Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lying on my back in a lavender field near Gallium

"Night Route to Gallium,"  Duct Tape art by Michigan Artist Pete Warburton

Against a dark and endless sky
the stars that Vincent loosed go by
to spiral through a painted night.
He gave them wings and taught them flight
that we might learn to make reply.

My words aren’t stars, yet stars are nigh—
They spill into this poem I
describe with intimate delight
against a dark and endless sky.

Or chaos, or a thousand sighs
will not reduce the star’s supply.
I’ll watch with Vincent—learn his sight
and fill my canvas with this light
against a dark and endless sky.

(I bought this artwork by Pete Warburton--isn't it amazing?  Duct tape, of all things.  And beauty.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

a love poem by friend Al Black

Al says:
Carol loves the ocean - I wrote this poem wishing I could take her to the coast for a weekend:


Sometimes we journey to the coast
Wiggle our toes in wet sand
Feel the wind
Wait for the sun to rise
…..and listen
As clumsy waves speak in code
About the sea
And its love sacrifice to the moon

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The roadie

I started down this road early today
cup in hand and warmth in the belly.
Blindness quickly overcame me
but still I walk, oh yes,
I walk like the earth circles the sun—
I walk on.

None to guide me,
only noise and smell—
wind pushing me, rain washing ashes from my feet.
I know your face is in the world.

How will I find you, still as you are and
hidden in tall grasses?  How will I meet you?

I am listening for your little song. 

I am walking to you now.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Liberating Auschwitz

Davy, "the Nose" fell apart right when we walked in there.
Him the toughest of all of us and the captain.
I had to slap him a couple of times,
make him think about getting these people some help
and he finally pulled himself together.
Don't tell me it didn't happen.
I was nineteen when I walked into those gates--
the smell made it pretty obvious what had happened.
When those...people...came out of the barracks
looking like walking dead things,
well, I lost my lunch.  Damn near thought one of 'em
might try to eat what I lost, they was that bad off.

Davy could talk some of their language and he was giving them
all our chocolate and rations and coffee.
Told the rest of the platoon we could just go hungry a few days.
Davy made us bathe 'em real gentle, and make 'em
broth and feed the ones as couldn't feed themselves.
By the time the Red Cross got there we had done
what we could.  We didn't give 'em much.
Just some bad food and a bath.

There wasn't enough food, enough love
to fill up the hole that camp made in the world, I tell ya.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Almost Falling

for Catarina,  a planter of trees.
“It is said that the prophet Mohammed exhorted every man, woman and child to
plant at least 1000 trees in their lifetime, and that for this act they would be blessed.”

Every step we take is a sort of falling down,
although we don't actually hit ground
unless we're infants and haven't learnt 
the art of catching ourselves in the process. 
Or we're too old to maintain 
the grace of not falling.  
Or we're on ice, pretending to be 
Nancy Kerrigan and we aren't.  
Then we hit the ice with a bounce and lie still afterwards,
thinking about gravity and soft tissue damage.  

It's not about not falling.  
It's about the almost falling. 
And in the work almost 
lies our hope, our heart, our faith, 
and why we care for those weaker than ourselves,
and why we plant saplings we'll never see grow into trees.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some Comments on the Manner of Death

(a found poem, from a lecture on Medicolegal Death Investigations.)

People think of death as cooling--
that unclaimed people, fixed or unfixed,
will cease to occur at standard room temperature.

Death is a process of fermentation and care must be taken
that matches not be used indiscriminately.
(most of you will never see this.)

Most of you will never see this
because you are hanging out your wash on the rooftops
while overhead a million small flames spiral in a cobalt sky.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Going home for tea

Footprints mark new snow,
leading many directions—
I walk home for tea.

The skull

Your skull protects gyrated bits of brain
where music and poetry and stars all dance,
in miraculous molecular light shows—
Neural networks lead to last night’s left-overs
and oh, the keys.  And how to drive.
In that beautiful treasure box is the secret
of how your crooked mouth
smiles its tender morning smile. 

This precious bony skull—
a skull any phrenologist would long to touch—
This skull contains infinite connections. 
In the case of cancer and craniotomy
then you lose irretrievable stray items:
the name of your first love. 
                         . . .the word love. . .
and how to keep from crying 
when loving eyes try guiding you
(with a nameless sort of hope)
to this morning’s tender smile.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sanctify it....

"Thy heart is My home.  Sanctify it for My descent."  Baha'u'llah

If they said my Beloved stood outside the door,
I would run with delight into His waiting arms.
He would hold my rough and dirty hands in His and say,
“Well done, thou best, and dearest child.”

If they said my Beloved would be here in five minutes,
I would say a prayer as I washed my hands and face,
would clear books off the best chair for Him to rest Himself,
and then I would run with delight into His waiting arms.
He would sit down in my messy room and say,
“Well done, thou best, and dearest child.”

If they told me my Beloved would visit in one hour,
I would say a prayer, wash my hands and face and put on
my nicest clothes.  I would hurry to make my room
into a shrine for Him with a chair near the window,
and a cup of sweet tea nearby.
He would make Himself comfortable, sip the tea and say,
“Well done, thou best, and dearest child.”

If they told me my Beloved would visit tomorrow,
I would cook delicious food and invite my family and friends to
meet Him.  My house would be a beautiful haven for all,
and we would practice singing a welcome song for His delight.
He would touch each cheek, gaze around the room and exclaim,
“Well done, thou best, and dearest child!”

If they told me my Beloved would visit sometime before I die,
that He would visit me, in my little room….
            Would I keep the chair cleared for Him? 
Or would I wander the streets in search of something
I couldn’t name, picking up bits of string in my trembling hands,
pretending I didn’t know
that the Beloved was waiting with sweet tea,
heavenly food and songs of welcome. 

Waiting for me to come Home.