Jan 4 2017

chaos is a pattern

just ask nature, she’ll be happy to let you know
that dance was invented by willows
weeping at winter’s impostor
and stars are made from moans left hanging
on a breeze in the corner of reflection

.

we are all mirrors on the same wall of eternity
chanting hope and charity with leavening

.

this circle this tree this mind mattering
tossed by cold gale and rent from warm earth
growth and decimation occur concurrently
it doesn’t matter where you stand
it doesn’t matter where you stand

.

darkness always returns
as does mo(u)rning

.

.

.

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Sep 11 2016

nine eleven

fifteen years later
that’s what we call it

not nine eleven oh one
not September 11, 2001
just
nine eleven

two words

three digits

two towers

four planes

thousands

of

mothers
fathers
daughters
sons
sisters
brothers
wives
husbands
aunts
uncles
girlfriends
boyfriends

not statistics

falling

from

the

sky

not dates
or where were you’s

just whole hearts
in odd numbers

each one

the only necessary

evidence

of love

::

.

I wrote this for the 10-year anniversary
of this tragic, horrid event.
I am re-posting it again today, in honor of all those hearts.
Never forget.

.


Aug 24 2016

the second time

the wind tells tales of emptiness
littering wide roads with leaves just released
from the captivity of decent living

beneath a sky gone grey with culture
an empty swamp sags with the pattern of destruction
heron filled and heron full on rotting fish and
stain stitched opportunity

and all the green has rolled inward, hoping for storm
or honest anger
finding nothing but dry heat hot
from the memory of august
balanced on the razor of reduction

the sun sinks red and rises false rose golden
as blinding answers dive
into the dusty hardheart crevasse of question
playing host to this catalog of possibility

while the distant beauty vulture
screams his mocking two-faced litany
of violent regeneration

.

.

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Aug 10 2016

lying in bed on a wednesday

it’s so easy to focus on the flaws.

easy to miss the forest for the trees when you want to keep standing in the shade.

the big picture contains so much information, when all i want is this leaf or that berry or maybe even a thorn.

a pair of cardinals live in the yard just now, young it seems, and foolish, often landing just feet away from NaughtyKitten. I want to warn them, run at them arms high and voiced raised to scare them off for good. but i like having them here, listening to their incessant chirp, and i like that they land just outside the door. perhaps i admire their optimism.

but inside me, a little voice keeps saying do something, as if i’m the one in charge, as if it’s all up to me, as if i can fix the situation.

it rained last night for the first time in months. at least any sort of rain that meant anything, we’ve had a few sprinkles here and there, but this was thunder and lightning and a brief downpour, which is better than no downpour at all. no matter that it meant i got no sleep.

this morning the humidity stands tall in the yard, and i wonder if the flowers revel in the sauna, or if it just makes them feel tired and lazy, too.

i smell the pepper of phlox and marvel that the plant is still there, just outside my window, despite the fact that i’ve planned to dig it up for years. i have no desire to count how many.

the circus has come to america’s backyard, but no one knows who is selling the tickets.

i wonder if the babies will survive.

i wonder if those cardinals and the cat have made a pact.

i wonder if i’m crazy for thinking these things.

a small airplane makes itself known overhead, disturbing the stillness.

i wonder what’s it’s like to fly so high.

.

.

.

 

 


Aug 1 2016

whispers of everything

we want things to be black and white and the world is made of color. we don’t even get shades of grey to choose from, we get red and purple, orange and blue, green and yellow. we get the full spectrum, an elusive rainbow made of light and still, all those colors are never enough.

my garden is thirsty. i’m thirsty. we’re all thirsty for something, always. we’re all here beneath the same blue sky, the same night stars, the same tired sun, and the world spins round the way it always has. we think we know better. we refuse to see the forest for the trees because the trees refuse to acknowledge our presence.

i step outside at night and listen. i look up at the stars and there are no answers, only questions. i know the names of some of the constellations, but others i’ve forgotten. i don’t bother relearning them because i’m tired of naming things. some of them don’t even exist anymore, even though i can see them. a name seems so irrelevant.

gravity holds me in place and keeps me silent and makes me laugh with the cage of its promise.

i’m not a tree because i’ve never grown roots. every tree out there has made that decision. but i’m the one carrying water. and i have no idea what that means.

we thought shoes were a good invention. and guns. and cars to carry us to other places. we think we are smarter than ourselves.

this is a prayer and i don’t pray. this is a mantra that needs no chant. this is the morning a flower will open.

we are not seeds but we know how to hold them.

we plant hope and beg for rain.

the sky is grey, the sky is blue, the sky is orange.

all of these things are true.

or false.

depending on the day.

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.

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Jun 14 2016

and silence grows

digging deep through poisoned soil
seeking hope or refuge or both
and the flower opens
and we think pretty
but it’s all
just a matter
of survival

“this is not really happening—
you bet your life it is”*

hang your head
nod hello
run
stand your ground

i can’t remember

i can’t remember

your name
is
silence
or alice
or delilah

i can’t remember

and all you ever wanted
was bloom

.

.

.

(*from Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl)

Jun 9 2016

memorial day

I want to say the smell of death is just outside my window. I want to say that’s not a metaphor, it’s a real thing, and I think it’s the young robin I thought I’d saved from the cat last week. I want to say I know we’re not supposed to talk about these things, no one wants to hear it, but then again, there it is.

And then I want to say that of course it’s a metaphor, because everything becomes one eventually.

The poppies bloomed a few days late this year, waiting until June to tilt their heads in the breeze. But I sat in my garden and wrote on Memorial Day, the last time I sat long enough to listen to the words constantly crashing through my mind. I wrote about birds and flowers and cats and sky. Trees just gone green and clouds skipping along the horizon, July clouds in May, July temperatures in May, July laziness seeping into my bones.

I watched a turkey vulture floating overhead and thought it was beautiful with bits of gold sun glinting off wide wings, and it was. Beautiful. But a vulture means death, and there that was, too.

I don’t sit like that enough these days, I’m too busy trying to survive. And I know that’s a shame, I know it, but platitudes and dreams don’t pay the bills and the world isn’t waiting for anybody. I think about art and change and the internet and the pool that keeps spreading wider even as the world gets smaller and it feels like we are all just trying to keep our heads above water. Some days I think of that scene in Laura Ingalls’ On the Banks of Plum Creek when the locusts hatch and start walking, marching into the creek right on top of one another until it fills up enough to become a bridge of bodies. And they just keep walking because, of course, they have someplace to be.

I made this garden in my backyard, a place to rest my weary bones, and I don’t sit here enough because I’m too busy walking to a place I’ll never get to. And that’s not angst, it’s reality, and I’m wearing the shoes I paid for. Flip flops with a pebble lodged in the rubber, flip flops I will use to crush the giant ant that dares enter the kitchen when the grandbaby is crawling on the floor. Once, I would have let that ant live, but these days instinct wins every argument.

I remember when I used to go barefoot, all summer long, inside and out. I remember everything and everyone, every loss and every sacrifice, every joy and every smile. I remember this garden thirty years ago when it was nothing but lawn and driveway.

From my chair in the corner I can see the breeze but I cannot feel it. I watch the poppies dance and think, for a second, about getting up to join them.

Maybe tomorrow.

Some days are just for watching. And listening. And thinking about life. Or death. Or both.

It’s all in there, and my garden (another metaphor) is a mess and my feet are tired, but I am here, these flowers are here, these clouds in the bright blue sky are here, moving across the horizon.

Now.

Here.

Always.

.

.

.


May 5 2016

opening, again

Comfort zones. They get tighter as we get older, much like that favorite pair of jeans. We get set in our ways, and we like that, mostly, we find comfort in routine and pattern and the familiar.

But life is too complicated to allow us to stay in any one place for very long. Just when we settle in and start feeling all warm and fuzzy, something happens, something changes, and we have to learn how to move through life all over again. And I’m okay with that. It keeps things interesting at the very least.

We go through phases. And they’re called phases because they are slices of time that have a beginning and an end.

The leaves on the oakleaf hydrangea just outside my studio window are just about to open. Dozens of buds waiting for just the right moment. Each one unique, if you look closely, yet all part of the same mother plant. Yes, that’s a metaphor. A nice reminder to myself this morning, a sunny moment in a week that’s been filled with clouds both literal and figurative.

I am learning new things. It is making my brain hurt, which happens as you get older. My body is holding me hostage with hormones, and I keep reminding myself that I am becoming. Moving on. Getting ready to open to a new season of life.

Pfft. That makes it sound pretty, and quite honestly, it’s not. But it’s going to happen just the same, and I’m going to embrace all of it, even the rage. (Yes, there is rage.)

Maybe you lose something as the years go by, bits of innocence and wonder, but you don’t forget they exist.

I think.

Maybe I’ll find my way back, or perhaps I’ll end up in a different place altogether. Yes. I’m pretty sure that’s the answer.

But I’m still asking questions. And I’m still going to open, even when it is painful.

Because there is sun to feel on my face, and a garden to plant, again, and all these people to love with the heart of a crone.

Reasons enough to spread my arms wide.

Reasons enough.

.

.

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Apr 28 2016

important circles

buy me an election and i will sing a song
or crow at least
about
wide avenues and what we all deserve

as if deserving
was a right handed down
by a king in midas disguise
and you think that’s a joke

but i saw him once
touch a baby and just after that
a dark weapon
and neither one has the nerve
now to tarnish

and no one’s listening

no

one’s listening

there is music in every
hallway
but the lights are out

and we are all pretending
not to hear

we are all too busy
being busy
fighting
for the corner office
in a building
shaped by vaults
and steal

.

.

.

A poem a day for 30 days, in honor of National Poetry Month: Day 28
I’m participating in NaPoWriMo, and the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Challenge
Today’s theme is PAD’s write an important _________ poem.

Apr 23 2016

tangled up in blue

the way it’s always been, you rolled in knots
on the couch of digression and me
caught in some web created
by midnight

we think
this is not the way it’s all supposed to be
but there are no rules

you see

empty

and i mark increment
knitting versions of safety net
and woolen boot

protection from frost and sudden
burn but
there’s always the forest

ripped out and rooted
redone and repaired
ribald and raucous

when the wind grows wings
to beat hard against cages
built to surround us

or keep us

or display
the truth we see
in windows

late at night

she threads
a third
needle

.

.

.

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A poem a day for 30 days, in honor of National Poetry Month: Day 23
I’m participating in NaPoWriMo, and the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Challenge
Today’s theme is PAD’s write a poem that mentions footwear.
Hey, there’s a boot in there, somewhere.