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.

by Hugh Miller

At the peak of summer, the people here turn into bears
on the day we realize
that the blackberries are ripe

bicycles lie beside the bushes and cars are parked
next to sunny, vacant lots that usually nobody comes to visit

blackberry: the practical sister of the glamorous rose
a factory weaving its blue-black sweetness in a nest of cruel thorns
as if it hated being thought generous and didn’t want to be bothered
by fingers and beaks and mandibles reaching like jewel thieves for the dark gems

red berries gleam a warning sign “Stop, all I have is bitterness”
and resist greedy hands like proud virgins

but the purple ones, like little jam fingerprints among the thorns,
drunk on their own sugar,
cooked by sunshine,
& yearning to drop their seeds,
sigh with pleasure as
they tumble
into
your mouth.

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Gary Snyder

How intelligent he looks!
on his back
both feet caught in my one hand
his glance set sideways,
on a giant poster of Geronimo
with a Sharp’s repeating rifle by his knee.

I open, wipe, he doesn’t even notice
nor do I.
Baby legs and knees
toes like little peas
little wrinkles, good-to-eat,
eyes bright, shiny ears
chest swelling drawing air,

No trouble, friend,
you and me and Geronimo
are men.

 

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All of us need a perfect, imperfect thing
that completes the circuits of a life worth living:
Someone too short, or intemperate,
Someone a little chubby, who never puts away her socks

Someone who doesn’t talk to us often enough
or a little too often
perhaps someone slightly crazy, drunk or bitter…

someone we weren’t expecting,
who makes weird noises while sleeping
and ties their shoes strangely.

But without them, our whole story would tilt, droop, linger pointlessly for a while, and collapse into the swamp.

The perfect thing is the thing we couldn’t live without
because of the way that it slipped through our defenses,
tamed us and became another word for Home before
we even knew what was happening.

 

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by David Budbill

Han Shan, that great and crazy, wonder-filled Chinese poet of a thousand years ago, said:
We’re just like bugs in a bowl. All day going around never leaving their bowl.
I say, That’s right! Every day climbing up
the steep sides, sliding back.
Over and over again. Around and around.
Up and back down.
Sit in the bottom of the bowl, head in your hands,
cry, moan, feel sorry for yourself.
Or. Look around. See your fellow bugs.
Walk around.
Say, Hey, how you doin’?
Say, Nice Bowl!

 


Poem: “Bugs in a Bowl,” by David Budbill, from Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse (Copper Canyon Press).

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Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

Antonio Machado

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You fell into life sideways, your parachute fouled in the airplane’s doorway.

Like a tossed coin, rotating slowly for nine months, you hung between life and death every moment of your journey; we hovered there with you, exhausted by hope.

You sailed from the unknown land in a fretful loving ship and drowned at the dock of the new world.

I am so sorry every day that I didn’t see your face, but it would have killed me. Your departure burns my eyes, it’s hard to do more than glance in your direction.

I am sorry we argued in front of you so much, I wish now that we had simply sung to you and told you stories but we were not strong enough…as you found out, life is hard. We never so much as touched your precious body and now I am puzzled like an abandoned dog, I run randomly, looking. We go again and again to the little floating dock where we said goodbye to you, like people hoping to learn of a change; hoping for a chance encounter.

We rise and fall, we watch the waves. the ghost of your future life telescopes out before me and against my will I fill it with pictures of what you might have found here.
I stand in the shadows gathering light for you; you who had only the glow of your little cave to tell you about the sun.

 

Hugh Miller – November 2010 

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I died as a mineral and became a plant,rumi2
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.

Rumi

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1.

In the kitchen, the colorful magic begins.
From red burners comes boiling water
and steam softens the air and clouds the light
tertiary colors rise like smoke in the clean glasses
to nail the vividness, a dash of vinegar
like a slap to the senses
as the eggs are lowered out of sight

2.

In the great vaulted room, the beautiful windows hide
the swelling sea of buds just outside
and the talk is of scourging, and nails through flesh
and a forsaken man
with gall and vinegar on his breath

3.

Great doors roll open and at last
the children burst across the cool grass
seeking sweetness, baskets held tight,
to gather the jewels hidden almost in plain sight.

Hugh Miller

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Membership is forbidden to anyone:Retro-Thinker-Mom-Image-GraphicsFairy

Who has inappropriate sexual fantasies or…experiences.
Who has been profoundly depressed or considered suicide.
Whose parents were broken in some way.
Who cheated on a mate or dreamed of doing it
Who has done the wrong sort of drugs or too many of the right kind.
Who has wished ruin on someone or behaved cruely,
or stolen something
or believed something crazy
or acted bananas from a broken heart.

Liars Welcome

 

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Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don’t say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or, you’ve just made love 
and feel you’d rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you’re brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that’s unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say, or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you’d most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it’s like a small fire
in a clearing, it’s what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It’s why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who’ll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

 

– by Steven Dunn

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