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.

 

 

Advertisements

summer of the painting

i want to live in a

light house.

 

it’s

time.

 

these wrinkles

and lines need

 

something to open

and close

 

with a light

inside.

 

you have the

gift.

 

you are starting

to believe it.

 

you are starting to

love your self

 

to

pieces:

 

a solitary wing

with its lantern

 

pair flapping in the

distance;

 

a flickering

cyclops

 

watching

the seasons;

 

a window;

a wind—

 

to speak through

and in and on

 

and on

and anon.

anselm-kiefer-wolundlied-1982

Song of the Wayland, Anselm Kiefer

 

 

iv.

it starts with

a surge,

 

the intersect of

neck, solar plexus,

 

words — — then,

the dark descent

 

down, down into

the cave drawings

 

of who am i?

 

hunted,

haunted,

 

built for

slow idolatry

 

and waiting:

which is its

 

own electricity—

self-sustaining

 

legacy.

after all is

 

said and done;

after all the

 

battles fought—

few won;

 

what am i here for?

 

 

 

 

iii.

i thought i lost you:

on my own—

 

twist of lightning;

home alone.

 

open-chested

trinity:

 

a paradox of

riches—

 

first steps,

first stay,

 

first time

driving away;

 

the lonely light house

winks at the bay.

 

and we lay, we lay,

we lay down our dark

 

arms and rub up against

the furry light of day.

 

 

 

while waiting for your phone call

as soon as you leave

i feel it:

 

the immense sadness,

the emptiness, the

 

alone-ness.

 

it makes me wonder

why i’m here; what my

 

purpose is

outside of you;

 

outside of

bringing your life into

 

being.

 

this house, this rent,

this uneaten food in the

refrigerator.

 

as soon as i’m alone,

every thing is vast and open

 

and possible

again;

 

beautifully vacant.

 

it makes me think

and want to create

 

and fill up the spaces

with music and dance and

 

paint.

 

this piano, these poems,

this uncooked

recipe.

 

how can something be

so delicious and so alone—

 

electric in one moment,

and dead the next?

 

it’s a long, long road,

up through this fissure

 

into the dark hollow of

spine.

 

it’s the only way

to move and be moved;

 

it’s the only

way—up, up—

 

and it’s

mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

get up and out

so now i will tell you there is actual joy in

allowing something to dwindle down to its

very last drip. sometimes you need to see

the bottom of the barrel: the empty panic;

the dark places where you have scratched and

scraped to get by; the tiny spaces that hold the

last bits of grainy fluid before going dry. mean-

 

while, above ground, in full view of sun instead

of storage, there is a grand canyon piano with no

quiet pedal just waiting to be played. get up and

out of the basement. it will still be there, splayed

under your feet, holding your wares, your fears,

holding you up. but you need not stare at the

scaffolding. there is a whole horizon of sky for that.

 

whales and wolves

you are here, and not here:

 

fly-swimming over deep

caverns and continents;

 

pack-running through the

wood-keep of your ancestors.

 

i am there, and not there:

 

scouring for seed sounds in the

caves best made for shouting.

 

the echoes know the truth;

they have been here before:

 

ma, da, wa, ka

ma, da, wa, ka