On Love and a Prayer

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I see him in every empty stare

A zombified generation

Of once beautiful souls

How did we get it so wrong

Sacrifice a generation

And how do we save them?

Love isn’t enough

When it has gone this bad,

So far from our empty promises

Is he beyond prayers, too

Because that’s all I have left

I see him in every empty stare

And send up this poem

On the fragile wings of love,

and a whispered prayer.

Bent On Flying

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fogged in for five days,

A space, made smaller

By low-hanging clouds

That won’t go away.

Nothing is as ungovernable

As weather, except the soul,

Bent on flying–

It’s what they always get wrong

About need; I need freedom;

I need sun, and a view so clear

It extends forever, like a soul,

Bent on flying–

Beyond every cage, open space;

Beyond every wall, more room;

Beyond this fog, the sun,

So bright, it will blind you.

2

He said, the world is bound together

in shame, and shadow.

3

What serves your soul:

A walk, a song, an embrace.

Last summer, we danced

Under stars and moon,

To music from Alexa.

Last night, we danced

To Christmas jazz.

You opened the door,

Danced barefoot in snow,

Twirled under night clouds,

A free soul of sun, and song,

A soul bent on flying.

Winter Blind

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A white blanket was pulled over

Our homes, the earth, our heads,

As effortless as sliding on ice,

As uncontrollable as dying.

And, it was hard to see beginnings

Of fields, or endings of hilltops;

In that way, it was a blur of (also white) fog.

Who’s to say what lay behind it?

The infinite forever of lost souls–?

Just there, and there, look where

My finger is pointing, beyond the trees.

I see myself only as far as the fence-line.

All else sparkles back, a vision

Of what is here, and what has been here,

Always within the margin

Of what we can so easily see.

I Envy the Aspen’s Sleek Body

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

I Envy the Aspen’s Sleek Body

Unmoved, while her leaves shake, turn color, fall.  
Alone, naked, enduring all; she’s bare again.

This is an exercise in making a longer poem as short as it can be, in the fashion of Ezra Pound’s, “In a Station of the Metro.”

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

The first draft of this poem was, “Her Arms.”

I envy the Aspen,
With her sleek, white body,
She stands unmoved,
While her leaves shake,
Turn color, fall,
And she is left,
Naked and alone,
In wind, rain, snow,
Enduring all,
Judging none,
No complaining.
In spring, I remember
Her limbs rejoiced
In buds, then leaves,
And birds.
They gathered
In her arms:
Robin, magpie,
Sparrow, finch, falcon.
This autumn was summer,
Then winter,
She is bare again.
The chickadees bounce
From perch to perch,
Fully happy in her embrace.
During this too early winter,
When we lose faith,
Fall to our knees,
Barely endure
dark day after dark day;
She stands reaching,
Arms outstretched to the sun
Beyond the clouds.
You must see now,
Why I envy the Aspen,
How she will survive,
And thrive, beyond me.

If you have a 2-line poem (3, with title), please share it in the comments.

Her Arms

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I will take a *Pound out of this poem everyday until it is three lines: a title, and 2 lines.

I envy the Aspen,

With her sleek, white body,

She stands unmoved,

While her leaves shake,

Turn color, fall,

And she is left,

Naked and alone,

In wind, rain, snow,

Enduring all,

Judging none,

No complaining.

In spring, I remember

Her limbs rejoiced

In buds, then leaves,

And birds.

They gathered

In her arms:

Robin, magpie,

Sparrow, finch, falcon.

This autumn was summer,

Then winter,

She is bare again.

The chickadees bounce

From perch to perch,

Fully happy in her embrace.

During this too early winter,

When we lose faith,

Fall to our knees,

Barely endure

dark day after dark day;

She stands reaching,

Arms outstretched to the sun

Beyond the clouds.

You must see now,

Why I envy the Aspen,

How she will survive,

And thrive, beyond me.

Let Me Be Like Water

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The way water comes

In many forms,

Lapping here, at my feet,

Or droplets, from a dark sky;

Let me be like water.

My father told me

God is like water:

Ice, steam, and ocean,

The way it evaporates

Then moves in clouds

To mountaintops,

Over and over.

Let me be eternal,

Like water.

Last night, I cried,

Tears of salt, and water,

They spilled out of my body

In waves, and clouds,

Emptying my grief

Into the great God

Of the helpless-lost.

I was poured out

Into some common,

Wet universe–universe–yes,

Let me be that vast,

Powerful transformation;

Let me be like water.

Have You Seen a Heart?

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Forever and ever,

They have underestimated

Women.

Elizabeth

Would not be queen.

Born to a whore.

(They define whores.)

Do you see the difference?

The threat?

Does a man scare you the same way,

As a woman with a feline sway?

No, it is a woman

who brought down Troy,

And toys with the heart in you.

Have you seen a heart?

Not the one you scribble

In pen,

But the ripped out organ,

Still beating blood

Into your hands.

Love Letters

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Whisper me a tale of lovers,

Through limbs of trees and years,

Rattle a leaf, turn a page,

Rifle through an abandoned dresser.

You will find them there among socks,

With no feet left to cover.

The body is taken away,

Yet, rises again in pen.

She recognizes the scrawl,

It is as much him as him,

And hymn to her hurting heart.

You realize love too late,

She thinks, beyond the day-to-day

Bicker and fuss, we lost us-

She sees her lover now,

In what is left undone–

The many things he touched

And with his touch, flourished,

They wilt now that he’s gone.

Yet, in her hands,

She holds his scribbled words:

Nineteen sixty three, nineteen sixty four–

And, it all comes back to her.

Knowing : the Other Side of Losing

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

oh, they are right

with their cliches and memes

about how you will regret

when they’re gone

the missed opportunities

to hold them

to ask them

to listen

yes, it is obvious

isn’t it

but you are doomed

like I was

to never fully understand

the precious lives

so goddam important

to your own

so ubiquitous of shared moments

it is impossible to appreciate

their value

yes, it’s true

you’ll only know on the other side

of losing

welcome to being human

you will find it is full

of regrets

Some Gifts

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some gifts are better than others,

The way I saw your heart extend

Into past memories of her—

Tears from your uncrying eyes—

Her loss was the one loss

That broke you like that,

Like that,

The sobbing unashamed.

And then, it’s as if we fast forward

The great movie of our lives together:

You’re dying,

I’m a middle-aged woman.

You give me a dog.

A wolfhound,

Like the one whose loss broke you

Way back then. Riagan. Riagan.

Whose eyes held our gaze,

Whose eyes sought to impart wisdom;

Perhaps, her eyes saw beyond this life,

To where you are now.

Wouldn’t it be something

If our lives are that special,

They continue forever,

Two points–three–an infinity of dots

On some great line that extends forever.

A Hope For Something Better

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Would our lives be better

If we paid attention

Each drip drip

Each rustle and bow of leaves

The branches of the pine are dancing

To a song in 4/4 time

So is the purple sand cherry, dancing

Clouds upon clouds upon clouds

Let me describe them:

flat, dark bottoms, mountainous tufts

Bodies extending far into the sky

For sun, sun lighting up their top halves

I should say, the earth side is ominous

The heavenward side, radiant

Would you know what I mean

Today, of all days

When so many innocent are dead

Why wouldn’t they turn their eyes away

And hope for something better

How We Keep It

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moments, so beautiful they are painful,

Unless you take a deep breath

And carry them into your heart & lungs

Where they mix with the sweet oxygen

Of your body’s blood, pulse, beat, throb.

And you think, I will keep this, Lord,

Help me keep the memory of it,

Let me be changed forever to the goodness,

Yes, even the holiness of this moment.

(Because what is this, if not sacred?)

A poem can keep it, too, and as I read back,

I feel you in the flashing memory spots,

Where touch and sight and smell,

Ignite the latent feeling of you, still alive.

There you are, rising with other wonders:

The geese, flying through basalt cliffs,

The view, after ascending Doe Mountain,

The ocean, when I had not seen the ocean.

There you are among it all, in my mind,

And I can feel your love from this far away.

Skunk Cabbage

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No, I did not bend down too near

To smell the yellow flower

Which grew in weaving lines through

The swampy crack, the scraggly creek,

Creeping amid mid-high, mid-spring grass.

We were at the base of Quartzite Mountain,

Nestled behind a tiny ski town, ghost town,

When the skiers don’t ski, or snowboard,

Or venture icy roads to snow-topped peaks.

You said the clicking was cicada,

I said, cougar, because I’d seen a video

Of a cougar making a clicking-ticking sound,

And decided the next clicking-ticking

Behind a bush, or tree, or grassy knoll,

Would be a mountain lion. You see,

We will never know who was right,

Because we passed safely the miles up,

The miles back down the hill, to the creek,

With those most beautiful, yellow flowers;

You could see them recede into the woods,

Like mystery, like scattered crumbs,

Showing us the way to an unknown truth.

I followed them for awhile, alone,

While you stayed back, and packed the dog;

Those irresistible, extra steps along their path,

Like blazing torches, luminous, yes.

What Was Lost in the Trade

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The push, and pull, of memory,

When you left me I got sadness, despair,

When I left you, I got amnesia.

Be careful what you forget,

Memories, hostage to one another,

Shoved into the abyss, together they go,

What was beautiful, too,

The joy of holding his babies at my breasts,

The sound of love in first words;

Hope, like a childhood dream,

You’re embarrassed you believed.

And now, no plumbing the hole

With dirty hands, arms not long enough

To reach what was so easily given away;

(The hurt was not traded for living,

As I’d hoped,) no, I want them all back,

Though they bring you, with the sadness, too.

One Swan, One Last Kiss of a Bee

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hog Lake Falls, a cool breeze,

One single, solitary swan.

I think I see him preening

From this vantage, far away.

Last time I hiked here, you’d just died,

And I thought, how lovely to know

I can bring you with me,

Free of the dying chair,

The dying bed, the whole dying room,

And house, where you’d locked yourself away.

Such days are ripe with feeling alive:

Prairie smoke droop their heads,

Their beautiful faces turned down,

As they wait for the kiss of a bee.

Then they will finally look up at the sky,

Say one last prayer, go to seed.