Poetry

More and more of mine, but most are poems by better writers that I’ve found essential. Fun Fact: All poems prefer being read aloud.

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Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
Chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
And end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others
And fall in.

I should be suspicious
Of what I want.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

 

-Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

 

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To love somebody

who doesn’t love you

is like going to a temple

and worshipping the ass

of a wooden statue

of a hungry devil.

 

– Lady Kasa

 

 

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(for my Father, 2005)

 

It is the season of thud and mud,
a season of storms that wash away
everything fragile.

It’s good for me to be busy but everything is So. Much. Work.
Gravity has increased, the brakes are locked up.
The wheels are dragging.

I carry my heart like a boulder, sour, and angry.
My tears always nearby, undisciplined as a fart.
I am trying to be strong and positive for my son.

What do you tell a three-year-old about death,
when it’s not a goldfish or flattened bird?
How do you contain the stink of misery while living honestly in front of him?
How do you explain feeling so flat and sad?

My brother says:
“He’s in a better place than any of us.”
And I want to say
“How do you know? What place are you talking about?”

But I don’t say it.

I wake in the middle of the night, wind-whipped,
to find a wall missing from my house.
I stare at it, clutching my robe and squinting red eyes
but in the gap, I see no trees or grass
just the absence of anything at all,
it isn’t gray or foggy,
it is a hole,  a negative. It is nothing described as something
to explain the actual missing something it replaced.
It is without qualities.

all I know is that
everything which isn’t
and can’t be
goes there to not be

It isn’t the half-lit, half-life of the ancients;
or sanctimonious Hell,
or sentimental Heaven.
It’s a lecture from a toothache.

It’s a dismal window, explained to me by my pain.
I stayed there before I was born
when I was busy not yet existing.
It’s where I will return when
I become busy existing no more.

 

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from Michael Donaghy’s Collected Poems

 

For the present there is just one moon,
though every level pond gives back another.

But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon,
perceived by astrophysicist and lover,

is milliseconds old. And even that light’s
seven minutes older than its source.

And the stars we think we see on moonless nights
are long extinguished. And, of course,

this very moment, as you read this line,
is literally gone before you know it.

Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit.

Make me this present then: your hand in mine,
and we’ll live out our lives in it.

 

 

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Today is the first day of Fall.
My 3-year-old son and I went to the beach and ate hamburgers in the car.

Then crossed the railroad bridge to the saw grass and sand.
The air balanced gently between warm and cold. In the sunshine, the last of summer’s heat warms our skin like a loving farewell.
We dug soft sand and threw rocks and wandered as you only wander with a child.
Nothing to accomplish. No hurry.

A stream comes out of the forest, clear and cold as when it melted into a torrent a hundred miles away, up a mountain from here. Red and yellow leaves ride the stream to its end where sweet water joins salt. Salmon fingerlings pass through to the sea.

We lie on the sand watching dark blue waves and the patchwork sky of scudding clouds like massive billowed sails.
Hundreds of migrating crows come to drink from the stream and caper between sky and ground like flowing ink, written too fast to read.
They tease and flirt like teenagers in the park.

We play with toy cars, dwarfed beside the grey bones of a giant tree that drank sun for hundreds of years before it fell and drifted here; and Isaac repeats the question we all ask, waking to this world:

Why
Why
Why
Why
Why

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As I would free the white almond from the green husk
So I would strip your trappings off,
Beloved.
And fingering the smooth and polished kernel
I should see that in my hands glittered a gem beyond counting.

Amy Lowell

 

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Doesn’t your young mammal soul ever yearn for the blessing sunshine
and the air as sweet as apples?
Spring Herself is dancing madly in the tall trees with Pan,
his pipes are calling you to join…

But those memes won’t look at themselves

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Love is a snowmobile
racing across the tundra

Suddenly it flips over
pinning you underneath

at night
the ice weasels come

 

Kay Lutz

 

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I don’t believe what any man tells me
about life and death
even if he wears a black dress,
or a white one with gold trim,
or one of those cool orange
off the shoulder numbers.

I don’t believe what anyone tells me
about God
in sonorous tones, through incense smoke,
or cool debate, on a pedagogical mountain top,
or framed as science, without the need of method.

Each is a man with the ways of men:
Culture, comfort, and confirmation bias.
Each is given the common volume of freedom,
die-cast the same width and height as mine.

I don’t believe what anyone tells me about God.
But if God talks
I’ll listen
with an open mind.

 

 

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My mother was sunshine,
not the heat and glare of Summer
or the chill minimum of Winter.
My mother was effortless sunshine,
Slantindicular from the bright window
Across the couch and the low table;

Contrasting clean bright colors,
Highlighting details of
Old vacation seashells
Or a tiny golden Buddha,
and a bookmarked book.

My mother was sunshine,
Warming the room to cozy and
Blessing the cat in his joyful sleep

Hugh Miller

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