Leaving the Grass

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First rain of the season!
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Though the stalks are dry
though they may have been dead for years

How you, in the tall grass, still hide

Though whatever hunts you–
or you think hunts you–
hunts you there as well

And while you feel safer
among the reeds
you can’t see well
nor stretch your powerful legs

Nor cast your astonishing voice
into the wide-net sky

The sky, who needs your songs
to unlock the clouds
and release the new rain

So today, walk out and cast it—
So much depends on you
leaving the grass

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Maybe Somewhere Cold—I Remember Bats

CBBD0AE5-2233-48AC-93DC-4C1F0EBE5D2AThe path to the cave starts innocently enough
with a sign full of useful information
in broad daylight, blue skies

a fulfulling breakfast–
eggs & potatoes perhaps, fruit in season

Before you know it
you can hardly remmeber the color of berries
or the sound of the river

Bats reign here
and the dominant thoughts
are of your bed and that last meal

Feel the shape of those walls
textured by the smooth slink of years
wet with mysterious things
you’d rather not know

To either side, tunnels to treaures
or traps

There’s no way to know
and no sure way out
other than following the scent of your voice

The deeper you spelunk
the brighter the darkness
Inside there a light lives

Hardpains, sweet pains
nectars maybe, but first the cuts
both slow and quick
deaths

Sometimes monsters and
the secret password
are the same thing

Of course, you can avioid the path altogether
by staying “at home”

But don’t think the cave is avoidable.

Or are you one who believes in light
without darkness?

Trailheads without wounded trailfeet,
mountain views without valleys?

Oh, what an imagination!

Come now!
Carve your beautiful, dark cave
and then come home, my friend
with well-earned feet and a heart that knows

From the Throat of Your Own Bones

heart earIn the countless echoes of the night
the hearing happens:

you know the whisper
because it comes from the throat
of your own bones

A dangerous syllable
slick with lightning blood

If today is not the day for hearing…

That ancient song of earth
sings itself in your animal subterranean

thrusting leaf crimson
and fertile debris
while the wind creature unfolds
and hugs your ribs
at midnight
speaking the images
trying to break out

Hear you not the
shell spiraling upward
in indigenous sea sounds
of magenta mellifluous?

The way in opens with each step

If today is not the day to feel it…

If today is not the day
to turn an ear towards your
bones exquisite…

Crack of ice flow
River walking out of the
depths into your present

If today is not the day….

When is?

The Pronunciation of Love

monet sunriseI am excited to post my 200th poem on Rumi and the Shadow! It’s hard to believe I’ve reached this milestone-especially considering the vast majority of these have been within the last year. Of course, it’s about quality not quantity-and I hope that a handful of these have found some measure of insight, beauty, or power, or at the very least approached telling the truth and faithfulness to what I hear and see. The new year will see new projects-among them is publishing my first collection of poems in book form, tentatively titled Re-Membering or Mud, Moon, and Other Memories. Thank you everybody for reading!

What worthier way to commemorate the occasion than with a poem about love? I dedicate this poem to my Muse(s), Lover Earth, and my ever lovely friends (in particular, I’d like to thank Diane, Katie, Ariana, Karen, Aaron, Ashley, Miranda, Jocelyn, and Oort), all endless fountains of inspiration and beauty.
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“Start by saying ‘L’, by touching the tip of the tongue to the back of top teeth. Add a short ‘u’ sound by relaxing your lips and tongue. End with a ‘v’, by gently biting your bottom lip. Be sure your voice is on, or this will sound like a ‘f’ sound. Love. Let’s try it.” (From How to Pronounce Laugh & Love)

Love–I’d been pronouncing it wrong
all these years
like ‘loaf’, or ‘loathe’.
with a hard long and hard ‘O’,
as in ‘own’.

then, adopting a faux French accent
like some spelunker of romance
seeking only affect
and a labyrinthine dance,

I would say lové
as in Monet–
mere impression, a sunrise
ignoring the sunset it implies

Finally, practicing proper pronunciation
I learned to utter a short ‘o’ sound
soft and relaxed:
‘love’ like ‘dove’

voice it with me:
‘love’ like ‘dove’
_________________

“If you begin to relax your tongue,
you can improve the clarity of your pronunciation.” (From the Pronunciation Coach)