Monday, February 16, 2009

POEM: A Million, Million Colors

I wish you settlement.
I wish you travelled miles
Further on down the road.
I wish you contentment
And love in a million, million colors.
I wish you heaping servings of bravery,
And the peace of morning stillness.
I wish you closure and every new opening there is.
I wish you discovery and the breathiness of astonishment.
I wish you good food made by hands you know.
I wish you warm tea on cold nights,
And the cool affirmation of summer breezes.
I wish you love in a million, million colors –
And the kind of joy that you just have to sing
I wish you the growth that only dark nights can bring.

POEM: Hicku (A Hickey Haiku)

as kisses go this one comes
close to violence -
this bruised purple fruit.

Friday, February 06, 2009

JOURNAL: The Light of Early Morning

The light of early morning is not the same as the light at twilight. It is rather weak and submissive. It is not overpowering. The sun – a star of some repute – dreams the day. That is the only explanation for why the light in early morning is so special, why doves moan in it, why skunks and possum hunt for grubs in the watery dark. It is a light that holds all matter in suspension.

The quiet lonesomeness of this light differs so much from twilight. I can’t deny the promise I feel in it; its potential is horizon-less. Overhead, on clear nights, stars play in a molasses field. Then the black begins to drain into gray and then a drawn pale blue. Soon – and especially in the colder months – planes overhead leave crossing jet streams that look like stitchery. In the infant sky, it looks like the tracery of crystallized water as it freezes.

When that oversized orange ball, plump and vulnerable, elbows its way over the line of the horizon, for a moment I am breathless. I spend so much of my waking day looking for goodness everywhere only to stumble on it, groggy and undeserving, find it unexpectedly in the confessional of this fresh squeezed sunlight. I am made foolish. I am turned dumb as to what is good and holy. I am dumb to evil. I am reduced to something subatomic, seeking an orbit around something else, something material all while my life is held up to me as something ridiculous, made tender by the gentle morning light.

This is a prayer. Prayer is not an invocation of some higher power. It is not a laundry list of wants or needs. It is not words at all. It is perspective shift. It is first shall be last and last shall be first. It is the rich becoming poor and the poor ascending to wealth. It is me, this creature of certitude turned back into the dust that was spirit first breathed into nostrils a million million years ago.

The light of early morning is not overpowering. It is subtle. It is small. It shaves off the rough edges of me. It pulls me inside out and exposes me and for this reason I feel we must all greet the morning alone.

The light of early morning like harbor lights leads me home. Like the sand and ocean, it speaks of home to me. It is fresh every time and cannot be drawn or photographed properly. Like the face of God, one cannot look directly into its face but not out of fear of dying, but rather out of fear of not recognizing it for what it truly is: a sweet song, a papery touch of a lover, the favorite smell of my baby’s fresh washed hair. All these things pin me down and hold me motionless and here is where I know God to be.

POEM: I Want To Be As Strong As an Onion

I want to be as strong as an onion in how I love
Strong as an onion that is cooking –
I want to be stripped and sliced
Diced and white and nude
Caressed by the affirming touch
Of simmering viscous oil.
I want to languish in the softness
Of giggling heat,
To be caramelized over you,
Covered in the slick juice of you
Yet infused beneath the thought of you,
I want the very touch of sautéing flesh
That is every bit the savory jib of me
Turned over into the convulsive flavor of you.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

POEM: I Am From

I am from love, a boisterous light that shuns the shade of propriety.
I am from words, holy artifacts and from the swinging rhythm of speech.
I am from sacrifice which shines the dream bright gold.
I am from trust, the grit I toss on the ice to keep me upright in winter.
I am from solitude that polishes my soul.
I am from whispering pines and mountain wind prayer.
I am from early light that washes everything clean and new.
And I am from twilight which hushes me to sleep at night.
I hold all things of value internally;
I leave the bric-a-brac of outside things
Angled against the shed and house
And know they will not last,
That they never point the way
To the pith of me.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My Father's Hands

The memory of how thick his fingers were catches me off guard. They are oversized hands, swollen like sausage overblown from the frying, something overripe. His pointer floats along the open church missal instructing both my brother and me where we should be reading along with the priest while we secretly make fun of those fingers, by doubling up our own and pointing at things around us, then laugh rife with the ignorance of kids.

But I also remember how his hands hold a football, how plump and meaty are the heals of his hands from the years off working as an electrotyper – a position long since replaced with the advent of the personal computer. The long, repetitive motion, the tedium of the job all took its toll on his body as he adjusts metal plates with these fingers that remind me of thickly braided rope.

These are hands that can change a flat tire on our station wagon on a warm summer night traveling from the beach. At night, in the shower of transient parkway headlights, these hands seem like mitts to me; they twist the stubborn lug nuts with relentless effort; they press into the bar of the jack, lifting the car, while my mother basks in the warm island air and smiles with the firm assurance of one who is cared for. He holds the spare tire like a Eucharist between his hands like he is giving thanks and here he seems so omnipotent to me.

I still see those hands on that dark night that, hands that glowed with power. As boys everything in the world seemed so much more powerful than we were. My father’s hands represented a power to protect. In this way, these hands were shelter from the few things we knew or believed could harm us, but also the many things out there we were incapable of imagining that could harm us as well.

Today as a grown man, as a father myself, I know what those things are out there that can harm my children. I know of the shadowy truths that we don’t like to talk about or think of. I have come after all this time to finally see the rough worked hands of my father as the only home I have never really left.

Monday, February 02, 2009

POEM: The Blessing of Homecoming

When your breath is frozen and sadness consumes you,
Stand motionless, like a hunter stalking prey.
When doubt is the only language you know, give in.

Accept that you will never know everything.
Accept that ignorance is just one more wanting among
All the others that puddle deep, deep within.

Do not judge the entirety of days by all the pacing that you do
In the grand room of every day moments –
Not everything is significant.

There are many doors through which guests may be greeted –
There are many windows to welcome the light.
Nothing needs to be shunted.

There is time to be unreasonable, time to change your mind.
You do not need to be anything at all
And you do not need to answer the telephone.

Dive below into the great green ocean that is you
For it is always the hidden things that kill us
In torturous time and in grueling ways.

No one ever makes sense of the instant of surrender.
It is not a way of living that I am talking about
But a split second of concrete uncertainty.

Like recognizing a loved one out of a crowd, it just comes to you
This recognition of the stranger you are to yourself -
It is a great blessing that has at last become your homecoming.