Saints Into Fools

Know what you can do
and know what you can not do.
See all that you might do
but know what is real
and what is simply
salesmanship.

Fly to Mars and Venus
but think twice about Jupiter.
Make sure to take enough food
and enough reading material.
On the trip back you can
write your book.

Every generation has
its own idea of the possible.
What is on the horizon
depends on where you’re at
and whether you are simply
full of shit.

Cancer claims a victim every
minute every hour every day but
lack of imagination
is a vile scourge
a minute-by-minute
war of attrition.

For my next act I will attempt
something that has never been done
henceforth it will be known as
the web spun by the stone spider.

Jesus was a great teacher
but all his students went astray
turning parables into rules
and fools into saints
and saints into fools
until what is ain’t.

What can be done I don’t know.
I just know it is more than
what we did last year
or the year before.
How much more is unclear.

For my next act I will attempt
something that has never been done
henceforth it will be known as
the web spun by the stone spider.

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One Travel

 

I was sitting in the library thinking
about the sunrise and writing
about the slow orange slipping away.

In a script as agile
as a school of dolphins
the mystery could be read
as plain as an embroidered
pillowcase on an antique bed.

At the train station on a long bench
like a church pew I waited
for my departure time then I left.

It’s a wonderful thing that
traffic will grind to a halt
rivers will rise like commerce
to reveal our assumptions
maybe they will float away.

I walked across the walking bridge
an ambulance was stuck on the highway
the steady Colorado had no thoughts.

Literacy has taken a bite
out of our contemporary sandwich
leaving a hole as airy
and a tasteless as truth
appetite unsatisfied.

Sitting at the bus stop with a ticket to
the next mountain valley the next decade
I hope it is still there when I arrive.

 

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Some Small Impossibility

 

young men run hard
they beat up their desires
seeking the screaming
of sweet extremity and the reward
of accomplishing some small impossibility

falling out of love
took on a tonality
of bleating caribou
quite different from when you
woke up wanting just to hear her voice

remember when you
were in outer space
or in solitary confinement
your blood would mumble at all hours
complaining about some long-lost purity

retired from stress
you miss it don’t you
like a hawk in the aviary
diving for scampering baby rabbits
from five hundred feet in his mind

going down the stairs
be far more careful
than when you went up
than when you wanted what
you wanted more than anything

 

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Until Trying Is Old

I’m going to tell you the secret of life
it is butter, a sweetheart, a book
it is coffee and jam and taking a walk
with big and little loved ones straggling
and laughing at yourself over a beer.

I’m going to tell you the opposite
of happiness is not having a book and butter
on fresh bread and not having babies
to giggle with and not coffee no beer
and no making the morning worldly wild.

On a plate with a fork
on fire in the cold
untouched in the hand
until trying is old.

What are the many names of the opposite
of happiness? Littering the side of the street
we are not strolling on at the moment
names like wrappers cups and straws
barely used and describing neglect.

I’m going to tell you the secret of life
although I still haven’t figured it out yet
it comes in a box in a chest in a cave
it must be found nurtured fought for
it is hard won and yet easily conquered.

On a plate with a fork
on fire in the cold
untouched in the hand
until trying is old.

 

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Same Doodle

 

She waded across the rocky river.
She said to me in perfect syllables
something to say is worth some care.
Don’t dance around it if it is not there.

Riffs licks and cheap cliche’s
how to get more than tickertape?
If nothing is remembered or anticipated
it’s like a monkey with bad habits.

Strip stripe grey black and white
same doodle up or down a little.

Why do you want to get away with it
gift-wrapped in ribbons and bows?
What’s inside really ought to matter.
To sugar and spice just say no.

I said the word ‘long’ and I held it
like I really really really meant it.
I started to say the word ‘short’ but
it got cut off and I swallowed it.

Strip stripe grey black and white
same doodle up or down a little.

Two brothers who didn’t act like it
were beach bums on opposite coasts.
Two strangers a generation apart
took a long road trip and got close.

She finished my sentences with
unexpected thoughts like a wife.
She pushed me into the water so that
she could pull me out and save my life.

Strip stripe grey black and white
same doodle up or down a little.

 

 

 

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Contemporaneous Blues

Contemporaneous blues
appearing in purple and black
and white and chameleon
more tones than can be counted
flowing from the triotic
rootless azure fountain
it speaks and sings and who knows
what gets concluded.

Can’t seem to lose
these contemporaneous blues
I find them in my car
before I drive very far
they follow and tailgate me
they honk and flip me off
and in the rear-view mirror I see
the past getting lost.

[bridge]
Like a child with only one marble
like a birthday at some terrible age
a stark reminder of dark days
when everything is going well
these blues may seem crazy
but they are anything but.

[verse]
The blues are current
but think they are permanent
mindfully forever mixing
short summer and shivering winter
they cannot be argued with
ignored or placated these
oxymoronic and enigmatic
contemporaneous blues.

 

 

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Stones and Snapshots

 

On top of a hill
overlooking the confluence
of two young rivers
merging to endlessness

So many photographs
taken and lost
who knows the cost
of forgetting?

The most colorful
birds are found
in the old cemetary
rarely visited

A daughter age one
a mother and wife
aged sixty-seven living
longer than everyone

When they were mind
my oldest children
smiled for my camera
without slowing down

If carved in tone
a name and a date
will outlive a city
and escape memory

In honor we place
coins and pretty rocks
on top of monuments
to keep them alive

Also sometimes
flags or colored rags
or dolls or sunglasses
here and there a snapshot

I remember Mau-Mau
my kids’ dachshund
they’d sleep together
in that house behind the capitol

I walk among
long-shadowed stones
flagging my favorite
snapshots.

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