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?

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Poor Sun, Poor Ugly Sun

546DFAE6-CC21-4A97-A560-0C109DB4F808This is the moment
the eyes greet beauty
and the skin leans into it.

Yes, it’s still there
in the sunset. Look.

Yes, I think it’s still here.
Squint and focus.

But then, a split:
The sun. The moment.

A big chill. Terrible things come spilling out:
lies and cages,
cries of rage and all
the debauched basement of things.

The sun tears open,
ripped apart like families
at the horizon
of our country,

setting
like the country
on its own low horizon

The pouring out
leaves my skin
cool to the touch
and my eyes undone

insides rotten with power
keep coming out
emptying itself
split and split again

gutted and gaping
black flies and fish eyes
looted and lacerated
like a land despised

Poor innocent sun,
blurred by history
face scarred by human hands
I wish I could see you again
I wish I saw you how you wanted

but my eyes have grown thick with clouds
I mean grief
I mean blood
I mean rage
stained by strange…
white hands haunting the land.

Are now my ears failing?
Did the birds bring themselves tonight?
Are they still here?
I can’t hear them through the cries.

Count Stanley, Pretty Cool Cat

celloshe made a date with a music man

tall as a shadow and well-dressed
with calloused fingers, chiseled chin
stripes like a skunk
lopes like a fox

he plays cello in upscale restaurants
dive bars and private pool parties
where he does lines of coke
off his horse-hair bow
and takes home hookers
calling them baby

but generally he’s disciplined
playing perfect notes
and didn’t become a master cellist
by accident

behind his sunglasses
he’s so damn dark
he can’t keep track of the gods
inside of him

and hired her as an assistant
to organize that shit

her name is Wandaya
and she’s good at her job
but started to like him
perhaps a little too much

she has heard rumors
that he beat the hell outtuva man
merely for playing the radio too loud
at a waterfall

the most she’d seen his temper
was when he seed-bombed
his neighbors perfect cookie-cutter lawn
after being up for three days
and she catalogued the whole thing

including at the end
when he took his cello
out on the roof
and demanded that the piano man come
and join for a sunrise jam and mimosas

the whole time wearing his black and burgundy
double-breasted silhouette blazer
and fancy fedora

pretty cool cat, she thought
but always complaining

that the piano’s outta tune
outta time
outta town

he expected perfection
and made her feel like a better woman

special like his vintage cello
oh, how he made it sing

he called it his Countess of Stanley
and she wanted to be his countess too

wanted his fingers
to play her like that

oh, how she’d sing

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

The Hand Inside You

IMG_1499This way is not what you think.

It makes some want to grab it
and others hide in caves

Where are those who dare it?

To look in its eyes
and withstand the mighty gaze
without being knocked down?

Or if knocked down,
relish it for what it teaches
teaching itself

It is not what you suppose–
it cannot be grabbed
and it cannot be hid from

Stand in the bright light
and absorb the shadow

There is no secret—
it’s written in blue daylight
as much as the black skies
and green meadows

every rock and cloud spells it

and you find it at the bottom of every eye
and weed
and putrid habit

Hold the hand inside you
to find out

no fear can breathe
when it recognizes itself
from the inside
of all the beautiful things

Journey Day Prayer

IMG_0936I open all my ears
and hear the forgotten things.

Seeing the spectrum of the rainbow,
I know the landscape from deep red to magenta.
And teach them how to see
I feel the texture of the spectrum of loves.

The contours and rhythms unfold clearly.
No less the sound than light.
No less the love, than both, I trust the whole.
I see the gossamer threads connecting.

The raptor in me opens his eyes.
The worm in me digs and feeds the roots.
The tree in me whispers slow green and golden syllables.
The nest in the limb, the egg in the nest, the bird in the egg, the pulse in the bird.
The heart at the heart brings them together.

I see the shining shadows, beautiful sacred wounds.
I see the hooks with compassion, both my own and others.
Like a man walking from dawn to noon, I eat the long shadow into myself.
The wind is not silent
and I am the river for what is wanting to be created through me.

I settle into the notes that are humming
or pitch my perfect harmony, expanding new measures
with the momentum of their own unfolding.

I know who I am.
When asked for the single word, I said:
I remember.

I return with medicine for the people and the earth.
Gratitude