five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

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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.

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

 

 

staying

Jean-Avenidas.-Sea-Glass

i stepped into an apartment once,
the basement apartment of a poet;

i could smell it in the cedar,
in the ink and terracotta.

i wanted to stay until she came back;
i wanted to know her, be in her

circle, trace her curves as she
spun her words from the earth.

too small, my friend said—
this apartment is too small.

i left with an ache that
stayed with me for days.

on my way out i touched a green
stone on a shelf by the door:

it may have been sea glass,
it may have been my birth stone,

it may have been my
birth right to say

i’m staying.


Art: Sea Glass by Jean Avenidas

the valve of the unvitiated moment

valve

she knows that this is a floating

time on a floating ship, that she is

the floating, not the ship, nor the

captain, and that every thing outside of

 

time and space is the static pulled

taut across seas that hangs gray

garments in place and occasionally

dances and sings and means; in the valve

 

of the unvitiated moment she sees

the delicate moving of a good and

gentle quiet, like the breath of moth

wings against a hungry breeze.