You Can Run

You can run from the darkness,
Lungs burning, legs aching,
until you think you’ll fall
sprawled in the dust of the road
and no one will look for you.

You can make camp in the night,
Sitting around a fire
with hearts who know yours,
sending your laughter up
to the stars with the smoke.

But it’s only so long.
Your shoe treads wear out.
Your kindling dwindles.
Until you sit by your self
in the dust and the dark.
And no one is looking.

You can only run
from the from the darkness
so long.

 

6/8/18

Her Own Drummer

Even armed with a wristwatch,
time is something
I never learned to keep.
Always one step ahead,
one step behind,
my own syncopated drumbeat.
I tried to keep time like chickens–
cultivating it, counting it,
trying to plan
for the next three seasons.
You can’t keep time like
chickens, no––
Keep time like children.
Close to you when it’s young,
wandering in its adulthood,
until one day it comes home, and
you don’t recognize yourself anymore.

 

3/2/15

But the Tulips

In like a lion–
the skies grey
and unforgiving.
Marching on.

The woman ahead of me,
it’s 10 AM,
she’s got two
twenty-ounce
cans of Coors on
the counter.
And nothing else.

I’m holding tight
to my soda pop;
my tears tell me–
sugar’s too low.

I need the lift.
I’m addicted to my sadness.
I keep falling
off that wagon.

But the tulips
are rising–
their pale purple
not so different
from that unforgiven sky.

 

3/1/18

Synchitic Epexegeses

Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul Drawn from a Dada Hat

Moved only as one can be moved
through an encounter with the beautiful
and strange –displacement more than restoration–
the soul and the mind, he says, are not
in opposition with one another
but are conjoined: Les peintres, les compositeurs,
les philosophes, les mathématiciens,
nous savions comment marchait l’univers.
Knowing what was known before the more
that has since become known overwhelms.
The mother tongue has been lost,
dust motes and moonbeams
from her head to her toes.
Aya oh deewan’ast?! Knoh cherah chup nishastee?
The touch which does not understand
is the touch that corrupts. Until we can speak
to one another in a mother tongue,
drawn from our common humanity,
peace will never be attained.
We are so afraid of the attacks
we have forgotten our own names
and can’t even understand what we say.
Thirty-three years, long enough for Christ
to have been born and die, and only terror
can save us from ruin, only never-ending war,
save us from terror and never-ending war.
Only children with rifles, carrying stones,
can save us now. The Book says:
Let people fear the day
when they leave small children
behind them unprovided.

In the garden outside, I have planted all my dead.
Nearly every other one you meet here
is missing pieces. No thing may be made or unmade
unless Allah wills it. He fills our hearts with griefs,
to see if we shall be strong.
A garden shows us what may await us in Paradise.
One sharp goad from a terrible grief,
and the soul is waking up.
Cynics will attribute this transformation
to senescence and nostalgia, but
it’s Wisdom’s hand that switches on
the light within. The disenchanted dull detritus
of it has washed up on our culpable shores:
an extension, an adjunct, a prelude,
moving chaotically and each a language,
adding its heft and frequencies to the Universal Drift.
The present is always an awful place to be:
anything, everything can be lost.
Çu vi parolas Esperanto?
Each region has more in common
with its neighbors over the border
than with each other. The developed
and overdeveloped and over-overdeveloped
paved wasted deliquescent post-First World
postmodern city –not really a state at all,
it’s a populated disaster.
Such is the nature of these expansive times,
the thing which is must suffer to be touched.

These are not for you who neither speak,
nor read Esperanto, and who despise poetry.
This century taught the civilized contempt
for those who merely contemplate,
and it’s the lockup and the lethal injection
for those who Do.
Uncertainty kills. As does certainty.
On no official map is there ever a question mark,
and yet, La tera estis tute kovrita per neĝo.
How may we become travelers across
our boundaries, instead of tourists?
All the camels have fallen here and died
of exhaustion, of shock, of the heartache of refugees.
Invariably we seek out not the source
but all that was dropped by the wayside
on the way to the source. But always she is waiting
in the garden, speaking in a tongue
we were born speaking only to forget.
What else is love but recognition?
Love’s nothing to do with happiness.
Power has to do with happiness.
Love only has to do with home.
She wishes you to know she is not dead.

 

4/30/16

Cabin Girl

Just when you start feeling like a shadow,
Ariel dresses your wounds.
Alonso buys you a drink later–
after Miranda drives you to the bar.
(She also refuses to let you walk home.)

Adrian visits while you swab the decks,
pacing like he’s waiting for the first sight of land,
always good for a joke and a word of advice.
Antonio climbs the Most Terrifying Ladder
to sit with you in the crow’s nest;
tells you a piece of his story.

And somehow you don’t even notice–
not til The Tempest’s cleared and you’ve left the isle.
And then you ask yourself
why didn’t I say thank you?

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers:
Hecate cannot tell who’s her friend.

 

2/24/15