BEAUTY HAS LEFT THE SCENE

stop killing black people(For George Floyd, and countless other people of color killed by terrorist police and vigilantes)

Don’t tell us of beauty
today, poet—
Watch your words.

Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.

Correction: Another body lies cold
in the street.

Correction with some truth thrown in:
We murdered another unarmed black person.

Eyes brown and beautiful
thick with love
and hands tied back
black both the hard pavement
and soft neck
upon which knees
both blue and white
kneeled for all the wrong reasons.

Taken not by an invisible virus,
but by an all-too-visible violence
by those who protect and serve.

Yes, something they are protecting
and serving lurks,
strangling us all.

What is it?

The cement runs red
color of innocence
color of guilt.

The train keeps rolling.

Another night,
some balmy summer eve perhaps
show us the way the light
circulates through the bones.

But not today. Today is dark
and ugly.

Beauty has left the scene.

Please, please poet, please
don’t speak to us about beauty
or how the world
is meant for you and me.

The clouds have descended
and the sun is a mirage.

The clouds are in our hearts now, coagulating.

Sometimes the only thing clear
and bright
is anger

and everybody knows about Mississippi goddam

but we got a hold of our goddam Mississippi sword
cutting the endless pillow
of grief

deep as the well
into which they threw the body
of Homero Gómez González,
Monarch Butterfly Defender.

The clouds have descended.

Too heavy for the sky now,
they parade up and down
the lonely city streets,
crying out:

“Why?!
What have you against decency?”

Wondering if whiteness washed it away.

No energy to shape-shift anymore, they plead:

“What will it take you to stop?
For we want to return
to the sky
where we belong.

The people deserve some warmth.”

No, poet don’t speak of beauty today.

Beauty has left the scene.

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Photo: @Nati.earth

Text FLOYD to 55156.
Follow @ShaunKing @Color Of Change

BRIDGE OF BELONGING

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Yes the Star in me
solicits to dream
and dear yearn

Yet when yearning’s burn
spends and softens

becoming just Being
and finding no fear
in me

I stretch heartfingers
pruned of pity
and pride
and groomed of greed

by which is meant we meet
on the bridge of belonging

Touch and touch met
in equal measure

weaving from all things
smooth and holy blooms

I see you there.

Let us open our everything

and walk together.

SCENIC ALTERNATIVE

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It’s time to die.

You know it’s time to die because that weight
you’ve been carrying around
in your chest

is no longer a treasure.

Because the sacred stories have all become tall tales.

Because the egg that cracked
in you
brought that bright golden bird
but hasn’t built its new nest yet.

Because the debris
has accumulated

and there’s not enough space
for the Big Grin—
the shape your heart makes
when all the sunspots
are cleared.

Don’t worry, death is not
what it used to be.

Just ask the spring
and its relentless pinking
and purple petaling.

Its gregarious greening
is nearly unbearable

and just like it, who you are
keeps surfacing

whether you want it to
or not.

But not first without
the exquisite requisite—
the slow sloughing off
of stale skin of seasons past.

Nothing’s meant to last.

Not youth or bloodless truths
or all the yous
no longer you.

So honor the hour
and die well with wow
making a ceremony of it

with a bow towards your corpse
and a bow towards the clearing
where your new season
is arriving.

#ryanvanlenning

WHAT IS IT?

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We’ve all been there
the way we bare our teeth
to ourselves
in our sleepwalking

tearing open
skin and scars

barely pausing
to notice it gives no nourishment
nor pleasure

yet the gruesome frenzy
continues unabated

sometimes gnawing
on our own bones

is a final desperate act
of wanting to feel alive

as the incisors cut in
to our precious femurs

This is called self-abandonment
in some circles

and there are 17 thousand glorious methods—
we all have our favorite.

“Oh my what big stories you have!”

We might say
as we lend our curiosity

to that moment
our lips begin to curl
and we begin to salivate.

It can go either way.

What is it
that relaxes our jaw

that brings our gaze
back up to witness
the mess
that awful trail of blood

with our paw prints
slopping through?

What is it
that bells us awake

that instead of chomping down
yet again

moves us to lick the wound
like a lion cub?

After all, weren’t we only following gravity
and a song of desire?

What is it
that instead of devouring

finds us feeding
that exquisite sensation
of hunger
with an epic love?

What is it?

POSTED: Who Owns the River?

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POSTED: No Trespassing. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: Violators will be prosecuted. POSTED: This property is monitored by digital surveillance. POSTED: Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. POSTED: Violators will be strung up by their toes and electrocuted. Under penalty of law. POSTED: Smile. You are on camera. POSTED: Your slow death may or may not be videotaped. POSTED: The river and all the fish and frogs therein and rocks alongside it are mine, not yours. POSTED: The forest and all the dirt, wild irises, and rotting logs therein as well as the owls and quail and even the feathers falling from the sky are mine. POSTED: The lullabies of thrushes and lilt of spring breezes, the scent of mugwort, the taste of salmonberry are mine. POSTED: Violators will prostrate themselves toward the law. POSTED: Violators will suffer immense pain. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: No Trespassing.

BLESSINGS OF THE MORNING MET (for Mom)

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Early this morning the first thing on my commute through the forest was a chirpy herd of quail. I then heard and saw warblers, jays, ravens and robins, and countless other birds I don’t yet know. I’m got most excited about the thrushes, who have returned, and whose enchanting melody fills me with peace and joy.

I say this all because it was from my mom that I got a model for meeting the morning and its many gathering things with presence. I inherit much of my love and observation of nature from my mom, who is a photographer, naturalist, artist, and craftswoman. She also got me started on the blessing that is gardening. She’s not afraid of the dirt or to see things from a unique perspective. These are gifts that can’t be repaid, only received with gratitude and wonder. Thanks mom!

This poem is for her.
__________________________________

Those were the days I slept in.
Past when the day had swept in
and grinned. But then
I found what had commenced and gone,
past retrieval, past the dawn.

The many-gathering things had fled
while still I slept in my bed, but

The image of her sitting sits
in my bones and sitting yet–
the woman from whom I came
at door of dawn and garden met.

Not doing, but the resting in the being with beings best
at day break bring their
radiant zest

First dew before warmth fell in
the inchèd crawl of light begins
the lavender, approaching thin
tumbled through distant cloud, now became
persimmon, pink, and rose-filled same

Among the marvels I had missed, she said
amidst the meandered mist, ahead

were many feathered friends in flight
or simply perched to sing the light
ten and five by her own eyes
different types, from land and skies:

Robin, warbler, cardinal, jay,
hummingbird, thrush, bushbird greys,
common corvid, hawk, and owl,
woodpecker, wren, and water fowl
but one that brought such joy to soul,
the black and orangèd Oriole

She penned them in her notebook list
that in which she keeps them all
gathered in as dreams persist
that might be lost, not seen at all
unless one sits and in sitting gets
the blessings of the morning met

Those were the days I slept in.
and missed the things that dawn had sent.

But now I greet the light and flight
and fog and song and scent and sight
and have within that image bold
of her awake in morning’s fold

inviting all the sounds that sing,
the rhythms of the bells that ring,
with the light that brings
the many-gathering things.