All the Stones In Me Are Birds

02D7B2C7-8981-441F-A926-9BB3BFB93F09The stone does not want.

I’ve left my longing on the shores
of a distant city

trading plastic for the eyes of a toad
clocks for purple twilight.

All the stones in me are birds.

Here, the avenues are all lined with feathers
and driftwood becomes me.

Do not be alarmed if I become a bird
and nest in your heart–
it was meant to be this way, you know.

All the stones in me are birds.

Forgive me, father, my hands weren’t meant for metal.

Yet a poet is not delicate like a machine, rusting; or granite, washing away
after a million years.

He endures like Phoenix
in the center of things.

When I launch at dawn
for high discourse with the pelicans in the storm
to trade pebbles and feathers

regard what’s left behind,
and take care the downy hatchlings,
they may need your galactic love—they have longings.

Advertisements

The Last Poem of The Last Poet

IMG_0436In the way summer never catches up with fall
and fall never catches winter,
and spring is a dream of winter
that winter never lives

In the way that
each unfolds an invisible season
from within,
she went up to unfold herself
into the mountain
one last time

to paint the sunset of her life
persimmon
with words of affirmation

and share some unadorned moments
where the sky has eyes
and the rocks breathe fathomlessly.

She felt the lichen on her skin
before she saw them

arching her bare back against
a great granite boulder
bronzed belly
sipping the autumn sun

“There were so many I never got to,”
she whispered into the mountain’s ear.

“All my ahitas, the little aha moments
and sounds begun but never sung
barely sketches, mere glimpse of notes
could not be caught, will not be rung.”

“A title is all they have.

A memory of a True Account of a Conversation with a Worm
Got her musing about the Secret Chord
that the Sun-Eater plays, always
One Shore Beyond Desire
in his Wounded Vision
Drinking Water From A Wooden Bowl
Until the Bright Logic Is Won
and the Carefully Calculated Collapse
evokes all the Sextillions of Infidels
and we shall all be Moderately Immortal.”

“Perhaps a future poet
will find them scattered on this mountain
and make of them what I could not.”

From below in the mist
it had all looked so grey,

But now, above the clouds
atop Mt. Parnassus
there was nothing that was not
overflowing with color
there was nothing that was not
breathing,

Including the splendid cerulean Sierra sky.

“What a great word,” she thought,
as sun bent seaward.

Turning her body over in wide embrace
her cheek pressed softly
against the hard rock
warm from late afternoon
flecked with silver, green, and pink
like stars trapped within.

“The moments I fully met are enough.”

Her breathing slowed
to match the mountain
inhaling and exhaling
in the marrow of her bones

“All is sound and color and texture,
a great coming together
and pulling apart
when we come to this place.

Have I been brave enough to feel it all?”

The great western eye closed its lid
as it sunk into an unseen sea

and with a tremendous sigh of love over fear,
she too closed her lids
lending her final syllable to the Deep Breath.

Soar Your Southern Bird at Dawn

IMG_7581“Descend the western gorge at night
and soar your southern bird at dawn
pitch your poem in northern sky
before the blessed day is gone.” – Umbrano

According to scholars, this enigmatic epitaph was thought to have been written by the forest monk variously called Umbrano or Umbra Minor, in the hills surrounding Rome in the 3rd century B.C.E. Dated to the winter of either 286 or 287 B.C.E., during what is considered his annus mirabilis (wondrous year), it is one of 999 poems he purportedly composed in Aduana, one of several pre-Latin languages. Local uncivilized people considered him to be a rainbow wizard or mud magi of sorts, and bestowed the name Magi Arcus Iris upon him (Ijana Oma in Aduana). Of course a number of legends arose around the figure of Adumbra, none of which can be verified. But it would be interesting to look into what source were at the root of wild tales, such as the one that has him being swallowed by a sea beast and living at the bottom of the ocean for 6 months before being spit upon the shore unharmed.

The epitaph above was engraved on his tombstone, and is thought to be but a fragment of a larger work he was composing when disappeared into the mountains.

Forest Poet

forest poetThey’re casting for the role of forest poet

I wanna play the part
weaving words like vines
that look into the face of love and fear
among the redwood trees

it’s only slightly mad

not on any high school
career-planning curriculum
college major quiz
or drop-down menu

I wanna play the part
of the forest poet

have morning tea
with animal allies
and titillating conversations
with flowing creeks

Notice how the light
and shadow dance together
playing tricks
on the leaves of
unfurling ferns

compose poems
as medicine
for a world caught up

a bit strange
they say

stranger than sports fans rioting
black friday madness
or making gas-powered leaf-blowers,
landmines,
or little plastic scented trees for cars?

so let others play the part of
politician, programmer,
engineer, janitor,
office manager, military officer,
designer, carpenter,
athlete, mailman,
gadget-maker.

They’ve all got their place.

It’s just that I wanna play the part
of the forest poet

I wonder, is it needed any less?