April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
In the beginning there was only the holy darkness,
and in that darkness there was a moment of chaos,
and the darkness shattered,
and a great buzzing occurred, a sound that was not there before,
and all the beings in the holy darkness thought that they knew
all about the accident, knew what, and why, and wherefore…
and they were righteous.
When the darkness shattered shards of light scattered
and the righteous believed they could see, truly see,
and they began to dictate, and rule, and control those who were born after
the days of holy darkness.
The righteous believed they could see
never understanding that the light was an illusion
and the noise was a lie.
The truth, the enlightenment, was back in the darkness
Where chaos always lived
where there was no sight
where the silence was as heavy as flesh.
April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
Even in the light of day the stars are shining down on us.
The sun cascades behind the horizon as if the earth is as
flat as the celestial mysteries hidden far beyond our clouds.
No one knows the mountain, shown in the half moon light that crosses
over the river, one passing the other like a mirror reflecting a casual glance; no one knows that mountain.
A dog barks.
I sight a deer in wild bamboo—
What is it doing here?
March 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
I first began a blog in 2008. It wasn’t this one. Back then I had no idea what I wanted to do with this whole blogging thing (still don’t, but I’m getting closer to the idea). I have about four separate blogs, a ridiculous mess, and I’m putting things into order. For the next few posts on this blog I’ll be transferring some post that were written in 2008, and posted elsewhere.
In 2002, I had taken a poetry course with a teacher named McDowell at Portland Community College. I actually dropped the class. That had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. The following post is from notes I had taken while attending his course. I can’t take credit for all the information, and if I had his full name I would post it here. If anyone happens to know his full name send it my way, and I’ll update this and credit it properly. The notes were all taken by me (by hand even) and they are also adapted into my own language and examples, but the ideas are McDowell’s.
HOW TO READ A POEM
- Read it all the way through.
What if you don’t get it? Its form is strange, the language isn’t familiar, the imagery is abstract- forget about it- don’t stop reading. Just let it go and read it all the way through from beginning to end- try to relax your mind and just read.
- Read it again but this time read it out loud.
- Word by word
- Look for the Imagery
I know her scrubbed and sour humble handslie with religion in their cramp, her threadbareWhisper in a damp word, her wits drilled hollow,her fist of a face died clenched on a round pain;And sculptured Ann is seventy years of stone.
- Read for Organization
From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,And I hunched in it’s belly till my wet fur froze.Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
- Read for Technique
- Read it with all the above– I’m just going to quote McDowell’s bullet point here:
- Often a poet will go through dozens of drafts of a poem before allowing it to be read by anyone else, much less published. Dylan Thomas often went through 80 or 100 drafts. You can be assured that if you are alert, you’ll gain more from another reading. Poems aren’t like newspapers, to be read once and then tossed into the recycling bin. Each year you’re a different person; you’ll find that when you return to poems read years before, the good poems will seem to be telling you exactly those things you learned in the interim; they’ll seem like different poems. Every poet, every age, every country, every emotion, every climate, every language, every temperament produces different types of poetry. If you don’t like a poem, do it the justice to find out what about it you don’t like, and then move on to a different kind of poem.
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
Through the window pane I watch them eating.
Through the curtains,
the silver grey curtains,
that sweep the floor like ballroom gowns
swirling confetti as they spin. They
were a gift
Music is playing in the background
and everyone is dancing to a well worn tune.
I stand here day and night
through every season.
Frost bitten in deep bitter snow
or sunk into hot August mud. Locusts
beating against my breast. Gnats trapped in
eyelashes and I can barely blink at the life
in front of me.
I watch the children grow,
the new and old marriages,
vacations planned, bought, and taken,
baseballs, ballet slippers, baking and sewing,
visits from relatives, in-laws, divorce and death,
not necessarily in that order;
domesticities of the modern life.
Same as it ever was- the song sang- same as it ever was- the song sang- same as it ever was-
the groove gets deeper and deeper and yet it all stays the same
was it ever the same as it ever was?
There is a life behind me,
but I can’t see it
my face is glued to the window
“that life, that life is the right life…righteous…televised…”
If only I could turn around,
toss my envy into the compost
beside the perfect house, and turn around
see the many roads that reach out into the horizon.
There is a life behind me
I know because I can feel the sun
on my shoulders, urging me to move,
there is a life behind me, but
my eyes are glued to the Norman Rockwells, and the
if only I could turn around,
but all I can do is close my eyes
and feel the tears of the seasons.
the seasons are always hot
even in the winter.
I stand in the window as the sliver curtains
are drawn, once again, and the chatter never fades,
and I wonder,
will they ever get new curtains?
When they do will they see me standing here
or will I finally be gone?
July 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
I straddle my lover’s lap and read Walt Whitman to him.
I whisper exhalations of “Song of Myself” like
and my legs tighten around his waist
because literature and poetry is our aphrodisiac.
My lover’s face is in my hair, his lips brush
the corner of my moving mouth
and his soft hush voice in my ear
repeating, keep reading, keep reading…
As “Leave of Grass” escape my fingers and hit
the floor with a gentle thud
my lover’s arms are around me with fingers
in my back up under my clothing
And Whitman is smiling
because he wrote about such wonderful naughty things.
My lover paints me naked
he paints each imperfect curve
languid strokes of blue
hips, breasts, legs, and belly
round and rounder still
the painting always changing color
and never finished
This is the work we do together
being and being and being.
The paint never drying.
July 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
No one promised to be there, except the rain.
In the October downpour she choked on the afternoon light.
Too bright to take it all in.
Her eyes were wide open in momentary wisdom.
Her fear had faded to wonder as she rested her damp
head to his sweaty chest.
The sunlight struck her face like a spotlight
and she meditated on the rise and fall of his breath.
It would be hard to hold onto this man
it would be best to let him go and not to bother,
let the moment float away from the fairytale with this one
he was not capable, too much flesh to explore, too young
She sighed away the kisses from the previous evening,
and allowed the freedom of her breath to separate from his.
She exhaled into the force of nature and mourned nothing.
Tiny promises splattered against the window pane
and streaked the glass like memories
as she dissolved into the light’s dust.
May 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
A new poem, no where near complete. My mother died last year, and I’ve struggled to find a way to write about my feelings of loss and grief, to express my loss, and I just have not been able to. In fact, as far as writing goes, it’s been so quiet, or I feel too tired, or cliche– I’m stunted.
About a month or two after her death (which was an unexpected and sudden death) I had one of my very few dreams about her, and in this dream I woke up with the words: “black dawn she is silent now”.
I wanted to do something with these words; after all they came from my deepest consciousness. They were given to me like a gift, like a message, but more like a code that I have lost the ability to decipher. Today, was the first day that I made something, anything from those words. And, something, anything that can even chip at the surface of my grief is something to me. It’s not a completed poem, the same as any poem that is published here, but at this point to put anything on paper, and then to transfer it to here is an accomplishment for me. So as it is, it is untitled.
the cock crows is
blue luminous light, a blink
a slit, below the horizon line
of earth as far as
we can see
from our own perspective
but, our eyes are closed.
We are all sleeping
except for the ghosts
who watch us
wishing they could hold us
I see her in my dreams
As I rise from my living death
she returns to her death,
languid, somnolent, cries:
don’t leave me.
She is silent now,
and I’m awake.