Sunday, June 28, 2009

POEM: On News That Scientists Are Studying Why Songbirds Sing

In the news today
There is a report abouts scientists
Who study why songbirds sing.

They have discovered complex
Harmonic arrangements
Between birds that were previously
Only thought possible between humans.

They explore the spontaneity
of music between two birds
So we might learn what role song has in our lives.
I know what this is but there is no science.

When they complete the study,
When they have dissected every colorful note
And willful plea of the buoyant songbirds -
Then what?

Will it still sound like sunlight?
Will it still feel like broken glass catching the light
Against cool morning air, even in the dimness?

Where does the miraculous go to die
or at the very least, get forgotten?

Friday, June 26, 2009

POEM: Portrait of A Smoker

She is a study in silent stillness,
With cigarette lodged
Between her sharp, white knuckles,
Wrinkled and protruding,
The stem like a lighthouse,
Red tip aglow
Warning everyone around her
That she is engaged in a
Breathing meditation –
Stay clear of the shoal of her,
Beware the rocks and tenacious sandbars.

There is the slow arc of hand at hip level
Rising to meet the mouth, soft,
The way pale moon rises gently,
Her pliant cheeks bellow inward;
Her plump though chapped and meaty lips
Enrobe the filtered end;
Her gaze is just a sugary look,
Like glaze, with curly smoke
That entwines her far off eyes,
An incense offering that purifies
Her hallowed space,
Arms crossed like a bound and pious saint.
There is an exorcism of evil spirits that occurs,
Which inhabits the few free minutes
She claims as her own, breathing all the time
An exhale like prayer of billowy smoke,
Rounded, opaque and so gray up to God.

To the Indians of the plains,
Tobacco was this gift from God,
So they could commune with Maheo
So they could make their way back to Him
In the form of love that ascended
In the form of smoke – she exhales
Pillowed clouds that latch on to changing winds,
Like thoughts that are her inner monologue
Of what she is really considering now
At this very moment: this and nothing else.

For now, she is present
To the lit and burning end,
To the snug fit between her fingers,
To the gradual diminishment of her cigarette
And what remains – time and tobacco
In a constant footrace.

There is the glow of silence
All around her everywhere
And she is entirely at home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

POEM: Bounty

Each day I must polish the emerald that is my heart
For that is where the lust for green things lives
And grows and where bounty resides.

Each day I must welcome the rain too.
It is the planting and the harvest just as it is the feast.
For here too, is where bounty lives.

Each night I must pray to dream,
For that is how I touch heaven, just for a single moment.
It is where bounty originates.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

POEM: Daddy Sutra

Ego is the public enemy of the heart.
It is okay to accept it and let it roam free,
Just never let it out and never let it speak
If you can help it.

Faith is the opposite of fear.
Silence is the music of the unseen
While stillness is the dance.

Tend to the light but know that all things grow at night
In the dark fragrant soil that was once other living things.

The earth does not know you by name
But rather by how gently you walk.

It’s fine to not understand your purpose on this planet.

Engage all things promptly whenever possible.
Find the common face of all things.

Acknowledge the times you are wrong and never crow when you are right.

Accept that everything you do will hurt someone or something
Then forgive yourself and start from there.

Be there for the sunrise and sunset;
Be there for friends in need and in joy.
Let others talk - for none of us ever gets chance enough
To talk about ourselves –
Each of us wants desperately to be recognized.
Love hides in the recognition.

When someone steps up to talk with you,
Push your chair away from your desk,
Stop organizing your mail, stop synchronizing your IPod.
Do not be a thief and rob your visitor of his moment to be heard.
No one wants to be voiceless.

Let the weather occasionally dictate your actions:
On warm days, eat ice cream.
On rainy days, make soup,
On snowy day, drink tea
And know that just like the animals you too are subjects
In nature’s kingdom.

Drive without the radio on or CD playing.
Walk without earphones.

When riding in a car as a passenger,
Roll down the window, stick out your head and try
To imagine what dogs feel.
Or close your eyes and pretend you are eagle making
Some harrowing cliff descent.

Be kindest to those who are closest to you:
Too often these are the ones who get the worst parts of us.

Devise a plan to eliminate resentment:
Give each one a name and give them a persona
Then plan a going away party for each one
And bid them “adieu”.

Dig in the dirt at least once a year.

Plant something by your own hand at least once a year.

Remember to dance.
Remember to sing.
Remember to pray.
Failure to do these things will make you sick.
Some African tribes believe this is the source of all sickness.

Acceptance is sitting in traffic, late for an appointment, looking at the clock
And not letting it bother you.

Contentment is not looking at the clock.

Whistle often.

When you meet strangers, smile.
When you meet friends, touch.

Cook often for each other. Feed each other for
A recipe is a treasure map into the heart of another.

Eat chocolate once a day. *

* - not for diabetics or those who are lactose intolerant.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

POEM: Suddenly, I Am The Wave

I am the pool of still blue love floating like cork on pond water,
I am the pond with borders so defined that I defend them to the death.
I pull away at regular intervals like the tide and I advance the same way.

Then morning will appear, revealing herself like a jewel.
The look of a friend or the music of her voice, convinces me
That we are not separate at all.
The fresh cool air of a smile,
The way my heart sounds to me, coursing through my own ears.
They are signs of a great brotherhood that sometimes escapes me.

Suddenly, I am the wave that rages like a sun flare
Traveling millions of miles through space,
A star reaches outward into the big bang of us –

Each cell in our bodies is expanding outward, too.
Each cell is a galaxy in its own universe.
In between each galaxy is where God resides,
Where He was before becoming incarnate –
Before becoming bone and spirit,
Before there was earth and air,
Before there was light and dark, good and evil –
Even before there was yes and no.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

POEM: The Ways That Rain Dances

There are ways that rain dances on solid roofs and thick plastered ceilings
That remind me of a metronome
Marking gain and loss in quarter, half and full note rhythms.

There are ways that rain dances like thoughtless fingers rolling
On the desktop keeping time to secrets that swarm my head like honey bees.
The ones I have forgotten, that wake me from a solid sleep,
The ones I hold in my hollow as regret.

There are ways that rain dances that suggests how well it knows
The obscured parts of me, the most remote sorrow of me.

The rain comes to me like spring with barrels of expectation.
I understand its grayness, I understand its muted light
How it needs to say nothing at all to be heard,
How it moves through me defying gravity like xylem
From my feet to my head in all its wanton lust for lazy stillness.
It is in this lust for stillness that I am just a little more made whole.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

POEM: Brother

Have I told you how the gentleness dances in your eyes?
How the fire bobs freely in your wavy hair?
How the flecks of "welcome" spackle the brillo of your beard?

How was it that you were spirited away from me? At birth?
What angel stole you?
How could we not have noticed?
Like Disciples on the road to Emmaus,
Weren't our hearts burning all this time?
In breaking bread? In stories we shared, and what was said?

You have stood in my shadows.
I shall stand in yours, too,
Though we have signed no blood oath
As young boys sometimes do,
We did not spit into our hands and slap our palms,
And agree to the mischievous deeds by which boys are often recognized.

The contract is written onto the fleshy parchment of our hearts.
Notarized by a painful hill-climb on a bicycle,
By the hole our fathers left in us,
By what we hope to add to the dreams of our children,
By the breadth and height and width of everything that we love.

You are a gift without my wanting,
You are the target for which I aim with squint eye cocked,
Slant head bent,
You are God’s bow and I am the arrow sent.

Monday, June 01, 2009

POEM: Recommencement

In late May the local colleges
Disperse the young and the hopeful into the world
The way poplar issues furry pollen into the air.

It is this re-seeding every year at this time
That is so eternal:
Its flowers are their dreams -
Its rainstorms are the many trials that await them -
Its fresh sunlight, the many successes which further emboldens them -
Its fruit is everything that is brand new
Or soon will be the brand new
About the world, about living and us.

POEM: What If?

What if you were offered the chance to love something
more than yourself?

What if you could love something so much that it nearly killed you every time you were apart from this thing?

What if you were offered a chance to love something so intently,
so complete and so pure -
but only if you agreed that this thing could be taken away from you at any time, without a moment’s notice?

Capriciously. On a whim. Cruelly yanked away.

What if you were offered the chance at the most perfect love,
the most perfect way to love: to give it and receive it
but only on the condition that it just would not last.
It would not last at all.

Would you do it?

POEM: Early Spring Sky

Let it overcast,
The air rife and warm, bear the life
Of moisture and mystery -
I am pleased to let it cradle me.

Let the sun and space of shade repose
Beneath the cool clumpy shadowlands above me,
With windy hands that scatter poplar seed
Aloft like a secret, or a child’s bubbles.

In stifling slow motion, these dervish seeds
Twirl on the axis of hope -
That one day, it will be a sapling,
Soft, alight, free as quiet, as dreams always are.

Let the wind gasp through the afternoon –
These skyward cartoons,
These parade floats that turn the
Pensive day into moody night.

Let me rest in summer’s breathiness.
With a serious death-bed brow, enzymic clouds
Play music that urges sunlight dance
On the ground, it weaves the dimmest charcoal shapes.

Let it overcast, and huff,
Make the gulls linger one moment longer,
So they swoop in languid arcs of flight -
A starched white against the gray amorphous light.

Let the mysterious comes to life,
Coupled within the craters that reside in me,
Where passions pool too deep to speak of
And where everything yearns for freedom.