
the space. See the motion
circling. You are
treasure. I am treasure.
Together we are Treasure.
No matter how densely packed,
how tight the small trail
of incessant moments.
At the center is a stillness
that is my love
for you. Not years.
Not moments. This is
a fullness. A rightness.
A hope. A promise.
We are daring explorers
of a terrifying
Now. Luckily, we don’t always
remember that. Fortunately,
sometimes we do.

I remember it now
and I love you.

AMONG THE LIVING

Good morning people reading my poems. Sometimes, it is good to just be alive–watching the world go by. I hope you can relate to this today–a very good day.

 

AMONG THE LIVING

Among the living
there was a thin woman
eating a green pear
as she walked briskly thru
the frigid air.

So luscious this green pear
with ivory flesh slipping
nearly liquid through her lips.

I wanted to follow her.
Touch her. Share the pear
and thank her for being
so completely unaware
of the wonder of consuming
this perfect green pear.

APOLOGIES TO RACHEL CARLSON AND THE SPIDERS

It is awful to live in a world we know we are ruining, trashing, poisoning, and using up, and still participate–because humans have such amazing ingenuity combined with such deep longings and fears that we simply cannot stop ourselves. We are selfish, lazy, vindictive, short-sighted and filled with denial and blame. I have no doubt it will catch up with us, the tide will turn, and we will be forced to live with less….less killing, less gluttony. less access, less ease–but my prayer is that somehow, there will still be joy, creativity, and in some distant form, recovery…in the meantime, I sadly admit my hypocrisy.

 

Apologies to Rachel Carlson and the Spiders

It may seem to be an excuse
but some of you are deadly
and there are children involved.
So we all joined in the poison.
I survived. You did not. For now.
We have set traps.

This is a false war. A bad war.
One version of the story—
one skewed reality
a strand in the web
(if you will)
that is errant.

It is easy to achieve
a temporary victory
that is instantly
and inextricably part of
a resounding defeat.

Let us hope our offspring
find a better way,
a lasting truce,
a moment by moment
taste of eternal peace.

Poems for Eva

At Eva’s House

I

The First Evening

We sit together at the squeaky oak table.
I am writing. She isn’t sleepy.
She says maybe she’ll write a letter.
“Well, what day is it?” she asks.
I tell her.
“I can’t see to write,” she says
after scrawling the date.
“And I have nothing to say.”

I offer raspberry sherbet.
She accepts.
“Food is always good,”
she says.

I offer to turn off the lights
so she can sleep. “No, no,” she says.
“Girl, when I shut my eyes,
I’m gone. You won’t keep me
awake.” She demonstrates
how dark it gets
when she shuts
her eyes.

The clothes on the line
hang like shadows
as night moves in
like a dark tumble weed.

II

What Smells at Eva’s House

Under the sink, 3 bloated bodies
of mice float in fetid water.

Outside the door, the sewer
is simmering under a smattering of dirt.

Four mangy dogs have the run
of the place. They eat at will.

Mold, mildew, fly spots,
wood smoke, ashes.

III

What Eva Remembers

She’s 93 with vacancies
and tiny bones that fold in
like tucked wings.

Bruised from a recent fall,
she runs her hand over the wound,
puzzled.
Runs her mind over the terrain
of her life,
puzzled.

Her uncertain flesh is draped
over strings of steely muscles.
She fiercely wraps fingers
around my hand and recites
with passion, the 23rd Psalm,
King James Version.

IV

What Eva Forgets

Who I am
Who you are
Where Bill is
What day
Or year
Or century it is
Where her purse is
Where Bill is
Who I am
Where she is
Where Bill is
Who you are
What day it is
Who I am
Where Bill is.
V

What Eva Says

I do the best I can
And the heck with the rest.
I’m satisfied the way I am.
Damn Eva. Do it right.
There we go. Thousand buses in a row.
No Joe, them is trucks.
Some with cows and some with ducks.
Well, we take it as it comes.
Oh well,
if that’s all I got
to complain
about.

 

Apaphatic/Kataphatic

Apaphatic/Kataphatic
I
The Tolerance of Empty

Empty is roaring ocean, receding shoreline, tiny boat
Empty is bloodless face
Fading light
No face
No stars
No moon
A sky to fall into
A journey down.

Empty is no name
No promise
No outcome
No beginning
No end

Empty is freefall, molecules loosened
From their illusive tethers
Empty is One
Only One
No One
Alpha Omega
First, last, first
No One.
Only One.

II
Risking Ecstasy

The broken fall
The song sung, lusty
Passionate purple bursting
Streams of words
Proclaiming
This Way. This Glorious, Warm
Pulsating Way.
Declared. Claimed. Lived.
Breathed. Swallowed, whole
And greedily.
Swollen, pulsating Eternal Easter
Endless resurrection.

An Inventory While Jogging

Dear Readers. Dear, dear readers. I have been blogging my poems for a couple of weeks now, joining the great swirling mass of words that are somehow suspended in cyberville, invisible to the naked eye, but oh so visible when clicked, loaded, imported, tagged, liked, or followed. I just realized I might like to add a commentary now and then, sometimes on the poems, and sometimes on the state of my world, my relationships, and/or my soul. Thanks for your forbearance. Here’s a poem, written some years ago, but more true today than ever.

An Inventory While Jogging

My hands have been this old
for as long as I have known them
but recently my ideas
loosened up to the point
of wrinkling back
on themselves.

I ran today. Ran past runners.
Ran past dogs, walkers, strollers.
Ran past a dark man on a rock,
his pock-marked face
still there when I looped back
but the color of his eyes
had changed. They had bleached
in the weak sun. I knew
what he knew. It was nothing.

My legs, my back—they have been
much better than this. Still, I move
and am grateful. My heart, my soul—
they have been much cleaner
than this. Still, I love, though
clumsy and self-absorbed
at times.

My eyes were once much older.
No one would know by looking. I hardly
remember myself. But there was a time
when the pigment was not important
and my vision was so sure
I could see
what actually
mattered.

Ahead of Myself, Flying Apart

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Ahead of Myself, Flying Apart

We are, of course, all wrong.
The universe is younger than we
had originally calculated–
but only by a few billion years.
The rate at which it is
expanding outward is the clue.

And that is why I am younger
than I originally calculated.
I am flying apart, expanding
outward, terrified to find
my particles reconfiguring.

Sometimes, my proprioception
is such that I think I’ve come
undone. I orient, then
to a Mother Voice, a stillness.
It hums a low note of pure
Compassion. Even my distant
bones hear the call.

AFTER THE INAUGURAL BALL (2013)

After the Inaugural Ball

My skin
is destined
to be paper thin
before it comes
completely off my bones.

It turns out
I would like
another life
after all.

I wouldn’t get that one
entirely right either.

The anonymity
of leaving is heavy today.
Cities do that to me.

A single red balloon
has escaped.
It floats alone
at half-mast
just above the debris
along the off-peak train
to Greenwich.

School buses glide by
in that certain shade
of yellow. For some reason
they make me sad enough
to cry. The emotion stings
like wasabi.
I look away.
Swallow.

It helps to remember
the crystalline ginger chocolate
my daughter slipped me
at Union Station
and the pillows we covered in flannel
before we slept.

AFTER THE BETRAYAL

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After the Betrayal

We are tender shoots
easily trampled
easily tempted
and this I know
is why you
sold me out.

We can transmutate
from rose to thorn
in the blink of
a frightened
eye. And this I know
is why you sold
me out.

I know the only
choice I have
is love.
And I hate
the knowing.
I think we always
know and don’t know
what we’ve done.

There is a higher
way. I can retain
tenderness and hue
but at some dark
time, it will require
holding hands
with fists
that knocked
my teeth out.

Right now, I am
simply working
on exposing
my palm.