The Night Before

The Night Before

Is it the night you decide to save your own life
or whether to save your own life

The night after the three page do-not-resuscitate note
they found on your hotel bed in the morning though you were

found there with it, smoking, complaining, in the room your father
paid for, not wanting to abandon you as the hospital had,

as you feel the whole world had. In your deepest misery
you could not abandon yourself, though your note

claimed death was better than being alive. It is not
the first such note but the first in a while, and

begs the question, why were you both there
this morning when we arrived? You wanted

both to be found. You wanted your death to be found
and your life to be saved without engaging either

of them. On my desk tonight I open
an envelope I have had for three dozen years. It’s  filled

with cancelled stamps from around the world, from places
you and I will never visit. Chad, Posta Romana, Dahomey.

Magyar Posta. Ceskoslovensko, some countries
that no longer exist, no more than the messages

whose freight these stamps once paid. One stamp depicts
only another stamp from thirteen years earlier.

Thirteen years earlier would you have believed
you’d be here, in a hotel you can’t pay for,

To make a decision you think someone else
should make for you. You are more

Than what you have paid in pain to be
transported here. More than a value a black mark can cancel

but you are not something that can be opened and read.
You are the author of the note demanding you not be saved.

You cannot be reached by phone. Or any other method
save a mark on tomorrow you have not yet made.

Wind Intervals

Wind Intervals

 

In a space under trees I can hear the wind that is not here
like a can kicked across the street by a boy still coming

or as if the act of the boy shaping his mouth to shout
made a sound before the sound of the shout

What is the word that I hear before the trees
above me shake and give the wind a momentary word

What is the sound of a loosening of leaves
like forgetting hands just before they drop

to our sides? The interval of apprehension.
The time we are alive. The boy stepping up the curb.

Full Moon Social Anthology 1 [#fullmoonsocial2014]

Seriously nearly-full moon not taking any nonsense--join the FullMoonSocial2014 on Wednesday.

The idea was simple–let’s all gaze at the moon together, wherever we are, and share our words and images. Let’s have a full moon social event that the Ancients would understand and appreciate.

On October 8, 2014 WordPress and Twitter sparkled with poems, prose fragments, and photos from an assortment of creative folk using the hashtag #fullmoonsocial2014. It was a fun night to moon-gaze — and to refresh our searches on that tag to see what new poem or photo had popped up.

As much as I could, and with the permission of the authors, I have gathered this work into a humble anthology, available in PDF format. While designed like a traditional book, and without the website-inspired underlining, the websites or Twitter handles of each contributors are live links which will take you directly to their sites to find out more about the author and her/his work. The Contents pages are likewise linked to the book as well.

Please feel free to download it here, as a keepsake and a thank-you from me for joining in, to write, contribute, and to read. Any typos or other issues are mine, and please do not hesitate in letting me know if some adjustment needs to be made.

Likewise, if you’re an author or artist or photographer who contributed to the Full Moon Social but you don’t see your work here, let me know and I’ll add it in.

And if anyone’s interested in doing it again…

The Sound

The Sound

 

Today the sound of rain is over my head, in the leaves.
For a month it will get more and more silent

As the canopy thins, even as each drop more directly
hits its mark it will be more and more like a whisper

of something going away, until the level of leaf is ground
and then in the first cold rain a new sound like a cough

rattling to life instead of death, louder and colder will
arise from the earth, for a few times anyway reminding

us that nothing not even death stops talking until the
first snowflake tells it utterly and quietly to shut up.

#FullMoonSocial2014 Anthology, Free and Coming Soon

I’m putting together our first Full Moon Social anthology, based on the posts to the #fullmoonsocial2014 event on October 8th.

The anthology will be FREE and available as both a PDF and epub. Each page contains a poem and a link to the author’s website or Twitter page. Where a contributor is only known by their WordPress or Twitter handle, I used that in place of an author name. It will be a nice way to honor the hours we spent together writing under the moon.

To be on the safe side, I’m asking any contributors to the event to email me at jeffrey.schwaner@gmail.com to confirm that you give permission to being included in this free commemorative ebook.  This will also help me if in my collection efforts I have missed some of the poems or photos posted by you.

By Friday I will be finalizing the anthology based on the permissions I’ve received. It has been fun to revisit these poems as I’ve been placing them in the (admittedly very basic) book design, and I look forward to sharing them once again in a more book-ish format.

Psalm

Psalm

 

So where is the past? Is it the terrain
in periphery, never the destination

but whose contours shape the weather?
Is it the icy light the moon reflects

on the tracks of things before me?
Wonderful deeds have we done, and

fearful things. They lay across the path
of parting like roots or over-hang

my steps with shade and snakes.
I do not wish to look

back. I only need to know
from which direction will come

the monster-god it has nurtured
to replace me so that I may stand

before him in the breach to turn away
his wrath, convince this pale reflection

that it could be a kinder god

Lines Written After Encountering a Cat in My House, #1

Lines Written After Encountering a Cat in My House, #1

 

The darkness of a cat sliding past me on its way
up the stairs as I descend can seem symbolic

of a missed opportunity or something passing by
I should have paid more attention to on my way

to put out the trash but in reality I still got the trash
put out and a cat passing by in the dark on the stairs

is never an opportunity even in this ankle deep silence