life

Misgivings

You know most of this already.

In the car with them, sitting in the back seat with her up front passenger-wise and turned back to me the two of us and talking fast like always like she had something to sell that she knew we hadn’t the cash or care to buy and the rain pelted the windshield and the wipers swung right back and the dark was outside full of unfocused and flickering points of light, streetlamps and headlights and incidental bokeh, while some vague figure in shadow form all the while drove us on.

Afterspiel, when she’d used up all her words and most of the air in the vehicle, I told her in fact no, our problem is we try to do too much too fast, all force and no finesse, just blind dumb vigor and ataxia and too little brains, like these wipers here, perhaps, I felt, reaching for a metaphor, sweeping dismissive overreliance on artificial intelligences built up around sleights perceived and true and entitlements seemingly due, ungrounded emotion and mechanical philistinism with an inarticulable mission like the goons who forcibly removed that doctor from a plane in Chicago and probably went home that night and had the nerve to believe in civil society though in their idiomatics it’s hard to believe any such nerve is needed, they haven’t even the proper vocab for the fact that kids in the same city kill with AK-47s and five people died last Wednesday just because, nothing happening, nothing going on, just a Wednesday in the city and what do you make of that, if you were to stop and sit still and be quiet for a minute.

The other there with us in the back seat with me was compelled to agree with me and I wondered what keywords in her repertoire of principled social consciousness I tapped, knowing for sure she wasn’t packing even the slightest hint of directional allegory, as oblivious to irony as those goons and maybe just as gullible, just as crowdsourced, giving a mere simple pacific piggybacking mhmm and nod of head, pleased that someone had done the thing and spoken out because somewhere along the straight and narrow well-meaning way she acquired the notion that speaking out said something but it at the very least for the moment changed our atmosphere.

And with that, nevertheless, just her up front stillness and quiet and that slight sound and musculoskeletal gesture in the back beside me within the still-floating presence of my words, I’ll be damned if a faint fellowship did not for a moment shine upon us all four road-weary travelers like the immediate aftermath of a photograph flash, a fraction of assent trying its best to be illumination and hanging in the air and draping us in what I can only think to call our common humanity, common and shared and base, and for that instant it felt not as if we were two against her brazen, impudent one, not as if the three of us outshined and consumed his resolute nothing drive-along indifference and better-knowing onlooker’s bemusement, but as if we were actual, and in that actuality a forward step might be taken, an honest word might be uttered, some responsibility assumed, a tide turned, a leaf flipped, a change made.

But it swiftly turned to dust as always tends to seems to happen with everything with vocal chords and no backbone and all was once again rain and shadows and distorted glows and she just looked at me through streaks of darkness and light and a sort of crazed eye blaze on par with Colonel Kurtz and I wished I hadn’t said a thing, wished I could vanish along with the dust of our fleeting fellowship, right along with it be turned to dust myself and taken away by wind and washed away by rain,

but all I could do was shrink from the terrible inordinacy of the space she occupied up front in that fractured darkness, already shaking off my rejoinder like a dog fresh out of water while I began inwardly apologizing by proxy and diminished presence for others’ misdeeds, her misnomers, our great misanthropy, daymare dreaming in my passive defense a wishful little thesis about going beyond thought as if awareness were something cartographical lying somewhere off the edge of the world, somewhere where I might forever sever ties to the false freedom of staying small amongst the throngs and the safety sense that silence might be the way to say what life’s about, beating myself into a backseat submission that like a deep bruise I felt lacked his up front strength and dignity, and yet

And yet there is hope, he said, and stopped us all.

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poetry

Hymn

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The dancer has purest art

no need for vocabulary

rules apply not to those

born unable to speak or justify

their choice

language can become a snare

numbers lead to label

you confine yourself by

obeying

while the dancer

her feet in balance

listens to the spinning harmony

of chakras recharged

within as fingers whirl plates at dizzying rate

all is harmonious

a child irrespective of years

charged with equality in all sphere

her center cannot be punched out

not her strength shoved in passing glance

the mirror shows elegance

tamed fire creating music on the floor

needing no conflict or measure

she could be herself in braids with unhinged head and intact hope

or winter bird dying in first snow

living above and beneath

no need for shape or illustrate

hers is the simplicity

bound to no-one

dare to define

she will your bonds

break

and in step with

a deep hymn

spin as fast as lights

glazed on still water

appear to unlock

submerged secrets

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life, poetry

Constellations

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A list exists

of all the addresses of all the people I have ever known

well enough to remember

a list like a map of constellations

pointing in myriad direction

if you go this way and lie underneath the lilac tree

you will grow long white roots

if you choose another path, the one where the orange soil

burns the soles of your feet

you may never return

and if you choose to fling

yourself from the rocks of Cyprus

into a green sea

you may see the magnification of the world

through your veins

already we know the choices we will make

what lies impossible for us

drying out starfish pressing against sand

may seem like an option but

everything is preordained before we know

as if some guiding hand

moves us sundering toward the end

with gentle entreaty

I could have told you at seven years old

what I would have done and those things

better left for dare-devils who Rollerblade

closer to the sun

I could have written out my sum

and all its stars

and made of the paper a map

of my journey before indeed

I knew the meaning of such quest

for as the girl sits out the game

thinking of faraway places instead of pursuit

or she who climbed the tallest tree knows

this will not confine her hunger

at such tender ages we become

the calculation of ourselves

I was always wearing costumes

left over from school play

and when it came time to remove my mask

and my tail

I found it melancholy to return

to ordinary

as others seek riches, or know how to

surf the highest wave

fearless in their far-flung gaze

I knew the edge of the lake

was as far as I would dare step

without looking back

without some regret

and nothing and no one

changes so much

they cannot find

their way

back

(image location; https://www.pinterest.com/pin/433893745323247752/)

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art

osmose

i’m walking around in that same old rain
each tired drop splats a fresh cliché
i’ve been so scared for the longest time
but, really, can i shrink any more?
when i’m hung out to dry, how small will i be?

isn’t this all just a bad dream?
this can’t be the world we live in
breathe it in, boy, the sun at your back
sun kisses, you fool, sun kisses for you
the sun kisses her shoulders too

i’m a stranger burning beneath a fake sky
where there’s smoke there’s chimneys
she’s got a severe case of the chiminy changas
and i’m not supposed to notice that, but…
so help me, i do

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life, poetry

Beacon

lighthouse-in-storm

A lighthouse

warns sailors and weary sea travelers

tows them to land with

safe beacon

lest jarring against rock

they split, spilling into

sea and Orpheus claims

their hopes and dreams

if lighthouse

is not lit, or extinguished

by neglect

indifference furnishing the hearts

of those who look away rather

than consider the part they play

in outcome

should the light grow dim

not be seen on ocean swell or

shape the maps of stars well enough

for observers to secure sight

we have blocked out, inked over

all that shines

my lighthouse turned

like the wrist of a young girl

searching waves for score of boat

scratching surface in ebbing float

like a voice through trees I bid

with my candle your return

staying late into night, squinting

against fog and breaking sea squall

for your beloved shape cresting o’er wave

always I lay my light beyond myself

for you and the part of me devoted

yet in all time, not once you saw

my endeavor sounding shoreline

in tug of heart, rowing out for

your safety, your well-being

no, you came to subsist on

my light leading safety, without

thinking the part you play when

two are together, securing each

the other, to give and take

I light your way, you stay in darkness

on the periphery, outlasting my wield

I try in vain, deafness not always a curse

but chosen, blighted response, closing off

those who bid you within, stay still

you say, no I can take care of myself

it is my life, you are nothing more than

a lighthouse

guiding me near

though never

close enough

for capture

you stay afloat

in knowing

the light will always burn

you shall be able to navigate

and my map is yellowed by your

neglect

a spray of salt and seaweed

staining those hopes I

once had

you would take my hand and

light my way forward in the

reach of your sailing heart

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poetry

Still, even, despite, we

friggspinning

We spindle hope

no longer the juicy excess of youth

dripping in verdant

not quite as elastic or nimble

as our recollections of clearing

water sprinklers with one, sure-footed

catapulted Orion summon

yet, attesting stubborn wont

we remain upright and assured

this twine

that binds

our lives

in taut

and slack

measure has

journey yet before

loosening like curtains pulled slowly

to bid goodnight

we fall into softness, darkness, eternity

the stars

and energy takes us

far and wide

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