going to seed

the world is full of levers

waiting to be pulled,

things waiting to be moved.

 

the levers can be hard to find.

since they’re invisible, you have to

bump into one to know it’s there.

 

they are long arms, reaching out

like the low boughs of a wise old tree.

many are on the edge of steep hills.

 

to get there, you have to breathe hard.

you have to feel as if you might die.

you pass many wry flowers along the way.

 

they nod as you pass; they are going to seed.

they ask nothing of you but to look

and take note and see your future.

 

you take step after step up the incline;

you wish you were a fish, even going upstream.

you wish you had gills, a long muscle for a body.

 

you are losing air; you are wheezing.

you feel the butterfly in your throat swelling.

it is not easy dwelling on land.

 

you pass many remnants:

broken houses, rusted fences, crippled farm equipment.

a fish out of water, indeed.

 

dreams of mother, father, child, lover follow you up the hill.

they trail behind you like a long ribbon of frames.

all your arms together reach out for the lever—and pull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

get up and sing

she tells me to get up and sing.

but that seems to go against everything.

 

singing is for things with wings.

 

i used to have wings.

i used to suck the marrow out of them.

 

but this passage of time . . .

this long, harrowing voyage—

with all its mysterious baggage—

 

has left me standing alone on a

platform in the middle of the sea.

 

i want to jump off the seawall.

 

why can’t the devil be saved?

 

if love is that big,

that all-encompassing,

then why does he remain lost?

 

neither height, nor depth,

nor principalities, nor powers,

nor things present, nor things to come

shall separate us from the love of god…

 

is it because he is

one of the principalities?

one of the dark divides?

 

did he choose that?

can he choose not to be?

 

is he a he? an it? a piece of all of us?

 

is it that he/it/we will just never admit

to needing to be saved?

 

how long can wrath take the wheel

before it submits?

 

are we that self-destructive,

that self-loathing, that we would

rather die for an eternity than

admit we are broken?

 

i don’t know.

 

maybe this is why we get up and sing:

 

because everything else is just too hard,

and i’m tired of teetering

on the edge of nothing.

the queen of afterthoughts

i’m the only one

the puppy won’t love.

 

maybe it would have been me,

eventually, who cheated.

 

inside, i think i am safe;

but i just feel tiny.

 

i twist and turn, a mini-cube

trying to solve all my problems.

 

you started dying in utah.

 

the three of us were outsiders;

together, deep in thought.

 

now you are both gone.

 

she’s always there, now,

when i dream of you.

 

this means something.

 

meanwhile, my girl holds up the

walls; blocks the door, the windows.

 

her arms are exhausted.

 

and she is wading into the

deep water of adulthood.

over & over, closer & closer

i finally took down my christmas tree.

she was a beauty. she brought us so much joy.

i hated to pluck the fragile ornaments off, one by one,

and toss her outside. but i know she will break down gently

into the soil and help create new life. she was already breaking down

in my living room: pine needles and sap and bits of branches everywhere.

 

part of me wanted to leave her there by the window and watch her decompose,

watch her finish her process of drying up, falling apart, withering to bits on the floor,

to see how long it would take, what it would look like. i don’t think this would bring me as

much joy as seeing her fully fledged with ribbons and lights, but in a more tangible way, it would

remind me of my own fleeting life, my own gradual breaking down, my own gentle (de) composition.

 

in her place by the window sits a large house plant that had been dying in a dark corner. now she can

sit in the sun and revive. she looks at me gratefully, watching me work, watching me watching her.

she reminds me of how happy my father was to sit on the balcony in the florida sun, soaking up

the warmth. there’s a picture of him somewhere in a rocking chair, facing out to the world,

slightly smiling. he knew he wouldn’t make it through another winter; he was ready to

go toward the light … into the light … through the light … to become light.

 

these are the rituals we need. these are the things we live to observe,

experience, write down, and remember. we do the same things

every year, over and over, as if getting closer and closer to

the bright light center with each magnificent spin.

 

Note: When viewed in a word doc format, this poem forms the shape of a pine tree on its side. I don’t think I can show landscape view in this platform.

 

 

vessel

don’t believe

the mirrors—

 

except in cars;

and even then,

 

in moderation.

i’m headed out

 

into the 3d world:

where i’m visible

 

in full—not just from

the front and torso up.

 

i need to feel real

pages in my hands,

 

real road under

my wheels. i’m

 

listening to tori,

trying to feel some-

 

thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with

 

words anymore. there

are too many words in

 

the world. this is probably

how some people feel about

 

poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,

 

here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad

 

are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:

 

beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,

 

we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the

 

dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am

 

being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still

 

attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my

 

body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole

 

length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,

 

in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be

 

stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve

 

triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just

 

smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:

 

moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of

 

being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.

 

as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—

 

but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has

 

learned to expect,

and love, solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pitch

 

i’m in the guest bedroom,

writing down all the hymns.

 

i’m guessing at some of the

words; welling up at others:

 

streams of mercy

never ceasing.

 

there’s a built-in happiness

in the notes, the chords;

 

the memory of fingers

flying over piano keys.

 

i am wooden wind chimes

in a metal world.