Monday, July 29, 2013

Narrative Difference

Narrative Difference


I’ve been driving my car around town
up and down the braille of pot-holed streets

Looking for the music of doubt.  Always
the shroud of sky.  Always the eager

electric tongue interrupted.
Truth wavers in and out of reach

Like a white flag that’s been washed too many times.
Hindsight helps us forget the human face of survival.

Over dinner, children diminished to
voices heard through closed windows, bikes circling

the drive way like red and blue planets.  Choices
are not what we've recorded.  Instead,

A conglomerate of sense—a way
to see from individual to whole. 

A way to circle and circle a center—
gravel popping beneath our tire’s weigh.


Her Aunt was employed by the Gestapo to screen
phone activity.  She ignored the red flag words

that pulsed out like blood—Instead she reported
what could not be condemned.  Stood

the only ground she had.  However pot-holed.
However much the sky pressed down
into the eyes of puddles.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The River of Life Manifesto

The River of Life Manifesto

Breath-like          skin over rivers waters                  god’s eye
fast-moving        pan                        reveals                                 fireflies of ideas                               
wrinkle               wrinkle                                 sink        wrinkle                                 sink                        wrinkle
At this speed     death sinks up                   dark and reaching
an           sunken oak         snags unexpected bare ankles
wrinkle               wrinkle                                 sink        wrinkle                                 sink                        wrinkle
and at its mouth a prayer             white paper that dissolves
keep writing                        in the    invisible ink of love

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dear Shirley Jackson

Whenever America pisses me off, I think about one of my favorite writer's Shirley Jackson.  How spot on she was depicting the deep corruption of a society in her classic short story, "The Lottery" where even the children threw stones because they had been taught it was right.  Here is a draft of my poem.

Dear Shirley Jackson –
I must admit, whenever I enter
the swampland, smell the vernal unfolding
of skunk grass and feel the bite and the swell
from horse fly, I think I understand where
you are coming from.  Black box.  That  current  pulsing under us even under deep
crust of snow, that thrives, that rises muddy
and hungry with the swift waters
that scrape the creek banks clean of a past. 
And there is beauty in it:
this ritual of return and rebirth.

This stepping forward into the dappled light
of slim dark trees, leaves trembling, creek
carrying everything (stones, truth, fear) past
fast.  What is folded up inside our miles
of guts? When we are asked to throw the stones
what current will try and carry us
under that sweet mud.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Landscape Begotten

Landscape Begotten

The tree that begat green nibs, delicate
paper buds, and a constellation of
airy green leaves holding back the milky
widening of stars.       And the hill that held

the tree begat rich limestone powered soil
where bodies of the lost still whisper their thoughts
to the tree.       The lost who begat the tree

and the hill, who still twist the roots into
braids never stop seeing milky stars. 
Never stop feeling the weight of the small
bodies they once begat that now lie on
the soil of the hill beneath the tree
looking up to the widening milky stars.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Endangered Alphabets

Last week I messed up and wrote a poem for this week's prompt.  So this week I am just riffing on what's around me.  We are on the road, in Washington D.C. at the beginning of a two and a half week adventure.  This poem draft comes out of this adventure and the amazing curiosities one always finds a the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.  A booth we stumbled upon where children spelled out words from endangered alphabets. 

Endangered Alphabets

The net of travel is uncertain at
the start.  A plane circling like an argument.
Lightning flowers blossoming from orange
stained skies. The impossible air thick with
humidity and doubt. And body after
body after body passing exhibits
under an unforgiving sun.  Until,
suddenly you come to where you are undone.
Where you break and learn to walk again
on new stilted legs, learn to weave stronger
threads with time and find weight enough to push
root against stone to find sustenance.  Until
you find the lost alphabet that spells wisdom.