Daily Archives: February 15, 2017

A Gift

Sitting with
a gift-glass of excellent
Scotch, a Glenmorangie
Nectar D’Or aged in 
Sauternes casks…yes,
an indulgence, yes, expensive
and rare; that’s the point of it,
it was a sacrifice, 
it was given in love
and I drink it with love on
my mind. Lemony
start, honey on the tongue
with dark burn, a finish 
built on notes of
regret at its ending and 
joy that it was here and I 
had this chance to taste it:
I’m not going to be ashamed
at this, you see, not while 
so much wrong needs righting,
not while there’s so much need
to assuage 
pain and trouble;
for a few minutes
I’m going into this glass
to understand it as a golden
taste of an expression of love,
a trace of what a pure future
might be once we get past
this dim moment.


Something You Made From Nothing

Glass bead bracelet
in left hand, bag of
black stones in 
right hand, in mouth
spring water lightly salted.  
Empty pockets.
Belt of cloth with
no metal.

At appointed time, 
spit water into fire.
After it has ceased
sizzling, slip on bracelet;
kneel upon a cut log
to count out ten black
stones from that bag.
Line them up on
a hot stone.

Stand and
remove your clothes;
burn them while marching
counterclockwise around
and around flames
ten times. When done,
put stones back in bag
and walk away naked.

What appears behind you: 

ashes:
you call them
ground
of being,
source
holy of holies.

There is also there
a meaning you didn’t have before,

a god running cover for your passage,
something you made from nothing.
Something as good
as any other 
ever made.

Then you realize

you are naked and cold
and when it starts to rain you
puzzle yourself into thinking
you missed something,
did something wrong
or backward.  But — 

a ritual done wrong
or backward that didn’t destroy 
the world? Is it possible
that you have so little power? 

The rain, as always,
comes straight down,
drenches you into
atheism.


They Are Coming

Maybe what we need is bells
on the front door,
the back door,
the windows.

Maybe
hang them in the trees 
along the path leading here,
too.

Maybe a gate or seven
gates and bell them too. Build 
rings of gates and bell them all:
signal bells on each, larger and louder
the farther away they are from 
us. 

Maybe build a beacon fire
on a far hill
and put a standing guard there
ready to set it ablaze
to let us know.

Then, of course, we’ll need
to be very quiet all the time.
Sit silently in the dead center
of the house, equidistant from
all the bells, with vigilance
for the near-certain fire
on the far hill;

have to stare
out the window at that, 
constantly, waiting, guns
in our laps, in every corner,
a knife on every hip;

our children
in the soundproofed basement
hidden away,
learning defensive trades
at forges and anvils,
stabbing practice dummies, 
shooting practice people;

growing up in the dark
for their own good
as out there offers only
the dangerous chiming of bells
in the rank wind coming
over the borders.