Friday, January 20, 2012

POEM: Truth & The Internet

I click the chicory-colored hyperlink that reads A BROKEN LINK
on a web site & receive a THIS PAGE CANNOT BE FOUND message

This self referential link, accurate as cesium, is a random truth
of the internet: sad as it is, unable to connect to any page, it is
a dim blue incandescent Christmas bulb with its color
chipped off, white light needling through the cracks,
gleaming totally inconspicuous by a dearth of self knowledge

POEM: Geologic

I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
- Revelation 2:17

Sometimes I believe words are stones we toss
at each other, to make the same hollow
thud rocks make whenever they land &
strike each other. There is a life of bedrock
Beneath us.

We sculpt with the tools of isolation
yet we are also hardened jack hammers
aching metallic aches, yearning to drill
through what is geologic with carbon
fists ablaze.

Each day closes somewhat more uncertain
than the previous, unless the bedrock
which entombs the beating heart is present.
Such is the territory each of us
has homesteaded. There is a life of bedrock
Between us.

POEM: In February, Wearing Sloppy Snowshoes

In February, wearing sloppy snowshoes, you trundled over,
dragging all the ice & snow you could with you the entire way,
Asked my forgiveness, & to hand me back the coffee that you borrowed
That last time we circled each other before we went on desperate paths
in the heat of July, we danced to cicada.
& now, & here - you promise me the heat of nuclear fusion,
wishing to make more energy out of colliding words
Which I mention to you is how sunlight is made.
Blood shot red light carves out a soft occupation of the hills,
As it casts its doubtful shadows.

POEM: An Ordinary Song

School is still out & the town is out of breath without its kids. I am constantly tired, not eager to rise in the earl grey light that peeks between the college’s gothic steeples. Maybe I want to sleep in but can’t. I cannot enjoy the leftover time in bed, the barricaded cold, coma warm blankets, the twisted bodies, our sheltered forms among the sheets. I sleep the way a father does who cannot sleep so deeply knowing his children are out, until the door finally latches behind the last one in at last. One exhale.
Thank you ice on my windshield spreading like a stitch
Thank you slate sky, scratched with fingernail white lines of ghostly planes so remote, off to warm lands. Thank you strangely anxious light over mountain sleep, dreaming of summer heat.

These days when I wake, I reach for my partner wanting to feel her body heat, because the warmth assures me that I am here, I have not been disappeared. That the sun will rise today, that I will dress & join the circular ordinariness of others: will shave, will eat breakfast, will drive to work & be consumed by daylight. The sun that rises appears to me as a grand gift reopening. The soft white noise of the car defroster offers me wordless song in elephant frequency.

Behind the ordinary is sadness, solid, waiting like soil in winter, what we must eventually immerse our hands in getting the scent over our fingers, go through the day with it, like cologne. Leaving dreams behind, making a way, I make eye contact with total strangers & hoping for a moment that I know him, co-resident in this opening, the contact, however awkward, hovers like coffee aroma.

Thank you ice on my windshield spreading like a stitch
Thank you slate sky, scratched with fingernail white lines of ghostly planes so remote, off to warm lands. Thank you strangely anxious light over mountain sleep, dreaming of summer heat.

I don’t know why in the play in my head it is always she who dies before me. Why do I think that? There is the shiver of a razor in first reactions. It is not a fear of being alone but not knowing what to do next, who am I in such hard absence?

I have always been afraid of growing disheveled, of having others say, “See how he has let himself go since her passing.” I do not want to let myself go. I want to keep a tight grip.

Since light was born I measured all distance relative to her body, her azure eyes, her loving hands.

Thank you ice on my windshield spreading like a stitch
Thank you slate sky, scratched with fingernail white lines of ghostly planes so remote, off to warm lands. Thank you strangely anxious light over mountain sleep, dreaming of summer heat.

POEM: What The Kindle Cannot Do

is cuddle my pen, or splay violently onto
my living room floor, with textured pages
curled in all directions like morning hair,
it will never be as bedraggled as
a beggar, it cannot be an open palm,
asking for alms or be the leather smell
of wisdom or ever offer me a
spine to finger, a tab to yank on, tugged
from shrugged shoulders of oily wooden racks,
face smirking outward like an audience.
it cannot surround me, or remind me
that i am half army & half a monk.
it can never be the ligament of
wisdom’s muscles, for left on its own, words
just coagulate, glomming a body
to lean against. the growling CRT
paints evanescent reflections of green
sickly skin, but no analogues of flipping
pages or hi res simulations of
dog ears, nor the slick licking of electric
fingers into some form of pixelated
saliva cradles me the way books can.

Every book dreams of corporeal life.
The virtual (from the same Latin root
as virtuous, as in”strength”) offers weak
bonds between spiritual & convenient,
ignoring that Presence is another way
to know everything.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

POEM: A Person Can Break A Neck Trying To Write An Honest Poem*

I have sat zazen my entire life
& committed every infant pink &
bruised purple morning to memory. I
have fasted & grown gaunt seeking visions,
having raised Presence to my soft red lips
as one lifts a chalice filled with Holy Blood
Of saviors, saints & the wisest madmen.
But it was not until the dim flicker
Of simple light, shadowless on the wall
of the cave that is my heart, scratched in an ancient
hand, that I was so stirred to finally
make out the blessing, once too blurry to read:

"let your writing be your practice,” it said,
let your practice be what you bleed."

*(With thanks to Charles Simic for this favorite line in one of his poems for the title.)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

POEM: The Path - Lament

silver nitrate maple leaves
fallen as an act
of remorse & snow
o dubious spring -
can color be so disowned?
can faith be so disrobed?
Disarmed & bereft & godless
was it for this
you was born?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

POEM: Ghosts Reciting Poetry

Once we dreamt of marbled ash, of tooth & bone as rubble, a post-war Europe, tossed between fingers.
The holes of us, the atomic solid space of us, now a marbled space, the way we think of Rome as always indestructible.
Once we dreamt of sculptors releasing figures trapped in stone, it becoming clear that art is only beholden to the artist.
Once we dreamt of what we would say when asked “what would you like done with your body after you die?” and it froze our love, dead in its tracks.

When we are cremated, words escape steamlike, just pebbles left behind to play with.
Hardscrabble lint, kept in a pocket, perhaps, to scratch another’s inner thighs.

Which is how you will know it is us.

That and the poetry we will recite.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

POEM: poems are not clever things

[they are silence]
[hidden in the junk drawer]
[where do you hide yours?]
[in a stream?]
[inside an 18-wheeler?]
[playing center-field for the Mets?]
[bypassing ears]
[striking at the heart]
[of every heart]
[just out of reach]
[of everything]

Poem: The Surly Sea

[the sea is the tint of money green]
[beyond everyone's reach]
[it explains color]
[using violent language]
[how mums shiver]
[how forlorn pumpkins]
[have had more orange days]
[do you remember]
[the viny days of fields]
[in the refuge of the gourd sea?]

POEM: The Path - Is Everything Found In Early Morning Fog?

Is everything found in early morning fog,
The one that dances softly with sunrise?
I cannot contain it, it rests in the lap
Of the valley. I cannot stave it off
Only shave off its occupation of the tired hills.