Saturday, June 27, 2015

Arcing and the Universe

Don’t say there’s no thump,
no whomp, no beat beat beat,
no rustle and thrill in

Don’t say there’s no thump,
no whomp,
no beat beat beat,
no whisper rolling in…

We started
what we started,
got to where we got,
still hearing thump and whomp and beat beat beat…

Don’t say that you can’t hear it,
the whomping and the beating,
the heaving and the dancing
of others moving on…

There’s beat beat beat,
the rustle and thrill
and dancing feet
and tidal pull of folk and moon…

Folk are striding striding long
and pushing hard,
feet are dancing
hands are pulling…

All the loving,
all the sharing,
the rustle and thrill of catching on,
the folk and pull
and voices calling
and standing standing standing tall
and heart just beating
beating heart beat beat…

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
ripe with promise,
rich with peace and legendary reach.

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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Three poems from Wild Once and Captured

These three poems can be found in my book, Wild Once and Captured, which is available on-line at the Teaching for Change webstore.

Depends on who you ask

Of course,
we still believe in magic,
a science of a different sort.

And our science tells us
what we have been feeling
for longer than we care to say.

Our time,
the way we used to be,
is up.

We were the light-footed imps
who danced away from the fate
that fell on dinosaurs.

But the time of our agility,
our reverently imagined beauty,
is over. Ended.

We are the ponderous
of our end of days,
industrialized humans,

lethal consumers
at the top of the chain
as we know it.

But before we ask ourselves
how to recover our dancing feet
with dancing shoes,

we have a duty
to ask
on behalf of all our victims

if they wish for more from us,
if their dreams of us
are nightmares.

Never Can Tell

She wakes and feels this past
lurking beside her,
the ghost that will not fall behind,
pummeling, insistent.

She wakes and prays,
whoever is there to hear,
get me through this day.
I’ll not ask for more.

She wakes and dresses
her bits of scattered self,
hauling scarred pieces
to proper places, endlessly preparing.

At the door, she checks for menace
in hallways, scanning streets
for fleshy threats and phantoms,
seeking her whom she always meant to be.

Out the door,
she strides ahead
as if fearless,
limitless and ready.

She arrives feeling
unreckoned power, feeling this day
pregnant with difference, this day
ready, perhaps, for what yesterday was not.

Wild Dogs of Poets

The wild dogs of poets
speak sharps and blunts,
wish the streets
to the back alleys
of emerald cities;

some singing separately
and, alive for now,
glow in the dusky,
dreaming sky,
some scratch for pennies

where there are no such
generosities. Some kill time
as though they are flush,
and some few, the chosen, die
on the barricades, hopeful and ready.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Our scars will be singing (revised)

April 29th since I last posted here. I'm mildly surprised. I've been laboring under the impression that I'm much busier than that, but I suppose there's too points about which I ought to be more mindful. 

One, I've been writing by hand, and not necessarily bringing anything to a conclusion. In fact, I've also written three letters to Julie and Dale and Emily Udell, each of them some 6,7, 8 pages long. In the process, I've transcribed the poems of others--Juan Felipe Herrera, Marge Piercy and a couple other people whose names (and poems) slip my mind. But the act of just writing, pencil and paper, resonates for me. I feel busy and accomplished even though it seems so difficult to measure what has happened. And then to stick the completed letters in an envelope and mail them off without much hope or recovery, certainly nothing so rigorous as follow up, seems like a completed process, no matter how evanescent. So, without anything particular to show for it, I've felt productive.

And, two, though I've been planning to write a particular set of essays (which I have not yet begun) and have noodled them around quite a lot, I have been writing and revising a few poems, one of which turns out to be the last poem I posted on Outdoor Poetry Season. It is hugely revised. In many ways a different poem, but as always, when I move from one version to the next, I usually quite like what has developed.

Our scars will be singing

Our scars
textured and smooth,
where we rubbed on the world
soon, fast and hard.

Our scars,
murmur and tense,
ride free on our muscle, ride far on our nerve.
Our scars, bitter at silence,
indignant, rehearsing our rage.

Innocent before the build up of wounds,
upright before we first staggered,
before we stumbled again
and again,
worthy as heroes, unsubtle, intrepid,
learning like warriors,
pretending no fear,
learning to sing no matter who hears.

Our song of ourselves, of not wearing away,
of not crouching down, of not slinking off,
running and jumping and bounding down hills,
shouting and clapping and dancing in streets,
this is my heart and I share it with you.