The Photograph

The photograph hangs on the wall by the window,
Three judges appear (one carries a folder)—
A tarot card reader, embalmer, engraver,
Without much to say and not much of it said
About the boot in the crib and the tire in the bed
The round faced man and the pot on his head
Painted with flowers and chipped on its edge.
And the cat near the door with its collar and bell
Flailing and airborne and mid caterwaul.
And the three-leggèd dog with her leash on
And sweater, jubilant, leaping— Mon Dieu! Grand jeté!
And the crow— O the crow! In its cage cawing “Fire!”
The crow crowing “Mayhem!” and “Murder most foul!”
The dog and the cat and the crow and the tire
The cage and the crib, the pot painted in flowers;
All in a frame with a sign alongside—
“Self portrait. Around the Ides of July.”
A ribbon is clipped and then hung for its owner.
It bears the word “Mention” and then the engraver
Makes a note on a form he hands to the embalmer.
The tarot card reader turns— She and her hat,
And addresses the room, “Ain’t no card made for that.”

.

laughter like water

from others’ truth to true for you  

still, the buzz and hum of summer days

blushing dawns, surrendered nights

lean times, broke and hopeful

once held belief

that wandering roads

were home enough  

with arms linked

and like sunbeams

under newly opened summer skies

splashing laughter

like water

.

Pretend

Pretend a moment that you’re me
and write a poem I might see.
Pretend a moment that you’re me.

.

Pretend a moment that I’m you.
Pretend I read your poem through.
Pretend what happens when I do.
Are you pretending? Good. Me too.

Pretend the poem tells a tale
of wooden ships with painted sails.
Pretend the sky, the salty breeze,
the creak of decks, the swelling seas,
the cutlass singing past your ear!
Quick! Pretend us out of here!

.

Pretend the road. Pretend the trees,
the horse between your grasping knees,
the flashing river at your side—
Ride neck and neck with hounds from Hell!
Pretend, at least, we live to tell!

.

Pretend the West, the dust, the gold.
Pretend the sleeve. The ace it holds.
Pretend the six-guns drawn at noon!
Pretend we’re somewhere else! And soon!

.

Pretend the sky, the sunset sea.
Pretend the dunes, the grass, a tree.
Pretend you’re walking there with me.
Pretend the gulls that dot the swells.
Pretend the tales tomorrows tell.

.

Shall we pretend eternity?
Shall we pretend to dream?

We are nameless

We are nameless, I-men, striving
far above the beggared notions
of apathies and death’s release.
We are shadeless, unencumbered
beings drawn from Prime Consideration.
Others, fallen, fail, false in trade,
offer i for I.
                     I, reaching
skyward, holding fast the honest
roots wherefrom he rises— i-man,
reaching down, splits the rhizomed root,
splicing fungused-i to feed upon
a stolen I-man grace. And struts.

.

Death Dilutes You

The final thought to form before goodbye
will not recall the lover’s kiss nor mark
the dappled shadowfall of bright September
days, nor acknowledge the soft metal taste
of blood beneath your tongue. Neither news feeds
nor slideshows, achievements, failures, money,
friends, nor anything you’ve had. The final thought
will be the didn’t do—not the success.
The unacknowledged plan. The incomplete.
A dream. An arm outstretched, an empty palm.
Goals left unattended for better days
that never came or came and went. The thought
will be the should have said, the should have done
while the lump that rises, that beats in your
throat, sinks to your heart and death dilutes you.

.

Song to Authority: noun (with capital A)

Authority: noun (with capital A)
An expert source of inexpert advice
Or information, with little to say
But popular amongst Authori-ties
Which is the noun plural form of small minds
With little to say and lots of them saying
FACTS (Hear those majuscules!) HARD TO UNWIND!
We find ourselves inclined to decline such waylaying
Of truth or of fact with opinions sans stature
(Somehow I have managed twelve beats to my measure)
Like Truth from The Mount of their own manufacture
They pander and ponce for their profit and pleasure.
Authority: noun (with capital A)
What can I say? It’s the Word of The Day!

.

At the turning, soon the lifting, of the night

I dreamed an opened book of prayer
On a table by a window
Pages turning by a window’s ledge at night
There, God in darkness, knowing, seeing
And where a thief had hidden, kneeling
As pages flutter with the curtain in the night

.

Pages lifting, lifting, turning
While God looking, quiet, waiting
For His thief in contemplation
Of the faith he had not kept
There, in the shadows of the curtain
At the turning, soon the lifting, of the night

.

Cunningham

A red-winged blackbird sits, watching me, his fence post newly staked, bark on, topside down. At arms length, rusty fence pliers bounce along a span of barbed wire. One. Two. Three. “Hemlock, see, twists as it dries—” that’s Cunningham’s voice, “stretches the wire. Set one post wrong-way-to and it’ll sag right there.”

.

Come a day I recall Seamus Heaney and with newfound pride—my own name and that red-winged blackbird down Vernon River way.

.

Seamus Heaney, renowned Irish poet, wrote the fabulous poem, St. Kevin and the Blackbird.

Two poets danced

Two poets danced in a blossomy wood
One with petals and the other with God
Where are, one asked, the dreams of yore?

.

Two poets turned in a stormy wood
One felt wind and the other, God
Whence, one asked, do these wild winds roar?

.

Two poets leaned in a wintry wood
One through snow and the other with God
What more, one asked, must we endure?

.

Two poets came upon a midnight wood
One turned back and the other toward God
Both paths, God said, lead to my door.

.

Yesterday Today

When I see flowers I pass them by.
And lovers, I avert my eyes.
Laughter makes me turn and walk the other way.

.

When I hear music I’ve got no place to go.
No place to hide. No quiet place to lie.
When I hear music I just close my eyes and cry.

.

It might as well be yesterday—today is just the same.
Every morning lies and says I’ve come alive again,
That I’m not dying.

.

It might as well be yesterday,
Might just as well be yesterday—
Today.

.

P.S. I feel just fine now. I’ve found my way.

Finding Buddha

And if I split myself and stand
At every corner of said universe
On any selfsame summer day
With any selfsame afternoon rain
Will this, though thought, slip
Where densities of interest fail
(Or by failures to perceive)

.

This leaf-boy-runner
Eight portions of beingness
The full and fill of prime creation

.

(Perhaps where life has paused
Or slowed enough to perceive
At any speed

.

The speed of perception
The true speed of light
The wavelengths of laughter
And of any thing
)

.

While density shifts
Where inertia has failed

.

(The density of my interest
The shift of my affinity
)

.

There is no doubt
It has velocity
It gives back light
It bends the universe
It has location
From which expands
All space
Not already filled
With the logic of otherness
And even there it bends— It wills

.

As (my breadth of vision)
A torrent
An avalanche
A fissure in nothingness
A co-creation of All
This theatre
Our audience
Of stelae
Beacons of lostness
In search of wavelengths
Of affinity
Where you might
Where I have
The curves beneath our frequencies
The pitch and roll of their design
Their width

.

(We have
Each other
)

.

In all that vastness
An ordinary leaf
From this
For that
(I am)

.

The breathless
Runner

.

Boy runner

Approaching Siddhartha where he sat a
boy examined him politely (this-that?)
Siddhartha spoke and there the unnamed boy
who sitting a while with him that day thought
and over the days ahead returned and
leaving only for food, drink and service
that Siddhartha would not be distracted
from his goal until upon returning
he saw him glowing in the morning light
and so began to dance with him beneath
the tree. A leaf was shed, was gathered then
and the boy, who while tucking it away,
Siddhartha asked if he would run for him
to village, crossroads, field, grove, wherever
Siddhartha wished to speak. And so he ran,
and soon arriving, announcing thus his
coming, holding high the leaf he carried
and which had never died, living, always
green, until Lord Buddha left his body.

.

Bad Dog

Dandelions left her cryin’
What’s a man to figure

.

Tried it twice— She turned to ice
So what’s a man to figure

.

Told her that my love for her—
who knows—might last forever

.

Asked her if she’d be my gal
Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

.

Last words I hear’d was “NEVER”

.

I have no idea how this got in my head. I admit to laughing.

White Seabirds Wheeling

Shoulders rolling, rising
as icebergs from their glacier calf to sea—
as men, we fend the rimless wilds

.

With force, flung, withheld,
intelligence, ancestral songs of origin,
of prophesy, returning avatars

.

Overhead
white seabirds
wheeling

.

I guess you’re on your own with this poem. I can tell you where it begins. The scene is set in ancient times, and as near as I remember— a northern, coastal region following the spring equinox. A few of us had embarked upon a quest to find The One. “The One” was not what we called such a Being but it serves to communicate and a given name does not matter for the purpose of this note. Most of Earth have heard it anyway in one incarnation or another.

Calf: The offspring of various large mammals, such as cows (cattle), elephants and whales. Also, a piece of an iceberg or a glacier that breaks away or the action of this happening.

Fend: (figurative) To defend or attack with skill, make one’s way.

Avatar: The manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form.

Draw

.
Draw
a circle.
Draw a line,
through its middle,
in your mind. Within that
circle, on that line, draw yet
another circle there, just as the 1st;
you choose the size and where upon the line
it falls. And in the spaces left unclaimed, on either
side, if there is room, draw yet another circle there. And
others still until the line is full. This string of worlds, sized large
or small or mixed, is ready now. The secret of this Tao is
held within. The universe, the path you choose; the
distance ’round each world alone, when added
to the others, is equal to the measure of the
first. You drew the circle. Drew the
line. Drew the others. Chose
their size. The secret
of this Tao is held
within
.

.

ICARUS, a one act play in verse

Players:
Chorus of 3 voices
Icarus

.

Act 1

.

Chorus
We/we/we, chorus of three.
& Icarus

.

Chorus–1st voice
Lived once a father and a son

.

Chorus–2nd voice
Daedalus, the carpenter

.

Chorus–3rd voice
Icarus, the son

.

Chorus–1st voice
Banished, both, for the sin of one, to an island on the sea.

.

Chorus–1st & 2nd voice
They walked the eastern cliffs. White seabirds wheeling over them.

.

Chorus–3rd voice
Thus Icarus dreamed.

.

Chorus–2nd voice
And so four wings were formed of wood and wax and feather.

Chorus–1st voice
Daedalus, the father, to Icarus, his son, said…

.

Chorus–3rd voice
“If you disobey me and fly too near the sun the wax will melt. The feathers will fall. The wings will fail. And you will tumble like Phaëthon into the sea and die.“

.

Chorus–All
O Icarus!

.

Chorus–All–silence

.

Chorus–3rd voice
Hear him!

Icarus
I

.

Chorus –All
Icarus!

.

Icarus
Demand! Deny my father’s lies,
Sin-borne, sung in fear, of men hidden under darkened skies–

.

Chorus–3rd voice
Fists clenched, and down

.

Icarus
Or die!

Chorus–2nd voice
Like flies, wings torn and every eye to heaven

.

Icarus
Die as Daedalus! Who, having slipped too near this rock to fall but down,
Praised the gods!

.

Chorus–1st voice, whispering
Care, Icarus!

.

Icarus
Hell–a lesser man, for having tasted heaven once, he turned,
Chose this Earth and green Aegean sod.

.

Chorus–one voice
Amend these lies!

Chorus–another voice
And end to night’s deep dark

Chorus–another voice
And oily skin!

Chorus–All–whispering
O Icarus!

.

Icarus
Command! Ascend!

Chorus–one dancing, arms high

.

Icarus
And dance as I
Above the gods and boundless starry winds.

.

Chorus–All dancing

.

Icarus–soaring

.

The End

.

Amend has an old meaning: to put right.

Letter to the White Imbongi

These are the thoughts of the Locust thrum—

.

From the ripple, the thought is the Rock is God
From the Rock, the Earth
From the Earth, Sun-Moon
From They the thought is the Milky Spiral
The spiral known as the Eye of God
And from the Eye all space is His
Gift of glorious and of noble heights
And from the Eye all space is Hers

.

These are the thoughts of the Locust thrum—

.

Praise them then— the Locust mind, the flights of Stone,
All Earths, their Suns and every Moon
Praise Galaxies
Praise Space— Her heights!

These are the thoughts of the Locust thrum
That which is done. That which is done

.

Imbongi, in South African tradition, is the name/title of a poet.

I imagine a great imbongi with imbongi friends who relay information from far away. In particular, this letter is about thoughts that the writer supposes have come from a distant cloud of locusts.

qui vive

unseen, sans wings
alone above an unknown wind

.

unsung, no throat swells
no tongue conveys, nor eyes contain

.

no flesh burns here
no doubt, no alibi

.

suns race silent far below
planets swing, comets chase

.

qui vive? la liberté
qui vive? freedom

.

Qui vive means, loosely, Who goes there? A sentry’s challenge.

Sans means without. An old word stolen from the French centuries ago.

Ball Card Heroes

With bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way
we’d pass by Old Man Finch where when he’d sit and watch the world
one of us would wave. Most times he’d look,
he’d say—Ever tell you boys about the game?

.

He stole our breath away, sure, a hundred times.
We were fielders for him, basemen, catchers and every ball
split seconds from extra innings in mid-flight-
from-outfield-to-second-base-and-home-plate night games.

.

Peanuts, beer, hotdog vendors shouting,
with every other voice, shouting!
Out! You buncha losers! C’mon cmon cmon! Safe!
Allow the call or fault it, either way.

.

We were ball card heroes, just the same,
with bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way.

.

This poem tells a story. Life, imagination, games, spirit of play, youth, heroes and age. Baseball! When I was a boy we collected baseball cards. Topps I think. We carried them in our pockets, traded them, flicked them across the schoolyard in games of accuracy, attached them with clothes pegs to our bikes so that they hit against the spokes when we rode and made motorcycle sounds (we imagined). Cards were toys. I don’t collect cards now but if I did I’d collect the most played-with cards I could find.

In a Wood by the River’s Edge

In a wood by the river’s edge,
flat and very full of trees,
with banners flying
and no misgivings,

.

brothers Thomas and John
and gallant Aesop,
at song, in praise—
“Good pillage!”

.

Their fleet— their raft,
a sail of a biscuit sack.
An afternoon, idle
near the water’s side.

.

Because all that way
is full of woods
and therefore very
fresh and cool.

.

Source text for all words used in creating this poem: Drake’s Raids on the Treasure Trains: Sir Francis Drake’s Raid on the Treasure Trains: Being the Memorable Relations of his Voyage to the West Indies in 1572. Edited by Janet & John Hampden 1953. Published by The Folio Society.

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Can you feel it?
BUT CAN YOU FEEL IT?
I do.

.

The Changing—

.

Lights flickering on
And on and on…

.

Everywhere!

.

Can you taste it too?
And smell it?
Are you smiling
All-of-a-sudden
For the pleasure
Just the pleasure?

.

Sing!
Believe!
Be!

.

THE DARK IS OVER!
THE DARK IS OVER!
THE DARK IS OVER!

.

Come! Create with me!

Come!
Create with me!

.

(Create Create Create!)
You see—We are already friends

.

Remind me then of my abilities
Increase our creation of futures (full)

.

(We pretend we do not know
That “when” is just a little lie we play with)

Remind me to rise at will
And to intend decision

.

I brim with joy at your separateness
Your joy with mine. With others too, full joy

.

Remind me of the play and of the game
(The little lies of lose and had)

.

The glory and the vision
Of “What if”

.

Reacquaint me with cognition
Remind me to re-cognite

.

The instant already-ness of being
(For BE we are decision)

.

What will we decide that we have already
What will we decide

.

Come!
Create with me!

.

Depths of Green

Depths of green—from canopy to forest floor
In streams of raucous livingness
And there, and where about, a sanctuary
Falls in heaps, in stone walls run aground.

.

And with, nearby, afar, by ins and outs
Through every place (perceived)
Wherever listened for—vibration.

.

A single voice in Pali—a single voice
Leaping, leading, dancing, sweeping.

.

Hello. You greet me.

.

Upon Awakening in a Churchyard

Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it.
Aye, and all your choirs and blather
Won’t but start me sufferin’ years

/

Before me ‘lotted time. Ye’d make
The Devil’s work a damned sight quicker
If’n I weren’t deaf in both ears twice before me wake
For all your moaning for me soul.

/

Spare me the lecture, Father.
I’m going to Hell and we both know it
Aye, and it don’t seem right a man should suffer
Twice for the same sin.

.

Being of Irish extraction this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

No Justice on Stolen Land

Along Victoria Inner Harbour
Behind the granite wall
Next to Capt. James Cook’s effigy in bronze
Next to bold bronze plaques of white-worlders-
Come-by-water
Across from The Empress
In front of the Assembly of Other Nations
Under an iron bench
Scratched in concrete—
No justice on stolen land.

.

Included in Make A list: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts by Marilyn McEntyre: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publihing Co., 2018. A lovely book.

Pangaea

Standing.  Alone.
A yellow sky.  A shudder, grind
And hesitation of the earth.
Below, black seas heave and sigh
Against a scar of land.
Night.  Yellow sky remains.
Arc and flicker.
I breathe.  Night fades.
A shallow breath.
Acid rain falls gently.

.

Pangaea: Proto-continent existing about a half billion years ago eventually breaking into two continental masses, Gondwana & Laurasia. Gondwana: made up of areas now Africa, most of Australia, India, South America & Antarctica.   Laurasia: North America, Greenland, Europe & Asia north of the Himalayas.

Roses, wood violets & dew

Roses are red and wood violets are blue
I love you, Babe, like the dawn loves the dew
Oh, I love you, Babe, like the dawn loves the dew
I’m bringing home roses and violets too
I’m bringing home roses and violets for you

.

I’m sorry I left, that I never came through
I’m bringing you flowers— Seems all that I do
I just had to walk. I just had to think
I just had to find my way back from the brink
And now I’m coming home with the smell of fresh dew
And rosebuds I’ve stolen, like I once stole you

.

These roses are red and sweet violets are blue
I love you, Babe, like the dawn loves the dew
Oh, I love you, Babe, like the dawn and the dew
I’m bringing home roses and violets for you
I’m bringing home roses, wood violets and dew

.

A country song or an Irish one.

Dismal Mountain

Summon Me! From Dismal Mountain
Where fallen prayers drift slowly down
Where ash of fallen prayer lies mounting
From the privy of the Beast!

.

Take Me!  Shake each Gilded Logic
From dreaded Death!  From dung deposits!
From the liars’ breath of thieves!
From Serpentes, friend of Eve!

.

Spill Me!  Spill my ancient grief!
My faith that God once had in beasts!
Spill the essence of my clay
Across the Day!  Across the Day!

.

O Hear!  Echoic from this ashen fell
Where idols leant and fallen dwell—
My Lords-in-waiting!  Seneschals!
Summon Me!

.

A few words:  

Serpentes (sir-pent-eze): a name in biology for the snakes— used here as the given name of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Fell: a hill or highland.

Leant is leaned.  Rhymes with lent.

Seneschal: an officer or steward in a medieval noble household, in charge of servants and their duties, ceremonies and administration of justice.  Reminds me of a lieutenant in an old crime family. 

The premise here is that The Beast has no power of his own; it is first begged or stolen.

This lyric comes off as heavy metal in my head. With operatic overtones.

The Golden Age

From beneath the bottom of the bottomless abyss, below even that, to the firm cliff’s edge above where light shines without shadow, so the Basic Books soar above the darkness, the lostness and the nightmares of yore.

.

From beneath the bottom of the bottomless abyss, below even that, to the firm cliff’s edge above where light shines without shadow.  Further, to the waving flags at the peaks of the highest mountain tops and the voices of those who have climbed cheering and calling from above, so rise the Lectures with their Basic Books.

.

From beneath the bottom of the bottomless abyss, below even that, to the firm cliff’s edge above where light shines without shadow.  Further, to the waving flags at the peaks of Highest Mountain and the voices of those who have climbed cheering and calling from above. Still further and unbelievably beyond, where infinity begins to stretch into constellations of your own creation, where hyperbole will remain forever an understatement, so ascends The Golden Age of Knowledge—The words, the voice and the visions of Ron.

.

Ron is L. Ron Hubbard.. The Basic Books and Lectures are a part of L. Ron Hubbard’s record of research and discovery in Scientology.

Death of a Patriot

All that rest are spaces (space)
space of drums
(“Come” they told him)

.

Nitre, cannon, horns, pipes
(echoed, calling)
vertebrae, rope-fray

.

Sinew (pink, foam-flecked)
flailing, fallen, gathered, apart
upon itself, weltered

.

Nitre or niter: saltpeter or potassium nitrate, a component of gunpowder.
Welter: lie soaked in blood.

Who do we actually think has laid down their lives for the freedoms of today? A wellspring of greater beings who have sacrificed everything for us in some past, performing a duty we attempt to honor for a moment, for a day or on a postage stamp? No no no. They are us, one life to the next as we live and die and live—live yet again. We might take a dimmer view of those running roughshod over our hard-won victories if we realized the personal price we’ve paid and how many times. This poem is a death remembered in parts—one day of many from that perspective. Remembered, because that awareness has gone on to live again. I remember past lives (and this is the death of one of them). I don’t much care whether this preamble seems strange or utterly fantastic. Make room. This is the Death of a Patriot.

Afternoon

It was the early afternoon of Infinity when we met.
I had called into being the forever of time
to anticipate your arrival in finite rhythms—
Knowing they must be the whitest of lies.

.

The preparation, the perception, the recognition,
the intertwining and engagement of spaces,
their separations—all in the span of hello
and the impossibility of absolute goodbye.

.

Sweet Home

There are two versions of this verse. Which do you prefer?

/

When I am done with being right
And you are done with being wronged

.

Perhaps then we can speak of something small and bright
That we can both agree upon.

/

………………………………………….

.

When I am (or you are or we are) done with being right
And you are (or we are or I am) done with being wronged

Perhaps then we can speak of something small and bright
That we can all agree upon.

.

A Gentle Scent

A gentle scent surrounds me.  It eddies,
flows, reminds me.  I dream.  Look long
and away until just so and seeing you
and having only to say—  I seize upon
some flower, something I love, you see,
and say—  This is where I begin.  This is
where I am.  This is where I am re-awoken.
And in that span you hold me with interest,
with affinity.  You who can never end,
whose beginning was before mine—
From non-existence you rekindle me.

.

Sometime Around Vespers

Sometime around vespers or matins, still dreaming or about to—
swimming spaceless beyond the stretch where vision is blindness
where photons tumble like Phaethon from his chariot afire

.

Where time beats that archetypal
echo of rhymed nothingness
pulsing through ALL verse

.

Unfulfilled
nothingness
unfulfillable

.

Except to those returning soul-side
grooving to the hush between the beats—
the authors of such co-labours as these

.

Vespers: evening prayers. Matins: morning prayers, morning birdsong. Phaëthon [fey-uh-thuhn, -thon] In Greek Mythology Phaëthon is the son of Helios, the sun deity. Phaëthon borrowed the chariot of the sun and drove it too close to the earth where Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt to save the world.

Hymn of the Fallen Tree

Let me rest among these giant souls that stand
where trees once stood.

.

Here, greens break into blacky-blues and dragonflies
and dusts of beetle dung grow old withal.

Let me rest among the salmonberry and the tumblewood
of cotton, ash and hemlock, fir and cedar.

.

And let the wind stir of pine above the fall reawaken me
in early greens and sapling dress, anon.

.

Previous titled, “Tumblewood”; published 2014, The Footprint Press.

If a man whispers peace in a field for the dead

If a man whispers peace in a field for the dead
will he be heard or will it be said
that the voice of one man is a lie?

.

If a man calls out peace from a box in a park
will he be heard or left lost in the dark
with the murmur of madmen and lies?

.

If a man cries for peace and names Allah or Christ
will he be heard or were they sacrificed
under flag / under bomb / under fire?

.

If a man offers peace with peace in his heart
will he be heard? Is that how it starts?
Someone— Anyone— with peace in their heart!

.

Will they be heard? Is THIS where it starts?
If we fail, my dear friend, who will live?
          The War-Men have no peace to give.

.

Incandescent

I have fallen while the stars of endless
endless sucking skies have sucked me down.

.

Here, I have lain broken on the burning
lawns of Hell— fingers, arms, soul— stretched
to the point of no return to catch a wind
that sings and does not sigh with the souls
of a million million soulless men.

.

I have slept and dreamt of rising.
Dreamt the cool nakedness of space
beyond the shell of light that sucks me down.

.

And I have spent my fists with the soulless men
against the blackened skies of Earth,
the blazing incandescent trails of souls
arriving— falling no further.

.

To dream this night of rising
and the cool nakedness of space
once more.

.

We Will Survive: An open letter to Merchants of Chaos

Take away the sun above
And burn the air we breathe.
Take away the moon and stars
And everything believed.

.

Take away the green of life—
The blue-green seas below.
And take the glow that lives in them
And everything unknown.

.

Take the candle. Take the verse.
Take art. And take the artist’s words.
Take each thing— its form, its name.
Take everything. What’s left but blame?

.

One thing’s for sure— We will survive
We have gone on and left this song behind.

.

WAR

WAR is NOT a spiritual preference (except to the insane)
WAR is NOT a spiritual orientation (except to the Merchant of Chaos)
WAR is NOT a spiritual experience (except to those who die)

.

open our eyes together and we will dream
open our fists today and we will build
open our doors tonight and we will sing
open our eyes/fists/doors

.

(close your eyes and never mind
(close your fists and build collateral damage
(close your doors and scream

.

oh no
open our eyes/fists/doors

.

send our prayers to the front lines
send our light to the front lines
send our truth to the front lines
send us

.

and we will build for beauty
and for freedom
and for love

.

send us

.

Softly

Hold me, fold me
Like a dove
Kiss me now
Before I go
Here I am
Once more, My Love
My Love, before I go

.

Gently, softly
Like a prayer
Lay beside me
Hold me still
Defend me
When I fall, My Love
My Love, I fear to go

.

On the day I came back from the hospital after my heart had acted up.

Northern Night

The road that lies below lies deep and still.
No moon to light the snow.  The sky is clear.
Alone, heads back and arm in arm— We’re here!
In disbelief— We hardly breathe— But here!

.

So spills the light of Heaven into sight—
Illumined, rising, falling, shifting grace.
Upon the starry sweep of northern night,
In ribbon-folds of light and dark it sways

.

Above the shepherd pine and hemlock choir.
There—  This night!  The sky!  The lights!
The stars!  The fire!
Above!  Across!  My God—

.

I recall having seen the northern lights only twice in this lifetime.  The last was while driving east on an early winter evening.  I turned my head to look north where the mountains above Vancouver are lit along the ski run down Grouse.  There, and above darker more distant silhouettes, the northern lights hung in unexpected splendor.

Members of the Jury—

It was a drive-by versing
A poem invasion
An act of irrepressible aesthetics
Unmitigated form and passion
Premeditated meter
Alliteration
Aggravated by both rhythm
And rhyme

.

It was a drive-by versing
A poem incursion
A wilding of fact and fantasy

.

By all accounts
A Declaration of Words

.

When my home town made it illegal for singers and performers to freely work the streets there was a protest rally. I read this poem from the courthouse steps with bullhorn in hand.

.

Christians Everywhere Sing Joyful

Prayer and Glory! [a single voice, calling]

.

Jesus! [more voices, tumultuous, joyful]

.

Leading each of us to heaven
He with neither sin nor hating
Christians everywhere sing joyful
Loving each of God’s creations
Praise Him! Praise Him! Every nation!
Praise the King this Christmas morning!
Prayer and Glory!
Christ, Our Savior, Christmas born!

.

Christians everywhere sing joyful!
Prophesy has come to pass
Jesus sent for our salvation
God, Our Father, gathers us
Praise Him! Praise Him! Every nation!
Praise the King this Christmas morning!
Prayer and Glory!
Christ, Our Savior, Christmas born!

.

THE NEW APARTHEID

Yes, segregate.
Create a slum for me.
Build walls.
Render us apart.
Hide.

.

The New Apartheid appears in full in Walling In and Walling Out: Why Are We Building New Barriers to Divide Us? by Laura McAtackney (Editor), Randall H. McGuire (Editor), as the epigraph for, Chapter 11, Conclusion. Available on Amazon. The Introduction’s epigraph is a quote from Mending Wall (from which a line provides the book title), a poem by Robert Frost. Randall McGuire wrote, “I want to thank you for capturing in 13 words what we struggled to say in 100s of pages of academic prose.”

Sin

I love thee not, Sweet Seraphim—
Thou, aloof, aloft—apart from sin.
Nor love thee, Sweet, as does Our Shepherd
Love His flock— His love unfettered.
Nay, truth, My Love— I, as a Beast,
Upon thy lips and thighs, would feast— 
Thy musk! O musth! This night! Thy beauty!
Forsaking Heaven— Carnal duty!
I will not leave thee, Seraphim, uncertain
Thou hadst abandoned Him.

.

Musth: pronounced “must”— the frenzied sexual state of certain male animals.

.

Caveat

A sonnet is a dandy thing all dressed
In pomp and form and run-on lines and things—
Enough to make the weary take up wings.
Though this is but my third, I must confess,
Lifetimes ago I wrote with zing and zest
And sonnets then were little songs to sing
To fluttering breasts and nightingales— or slings
Against misfortune, kings, and other pests.

.

No poet’s court has ever sat assize
Sans sonnets quick and cleverly contrived.   
Fair queen or country maid, though each its prize—
The sonnet’s virtue rests in parted thighs.
Finer roe has never graced a sturgeon
Nor caveat much mattered to a virgin.

.

Caveat is a warning or caution. Assize is a court or can be a judgement. Used here as “sat in judgement.” Sans is an English word stolen from the French about 700 years ago. Means “without.”

.

Space

Stumbling, tumbling, jumbling space
Riffles and ripples in ecstatic grace
Yet barely persists
To mark where we’ve been

.

(We leaping!
We laughing
We lunging unseen!)

.

And roosters behind us
Galactacious spray
That glistens and glitters
The whole Milky Way!

.

Roosters means the action of forming a rooster-tail like the spray of water behind a speed boat. Galactacious is a made up word from Galaxy.

The Marking of Lives

This—  This is the closest we have been in forty-seven years. Graveside, I close my eyes. See again, her lips smeared, her head turned, as she had lain unconscious. Whispers of Other Men—   Immoral—   Immoral living—  Declared unfit for motherhood and I am only days from four. 

Before that, in white shift sitting at the foot of her bed and singing quietly to herself. Singing, brushing and lifting her hair. Letting it fall. She is lovely to me. Later that night, weeping, anger, fists and cries.  

.

At fifty-one I look like him. Fist-Man. Father. He wept in Irish taverns filled with weeping, singing drunks. She had danced the Sunrise on Hastings, whatever that meant.  

.

She was gone when I was taken. I was gone if she returned.  

.

A Child Welfare office filled with nervous women, children dressed in Sunday-best and a faint wash of fear—   these memories, all memories, discomfit and jar.  

.

A metal cup with orange juice. Warm, sweet and slightly bitter. The far end of the room. A bed made in a wooden trunk. Eyes slipping. Box lid closing. Sleep—  

.

Bewildered, pushing, opened, the room lies stark, white and empty. No mothers. No children. No one waiting here. The lump that rises to my throat is the same one— the same one that rises in spasms from my chest on that dark-boxed, white-roomed and room-filled afternoon.  

.

In forty-seven years I would stand above her on that overlooking hill. No words to mark her place, a plot numbered between other unmarked and numbered graves. Maybe she was gone again. 

Gone before I could tell her what had happened, that I was sorry, that I would be a good boy, beg her— find me.  

.

Eyes opened, I have waited long enough. The sun is hot. White lines trail across the sky. Paper from one pocket. Pen from another. I write. Roll tight and push as far in as this ground will allow.  

.

White paper, ink. Graveside for her. Wayside for me.  
A mark was kept. A mark was left.  

.

A deep breath in, not held and out.

.

The Sunrise was a low-end hotel on Hastings Street in Vancouver. The bed-in-a-trunk sequence was as described. The orange juice had a sleeping drug in it and the trunk-bed was used to separate children from parents or guardians without a fuss. ’61. Alberta.

Razzmatazz

A poet’s breast within me beats
Beats heart and something I call soul that leaps
Charges, races, racing, finds its feet
Drags me, joyful, joy-filled, from my seat!

.

Elevating common prose
For pleasures sake, each poet knows,
Gains by use of tools as those
He would at length, I’m sure, disclose

.

If payment were perhaps an ear
Just for a moment lent to hear
Keenly offered verse— or beer,
Loved by poets too, I fear.

.

Most often those who are unwise
Negate the poet’s enterprise
Out of their need to criticize
(Perhaps within their misery lies)

.

Quite certain they must find a fault
Regardless of the somersaults
Some poets do to try and halt
Those, who in the name of help, assault.

.

Unless you’ve written words as these—
Verses made and meant to please
With just a little work to tease
Xenia* coaxed from a’s and z’s

.

Your day lacks all that razzmatazz—as
Zest for verse—and all that jazz.

.

*Xenia—gifts given to a guest or stranger. Xenia is the plural form of xenium. This poem is an Abecedarian. First letter of each line follows the alphabet. Fun to do.

Joy of Acknowledgement

Spoons
c-d-lick-k-k

.

pots/pans
b-bang-ng-ng
bowng b boawng
Hey!

.

-ey!
lids
CRSH-INGGG

.

Hey ng ng-ng b-ba-wnng Hey!

.

Hey!
HeyboangHecd-ba-b-yonnHey!
HeyowngHeyboangdeclick (SHiNGHey!)
Heyang-b-bang-c-dlick bongHey!
c-Hey-c-baowngSHINGGbonng-nging-Hey!

.

For all those who’ve helped: Pots, pans, lids & spoons on balconies around the world.

starwells

slep in starwells
slep undr carnivaltrucks
gonwitout
slep in parkinlots cornr
darkgreengarbagebags

.

8 month old ry bred
dogfood wetdry
insecs bigmacs

.

worblankets
nbredbags

.

spare a dime
show me yr change
all show u mine

.

A poem I wrote a VERY long time ago about what it was like being homeless in the ’70s.

.

Happy Birthday! A day in the life of a boy, a bird and a snail.

I was walking down the road
Just as happy as can be
And all the leaves upon the trees
Were waving back at me

.

I saw a curly snail
As he stretched to greet his day
Then headed down the road with me
Then stopped to stretch again

.

I saw a pretty sparrow
She was perched upon a wire
She sang a song—I sang along
We made a lovely choir

.

The snail conducted from a twig—
Just so, our song began
“Happy Birthday to You!”
Did you hear us as we sang?

We had a happy party
As we danced around—We three!
And we wished you Happy Birthday!
Just as HAPPY as can be!

.

BEDBUG SLAM

The only good bedbug is a dead bedbug.
The only bedbug worse than a live bedbug
is a fed bedbug, notwithstanding the
fedded, bedded & newlywedded bedbugs
which tend to copulate & propagate across
rolling great reclining plains, trailing baby
bug bedbugs to carry on their game and with
no attention to the names we call them either.

.

Ain’t that cold

I been told a thousand times
that holster on my hip
ain’t the only way to make a stand

.

then they steal (name it healing)
strip the bullets from my mind
jack me up to kick and twist

.

electricate both lobes until
élan succumbs to gravity
stars flicker GOD points a finger

.

points THAT finger says christ
not you again if I had a star
for every time… Ain’t that cold

.

One Cat, Maybe Two

Raymond shifted his weight forward on the coffee
shop chair and leaned his cheekbone into the heel of
his palm. A childhood verse chided him in his
mother’s voice of over fifty years ago.

.

“Raymond, Raymond, if you’re able,
get your elbows off the tab
This is not a horse’s stable,
but your mother’s dining table.”

It didn’t immediately connect to any
pictures in his mind but he had heard it enough
to know it was real. An hour ago he had been
at his mother’s side in the palliative care ward.

.

She had appeared smaller than he liked to think of
her—had looked almost like he was seeing her at
a distance. She hadn’t greeted him, only closed
her eyes and said, “Feed the cats, will you.” It wasn’t

.

really a question. “Yes,” he answered, but the cats,
whoever they were, must have left or died years ago.
The only living thing she owned, he suspected,
was the small Christmas cactus someone had brought to

.

cheer her up. He looked at her again, waiting for
her eyes to open. They never did. Her jaw dropped
and that was that. Raymond hadn’t wanted to be
in the room when the nurses and orderly would

.

come to take her away. He stopped at the reception
desk to say that he’d be in the coffee shop
waiting for his brother and sister-in-law to
arrive. They were late and he was thankful to have

.

a few minutes to himself. From where he sat he
faced the open entrance of the café. There was
a couple sitting tiredly off to one side.
A man in a shapeless blue hospital gown and

.

slippers shuffled in pushing an IV pole ahead
of him. Raymond heard steps echo sharply down
the hallway. Here they are, he thought, hurrying
needlessly. Bill and Marijke had been fast asleep

.

at 2:30 am when Raymond’s first text message
came in. They never saw it until 5:00 when Bill
reached for his cell phone as he did every morning
right after Marijke turned off the alarm. “Damn,”

.

he said, “No time.” Bill, “William” on his realtor
business card, and Marijke, were used to demands
on their time from potential home buyers. But they
usually had early mornings to themselves—

.

breakfast, coffee, catch up on current events. Not
today. The text had said, “ASAP.” They hit the drive-
through at Starbucks on their way to the hospital.
“Hey Bill. Marijke,” Raymond said. Bill nodded. “Hey,”

.

he replied and paused to look at Raymond, to see
if he’d say something else, “Is she gone?” “Couple of
hours ago,” Raymond said. “Should we see her?” Bill asked.
“Can if you want, I suppose. Maybe later,”

.

Raymond said, “Did she have a cat? She mentioned cats.
I haven’t seen any for years. Did you take them?”
Mother might have mixed him up with Bill again.
Raymond looked at his brother who didn’t seem to

.

be listening and then at Marijke. “She used to
feed the neighborhood cats before she broke her hip,”
Marijke said. “That might be it.” It seemed odd that
Marijke knew more about his mother’s life than

.

her sons did. “Maybe you’re right,” Raymond said. “What’s next?”
“I’ll call her lawyer and get him on it,” Bill answered.
Raymond suddenly realized that his brother
had been listening. Marijke started to cry. 

.

Raymond pulled some napkins from their holder and pressed
them hard against his eyes. Bill looked down and away.
Over the next few days life seemed to stop. Nothing
more than daily routines and only as long as

.

they didn’t require much effort or attention.
Coffee, whatever was in the fridge—dishes sat in
the sink. Gradually he began to feel alive
again. It was as though he had been wrapped in blankets,

.

hearing distant, mostly muffled voices, glimpsing
unfamiliar rooms and spaces when he closed his
eyes to sleep. Marijke had startled him this morning
when she called and said to the answering machine that

.

Bill and she were coming over with something from
the lawyer and hoped he would be in. She didn’t
wait for him to pick up. She’d have known he was at
the kitchen table. They arrived mid-afternoon.

.

No knock at the door. Bill was the older of the
two and was the most like their dad. And Dad had not
been the knocking sort. Not with Raymond anyway.
Bill and Marijke each carried a bag of groceries

.

which they placed on the kitchen counter. “Thought you might
need some things,” Marijke said. “Nice to see you, Ray.”
She took a bag of groceries and made room in the
fridge for its contents: milk, BBQ chicken and

.

eggs. She placed the bananas in a wooden bowl.
“Saw the lawyer yesterday,” Bill started. “He has
the will but it doesn’t amount to much except
for the house,” he paused, “The equity has mostly

.

been sucked out of it. God knows what for. And there’s this…”
Bill dropped a large manila envelope in front
of Raymond. “I’ve already opened it. There’s an
envelope for each of us in there. Marijke

.

says we should open them together because we’re
all the family we have now.” He tipped the envelope
on its end and let the two smaller envelopes
slip out. One each for William and Raymond. Bill picked

.

his up and tore the corner of the flap destroying
most of the envelope in the process and
extracted what appeared to be several sheets of
neat handwriting. “It’s just a letter,” Bill said. He

put it into the inside breast pocket of his
suit jacket. Raymond waited a moment then picked
up the other envelope, turned it over and nodded
almost imperceptibly. He stood, walked to the

.

shelf between the window and the back door where he
had made room for the Christmas cactus instead of
leaving it behind. Not sure about the light, he
thought, and leaned the unopened letter against the

.

earthenware pot. “Not you, too?” Marijke shook her
head. “It’ll be like…” Raymond said, he paused, looking
at her, “It’ll be like not hanging up the phone.”
Marijke understood—he’d never open it.

.

“I get it,” she said in a softer tone. Bill looked
blankly at his brother. And Raymond smiled a little
for the first time in a while. By six the next
morning Raymond was already dressed and brewing

.

coffee. Usually he would head down to Timmy’s
Donut Shop for his caffeine fix. “Double trouble,”
he’d say, meaning “Double double,” as he always
did at Timmy’s. It amused him and often made

.

his favorite server smile. “Too much trouble, you mean,”
she’d say. Human contact. Raymond guessed that some of
the guys at the corner table would be wondering
how he was doing. They’d know what had happened, of

.

course, but they’d ask just the same. He poured his first cup
and walked out onto the back porch. Still a bit cool
out here, he thought as he leaned against the railing,
sipping his coffee as his eyes wandered around

.

the yard. He’d have another cup in a while but
first he had something he needed to do. Raymond
sat down on the porch steps and slipped his feet into
an old pair of shoes. He tied them and flicked the loops

with his finger to see how the laces fell, to
make sure he had not tied them backwards and would not
work their way loose. Someone had taught him that a long
time ago when they had seen his laces come undone.

.

He stood up and walked across the yard to the back
lane and the narrow picket fence, missing a picket
here and there and much of its original coat
of white paint. Some boys had probably pulled the missing

.

pickets off decades ago and with galvanized
garbage can lids for shields spent a Saturday
morning sword fighting. The gate was leaning and half
open, held there by uncut grass, weeds and neglect.

.

He stepped out and onto the lane that led between
the two rows of houses that backed onto it. Raymond
looked at each fence, each set of stairs and window as
he passed them by. A block later he turned and headed

.

home satisfied that he had seen at least one cat,
maybe two. Another cup of coffee in hand,
Raymond sat on the top step. On his way out of
the kitchen and onto the porch he had stopped to

.

turn the cactus in the morning light, stepped outside
placing a saucer of fresh milk by the porch door,
and sat down.

.

Enjoy the sunshine (when she comes)

Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
Enjoy the blue skies cleared of grey
And with a glad song in your heart
Enjoy the sunshine when she comes

.

Enjoy the sun through dancing leaves
Enjoy her warmth against your skin
Enjoy the flowers and the green
Whatever else your day may bring

.

Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
It’s been a while my dear old friend
Since we have walked and talked and laughed
Something we should do again

.

Enjoy the sunshine when she comes
Until then—

.

At Least Until This Fairy Tale is Over

Her bags are packed, left by the door. She looks away waiting for her ride to come. Waiting.

.

You met her on a holiday. You can’t recall who else was there. She’s moved along and left you holding empty air. Empty rooms and empty halls fill the days you’ve lost count of and left an empty bed alone beside you.

.

You met her one late-summer day, or was it autumn, who can say? Like falling leaves you fell one for the other. The mornings were the best of all. The evenings melted into dawn and dawn again.

.

And then one day she said goodbye. Without a word, she said goodbye. Her eyes had someone else inside. You asked yourself when this all started.

Now every girl you see instead, and every time you turn your head, and all the names on every street, the colors of the sky at night, your bed at dawn, days pass you by, whatever tells you you’re alive tells you that you’re dead inside.

You keep her pillow by your own, wake up late each afternoon but still you wake up as alone. And then one day you’ve cleared your mind, you bring her back and let her slide away again.

.

Now mornings fade from grey to green, and somewhere in the days between you catch an eye, she catches you and spends a night or maybe two. The hallway and the living room, the shower and the kitchen floor—what else had they existed for?

.

Now every smell of every flower, every early morning shower and all the songs on every street, the colors of the sky at night, her kiss at dawn, the rising light, whatever tells you you’re a man tells you you’re alive again. Yet stories like this never end like fairy tales.

.

And every smell of every flower, every early morning shower, and all the songs on every street, the colors of the sky at night, her kiss at dawn, the rising light, whatever tells you you’re a man tells you you’re alive again, at least until this fairy tale is over.

.

I am Freedom

I am the fulcrum, the base and the lever.
I am the space and the form and the game.

.

I am the maker, the vessel, the dreamer,
the teller, the namer—though naming, un-named.

.

I am the vision, the vista, the seer.
I am the lintel, the door and the frame.

.

I am the lock, the key and the knocker,
the handle, the pause and the knocker again.

.

I am the palm and the fist and the shoulder.
I am the sole and the road and the stride.

.

I am the still—all that echo, and echoes.
I am freedom, my counsel, my guide.

.

Pannin’ fer Rhymes (an old miner’s tale)

Well, now– It was in the spring of ‘49 just ‘round Memorial Day in the Land O’ Freedom… or so they call it. Anyways, I was sittin’ up behind them hills… Y’know, nexta where God ‘n’ Hell musta had some sorta fuss or ‘nother. Sorta desert. Sorta not. And I was pannin’ fer rhymes– I kept comin’ up dry– when alluvasudden straight outta the ground there’s this tinklin’, twinklin’ musical sound. So I grabbed me a panful and gave it a twitch. Some verbs and an adjective peppered the dish. Good stuff, I s’pose. Fer a yarn they’d bin fine but not fer perfessional-lookers-fer-rhymes. I swished ‘em a little and shook ‘em again to see if that tinklin’ mightn’t be kin to the one that I found in the gully that night. It’d had to be good or it wouldn’t fit right. Them poets won’t shell-out fer less than a pair cuz one by itself leaves ‘em pullin’ their hair. So ya gotta find more than a couple that fit or poets ‘ll fake it and some ‘ll just quit and some ‘ll just hope no one says that it’s….. Y’ know….. Call ‘emselves “nou-veau” and claim it’s legit. ‘Nuffa that, I s’pose.

.

I looks fer them twinklin’ musical words that rhymes like the first time they’s ever been heard. I sure ain’t the first one that’s panned in them hills. My pappy before me turned up a few thrills and somewhere or ‘nother done found a whole line. But me, I ain’t happy unless it’ll rhyme. They’re there, I can hear them– they tickle the breeze! I’ll stick it out long as there’s poets to please. If y’ expected a yarn or to hear miners cuss– I’s pannin’ fer rhymes and not prose in the dust!

.

Hrmph! What’s that ya got there?

.

Homage to Ogden Nash

I love to eat with just a spoon: soups, puddings too, if there is room. I love to eat with forks and knives while dining in with friends and wives. I love to eat with little sticks, especially the tricky bits. But most of all with hands and fingers or any things where flavors lingers.

.

Published 2020, Spillwords Press.

.

Sally

“Don’t be silly, Dad, I’m your only daughter.”

“Yes. But you’d still be my favorite even if you had a dozen sisters and as many brothers.”

“And your mother is my favorite wife.”

“Oh Dad, you only have one.”

“… At a time. And anyway, she would still be my favorite even if those other wives were favorites too, if I loved them all as much as you.”

.

LOGIC STICKS

Don’t beat me with your logic sticks
It ain’t that I can’t take the licks
My skin is thick, as thick as bricks
It’s just I’ve had my fill of it

.

Chorus
          We’ll beat you when you’re up
          No, we’ll beat you when you’re down
          No, we’ll beat you when you’re up again
          And beat you when you’re down

.

René Descartes rests headless in his tomb
Cogito ergo—ergo whom?
Don’t beat me with your logic sticks
Fidem! ergo sum

.

Chorus

.

Don’t care what makes your logic tick
It ain’t that I can’t take the licks
Don’t know where your logic’s been
Logic gets around

.

Chorus

.

Don’t beat me with your logic sticks
My skin is thick, as thick as bricks
It ain’t that I can’t take the licks
IT’S JUST I’VE HAD MY FILL OF IT

.

Might be heavy rock. What kind of vibe do you see?

Cataclysm

they fought us back / we fought them down / on in the air / in on the ground / millennia / millennia / we carry on

.

from thundercloud / we fleet as rain / clapping corrugated tin / rising from the sea again / rising silently again

.

under dark assembled things / assembling / assembling / broken straws / severed wings / in all the ground a war of things / too late / we carry on

.

Peace

Peace
Is not withdrawal
Peace is the surge
The urge
Peace is arising
Swelling
It’s an overflowing
Swing of
Upturning
Turned-up rhythm
Peace is resurgence
Peace is expression
In and of
Common Purpose
Cresting waves
Of purpose
Aligned
Upon a new dynamic line
Peace is
Not withdrawal from life
Peace is not placid
Not flaccid
Peace is active
Busy
Peace is believed
Conceived
Crafted
Peace is for
And not against
Peace just is
See?
And you are its source
And I am its source
And we are its source
Reaching
Reaching from and for and to
Every searching sou
Peace is strength
Of integrity
Peace is faith
Is living anyway

Peace is yours
Mine
Ours
Peace is ready now

.

Avatars:

Dark and hurried skies, forewarning end to all as sure as night the day; bodies heaped, bone to dust, ash of fallen prayer amounting in still, now silent ruins.

.

Beings of abandoned cause, broken, dulled, awaiting eagles sent, gone a thousand years, here now returned; floating down a thousand skies to tell the way.

.

From ever endless skies, shall we, at our arrival, our return, rejoicing, ask wisely (O so wisely), “Who knew?” and know and laugh again?

.

Young Wm.

The point is, young Wm., you have no ticket
to the pantheon. Earned it? Yes. But in leaving
left the scrip behind; compared yourself
to erstwhile selves and having fallen thus
go now unbidden. Whilst you, young Wm., hailed
Lo! A fraud! A thief! or by some lower
hellish frame have learned that crueler hells
no doubt exist though like the pantheon
as hard to find. The point is, young Wm., you
have no ticket to the pantheon. Get on with it!

.

First night

I remember the moment you first saw the light
The moment you reached up and held my hand tight
The moment you took your first steps in the world
Each moment, each step— Now no longer a girl
I remember these moments, each one of them bright
Like the moment I held you that very first night

.

First night” celebrates the birth of my daughter.

.

à l’envers

I rise from my body
My fall à l’envers
Through cold brilliant sunlight
And thinness of air

.

Past floating ions
Into almost bare space
And I shift my gaze back
And I wish for your face

.

I’ll one day return
With the wind in my hair
Some bright afternoon
And all devil-may-care

.

With the kiss I’m left owing
Until it is paid
With our love I left holding
When I fell away

.

Á l’envers is French for upside down or wrong way to. It is pronounced a bit like “ah lon vair”. The s is silent.

Lotus Song

Om-mani birds
hold back the night
Om mani padme hum

.

Old nun bee Padme-hum
she waggles to the lotus song
Om mani padme hum

.

Om Metteyya
Om Maitreya
Om mani padme hum

.

There is a Buddhist mantra, a kind of meditative and spiritually meaningful chant: This quintessential utterance, Om mani padme hum, is considered to encapsulate all of the wisdom of Buddhism. Om is a sacred sound expressing holiness. Mani means jewel, Padme is the lotus flower, and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment. There are many shades of interpretation and significance but this is the simplicity of it.

In this poem the first two words “Om mani” are used for the name of a sacred bird. The last two words of the mantra, “Padme hum” are taken to name a bee.

And waggle, a curious word to use here, is the actual technical term used in describing the dance of the bee upon returning to the hive to communicate the path to the source of pollen: Spiritually, the road to enlightenment.

Metteyya and Maitreya have the same meaning, essentially “friend” in two languages (Metteyya in Pali, the ancient language spoken by Lord Buddha, and Maitreya in Sanskrit). They refer to the prophesy that an enlightened being will come to complete the work begun by Lord Buddha.

Sacrificio

O sing unto the grape, her glory!
Impatient, she awaits undress—
Sun warmed, sun ripened, Rubenesque!
They who decry her worth, her alchemies,
flatworms shall feed upon them.

.

A hymn in praise of the grape and a curse upon oenophobes (haters of wine). Sacrificio is from “Sacrifice” and here refers to the first wines of the season which are reserved for Bacchus, the Greek god of wine.

The Curious Cognition of Eddie and the Candlestick

Chess is philosophical in nature
And machine-like in action
And so, a philosophical machine:
A universe, a mind at play;
Each piece, mind-set.

.

The board itself is at least a piece—
A piece-supporting piece, you see.
Chessboards behave as minds behave.
Pieces behave as minds behave.
And ideas of mind exist—
Like the be’s and the what’s of the candlestick.

.

And this universe is a mind machine.
Agreed or disagreed—
A universe hangs upon a fabric of still,
Of mind manifest and lightness of will—
All presence sans preference
And essence sans weight.

.

When Eddie moves the candlestick,
Unlike moving a picture upon a wall,
Eddie moves the room with it
And never moves the still at all.

.

RIPPLES (a hendecasyllabic tale)

While composing a sort of minimalist
haiku the other day I chose my moment,
entered the scene and observed, with pen steady
and on its mark, a frog. A pretty standard

.

frog with tawny-green skin sitting in a tuft
of grass at the water‘s edge. Suddenly it
leapt into the air in a low gliding arc
and disappeared beneath the liquid surface.

Only ripples remained to mark its passage.
At least that’s what appeared to have happened. And
without further analysis Homo Saps
have always assumed that Frog (A) jumps into

Pond (B) and thereby makes Waves (C, D & E).
Homo Saps will, and do, assume anything.
The apparency of those motions, their Cause-
Effect relationships, is little more than

illusion for I am about to make the
most startling claims you’ve ever heard.
As I began my examination of the sequence
of events that culminated in the frog’s

disappearance, I was forced to blink and look
again. Something was wrong. The frog was normal.
The water seemed fine. The leap, unexpected
but standard by my estimation. Here, the

problem was the ripple. I split the moment
into fractions and observed that as the frog slid
down and waterward the surface tension seemed
to alter and break BEFORE any contact

had taken place. I have checked and rechecked this
observation. And the fact stands. As any
poetaster would do, I immortalized
the moment in my now controversial ‘ku:

green dapple
ripple laugh
Gplosh!

This has, however, been insufficient for
many and I have been obliged to describe
my findings in prose. As with all serious
scientific discovery, truth must never

suffer the dignity of rhyme, metaphor,
alliteration, line breaks, to wit, direct
communication, etc. The fact
of the matter is that Frog (A) must have had

an exact awareness of both the time and
location of that proto-ripple. I can’t
say (it would be unscientific) that all
objects, living things etc. have a

cognitive awareness that a rippling
within the fluidic fabrics of space-time
continua will occur, let alone when
or where. I attempted similar series

of arcs with small rocks and branches that I found
nearby and saw no prior ripple effects.
The similarities between two sets of
observed data do not at all indicate

that identical forces may be their cause.
Focus on this particular Frog (A) and
the events surrounding its disappearance.
I mention ripples in conjunction with the

fluidic fabric of space-time and I see
that some of you are a bit incredulous.
Let me put you at ease by dispensing with
complicated and somewhat biased quantum

relativist nomenclature, invoking 
time honored language of metaphysical
epistemology. This Frog (A) made an
interdimensional shift while moving through

Portal (X). It is commonplace to observe
on telescreens that when portals such as these
open in our universe that they form a
patch that is liquid in movement and texture.

What seems to be the bother is that Frog (A)
used the portal with an unparalleled sense
of accuracy and prediction. Although,
alienists have claimed that small cranial

capacities of these amphibiforms would
seem to belie such a conclusion. This is,
of course, not entirely without precedent,
to wit, our own Homo Saps, but I digress.

What is peculiarly interesting is the
possibility Frog (A) actually
CAUSED the portal to appear. This is much more
plausible than the myriad suggestions

of prediction alone. In either case these
matters will be fully investigated.
Meteorological anomalies
have also been explained, it seems, with this new

data. There is evidence to suggest that
repeated showers of frogs over several
European locations were the result
of reverse transit portals gone awry, as

will happen whenever any natural
phenomenon is harnessed or mechanized.
As this seems to explain fish, dogs, cats and such
animals that occasionally pour from

the sky it may be quite fair to surmise that
H. Saps is the only species truly stuck
on this planet. But that is merely my own
opinion. For those of you remaining, I’d

very much like to read a selection from
my latest work and from which observation,
I might add, led to my discovery that
it is NOT the wind that makes leaves blow: Rather,

the rhythmic movement of those arboriforms
that stirs the breeze. A movement familiar, I’d
add, to sports enthusiasts around the world.
Thank you for listening. I leave you with this—

feathers
leaves
dusk flutter

/curtain

.

Hendecasyllable: A line of verse containing eleven syllables.

Hello Ron!

Hello, Ron!
We’re here!
We’ve come to join you!

.

We’ve held your lines
Upheld your dream for All—
Now our hope, our dream—
The Goal of Total Freedom!

.

And in your quest beyond the sky
Beyond the stars that trim the night
We’ve come—All for All

.

To thank you
To help you
To join you on the Road to Total Freedom!

.

Love,
Thank you!

.

Ron is L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of the Scientology Religion