Analog

It’s at times like this,
when morning slides across in its straw-yellow light –
that I am slow enticed to rise
and invite the day into my life.

Somehow its poetry comes upon me like I dial
digits on a rotary phone-
awaiting a cyclic return to home position before moving on.

It’s where the music of my choice plays from beginning to end,
with static embellishment reminding me of conclusion.

The ticks and tocks of the clock drive me forward in time,

It’s the moment of morning glory – once asleep in darkness,
then blooming in the day.

Beauty – she sits in moments, but grows in continuum,
and the anticipation at these time-points are like dust in the shifting light,
and my heart wakes in hues of endurance and tomorrow.

Advertisements

Cobblestones

We played as we hopped on a path made of cobblestones,
working to miss tripping up on the wobbly ones-
teetering remnants of geological dawn.

With skips, our fortuitous leaps soon encouraged us,
daffodils blooming beside, on the precipice
jumping to miss the mud puddles along.

Darting and skipping on shiny smooth pebbles
No one would think less of us being rebels
while racing the sidewalks and adjacent lawns.

Falling about in the bluegrass and fescue
Speaking our dreams in expanse, what we cling to-
while bouncing, en-route, as the day lead us on.

Then, after our respite, we left hand-in-hand
Back to the fray of intruding demands,
the cobblestones under our feet level drawn.

And, clicking our heels in the dance of our sunset,
With light on horizons and tears in our sweat,
it’s like we were walking on air all along.

**********
Reworking an older poem from ca. 2005-6

Dyad

It’s careful planning
in open seasons,
speeding on the highway-
none are most enchanting
than sultry evenings.

It’s dampening ground
then freezing compost-
warming to the sunlight,
glint and once again crowned
each day, sol profound.

It’s noisy joy
come silent druthers.
Minus equals pluses
and divisions are ploys
with burnished alloy.

It’s swaying elders
in the blue dimmet.
Twinkle and a glimmer
of days when he held her,
she’d swoon and swelter.

It’s now and tempted
cosset the twilight,
The token now doublet,
a bell sound presented
with geminate thread.

Interval: A Cento

I was asking myself:
will I be like this? How will I manage?

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table,
A beggar shivering in silhouette,
with a splash of vinegar:
stoic, bitter,
strangely sweet.

It never stops still for a moment, so
I try to make it internal, and every wave is charmed.

How better to drift toward another world
but with leaves falling. The leaves, a modulation
of the accumulated darkness in which
two hundred million stars have wink and glimmer needles.
Soundless, their gaps in the dark
bless the traveler and the hearth he travels to.

All the blessings
for squash, apples, carrots, and potatoes,
the milk, the wine, the honey that night pours out.

The boy who lives inside me still won’t go away.
There was a gap in things and here we are.

**********************
This cento contains lines from the following poets: Andrew Motion, Langston Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Margaret Atwood, Donald Hall, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rosemary Willey, Phillippe Delaveau, Luke Davies, Todd Davis, John Taggart, Bruce Weigl, Ron Padgett, Wendy Videlock, Howard Moss, John Hollander, Dave Lucas.

Layering

First, lay down a crumble of moments in a dish,
childhood memories and first visions evoked –
if you have them – mix them with a butter
sauce of retention.

Smear a layer of simple exuberance – whisked and sweet
over the base. Linger if you must, smoothing and spreading
a zestful meringue until it glistens reflected light.

Next will come chunks of a weightier kind.
Dropped upon the dish,
they will indent the surface.
They will disrupt your coated enthusiasm
with texture, and by themselves, will be unfulfilling.
Do not allow them to cover in total,
but position them throughout – they will later add contour
and context to your beginnings.

Prepare a lime gelatin containing your favorite morsels
of triumph (and defeat)-
One cannot come without the other-
Spoon it over the patina of your past until covered.
Cool and let it set for a time- until solid.

When removed and sliced, savor the different
complexions – the marrow and the substance in between
and within the continuous and smooth.

Add layers.

heaven

Someday, I’ll walk in the valley
and see the high hills that surround me
thinking that day is the one of nadir –
that my dreams and zeniths are all on paper.

One day, I will pause by a stream
to watch the fish dart, to wish as they teem,
believing that now is the moment of truth –
that now is the difference ‘tween rippled and smooth.

Nowadays, I seek out a dale
with hills along side, and a brook to avail-
hoping this heaven will open the souls
of all who exist, and persist as a whole.

Thoughts, and Prayers

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the use of the phrase “thoughts and prayers,” and its use after events of loss and suffering.  We all tend to say it.  Your best friend’s Grandmother passes away, and your response is “my thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of loss.”

What does this phrase mean?  Thoughts and prayers of what, exactly.

In this case, I think these are thoughts of sympathy (or empathy) and prayers of comfort directed towards those who have lost someone.  The thoughts are just to let the person know that you have them on your mind. It seems kind, and harmless, but I believe that this is most meaningful when you know them, or have shared the relationship that they just lost.  Prayers of comfort (in our society, from my perspective) stem from the Judeo-Christian belief in an all-powerful God, one who can (for lack of a better word) gather you up and give you a big spiritual hug.  I believe this expression is less effective (for the person who experienced the loss) when you don’t really know them, or you sense that the conveyance of sympathy is insincere.  The issue of late, where our nation’s leaders express their sympathies (time and again) over a repetitious tragedy – that could have been avoided – is an example of this.  Their approach to this expression of sympathy weakens the concept of prayer.  Why? Prayers are supposed to be powerful, they are intended to reach us, change us, and help us.

Let’s talk about prayers a bit.  There are different kinds of prayers:   thanks, confession, hope, comfort, deliverance – to categorize a few.  All prayers are goal oriented.  They are intentional- to get us to believe, to convict our minds of something, to help out someone, to give ourselves clarity, etc.  They are meant to spur us to action.  The strength of our humanity is in our ability to act, in compassion, of one mind.  I think prayer facilitates this.

But the issue is, you must act.  Prayer without action at some point, is empty.  The very act of prayer should indicate that you are considering a problem that needs a solution. Our lawmakers offering their prayers to those who have lost loved ones in a senseless mass killing is an empty platitude without some intention to make their suffering worth the cost.

Churches should know the power of collective and intentional prayer. It is the “superpower” of churches (I know it sounds silly, but in today’s language – this is it). Yet, I believe, in these times the focus has been misguided.  Too many are concerned with their belief that “we” have pushed God out of society and they pray for supernatural intervention.  First of all, the idea that an all-powerful, ever-present God could be pushed out is – ludicrous.  Did you ever think that God may have taught us about prayer so that we could discern and then act with conviction to make changes that impact each of our lives, to meet people where they are, to comfort them out of love, or to right wrongs? Perhaps, that it is a lesson to learn to be more like him.

This is complex, but not hard.  Lawmakers should take up and pass better legislation that reduces assault weapon availability and improves mental health assistance. It is heartless and cowardly to not do so.  Those who pray for supernatural intervention should pray themselves for discernment about the importance of lawmakers who can act in the best interests of all humanity, collectively and individually.  They could also pray for strength to act out of love – not morality, not condemnation, not prejudice, not to point out faults, and most of all – to not be afraid to admit they are wrong.

And then do it.