Because I Also Poetica…

Barefoot walking on the Camino. Spain, May, 2015.
Barefoot walking on the Camino. Spain, May, 2014.
A List of Reasons
When a poet makes a list,
death cannot be far behind.
He says, I will go here and there,
I will see this and I will touch that.
But that is all, that is all he will stay for,
he is a poet at the end of his life.
He has better things to do than live.
These are the things he has promised himself.
He makes a list of all the things.
And quietly checks them off, one at a time.
He hears the clock ticking down,
knows it’s time to slip into
that well worn funereal suit.
But he is reluctant to go,
he adds to his list.
I have not yet seen this,
I have not yet touched that,
Things will be different,
if only I touch that one last thing
.
And then he’s in the mountains one day
and he shouts and shouts,
and no man, no woman, no child
responds. He knows he is utterly alone,
but this time he remembers
that it has always been this way.
Alone is no longer lonely,
he steps in the puddle at his feet,
decides he does not need the list.
He sits and adds all the things
to a new list, this one of reasons
not to die just yet.

A found flower. Tai O, Hong Kong. April, 2015.
A found flower. Tai O, Hong Kong. April, 2015.
Joy’s Irony

Poetic silence is a three step process.

First step, you must relinquish
all tears. They help the words to flow.
While you break, words crystallize pretty and big.

Second step, you hold your breath,
this is the in-between phase
where nothing happens
but the passing of time.
Healing occurs, like an underwater lake
being made into mud as it steams away.

Third step, you have nothing left to say,
lost in your own fleeting happiness,
the poems run dry
as words left to rot
in a noonday sun.
You revel in the joy
that incidentally killed them.

Whispers of Sandburg from a Poet Now Silenced

(A poem I had published some 4 years ago. I like to remind myself that I used to be a poet. In hopes of being prodded back to that calling.)

WHISPERS OF SANDBURG FROM A POET NOW SILENCED

In ‘22 I was Sandburg,
Swirling words into Susquehanna beauty,
but only for a single day,
just long enough to hear the bells
of money
as castanet clicks,
to declare the poets as workaday bankers.

I wore his august skin
to conjure lies,
wore that blond Warholian do just to do it,
anything to chase the ennui,
‘fight against the bla bla
and lah de dah’.

There is, though,
a time to leave behind
the beautiful skulls of poets now gone,
to sift back down to loam
and resurrect the one who breathes
somewhere still
beneath his brittle tomb,
scribbling virgin paper
to something dirtier
than the words
he strives so hard to bleed.

When You’re a Few Moons Late, Everything Can be Everything

I just came back from the monthly breakfast meeting hosted by the extraordinary Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR)!

Sometimes these meetings prove to be more brain food than you’re expecting, but just the right amount you need. I was in the right place at the right time this morning. The guest speaker was DANIEL SCOTT TYSDAL, a man who gingerly walked us all out onto a taut tightrope, asked if we were comfortable and then snipped the end with a honkin’ huge pair of clown scissors. Well, at least figuratively speaking. Actually, I can imagine him sneaking up on the rope with said scissors, stopping to snicker, tip-toeing forward ever so slowly, and then POW! 100 writers free-falling to the death of their comforting yet stagnating common-sense.

Not exactly what he did, but I felt the security of the rope under my feet…and I felt the free-falling giddiness of having lost my breath by amazement. Like all great poets, Daniel Scott Tysdal seems to understand the need to leave the security of the laws of physics and normalcy behind when donning the POET hat. He left me feeling the need to get back into some poeting. That’s a good thing.

Every once in a little while you need someone to cut that string that holds you to the sharp-edged confines of reality. Judging by the air in the room at the Ajax Convention Centre this morning, that was handily accomplished. I felt these little cement balloons of normalcy lightening, melting, snapping and transforming into helium balloons of wild mind. Daniel held the secrets of the universe and he fed them to us one tiny little lie at a time. I walked away from the breakfast thanking the universe for offering up such a wizard this morning. I really really needed this. I have missed the juggling of words, the loose-lipped word leaves falling into the unstructured structure of poetic lines.

Here’s a poem for you to enjoy. Daniel Scott Tysdal on the Toronto Quarterly Journal’s website:

PLEASE ACCEPT MY CONDO

If you live in the GTA, don’t miss a WCDR Breakfast. Each meeting is a gift to creativity. They pump you up and ready you for your next adventure in writing. Community is such an important aspect of writing. And to think, for decades…nay…millennia, we thought it was a solitary act. The sitting, the foraging, the writing, the words on papering…sure…that’s solitary. But before the segregation…that’s the secret the WRITERS’ COMMUNITY OF DURHAM REGION has realized together. Before the segregation comes community. Together, we prepare ourselves for the rigueres of our solitary acts. We enter our offices and our dining rooms and our basements and our garages alone…but we all know that the writing community we leave behind is with us. We’re here for each other.

When the group has such profoundly explosive creative types as Daniel Scott Tysdal to entertain us…we know we’re doing the right thing. We’re widening our circle, exploring our craft and loosening the grip that reality has on us. We’re preparing ourselves for the cave. Today, when I crawl into that little cave to create, I will have new knowledge with me. I will have the memories of this breakfast meeting to spur me on. I’ll do my best to snip that concrete balloon that holds me to this earth, to float effortlessly into the wild mind needed to explore creation. And if I’m really lucky, I won’t be interrupted by any of that cumbersome spam that attacked Daniel today while he attempted to give his talk to his enthralled audience. (-:

While I enter the solitary silence, I’ll leave you with the book trailer for my second novel, SEBASTIAN’S NOVEL…a book I wrote in solitary confinement with a head filled with community.

A Collection of Poems based on Joni Mitchell’s Hejira Songs

This is a post I took from my old blog. It was originally posted March 4/08:

These poems were inspired by song titles from Joni Mitchell’s Hejira album. The poems are also based on the songs themselves.

 

Coyote

 

While the sun rises,
Coyote beauty,
Our paths,
They will not cross or touch.
You will lick the body dry
But never touch the throbbing heart,
Coyote beauty.
When they are kicking divine
To the music of night,
You, coyote beauty,
Will be my love,
Rape my anger,
Tear me free of will,
Trap me to the highway leaving.
And you, coyote beauty,
Jumping for the moon
While taking flight in field,
Chasing prey, you pray
For solace in the fray.
You, coyote beauty,
Burning in your seat,
Watch as I take flight,
Running to the highway leaving,
Your prey, your wish divine,
Your prisoner in the night.

 

Amelia

 

The lust of flight,
Of heavens reaching
The desert dance,
Like music stretched
From strings divine.
The machine of flight, surreal,
Amelia, images through time,
To trap you there, in romance,
Make of you my wings.
Oh, Amelia, my Nirvana,
You shake with wisdom,
Draw from your hair, my wings.
You, with your Icarus wings,
promising to lift you higher,
With arms to keep you
Floating, lingering in the clouds, Amelia.
Motels, dust and wanderlust,
They’ll never keep me down,
But false alarms and ringing dreams
Of Amelia taking flight,
They’ll stop me of my wings,
And make me sing, instead,
Of Amelia taking flight.

 

Strange Boy

 

The awkward dance
of boy to man,
the need, the want,
crazy shake of weaving
backwards in time
playing, the child man song.
I begged him, with a scold,
To take a deeper hold
To life less wild and crazy.
But he slowly took me under,
Swayed me with his love,
And clatter,
Sucked me to his shores
With his special lunar laughter.
I gave him of my body,
Forgave his boyish ways, strange boy,
And in the cellar, I sang his charms,
Strange boy, he made me wonder,
Piano love, we made,
Slender limbs entwined,
He took me in his dance.

 

Furry Sings the Blues

 

With his leg beside him,
Dancing in the corner quiet,
Furry, intoxicated, wanders,
sings gummy blues in wonder,
and Ginny can’t dance,
can’t sing or sigh,
she’s there beside him,
cosmic Ginny, with her laughter,
mercy washing over
a bed bound Furry.
The scratch of words,
from Furry’s wounded lungs,
alert the sparkling wonder
in the dancing Ginny,
as words rebound,
and blues are sung
and soaked in morning light.
And a leg in the corner,
made to prop the Furry beast,
it taps a tortured tune
of Tennessee,
a Memphis night of long ago,
when Furry danced
a throbbing beat
to Ginny’s mercy
new and meek.

 

Black Crow

 

Sky emissary shivers,
shakes, black wings whisper,
attracted to all things shiny,
he swoops the neon sky,
I am one with the black,
traveling always,
searching homeward,
mingling in the black.
Illuminated,
I am the sleek silk
of wings made to glisten,
collecting shiny things
for my everything journey.
And I am up all night,
like the black bird shining,
my soul burdened downward,
but lifting in the wind,
I can see the black thing singing
in the spirit of its flight,
oh, blue sky dreamer,
I’m connecting with your light.

 

Refuge of the Road

 

He took me by the body,
shook the new sky free,
his spirit, echo of my echo,
illuminated me.
Yet I left him
and his echo
for a journey to divine,
awoke in stranger places
than a dreamer cares to dream.
I took a refuge in my leaving,
winding down the ancient roads,
sucked the wind
in lungs made real
by the burn of afterglow.
And in the forest,
meek and frazzled,
I ran against my will,
fought to find an echo
of the echo of my self.
With the moon in clouds
and an archipelago
of gods seen canting,
I whispered to my sorrow,
my friend in spirit lost,
I’m lost
and heading westward,
seeking refuge in the road.

 

Blue Hotel Room

 

Like a ghost inside the blue,
I’m lost inside of me,
tumbling in turmoil,
fractured by the sea.
And the rain,
it’s been drowning me,
one swallow at a time.
Will you let me call you,
and suck from you your joy,
when madness like this blueness
eats inside of me?
I need you on Ganesha,
prancing through the sky,
think of me when I’m leaving,
and when I’m bleeding blue.
Will you love me when I leave
this stinking blue hotel?
Tell me now, my lover,
what’s left inside of me
inside this blue hotel room
remembering your plea.

 

 

 

In Honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Thursday April 19, 2012 — Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The following poem was originally published in the print version of Swords for Plowshares, put out by the Phil Berrigan Institute for Nonviolence. It was written in June 2009, shortly after the tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The poem was simultaneously published electronically on the Institute’s Swords for Plowshares website.

Gunfire at the Holocaust Museum

The tower of faces
still is not enough
to muffle disbelief
and silence
disconnect.
The world must know.
The whispered breath
of what is left of Anne
still is not enough
to stop the spokes
from turning round
and grinding to the ground.
The world must know.
The crematoria doors
kept open just a crack,
the ghetto bridge
spanning distance measured
in silent hollow misery,
these still are not enough.
A list of names rings out,
two on two on twenty-two,
and twenty-two and twenty-two
and on and on,
and still it’s not enough.
A shot rings out
to wipe away
the tortured

used to be
and bring it
slowly creepi
ng back
to live in here and now.