Daily Archives: January 5, 2017

Singed Eagle

I woke up to
a singed eagle
perched on a limb 
outside my window,

could smell burned feathers
through the glass as if
the bird was still smoldering.
It did not call out or move

once in all the time
I was watching it, but disappeared
silently once I turned attention
to the daily routine;

the smell lingered, clung
to anything it had touched,
so that we could not move
without being reminded of fire.

I Dare Not Speak

I dare not speak
of how snow has not covered us
yet this year. I am trying hard 
to set myself apart

from my usual despair at white,
all white upon everything.
I dare not speak of how
night will soon come

to us, nor will I dare to assume
that it was designed only to conceal
what we love, or how shadowed 
this town will soon become.

I dare not slander. I dare not
praise. I dare not utter any word.
I’ve laden so much upon my words. 
They are beginning to break

as I am, as we are all beginning
to break. The sound of words breaking
in every stressed breath. 
Each word pulled between lie and truth.

Each season, each time of day
open for interpretation. White purity
or poison, dark evil or joy, 
light full of stab and soothe,

dark brimful of peace and strife.
That anyone bothers
to communicate beyond
touch and intimate connection

leaves me breathless. Words
are failing us, falling from our lips
with nothing inside them. To survive
we will have to do more than talk

and when we do speak we
will have to look each other
in the eyes and admit so much
of what we’ve let words cover:

our fears, or assumptions,
all the things we dared to do
from behind them. We will have to act
as if no words existed before this

if we are to remake this silenced world,
and I will be confident with neither praise
nor slander for anything that happens
until that great work is well begun.

Let it snow. Let it be an all white world.
When night comes,
let all the white world
fall into in that gentle dark.

I will build either way,
pushing new words,
like bricks,
into place.

The Task At Hand

You thought it was going to be
slow blues from here to death,

but here you are, fist up
at the edge of the pit again.

You thought these days would be lyric
and pastoral, and instead

you’re back in the narrative, 
hoping surreal hopes.

Upon consideration 
you surrender to it and see

that you’ve always been 
at the mercy of surprise

whenever you thought
things were settled once

and for all. No matter how you try to be
for you, you always let yourself be drawn

back for all and as much as you know
you can’t do otherwise, as much as you know

you’ve never done otherwise, 
you wish it had not fallen to you

to be here one last time —
fist in the air

at the edge of the pit, 
shouting the story of

the dissolved timepieces, the bruised
American hearts you thought you could count on,

because this is such an American tale, isn’t it —
this fable of reinvention, this constant

faux-noble bewilderment at the rush
of circumstance through

your remaining time here. You’re 
no hero, you know — just another

aged-out scene kid praying it makes
a difference when you put your body

and voice into one more time
on one more front line. Understanding at last

you’d do it with no hope at all
because you couldn’t do otherwise

and look at yourself 
ever again. So: fist in the air,

waiting to die, hoping there’s one last
twelve-bar respite ahead of you,

you plunge into chaos
shouting against a bitter end.