Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flowing to the Sea

A couple of years ago, I posted the poem below, "Flowing to the Sea," on my blog In and Out with Jeff. I've revised it and posted it here because this is my poetry blog and I think this version is much better. If you want to see the old one, you can check it out here.

The differences between the two versions may not actually be worth the time spent comparing to anyone besides me, but the old version, posted on a blog that is essentially political commentary, sprinkled with an occasional family story, has gotten more page views than any other piece I've ever posted. On either blog.

I can't explain that. The old post has no labels except "poetry" and frankly there's just not a huge audience for poetry. The average post on In and Out with Jeff gets about 10 times more page views, in general, than does the average post on Outdoor Poetry Season.

If you google "flowing to the sea," you won't turn up my post. Not, at least, anywhere on the first 10 or so pages the search engine offers up. So why would this poem get more hits than a post about Octavia Butler, say, or Mary Oliver, or my dad, Bernie Epton, or a polemic about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Maybe some lone computer somewhere, left unattended, got stuck in some kind of feedback loop and visited that post 250 times. Otherwise, I can't say, but, as Jimmy Cliff might say, "it's a wonder, a perfect ponder."

Flowing to the Sea

At a spot slid from memory,
a tiny bulb nestled
in a frosted glass bowl,
a glowing egg cradled
in a translucent hand,
light seeping through
a flimsy black disc,
cast only dim shadow.

A distant display,
in focus, then out,
circled and spun,
an arrangement of lights
eyed the traveller
crossing a threshold,
passing beneath a sky
dripping rain,
backlit by stars,
radiant in haze.

Passersby long forgotten,
size, face and gender unmarked,
oblivious to the figure traversing
to places unmapped,
caressed by nocturnals,
gentle as rose petals,
finally to stand
in a garment soon shed on the sand,
toes drinking the lap
of the primordial sea,
awaiting what comes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Three more from "Wild Once," including the title poem

Wild Once and Captured
On Hearing Annie Lennox

A whisper full of rhythms,
an echo raw with power,
a people spilling outward
in tidal flows of fever.
Here music summons silence,

here longing a language,
touching an allure,
dancing a passion play
and searching leads us
one by one

to stories all our own,
and to stories told in common.
Here smolders spirit
rich and ripe with promise,
peace and legend.

There drums yammering in clearings
where we are jamming with justice
who was wild once
and captured
and has broken out again.

Looking for More
{SVF seeks GBG}*

Lonely, infinite universe
seeks mature god to give
meaning to existence

Must enjoy communicating
across vast distances. I can be both
plus-sized and infinitesimally small,

hard-surfaced and sharp-edged. You’ll
find me coexisting with wet spots on
sheets soft as clouds. You show

great tolerance for small beings,
are a tad impatient with whiny
humans, other troubled species.

No promises, but this universe
interested in eons of relations
with a god of generosity and

justice. Must be polymorphous
perverse and committed to
evolution, welcome disorder

but tend, in small moments,
toward something like
order (a teasing little

trait that promises more than
it delivers). Sense of humor,

No long absences.
*Single Vast Female seeks Great Big God

The Smell of Eternity

On the heels of the hurricane,
recently stormed through,
comes aromatherapy for dogs.

The middle-sized black one
tracks the wounded,
follows fresh tears.

At the pure small pool
formed in the hollow below
the fallen tree’s root ball

is mudbath magic and
where the sun strikes home
the smell of eternity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Three new poems not from Wild Once and Captured

I put so much effort in trying to get the poems for Wild Once and Captured ready, I didn't write very much, at all. No poetry, not much else. But here are three that I managed to scratch out and aren't in the book. One, the last one, "Ourselves," came to me on a long walk when I didn't have pencil or paper. It was entirely written in my head long before it got to paper. Maybe that's why it's so short and so predominantly one-syllable words.

Unexpected Joy

We never talk about bliss.
She thinks I can’t remember.
He thinks I’ve never been.
You guess it never happens.

I know it takes big space
here and there and inside my head
and comes easier in daylight
than in darkness.

But unexpected joy in
simple and in silence
and clarity that I know
so little after all

and suddenly okay with that
makes me want to share her bed
and hug him to me
and send to you this way

what little it is
I do know.

Line of Descent 

None of the men
who came before I did,
not my father or his brothers,
nor their father or Dave, his brother,

or their father or his
back to Isaac
and to Ishmael
or more precisely

to some bastard on Dublin streets
sat in his car at sixty-five
staring at the field
across the road

listening to Who sing Baba lyrics
thought that the last quarter
of my life looms ahead
and I don’t know
what I will do
with it.


We have it
to be
where we are
so why
so often
so lost