Neighborhood

A variety of personalities
talk across several tables.
This is a neighborhood –
voices in all frequencies,
tones and attitudes.

Some fuss over coffee,
some savor their tea,
acknowledging differences,
indulging in similarities,
waving their hands.

A cornucopia of cultures
across a nation joins
coastal women and men
still stuck in mountains
and strangers in between.

Then from the moon
look down upon the many
wanderers on the continents,
settlers on the islands,
and lost explorers.

I’m a German in Alexandria.
You’re a Bengali in Melbourne.
I’m a silent rainforest.
You’re a screeching savannah.
None best or worst.

Let us break bread.
Let us translate.
Let us celebrate the dead
who gave us this place,
this small planet.

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Peaceful Dread

Across a lake deeply frozen
a hunter finds himself chased
avoiding but not escaping
being out of breath.

Exhilarated a certain frisson
keeps him warm though unfleeced
every hour his goal restated
as if to catch up.

How was it his mother phrased
her fearful love of that frost
that fell upon her eyes elated
until they hurt?

His view of the mountains pleasant
his rifle a burden, boots iced
death and blood both contemplated
as opposites.

A slogging rhythm prevented
all distances from decreasing
and kept his adversarial aching
far enough ahead.

Back home he’d prepared for everything
before that he’d come to this place
for reasons carefully calculated
and before that

to check with his Dad he’d driven
across the Great Plains west to east
his list of pros and cons laid out
convincingly.

But the old man was not moved
while Mom smiled her blank face.
He decided it didn’t matter
and went for the job.

Here he was ten or a dozen
miles from camp and compromised
low on ammo and saturated
in cold sweat.

By sharp teeth pursued
with overexpectation racing
long enough was too far
and dread peaceful.

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Look for Music in Noise

Perceptions branch out
appropriately every
couple of heartbeats
so far from truth
but serviceable.

Eyes need rubbing
and get blurred
close to incapable
so far from truth
but genuine.

The wildly grained wall
enforces an even
lineup of nonsensicals
so far from truth but unfeigned.

Unlike boulders arranged
by old-fashioned laws
of geology in a chain
on a ridge unexplained
so far truthful.

All around the broken-up
world we keep finding
examples convincing us
the order of the beyond
leaks out of the cracks.

 

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Web of Parts

Longing to be part
of the web holding
together matter
and heart I wonder.

The wood in a chair
was once in a forest
where it learned the languages
of predator, of prey,
of infestation, of heaviness
under snow, of light
feeding buds and leaves.

When I sit on it
listening honestly
I hear wing and throat
of owl’s swoop and hoot
when the sun shines on it
I sprout buds and grow
leaves broad and shimmering.

Part at long last
of the web hanging
frames within frames
I long for rain.

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Falling Foreward

 

Do not walk on the dangerous
ground of arrogant fancy
do not fly on empty air
instead, try to find purchase
where the world has substance.

Watch your step as you step
upon light of June moonglow
mistaken is the man or woman
who travels along the train tracks
of sunshine in the rainy season.

Desire can toss you
into fire’s stubborn coals
belief is too often
faked by impostering fools.

You may begin your long journey
with maps and plans and research
you may anticipate adventure
but remember how predisposed
the road is to prestidigitation.

Open your birthday
present to find a surprise
the future disguised
as a traveling salesman.

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Becoming Free Bound Up

Theories about our doings
base motivation on factual
and knowable scaffolding
around a phenomenal castle
as high as the sky.

I saw my wife at the head
of a phalanx of about ten
followers fanning out
behind her running
with grand intention.

Those behind her lacked
clarity of goal so
they ran for the leader
and her half-spoken sincere
assurance of success.

Around a school on a grassy
playground-battlefield
toward the fray opposite
in direction and history
with great vague purpose

ahead around the building
approached an alternative
twin phalanx also led
by my wife egging on
her equally raggedy band.

They galloped at each other
swerving not, neither
questioning the crazy wisdom
of the respective wives at
the two rushing apexes.

This being a dream –
my dream – I saw through
the apparently clashing but
momentous and conflictless
potential for magic.

Straight at each other
with ascendant speed
by word and dedicated
deed my wife – my two
wives – flung themselves

and not only themselves
but the driven believers
behind her running feral
frenzied and worshipful
enacting futurity.

Two flocks of stars
rising in uncolliding
head-on reckless merger
off the grassy ground
climbing the threaded sky.

Did it make sense before
I woke up and described
how a doubled abandon
between similar opposites
can engender such glory?

Does it make sense after
housing the strange story
in lines and verses like a
narrative poem or scripture
although it was neither?

This being a dream –
my dream – I allowed for
the mess to be perfect
the transcendance to follow
and be followed eyes shut

not drowsily or dreamily
but with sweet fearful
fervor looking for my
lookalike incarnate and
destructively polar face.

For days I was aware
at every corner I turned
at every blade of grass trod
at every school or castle
I passed wondering where

I would or could encounter
my chance or how I might
take flight with my own
horde of doppelganged-up
devout ghosts of self.

I would’ve asked my wife
but I knew she would say
I should not make a logical
mockery of the plain
answer I’d been given.

So I gave up but remembered
how she led and embraced
how she attacked and flew
free a part of everyone
and maybe a part of me.

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Age to Age Leaving

 

Undiscovered yet
built into our
empty bellies

healing arts unprepared for
intervention stared down

sounds of brood
based on imbalance
spin forever

iliegitimate offspring
controversial truisms

the philanderer shakes
dirt off shirt
it turns dark

paramilitary nosebleeds
ceremonial amputees

survivors of one
blistering battle
drumbeat the next

I will irrigate the asphalt
if you undermine the sea salt

we move across
age to age leaving
an altar to weltanschauung.

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