It began with the wind.
It always is the wind.
It is that voice that moves
Through our clothing and over
Our skin as if it has always
Known us intimately. We are
Without defenses. We wait for it.
Then the light. God, the light.
How does it do that across the
Landscape and into form even
As we look toward anything?
It just kept getting brighter
Every second until we could no
Longer see. We were part of light
At last, moving in waves within
Each other, permeable in ways
We did not understand. It was
Here that everything vanished. Everything
Vanished. Everything. We could hear
The larger animals and the insect voices,
The music of the spheres and the
Celebrations of a million children
All drawn here to watch it all
Go away. We should be as blind,
We should have known this would happen.
We would think it a spectacular part
Of life, but it was a vanishing,
Complete and surprising, unexpected
As millions of gallons of crude
Oil erupting from the sea floor,
Covering all of a large gulf of
Water with vanished life.
A SLIGHT BREATHING
Hovering over the words,
Herding them, moving them
Into small groups. Full of meaning.
Here, the description of the heavens
Staggers forward, dragging
Its collection of constellations
Behind it; fully aware
That these pictures are but part
Of light seen from a single
Place, struggling to maintain
Themselves as the heavens
Reel around them.
These are the words of lovers.
There is no end to them.
They slide and describe,
Word after word, the varieties of touch;
Definite descriptions, of flesh
Meeting flesh, in all temperatures and climates.
Gratefully, we follow these things,
Charmed that language
Allows us such rooms,
Such variety of discourse.
From the dark hills comes
The coughing of lions,
Calls of birds. William
Blake, moving room to room
Searching for the right phrase.
Another empty room.
There is a relative ease
In preparing sleep to not
Become a circus.
What will tolerate dreams?
They return endlessly,
Even if they are not our own
And we dream them for protection.
Dreams do not care who dreams them.
They have their own railroads.
Town after town flashing by them
In the night.
Whistles in the deepest part
Of it all, when we have no idea
Of where we are.
Stopped dead for an hour
Surrounded by wheat fields.
The conductor moving through
The passageway checking
On which doors are still open.
They will offer you water
The color of the moon.
We hear the doors between
Cars slide open and close.
The sound of the tracks admitted
To curtained passageways.
These spinning wheels, the steel
Rails only a few feet below
The floor of the cars.
This morning I awoke before
The dream was able to quit.
I removed its fingers from my mouth,
Slid into the passageway,
Went searching for a cup of coffee.
Somewhere in the flickering dark
The whistle from the engine
Screaming for the coming dawn.
Morning finds a way to lift
The edges of the night,
Folding it toward itself,
Sweeping the dreams
Away, putting the objects
Of the sun back into place
One more time.
At the tip of my thought
I move, thinking I am dancing.
Music is wherever I am.
I cannot distinguish between
Error and truth. This floor
Knows nothing of time.
Perhaps it is the fountains
Whispering to me as this morning
Spreads across my illusions.
I lean forward to embrace them.
Am I always saying goodbye?
Can we share an afternoon,
A night, together, if only to
Remember things we have
Never said to one another.
This certainly must be the first time.
Even from this immense curve
With its sunrises and sunsets,
This creeping of morning to my eyes.
Finally, then, there are only these images.
I imagine myself within them but I am
A clock of blood, a few passages
On what sounds like a cello.
I share this with you as one would
Share a peach or the memory of an
Ancient city I saw many years ago
When I was quite young. Tell me,
Were you with me then as well?
RUNNING TOWARD THE MAKER
for James Lee Jobe
Remember when we used to be the river?
It occurs to me that we are time.
Look what a fantastic place love finds
When we open ourselves above these empires
Of dust that once were sleep or weapons,
Ocean after ocean that we ran toward.
How could we know the way?
Look at the stars. What are they doing?
Our children rushing past in an insomnia
Our soul demands, so that we never lose
Our place in this river. And then, suddenly,
They are gone. So much music they are.
We remain the river. Kind of an ivory labyrinth
Borges spoke of when he was a river.
The images continue to occupy us
Even as we move through the great
Corridors of the heart. We find ourselves
Still breathing. We become an epitaph.
BAIT FOR A LYRIC
Words have melodies.
I’ve found them in my spine.
They make me afraid
To go to sleep.
They get caught in my dreams.
Chicken bone in my throat.
Unable to breathe. Waiting
For the song to find a way
Past my windpipe.
I recall the roads very well
But I can’t tell you how to get there.
I swear. I reach for the kitchen
Chair. Tear at the words.
Sing, you son of a bitch.
Make this as beautiful
As a perfect night’s sleep
I want her in my arms.
I want to mumble in her ear
Right on the edge before
Everything becomes words
And I start my dumbass song
[I’m just] happy to be alive and involved.
Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s fine poems and pix! Speaking of James Lee Jobe, he writes that he will be hosting The Other Voice Poetry Workshop in Davis on the second Tuesday of every month from 7:30pm to 9 (ish), beginning May 9. It will be free of charge and will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis (library), 27074 Patwin Rd., and will mainly be working with prompts. For more info, write to James Lee at email@example.com/.
Poetry options today include hearing Straight Out Scribes at Diva Market First Year Anniversary Celebration in Sacramento. The celebration lasts from 11am-6pm; the Scribes read at 2pm. Joyce Odam, Robin Odam and Norma Kohout are featured at Sacramento Voices at Sac. Poetry Center today, 4:30pm. In Placerville, Poetic License happens from 2-4pm at the Placerville Sr. Center, and then Poetry on Main Street open mic takes place at The Wine Smith, 4-6pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
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