Tag Archives: meditations

As They Do

my morning flock
on my freshened feeders.

my starlings, my grackles,
my mated downies, my bully jays,
my seldom seen but much longed-for
goldfinches and cardinals.

I call them “mine”
though they flee me 
whenever I approach

as my family does,
as my friends do,

as my city
and country do.


Paradox

In there, whistling winds, rain.
Out here, stars are cowering.

You think this is backwards,
contradictory, silly? Learn the world:

a series of twists and folds,
a model of mountains rising

and caves underneath that hold
secrets and paradoxes. You, here,

are meant to learn this,
not understand it: not yet.


Childless

Muted as joy is for me
in this now of gray day
and shit-dark news, still
I can see how for others
there is still some hope
that there are paths to it
for their children and those
beyond them in some future
they trust will exist. I see them
holding out their hands
urging these kids to stand, 
to walk, to run toward light
and purpose and whatever
may come after, while all the time
I sit alone, empty on that front,
thinking of what we all will endure
along the way to this Magic Time
assumed to be ahead, thanking 
my genes and my body for holding back
the small desperations and little angers
I would have unleashed upon this world.


Moment of Truth

From a poetry prompt by Andrew Watt: #50wordpoem 

Ten lines, five words per line.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is our not seeking
the Mystery that pushes us
into the poverty of Spirit.
Wake up before dawn: see,
on the lawn below you
the Dark Mother looks up,
catches your eye, smiles, beckons.
Your choices: deny her and
turn away, or climb down
and go where she goes.


New City

If only a city
could magic into
tunnelled space
above ground,
tree light as found
under leaves;

every street
greenshaded glow,

walkers holding
themselves sacred
as they flow.

A city that could be this
could feel like
a true home and not
temporal temporary.
Forever forest 
of somehow eternal.

Life and death
mix, turn synonym, 
demand new names

in the language 
of this new city.


Your Dead Sleep

When your ghosts 
put their guns 
to your head
as you wake,
chanting your faults,
grinning your fears,
how you slept
the night before
might save you.

Get yourself coffee.
Get yourself breakfast.
Get settled in
upon the couch,

close your eyes,
chant SHUT UP
SHUT UP until
at last, silence.

Still, their guns
press your temples
so don’t relax.
Take heart. Breathe.
Sleep will return
with dead comfort
later. Hold on.

On nights when
sleep fails you
and the ghosts
await you after?
Hell days, those.

You itch and 
nod and snarl
back at them,
or you hide,
head buried away,
if you can. 

You’ll sleep hard
when sleep returns.

You hate them,
those armed ghosts.
They define you,
limit you, exist
because of you.
You lose sleep 
because of them.

Whenever you don’t,
they smile broader,
cock those pistols,
take their time
taking your time
until it’s time
for dead sleep.


Two In One

What others do not understand
when they say they see me as 
“half White and half Indian”
is that it it not like that at all
in here. In here 

it is crowded, no easy match of two
complementary parts;
two stunted, solid beings
instead trying to fit into one
tiny room and make it work
forever. Now and then 

they manage not to tangle;
usually this happens when
there is bounty for a short moment: 

right after making love or
in the presence of some other
exaltation of nature 
they find some briefly held comfort

and then the larger Me
who barely exists, who lurks between them
as mere shadow, feels substantial
for a second, maybe two; 

then again comes the jostling,
sharp elbows, awkward forgiveness,
sad angry damaged voices trying
to drown each other out
and claim the room.

Today when my body
read the news
of Notre Dame burning 

one of the ones within cried
while the other thought
of all the carved
sacred mountains
that have forever gone
ungrieved

and the shadow Me inside
cowered as they drew knives 
forged of blame and guilt,
held them to each others’ throats
as they have so many times before.

My body did not know 
how to hold it all.


Blip

Long distance view:
everything we know
is a blip

on a screen. Every

frog, bird’s nest,
painting. 

Smooth-lined
automobile, vintage guitar,
handsome face, tender hand
soothing a rough wound.

Up close
our own enthusiasms
loom. We loom back.

They offer us
dominion of our preferences
but long distance view,
cliff top perspective view?

We loom like ants loom
over sand-specks.

Blip.
Blip.

Then we
vanish

with our things,
our loves, our
artifacts. We

blip into
smoke and 

go.


One Of Many

Sometimes blue,
always thick. Takes
a while to get it;
not everything sticks.

Dark in voice,
light impact, gray
as dusk or dawn —
full-on night and day

mean nothing here.
Stands alone when
together might be 
sweeter, clumps

with others when
solitary would better
suit the moment. 
Low importance,

soft puncher, soft
speaker, really quite inaudible
and numb to consequence.
Any name offered

to mark this one
would be superfluous;
just one of 
many
out of place. O
ne of too many. 


Portrait Of An Artist As A Dead Man

1.
the public thinking 
that he was 
one of the good ones

opposed
his own idea of himself as
snapped bone

and his face at perpetual
war
with his faith

his doubt
busting out all over as if he
had become

movie musical month of June
as if he 
could be sanitized through

the magic
of popular art bestowing genius
upon monsters

in part because they
expect
monstrosity in their geniuses

because it keeps 
all the people who aren’t monsters 
from uncovering

their own genius

2.
when his ghost
was laid away at last
and the myth
of who he’d been
was permanently
supplanted
with the truth

when they filed
his work away at last
in a locked drawer
reserved for what was once
thought genius and now
was forensically reviewed
for sinister clues

though he could not breathe 
any longer 

he held what little vapor he still had 
tight within

and told himself it was long past time
to set this right
fade away to reincarnate perhaps
at some better time


Among Poets

I’ve decided not to be among poets anymore
They smell to me of anarchy and whimsy
amplified to the point of pain till it swamps truth
All their misplaced love of words over action
Their bouquets of mystery obscuring the obvious
I know some who claim poetry will save the world
much as gun nuts and organic juicers do
who make the same claim with far more evidence to go on
Poetry only changes the world as a stiff breeze does
if it moves the people to action you can say it but not till then
So a poet who tells me this or claims it or stands on that hill
is someone whose words I expect to be a hurricane
but more often than not it’s a slight breeze of ordinary
or barely a leaf lifter’s worth of language they toss 
and maybe they try and maybe they fail or maybe the world
is heavier than they ever believed but still they keep at it
as if it could matter what a poet might say
as if poets can’t die for what they might say
though they have and they will and they will once again
because people believe that old line about change
so I’ve decided not to be among poets anymore
even as I sit with a pen and plan fusillades and charges
as I sit with a pen and imagine I matter or what I do matters
I will not be among poets with their spiderweb gossip
I will not be among poets with their ardent machinery
I will not be among poets with their flagrant weak fists raised
until I can look at what I’ve done and say
I belong here beside them as weak as they are
as fragrant with idiocy and self-importance as they are
till I’m just as ready to swing in the breeze
or put my back to the wall
and go to death with them
be gone
and forgotten


Photographs On The Internet

I look for the bodies of people I love or have loved 
in photographs posted on the Internet by our friends
and those who are friend-adjacent, for want of a better term;

I am not one of those who believe that photographs
capture the souls of those being photographed, and I
thank all the myriad gods of a plethora of religions for that;

I could not bear it if that were to be true, thinking
of our deep affections still haunting those imprisoned in paper
and ink or in pixels and sparks, ready to go dark in an instant;

but still there is this small hope that perhaps one of these snaps
will stir a feeling in me that I do not find easy to reach on my own,
that an image of a known body will tweak me in the soul 

and push my empathy out front from where it hides
in a pocket made of armor I keep tucked close to my belly;
that the image of a body I love and respect and care for

might remind me of the days when I felt that
for what once rode within my own body, what I pray
is still there, raging at me from inside this shell, crying out

that there is love and hope and joy and risk-affection
still in the world, that pain and weakness are what a body must yield to
but the spirit inside need not ever yield; 

I seek for images of bodies I have known
hoping they miss me, the me I was when they knew my body
and saw it and welcomed me for what I was inside,

the me I do not know now though I am in the same body
I have had for all my time, the me that has changed 
from how it once was, the me that feels like it has slipped away.


Signs Of The Next World Arriving

Dragons originate
in cones of fire,
hang lit and glowing 
low in evening sky.

Some people
fancy themselves
warriors on
worn, dank couches.

Others reach
into their chests
to pull actual weapons from
long concealment.

The air
becomes so warm
no one will be able to recall
any dream ever again.

Ash on every tongue 
except for those 
used to licking
boots and gold;

their starvation
will take
a little longer
to commence.

If there is an Angel, 
no one will know it
until its last trumpet echoes
are almost faded out.

As for our children,
they will surrender 
themselves to fire,
to ice, to flood,

to earth cracking,
to the ravenous
remainder of us, and some will 
certainly die. Some will no doubt live:

learn to ride dragons,
how to bury the past,
how to bury the dead
so they stay dead

and do not come back:
no resurrection,
no glory for what’s gone.
No letting it up from its grave.


White Smoke

the pale-faced
standing around

crush and grind
brown art then

roll it up and
burn it down

they’re high on 
theft

they don’t see it
that way

at most they’ll claim
it’s about admiration

any appropriation
an innocent mistake

but make no bones
about it — certainly

not the bones
they flicked aside

before they lit up — 
they know exactly 

what they have done
high on stolen lives

they create
what they call

a vibrant multicultural
experience

that from this angle
just looks more like

more of the usual
white smoke


Gardner Street

Gardner Street,
where the cobblestones
no longer hide under
asphalt, axle-breaker
road, commonly used
when cutting from Main South
to the faster route to downtown, 
the one not as direct but with 
fewer obstacles once you get past
the hard historic rumble
of Gardner Street. Then again,

even though driving down Main Street
offers a straight shot there,
it’s never been easy to get to
our shiny downtown
from Main South, even before
the rebuild, the driving out
of the old tenants, the tear down
of the old church, the ripping
of old fabric in favor of something
artisanal and pure and much more
wholesomely rough; if they haven’t
paved a condo courtyard down there 
with vintage cobblestones yet,
they will. 

Back on Gardner Street, right near
the new Boys and Girls Club

(located off of what they used to call
Kilby Street until someone decided

that name reminded too many
of those who ran the corners there;

GPS still calls it Kilby Street
though all the signs are down and trashed)

drivers not already
in the know
keep slamming into that open pit of cobblestones
and hard brake
or break down hard.

Townies know better

what’s under
every shiny new surface.
Know what will render
your shiny ride useless.
Know what it means
to be shined on. Know
what their streets 
used to hold. Know
real people live
on Gardner Street

and they don’t always 
just pass through.