Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day Weekend Poem

Search History

After we read and say goodnight I see your chromebook glows
It glows so I sit for a moment at your little desk
I click and I click and this is what worried daddies do in the dark
When their little girls go to bed

Do boys like tomgirrls or girllygirls
Do boys like shy girls?
Talking when boys talk when boys are funny
How do I get flat firm my tummy
Exercises for flat bellies
Short girls are pretty girls too?
Short girls or funny girls
Diets for girls healthy and good for you
Pretty girls popular girls
Straight hair or wavy curls
Am I the right size
How to be poppular and pretty
Pretty hair and pretty eyes

And I sit and the light glows
The rest of the room quiet and dark
(She always falls asleep so quick)
Wedged in a small chair in a little girls room
And I type and I type
To guide her search, to shine a light

You are a beautiful girl
You are kind and sweet and nice
And all I ever wished
A little girl my little girl would be
And the world is lucky
And the world is here
In your lucky you’re here
The world needs more of you here
There's too much lurching and wanting and hate
More of you here before it's too late
Of your nice and your kind
And your smile and your sweet and your just the way you are.
And I will be here in the glow of your light
My strong little girl
My beautiful girl

I leave these tabs open
For the history that gets saved
A history of searches for answers.
To the questions we only ask ourselves.
Questions afraid to be in the light.

I’d say to her in the morning (mourning it won't matter):
Beware of the answers lurking behind silences.
Beware of urges to find answers when silence itself is a kind of answer.
Beware of the answers calculated
From algorithms of automatic search engines
When the answer is to ask   more questions.
There are always more questions than the ones you think.
There are answers in the questions and questions from answers
And questions upon questions
Branching from trunks of confusions
That I know I can’t stop from you from asking.

You have find them out yourself

Without asking

As you go on living

As you grow and you love and you live

In the light of the day
In the unanswerable darkness.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Weekend Poem

Poem, #2

The first draft was about a resilient oak that stands its ground
Despite tornadoes and storms:
Though branches be whipped and shed their leaves
Though the trunk may sway and creak in the torrents of wind
The blossoms will bloom in May again…”
And anodyne drivel of that form.

But my interest in the tree and its leaves soon waned.
Who really gives a damn about them?
The tree can go straight to hell.
Let it get snapped in half by a good-hearted gale

I wanted to know what happens to the roots below.
What happens underground when the tree hollows out dead?
What happens when I plunge a spade into the ruined earth?
Does the blade strike gnarled hardness of desperate thirst?
Is the soil snarled with the sinews of foolish youthful forays,
Into an impassable latticed bulwark?
Or does the woody root soften as it decays?

Is there a sliver of space for another translucent root?
Those are the real questions;
All else is moot.
A tree is a thing that falls down and dies.
The cyclic bloomings are the bromides
We tell the frightened children at night.

A poem is not the tree with blossoms and leaves
Nor the broken thing that crashes to the forest floor.
But now is the time to let your own tree fall,
Let it crack where it once was strong.
A poem is the hidden treasure left over
Long after the roots dissolve into soil.
Stand ready with your shovel and rest, rest.
Wait, wait for the right moment;
And then dig, and then dig
And then yes and then yes


Monday, May 28, 2018

Weekend Poem


Will you have a beautiful death?
Will it go gray and ashen
Like an April evening
winding down.
Will it be slow and peaceful and tick tock  tick tock
In the homes of strangers,
On white couches with untouched tea on glass tables

Of course you must be quiet
Listen just listen
For the steady beat of the fading
After all the flinches and flails and clonic reachings
Death approaches in its rat-a-tat-tat
The rhythm grips you like gravity
when the   floor


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weekend Poem


Driving highway west in the early morning
My tires thrum over the ridges of the road
(A rippling staccato rhythm
Like the pulsing overture to an ancient fertility rite).
Hazy moon low hung in the indigo gray west,
A pale thumbprint smudged against ash
While orange embers of the rising sun flash in the mirror,
Chasing after another fading night.
A new day always hunts for its dawn
While I'm caught between what used to be and what’s coming,
Enfolded within the dying and soon to be born,
Suspended in the limbo gray of morning.
Which is always the present
Which is the time for mourning

Pull over to the side and stop chasing,
Stop trying to sculpt form from ash.
I feel the gathering sun against my back
The darkness ahead is just my own shadow
Casting a sliver of shade onto the past.
Oh if night would only push back, resist,
Arch its back into the new day.
To be curled up into a singularity
That can never go forward, never go back,
Riveted to the road, time suspended,
A row of infants swaddled in blankets
Disembodied faces, wrinkled and sleeping and calm.
To stanchion one’s body against the searing sun
While reaching for the last strand of fleeing night
(To make it all stop):
It’s a strain no one can bear for long.
Something always breaks
While the rest of the world wakes

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Weekend Poem

I Frame the World

I shape the world with my hands.
I draw the borders of your portrait
With charcoal and chalk
Then wait for your face to materialize like sunrise.
I frame the edges of the earth with my fingertips.
My eyes are receptive, passive,
Limited to limned squares- which isn't much-
Cast upon the blank canvas of mind.
My hands are always probing the frontiers,
Reaching, sightless, feeling for something to clutch.
I gather all I can carry,
A pile of collected objects to be sorted and tagged.
My vision extends as far as the space between my hands.
I learned to ignore the lost loveliness outside these borders.
I was always building frames
For the slivers of world I wanted to save.
I thought the world had to be acquired.
Look at my pile of splintered frames,
Broken slats of wood where every image slowly fades.
Now I find time to sit in stillness on the porch
And forge the world with my hands alone.
Each lost moment gets a concentrated gaze.


Weekend Poem

Lady M

There’s not enough time to do any good.
There’s never enough time.
And don’t tell me to get my face out of my phone.
I’m fully aware of opportunity costs
And wasted hours falling down You Tube rabbit holes,
The middle distance stares,
Lost reveries in grocery store lines;
I know all about those, baby.
It’s not the lost time
It’s the terror of not being kind.

We all wander some nights like Lady Macbeth
Balling our fists, whispering rueful regrets
Into our drawn hoods of shame.
Not for some damn evil murder,
Nothing like that.
(I never aimed to be king)
Just some stupid shit,
Banal, selfish, but irretrievable time.
And now our hands are irrevocably unclean.
Despite the flesh scrubbed raw,
The filth remains;
(Under the nails, in the sluices of our palms).
We used to wear gloves,
Embarrassed by the stains,
Thinking we were the only ones who had forgotten how to love.
Now we don’t care.
We grew up big, got busy, saved face,
Called ourselves names, filled time with space.
My hands and wrists have long been bare.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Weekend Poem

First, Silence

I want you to know me by my silences
Instead of the swaggering speeches,
The arguments honed like spears,
Vows and decrees shouted from rooftops
For all the heedless world to hear.
The incessant endless onslaught
Of boy clamoring to be man.

I want you to know me now by silence;
The implacable presence of being
That half steps ahead of every moment.
I want you to sense it before I'm close enough
To cast shadows across your face.
Then I can stop running from the old deep fear.
Listen now as I whisper to the darkness.
Listen for the hushed words never before spoken,
The words the rest of the world can't hear.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Weekend Poem


Christ, he was nice guy,
Washing all those dusty feet,
Tending to the sores of the sick.
Christ, he liked the poor, the money lenders, the whores.
He hung out late night with outcasts and boors.

But they put him in a story book and made him
A hero with magic powers:
(Re-animator, water walker)
(Crown of thorns)
(Cartoon devils with horns)
(Priests and apses)
Christ almighty it was a terrible mistake.

It was never enough to just be kind and nice.
We always need our saints to be more.

We kneel and pray before bed,
Sprinkle (holy) water on babies heads.
But over there in the corner is a bucket.
It gathers dust, you forgot all about it.
Run some (tap) water.
Here’s some soap and rags.
Wait until the house dies down
And go silently from room to room.
Hurry, for Christ's sake, the sun rises soon;
They'll wake as if their feet have never touched the ground.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spring Break Poem

Gather the Shells

Let us walk the beach and gather our shells.
The child fills the pail with all the pretty ones, shiny and perfected.
I offer the broken, the notched, the dulled;
The fragments of bones the seas have rejected.

We won’t be able to take them all home.
So we sift through our pile of limestone;
Some of yours, a few of mine,
Rinse the sand and brine.

We choose the shells to keep,
The ones to use for the stories we must tell,
Like words, etched into the gray stones
Planted in the ground to mark our resting bones.