Where I Get the News

palm tree “It is difficult to get the news from poems,
yet men die miserably every day,
for lack of what is found there.”
– William Carlos Williams (from Asphodel, That Greeny Flower)


I get all my news from the fire that burns
at the edge of the dark, the place where I learn

I turn on the program, ‘The Scent of the Wind’
and listen to all of the news that it sends

The roots and the leaves and the bark of the trees
have taught me how to be silent and free

The messages come from the river that flows
deserving all credit for all that I know

Consulting the spectrum of all of the hues
the network of colors where I get all the news

I get the reports from invisible threads
connecting the cores of the living and dead

I get all my news from the stone on the ground
from whom I’ve received any wisdom I’ve found

I get all my news from the fire that burns
at the edge of the dark, the place where I learn.

-Ryan Van Lenning

Fire Night with Turtle, Fox, and Serpent

http _farm4.staticflickr.com_3518_4006330354_5bbd07f38b_o_dTurtle, Fox, and Serpent were hanging around the fire one night under a pitch-black sky.

Turtle, feeling small under the incomprehensible vastness of the the cosmos, gazed into the fire and said, “We’re all alone.”

Fox, seeing the reflections of the fire’s flames dance on her partners’ faces and the branches of the hemlock trees above, proclaimed matter-of-factly, “We’re all in this together.”

Serpent slithered over to Turtle, down to his level, flicking his tongue and locking eyes with him. Turtle’s pulse quickened. Just as intensely, Serpent slithered under Fox’s belly, then above, until finally rising above the fire, his form seeming to grow bigger and wider.

After along intense pause, Serpent declared…”Yep.”

Memorial Day Shadows

shadowsOut on the roof, where truth might be heard
closing on midnight, sharp actions and words
Both were led from the past to the here
by walking the path with footsteps of fear

Shadows that come and dance in the night
some come for fun and some come to fight
Shadows that come to dance in the day
flee from the light, but stay for the play

Intuition’s the path to the edge
intuition leads the birds to the ledge
Intuition leads one to the lie
one to the truth, and one to the guy

Pain grabs her collars to shake out the why
though no answers given can satisfy
the crack down the middle has gone to the core
whatever existed, exists no more

Her fist in his stomach, that fist on his arm
had the flavor of physical harm
but bruises that form on bodily parts
weigh next to nothing against those of the heart

Stories have legs built big and bold
and there are those that are never told
in attics with tiny cracks in the floor
flawed foundations and secret doors

Trust jumped out the window and ran
into the abyss away from the man
But trust long ago had fled and roamed
and perhaps it never really made a home

So the edge was built into things from the start
the end of colors that had drawn these two hearts

It is a night to remember, and a night to forget
to hold with love and heal from it

In Between Seasons

https _upload.wikimedia.org_wikipedia_commons_8_85_Prothonotary_Warbler_-_Protonaria_citrea_Leesylvania_State_Park_VirginiaBy definition I’ve never had one
like this

it begins mysteriously
in medias res
in the middle of the day
the conversation
the song, the garden

growing half-way up the hill
in between seasons
before you have a chance to decide
what clothes to wear

behind it lurks the terrible
I mean outrageous
I mean beautiful question

with no answer
other than its own time-line built in

like a knock in the middle of the night
at half-time of the big game
when your soul comes on-line
and your bodies fall like gravity
into each other

Still, by definition I’ve never had one like this
by definition I never had one
by definition I never will

because it wasn’t in the dictionary
they provided me with
that I threw out long ago

and you can’t own what’s only loaned
on borrowed time
and touch

which is everything

but only to live inside it
for a moment

like a ripe currant
waiting to be eaten
by the yellow warbler
carried by an invisible current
to the eastern shore

the warbler
whose song is a musical strophe
rendered “Sweet sweet sweet,
I’m so sweet”

makes living in the mystery
in the middle of it all
the only place you want to be

Windowing Into Our Turquoised Truth

IMG_1452This poem is not efficient
nor convenient
and won’t make things easier for us

It’s doubtful it will get anything done
and it’s not going to fit
into a Saturday night gown
of 144 characters

or inspire us in the half a second
it takes to scroll past its first line
against a Lo-Fi filtered sky

The end is built into it,
like everything
but we’ll have to follow the thread to get there
like Theseus
who we can be forgiven for not knowing
because he hasn’t yet been played
by a well-muscled blonde Brit in the theaters

but whom we might resemble/play/admire
being so lost in a dark cavern
we haven’t noticed yet
and we’re not even looking for a way out

There may be a moment when time slows down
just enough when the incessant filling in
the incessant filling in
the incessant filling in

takes a sacred pause

and the gap looks like a giant darkness
windowing into our turquoised truth
but we mistake as holy terror

instead of our holy caduceus

We could try to google the meaning of this poem

Maybe the poem itself is the *clew
one might follow to escape
the cave we didn’t know we were in

but not without first looking the monsters in the eye

The sunset here
is made up of a hundred wide-winged birds
that fly down the horizon
of our thought sinking slyly

into the space between that
and the other thing
flying between them undetected
and unanticipated
not unlike a red coyote at dusk

who might just be the one
who brings the sun back too
plucked from the head of the monster.

*clew = ball of thread. This old English word shares a root with Sanskrit, glauḥ, meaning lump.

–Ryan Van Lenning

The Bee Leaves His Tavern – Seven Spring Haikus

IMG_0646Bee leaves his tavern
flying cross-eyed without care
full of daisy beer


An April morning
A fern dangles from fawn’s mouth—
Relaxed etiquette


Under the alder
Orion’s belt shines brightly
through the new spring leaves


I go and you go
to distant growing meadows—
two springs arriving


A springtime buffet
as for the fennel down there—
I ate most of it


First fruits and spring breeze
her thigh under fushia dress—
mighty writhing snake


Even in my arms
hearing the moon moan above
you long for my hands