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Monthly Archives: August 2013

#113

listening to the sky                   (to be published in Cantos–2014)

There is a forever voice
A note that dips and swells
Changes pitch and tone
But never pauses to take a breath

It is the voice of gray and green
It is the voice birds sing to
It is the voice that pushes the wind

It is not the voice of God
From church
But it might be the voice of God
As God hears it

I know the voice is there
I’ve heard it a few times—
While sleeping next to a lake in Montana
While lying in a grassy field
As the sun evaporates the dew
While sitting on a swing in a suburban park
At dusk

Usually, though,
I can’t hear the voice
Over the hum of air conditioning
And the drone of traffic
Over requests for this
And orders for that
Or even over the chatter of my own voice
Filling the universe
With words that dissipate and disappear

There is a forever voice
That dips and swells
But never stops
To take a breath

Listen.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2013 in previously published

 

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#112

unfooted

I look very strange
    not attached to my feet–
            spectral
            wading in a flat top lake.
My feet run ahead,
                        impetuous daredevils,
    but the rest of my body
    suffers from caution–
            too tired
            too scared
            too conscious of mortality.
My feet have never waited
    to hear the rumors of death.
So when I catch them
    and chain them into my speed
    I hear the grumbling
    between my toes.
And eventually,
    like a parent,
    I let them go again.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in old discoveries

 

#111

She has replaced our chandelier                              (new)
    with candles
scented candles she lights every afternoon
two hours before dusk
          vanilla and lemongrass
          sea foam and spring rain
          cinnamon in the far corner
          two honeysuckle candles
               by my favorite chair
Every morning she trims the wax
so the candles burn evenly
and she scrapes away the craggy drippings
to keep the sides smooth

She has given me
a silver candle snuffer
to douse the flames
before I come to bed

I never use it

Instead
every night
I pinch out the flames with my fingers
listening for the sizzle
and waiting for that last puff of grey smoke
Then I dip my fingertips
into the hot pool
of honeysuckle wax
          feel the initial sharp pain
and finally the tightness as it cools and hardens
constricting my skin

I always peel it off
before coming to bed,
my wife already asleep
in the candleless dark

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in new poetry

 

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#110

A message to my students

Quiet
Don’t move
Listen

Somewhere
   in this room
Someone
   wants to speak
Right now
   I want to speak

          I want to be the breeze
              that becomes the wind
          The star
              that explodes in the night
          The little ripple in the ocean
              that children run from on the shore
              laughing when I tickle their feet
              with my foam

Right now it’s me
   who needs to speak
But it could be you
          If you reach out and touch trees as you pass them
              just to feel the bark
          If words roll in your brain long after they’re said
              leaving traces of their sound
          If you hear a rhythm
              you can’t get rid of

          If you hear poetry in your mind
              long after you’re asleep

Then it’s you
   who needs to speak
          To ask others
              to be quiet
              don’t move
              listen

And then maybe
   one night
you and me
   long after the others have gone
can speak our words
   and explode in light
together

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

#109

Picnic

I take you on a picnic
In the mountains
To impress you
With how close we are
To the sky.
You lie in the sun
Listening to the grass rustling
And do not hear
My breath
Desperately trying to reach you.
When I move
My shadow falls upon you
And you turn away.

I feel the wind push me
So finally I ask you
To give me your name.
You get up
Walk through the grass
And jump in the mountain stream.
As you drift away
The sky moans
Behind the sunlight.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in old discoveries

 

#108

Lilies of my eyes

You turn my arms into wings
And water the lilies of my eyes into bloom.
You fill the space between my fears
With soft cotton laughter.
You open the zipper of my mind
To reveal the hidden green of my thoughts.
You make the wind blow through my body
Tickling my bones with kisses.
You hang time by its suspenders
Dangling stars over my dreams.
And when the gravity of life weighs me down
And my images turn gray
You turn my arms back into wings
And water the lilies of my eyes into bloom.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in old discoveries

 

#107

the elbows of love

i bend when you
      want me too
   stretching and shrinking
              through the patterns you set
i feel awkward sometimes
              an add on
              unnecessary
           (i never leave you)
      but you say you need me
              do you lie
              or just pity me my ugliness?
                       maybe if i could sing to you
                       i would understand
at night
   you wrinkle me with your kisses
i stop worrying
   in your arms

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in old discoveries