Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
A dry blue nowhere
In The Middle Of The Dry Blue Nowhere
I live in a small town. It does not yet live in me.
That may change if winter has its way. It will be
my second since leaving the Wet Blue Somewhere.
In a small town, small things make big splashes.
One can run one’s finger along the hem of the sky
and the weather will change. But no one looks up.
Every sound carries all the way to the corner, to
the pleated dresses of the small brown mesas that
overlook the river from their wither-cherried heights.
It is the same river that Lewis and Clark followed
on their way West and followed the same again East,
until it was legend long after it was memory.
In time, I will follow this same river West and keep
going. Small towns remember for a long time. It is
their nature to do so. But this town will forget me.
It will forget that I sat with the stars at the sill,
that the moon and I barely spoke at all, that I
made a new friend in the unrelenting wind.
I live in the middle of a dry blue nowhere, but it does not
yet live in me. If it ever does, I suspect it will nudge the
front door open a little, or sway a curtain to tell me it’s home.
August 22, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Eleventh day of august 2003
Friday, August 05, 2005
A morsel of fallen eagle
Few places on Earth are devoid of birds.
Their dumb wings can be seen spread against
the sky following a ship over empty parcels
of ocean, all of them lost at sea. In the most
inhospitable regions one finds talon, feather,
quill, beak, and claw. They eat everything
given them by providence or happenstance.
So as I watch a news report from Iraq,
I see birds strafe the foreground crossing
left to right before a black line of smoke
and wonder, what sparrow in Mesopotamia
has never tasted a morsel of fallen eagle?
August 5, 2005
What we are given to do
So many poems written in the dead of night.
The dead of night. Nothing is more alive than
that which thrives in the dead of night.
I have written blindly, trusting the shapes
to a darkness that taught me how letters formed
to make meaning from their intricate articulations.
As the stars express themselves while dying, so
have I given myself this sullen task of moving
pen across the empty parsecs of my heart.
I have used ink in the name of blood.
I have used paper in the name hope.
I have used time in the name of remembrance.
In this way have I befriended both joy and despair.
What matters so much matters so little. I was
indentured to the writing of poems early in my life.
I have complained rarely. It is simply, and sometimes,
a selfish duty. Many times of late, I have asked myself:
Why have you spent so much time doing this? The answers
are often harsh and vilifying. Yet I continue doing so, making
fewer and fewer apologies, even when I don’t mean it.
My life has been overrun by regret. My children
have grown and are growing and it seems as if I
hardly know them. It is the source of much of my pain.
Like my father, I have run to a state that begins with an O.
And like him, I cannot outrun pain with shoes of fear.
He no longer needs to run. I have spent much of these
past few days lying down as he will for the rest of eternity.
Sundown may bring the careful scratches of black marks
at midnight. There is so much to go over, you know.
So much to worry, to wonder, so much to outwait. If you
are roused from your rest to hear the cat at the window,
the dog at the back door, think not of me making kindred
sounds when our kind are given to sleep. I will not ask
a saucer of milk or a dry place to curl into. All will be quiet
soon enough and the charge given poets to perform will
find their cease and stillness. We will look deeply into places
happened upon only in nightmare, set fear to lines with
order and grace so that morning may find all that would
take you dispelled in a blossom of fragrant sun.
It is what we do.
August 5, 2005
In the company of women and laughter
Already the sun is half extinguished and
the fiery oaths of relentless snow, long
forgotten. Invectives sworn at stubborn ice
in the bitterness of such seasons, curl
and wither before the ardent flame of this July.
This morning sky is cast out like shaman bones,
flung in knurled clouds that augur the perish
of a summer about to pass its given prime.
And I feel the hours, the days, leak from me
like a sweated glass of brimming arctic beer.
So today, I will console myself. I will
imagine this afternoon in the company of
women and laughter, chiming fragrance
trailing the air in their wake as they lean
and career into the giddy spaces that open
to their nearing. I will pretend them a
sugaring balm for the smartings of my worry,
tender sanctuary for absent wander. I will
shelter with deeping moonfish as they dream
in the coy lagoons of their willing laps.
July will not remember me. I know this. August will
arrive and July herself will slip into unremembering.
So this is my only chance to be known, this
day, any day that may survive all I never will.
July 15, 2004