hush and hum

the poem is a

prayer

 

you write all alone

in your closet.

 

it fights

you;

 

it demands

a blessing

 

from the

shit.

 

inside time’s

attenuated tip,

 

you wrestle

with the

 

wooden chest

of your heart:

 

all the

kindling,

 

the hush

and hum,

 

the red

sharp,

 

the perfect

death.

 

deeper still,

you move

 

through the

electric blue

 

darkness, the

great lost-ness,

 

a tiny sign of life

hunting another.

 

you see the

silver sparks;

 

they brush up

against you—

 

but you cannot

feel them.

 

you are here

but not here.

 

you remember

your father saying

 

every thing is

going to be okay

 

with his ragged

breath and big

 

chemo eyes.

even then,

 

on the edge

of death,

 

he was full of

hills and hopes.

 

now, the

big banyan

 

and creeks and

deer and wolves

 

tell you: it is time

to move into your

 

own life. it is time

to stop inhabiting

 

family history,

family religion,

 

family memory.

put whiskey in

 

your coffee and go

out into the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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here’s the truth i never really told

my eyes have not seen

nearly enough—

and, yet, too much.

out of the corner of one:

 

my hand—bent like

my grandmother’s,

like i’m cut

in half.

 

part of

my privilege

is

ashamed.

 

i must allow myself to undress,

to let go, to see what’s under

the show: this is the time.

this is where i am, taking a stand—

 

i do not

want you

in my

land.

 

but hear the

crickets;

they are for

everyone.

 

how i wanted to be a

miniature in your

china cabinet, tucked

up in ruby red glory,

 

un

aware of

the

imprisonment.

 

i am hard.

i am glass.

i cannot change

time, space, the past.

 

the mind does not

want you to know

your self, your

iron-on heart,

 

how to sit with the

hurt and be a light,

a lamp, a fire

extinguisher.

 

how can

hate

talk to

hate?

 

i am laughing; i am charlie

chaplin weeping on the

inside. first time’s the charm;

after that, it’s just repeats.

 

i am alone.

a heart in a house.

does a house

need a heart?

 

laid up for nine months, like gestation, and

what was born? i am turning into stone.

how can you force a turtle? if you

push it, it just goes skidding.

 

if i stand still long enough, can i cheat time?

can i drill down into space and rewind?

can i find my inner child, waiting there

with a shell in her outstretched hands—

 

saying—

here, you’re

going to need

this.

 

i do not have the

stomach for a

revolution. i am not

my grandmother.

hello, heart

hello, big bowl

of purple plums,

 

rising up and

bursting forth

 

in cool sweetness

and simplicity;

 

hello, exigent

machine: pulsing,

 

pulsing to its

emery end;

 

hello, beautiful

redundancy:

 

our intrinsic need

to hear it again

 

and again; that which

keeps us human.

 

hello, heart.

 

 

you are the poem

sit silently with your self;

listen to your breath, to last

night’s dreams, to the hammer

heart-beats which carried you

 

through. listen again. do you

hear your treble, the shaking

space between your stanzas,

the tremble of your verse?

 

you are the poem.

 

stop letting in all the noise. make

your own noise—just for you. if you

don’t want to rhyme, don’t. let your

capitals go. be un-titled. let the

 

line

breaks

surprise

even

 

you. swim in the imagery, steep in

the buzz of beginning over that of

belonging. watch a being give

birth. you are the poem. it will

 

all be over soon. taste each syl-

la-ble in your mouth, feel the tug

of adrenaline in the pit of your

stomach: the closest to the center

 

of child hood you will ever get

again. take cream in your coffee.

romance your selves and those

clinging to them with satin

 

static. if you take a title, own

it; sing it out with each pulse.

hug the children, love the world,

speak the beauty, love the poem.

 

you are the poem.

 

 

 

 

pick just one thing

what do you do when the

world seems to be coming

 

apart? how do you embody

the bravery that you know you

 

will need, that you know your

children and your children’s

 

children will seek for their very

survival? when the system has

 

turned cold and impervious—

the governing body stripped

 

of its head and its heart, and in

its place: angry fistfuls of gold—

 

how do you continue to break

in, break through, without

 

breaking down? pick just

one thing. pick one thing you

 

can learn, one thing you can

research, one person you can

 

help, one word you can say, one

way to hold on to that bravery

 

and hope; pick just one thing.

no one else can pick it for you:

 

find the thing that speaks to

you—above the roar of bullshit,

 

the one thing you can do today,

right now, every day, as small as it

 

seems. each person doing just one

thing with love and intention will build

 

back a breathing, beating body:

whole and full, with head and heart

 

and arms and hands open

and ready to receive again.

 

 

 

free-dom

you make me

feel my bravery,

 

my body

memory.

 

how many centuries

have we climbed

 

together? you hand

me the spy glass and

 

i chart our course: over

too many thoughts and

 

too few feelings. we

are always seeking,

 

always forgetting where

we’ve tread; always reach-

 

ing for a brand-new match-

ing set: heart and head.

 

fluid

you are not

alone.

 

even when you

want to be.

 

you are surrounded by

a big black hole of

 

energy–an effigy

spinning at the speed of

 

the catastrophe you

place yourself in-

 

: again and again, just

so you can test the

 

emergency

brakes.