Friday, March 26, 2010

The Banshee Wail

The oldwomanshuffle—no speed
to write of, really,
but dogged determination to move
onward, upward, anywhere but here,

the long voyage out and you
can never go home, again,
and on and on
the journey begins, blah, blah, blah

yet she keeps moving,
never tiring enough to decide
there’s no more point in

and if she really lets go
with the wail that inspired
all the stories there’d just be
another story and she’d be

just as far from home,
so wailing’s just a waste.
She’s not gonna do it,
there’s still business up ahead

Friday, March 19, 2010

Memories of what will matter most

Brendan’s short sleeve school shirts
come in three colors,
pastels yellow and green,
rich and simple blue.

On the front the shirts say
Be Kind | Work Hard | Get Smart,
on the back messages kids read
passing through the halls.

The yellow quotes Brother Malcolm:
The future belongs to those
who prepare for it today.
The green quotes Maria Mitchell:

We have a hunger of the mind…
the more we gain, the more is our desire.
The blue quotes Gandhi, fierce pacifist:
We must be the change

we wish to see in the world.
Today the sun shines brilliant
against a pale blue sky,
down on a yellow one

and a green hanging
from the lattice roof
I built back deck.
We have no washer, no dryer,

so I hand wash these,
hang them out to dry.
Today, I hope as I age
that I never forget Brendan at 11,

or the vision of
shirts drying in the sun,
or the need for us to be
the change we wish to see,

even as I acknowledge
how much else
I have quite forgotten.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wake-Up Call

On the move
spot to spot,
gone noon
or higher

hearing the heaven
breathe in my ear,
bound for the quick path,
point to point,

but the sun in my eyes,
smoking where
staining when
in yellow heat,

in red blood
tunnels and branches,
splashing tissues and brain cells,

calling my name,
singing the praises
hot blood
does sing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Rush of Life

There are rhythms to life--rhythms of effort, periods of inspiration, patterns of accident. I know mine are there. I just don't understand them as well as I'd like. But it's still a relief to know that what goes away comes back again.

It has been spring here in D.C. for awhile. There's been a lot more sun, on the average, and the days have been growing longer and warmer. I haven't noticed much of anything budding, but I might notice tomorrow. Today, at least, I noticed it was spring. It was also the first day since sometime last fall that I walked over to Otis and Georgia Ave. to pick Brendan up at school.

On the way, I'm thinking it's about time for outdoor poetry season to begin. And then, I stopped, sat down on the concrete capstone of a low brick wall and wrote my first poem since I don't know when. I don't usually post poems right after I write them, they need too much work--not that I'm claiming that my revisions actually make them passable--but I'm going to post this one here, on In and Out, now.

And then I'm going to post it on another blog I'm starting up called Outdoor Poetry Season. And after this other poems will go on Outdoor Poetry Season. Posting them here on In and Out is too confusing. I mean, what is In and Out about? Cutting military spending? Railing against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza? It doesn't matter, really. It's just that from now on I'm going to put poetry on OPS and I'm going to put everything else on I & O.

There, I'm glad that's settled.

The Rush of Life

Thinking like rivers
meander, I can say
there will be no further
stunning breakthroughs

There once were, you know,
the river, young and raving,
tumbled boulders, leapt recklessly,
pushed ahead

But there will be progress—
not so it would show—
but you could still feel it,
the rush of blood

Arteries, veins pulsing potent remains
of original intentions, or,
as Alan has put it, the rush of life
through the universe. Bang.