Sunday, July 8, 2018

Poem

Impressions

I like to press
My thumb into a
Swollen leg

Moist spring soil
Clumps of molding clay

Order some lasix
Cap the IV
Watch my thumb print fade

In five years
This woman will not
Remember me.

So many pots and plates,
Shaped the best I could
With artless hands;
Pressed and dented.

Baked hard in kilns of time.
Sanded smooth.
Shelves upon shelves of
Brittle bones.

7/8/18

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Weekend Poem

Body Blue

They place the body in a quiet room
Behind curtains
For the family to mourn
In privacy; to weep, to clutch
At the warmth fading
From her hands,
To caress her lifelike face.
We are all so sorry for their loss
(I am so sorry for your loss)
I am so sorry


Brown bodies, black bodies, white.
Yellowed, bruised, bodies become blue.
We live within arms and legs,
Torsos, minds within skulls
Conjuring visions beyond body,
When a body goes cold.

Black bodies, pale bodies
Lined up like piano keys.
Let us turn to hymn number 533.
Let us turn the page.
It’s time to mumble along
To the next lachrymal song.

We open our eyes,
And lose the concept of color.
We breathe deep
And lose the sense of smell.
We reach to touch
And lose the ability to feel.
Flesh stiffens, gathers pallor,
The skin grows turgid as the insides bloat.


(This seems like exploitation
But I’m just trying not
To die inside---
Cold corpse-like
Where I’ve drawn my own curtains
Around a flickering flame.
Lonesome inner shivering
When the engine keeps on running,
Wasting ambient heat,
Saps strength, a will
To keep striving.
You’re just beat)


My body is soft and hard and angled and curved,
Defined by numbers; pounds, inches and feet.
But these fingers are the limits of my reach.
This heel is the depth of my step.
This skull is the extent of my knowing.


Bodies at their best are bio-machines
That take up space,
Heat up, cool down
Eat, drink, get tired.
When the body expires
It just gets in the way.
(Can’t be stashed in attics or closets)
Elegies and wakes elapse
In a whirlwind of lost time.


We bury the ones that accept their decay.
But about the bodies
That can’t yet go in the ground----
With hearts that doggedly beat,
Lungs that respire
Eyes that open to morning light,
Minds that wake to a chilled dawn
And must brush their teeth,
Get dressed,
Tie their shoes,
Comb their hair,
Check their lists
Get ready to make rounds---
We have nothing more to say.


There are always forms to be completed,
To document the recent cold dead.
The county sends them out after a few days:
Time of death, immediate causes
Check here for autopsy
Time and date of passing
Sign here.  
Sign here.
It sits on my desk like an anvil
Strapped to my waist
But I’m landlocked
Wishing someone would toss it
Into a frigid sea,
Drag me down into the depths;
A silencing final mercy.


(This here is my own form,
The one that gets filled out next,
To make sure a fire still burns,
Before the embers all die,
Before I forget I’m still alive.)


The ones we lose,
Once laid in the ground,
Never go alone;
They take a piece of us with them,
Exchanged for a dusting of ashes.
The sun sets, the smoke rises
And we gradually cool

7/1/18

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Weekend Poem

Apoptosis

When a cell suddenly dies it’s called apoptosis.  
No one knows why; it’s a secret knowledge,
A microscopic biological gnosis,
A screeching stoppage.


Maybe we’re all programmed to just croak
According to inscrutable cosmic algorithms
Each and every cell in on the joke
Songs clang out of tune, drums lose the rhythm. 


Our cell membranes were always just a temporary redoubt,
Fragile molecules arranged in aqueous oval orbs.
The killer never comes from without;
It was always a destructive directive from the inner core.


The lines drawn were always contingent.
One day they suddenly wobble,
Waver like highway apparitions in summer heat
Before a final fading oblivion.
This enclosed space was never a real dominion.
(It was a gift, it was luck)
Form dissolves into the surrounding solution;
Ribosomes, nuclei spontaneously deconstruct.

x

Soon all the cells around you will go quiet;
The humming machinery of life stalls.
Does the silence distill a cold sweat,
Do you wake up soaking wet?
A sleeping sickness spreads like osmosis,
Last one left adrift in currents, untethered.
This then is the one time for fear,
Surrounded by silence, by formlessness
Underwater drifting with eyes closed
Not knowing what begins in this unmarked frontier.


Will you run out of time
To crack this code
Before your own scripted de-quickening?


Will we rise when we lose the lines that limit us,
Or does the meager space between the confines define us?
Do lines and spaces forever inhibit us?

When we fade and become formless
What remains may be the gist of another.
Primordial stew of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen
Driven to new patterns and connections by a quiet narration
We've always heard but now are expected to confess.
The timer always resets:
Another countdown, another secret time of expiration

6/22/18

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?
How do I grow and when will i be 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 luck and your good
And you're here
And the world needs more
Of you here
For too much lurching and wanting and hate
More of you here before it's too late
For your nice and your kind
And your smile and your sweet and your just as 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 of the light.


I’d say to her in the morning (mourning it won't matter):
Beware of the answers lurking behind silences,
The instant answers that appear on screens
When silence itself is a kind of an answer.

For there will always be questions
Unpaired from answers
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.

6/15/18


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

6/4/18

Monday, May 28, 2018

Weekend Poem


Clocks


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 clock.
After all the flinches and flails and clonic reachings
Death approaches in its rat-a-tat-tat
The strict rhythm grips you like gravity
when the  floor
falls
away

5/28/18

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weekend Poem

Enfolded

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