THE ROOMS OF NIGHT

9A3B849B-A6CA-43C5-8E7A-C6F0F31F80A6I walk through the rooms of night
and arrive at a dawn clipped
with forgetfulness

With moons and death
in my pockets
and full of winter shred

I notice my bare feet are numb
and without purpose

Yet my tracks in the snow
mark my path from somewhere

And though it feels cold
a trickle of blood melts into
the stark white
evidencing its warmth
convinced it is life

Some big heart must be leaking.

I’ve even forgotten the premise
of yesterday’s grand feast

And tomorrow is so far away
I cannot even feign to paint hope
on my eyelids
scarred from memory’s frost

Why can’t I find today?

Did they even put one on
or have they too forgotten?

Have I misplaced it
or did the storm steal it away?

No matter, the time has come
to empty my pockets
and join the ranks
of the zombie parade

To have succumbed, finally, not
to some bold virus,
but to the utter
mundane

Not having a mirror, I cannot see
but if I were to guess the shape of my eyes
the left would be nowhere
and the right would be an empty cup

Have I misplaced them
or did some sly storm steal them away?

No Need to Panic

If you’re ever at the edge of despair
just remember there will always be robots
making goddess cards
with love and wisdom
and printing zodiacal algorithms with tender care.

They hold warrior pose like a pro.

The next bubble in which you make a bundle
hasn’t yet popped.

They’ve trademarked lessons from the river,
but they haven’t yet patented the moon,
so opportunities abound.

Look on the bright side,
more than 25% of all land mammals are still here
for now
and some of them are being genetically mapped.

Perhaps that is enough to take the edge off.

Or perhaps it is enough to finally walk off the edge
and through that holy grail of despair—
You will stop believing in all the dead stories
kept afloat by the airiness
of their own promises.

They’ve promised self-driving cars
that will still deliver your soup
in 30 minutes or less
regardless of whether you can see the sky
or whether you can drink the water or not
so there is no need to panic.

But promises are the last thing you need now.

You’re always welcome to panic
But if your heart yearns for the shape of something true

Go be that.

Let the Season Season You

6644E5EC-9730-42FC-8F06-F50FC27AE8C2Some say it is a poet’s job
to inspire hope
or at least to set one upon some picturesque outcropping
with a good view of hope

just as a bountiful harvest
is a farmer’s job,
cleanliness a janitor’s
or health, a doctor’s domain.

But spring hope too easily plucked
is a protection against truth.

You ask, why be so stingy with hope
in a world already thirsty enough?

Whatever hope grows within
whatever spring springs in your heart
whatever fiddlehead unfurls or wild plum blossoms,
like stone fruit let them be harvested in the proper season.

You can’t jump over winter–
you may dream of spring
on the solstice
and try for eternal vernal
at the first frost

but you can’t jump over winter.

Slow down and let the season season you.

There is hope in truth,
but much hope that is not true
until the darkness gets its due

and despair’s your better ally
than shiny hope, that false friend.

Don’t jump over the season
like an escapee.

Tell me, what are you fleeing from?

Can you flee from the season within you?

Don’t be tempted by the empty calories
of a bittersweet fruit too easily procured–
an early ripening causing indigestion.

Let the season season you.

Let the cold crack that bark of yours
and let the season season you.

Open your meadow and feel it all.
Open your earthbody and feel
even the worst of it–
where it hurts the most.

Be still and let the season season you.

Let darkness fall in you
like a sword of truth
and you will find a deeper root
than you ever knew.

Then–at the ripening hour,
your branches will know
how to celebrate the sky
and your sun will be the true sun
the world is needing most.

Do you understand these are the kindest words
you’ve yet heard?

No Image Will Accompany It

orchid shadowThe face looking back at him
had fallen rung by holy rung
on the ladder of someone else’s story.

A desk-shaped man
with a happy hour happiness.

Perhaps when they look up 21st century humanity
from that far star-date
it is his gaze from the Monday morning mirror
that they will see.

For he had discovered a way of existing
by not giving in to the bees’ incessant buzzing
on and on
about that dangerous flower.

He had jumped from an airplane once,
over Missouri. So beautiful.

Pretty easy, really,
much easier than he had thought.

To jump.

And certainly much easier
than wading into the swamp
inside his chest
to find his own orchid,
if it even exists.

For if it did exist,
he’d have to bury the guilt
of not looking too hard

and that’s way too heavy
what with rising sea levels
and stock market bubbles
and school shootings and all.

And the neighbor who won’t cut his damn lawn.

Does he know how much I pay to live here?!
he asked the image in the mirror.

But it did not respond.

He left the water running while brushing his teeth.

It helps drown out the echoes
of those terrible sneers
coming from somewhere.

At least I recycle. More than I can say for most people.

Time for work. I own that boardroom,
he told the face before leaving.

The damn elevator’s broken again. Suicide
on the 8th floor,
the newspapers will read.

No picture of the orchid
will accompany it.

Only his black and white face
and concrete smile.

Widening Us Even As You Dip

seayes, Ralph asked for a national poet
made to order and Walt was at his door
before the ink dried singing a new song—
a song of himself and all the others

Hart, you followed in lilac footsteps as
bard of american affirmation

but couldn’t abide an utter Wasteland
so you launched your circular canticles

against all the eliotic ennui
casting a wide net and even wider

bridge spanning both the past and the future
supporting both the grass and the machine

the bold task of a would-be redeemer
but it could not bear the weight of darkness

laughing twice as hard, drinking twice as much
despite some song of your soul declaring:

Imagination is beyond despair

you threw yourself on the bent foam and wave
a voyage that would never find its end

sailing out of port into cold waters
you broke your tower on sea skies azure

yet widening us even as you dip
your spindrift gaze spins us toward paradise

Today I Pity the Gods

IMG_6667Today I pity the gods
and pure spirits
in their unearthly realms
without ferns or figs or falling rain

or autumn’s aroma
among the oak-laurel lane

I mourn for what they
don’t even know
they don’t know
like the hint of salt on the scent of the sea
or the impossible colors
of the walnut tree

How sad they will never taste a wild blackberry
purchased with fingers stained
juice streaming down their chin
with a grin

what could their wings mean
without blue skies
compared to doves
and diving falcons?

angelic skin without knowledge of the caresses of warm wind or warmer women?

Can their heart flutter like a bush bird
upon a lover’s utterance?

what bleak void must their eyes
gaze out upon
that holds no horizon
overflowing with peach and promise
what could mark the
span of their days
in dreadful sunless time?

how lonely must they be
without the immeasurable elation
and unfathomable despair
of the human heart
to keep them company?

bereft of both beauty and terror
of what, truly, could they be in awe?