Pre-eclipse artifacts

DARK

Pre-eclipse artifacts

I pause the horror movie to go to bed.
The gray tree frogs rolling dice in the dark.

Night enters the room, but without
stars, crickets, wind in the walnut trees,

all stuck to the window screen’s other side.
And for three days sleep would also

not come in. It stayed out there, hovering

moth, opportunity missed like a perseid.
Without that thing I have no memory of

I could barely remember myself. I blamed
my stress, my sins, my age. Blamed the photo

of the bodies floating behind the car
like points in a constellation for fear,

already so far beyond gravity.

But there is always something more
frightening than what you fear most.

Tomorrow the monster we killed as children
will have to be killed again. Without my eyeglasses,

in an hour where weapons of any kind are scarce,
the five toothbrushes on my bathroom sink

shone in the dark and brought me back.

the things we carry

If you’re not a regular visit to Leonard’s site, you might want to check it out. His posts of poems by Tang and Sung dynasty Chinese poets started me down a very important path as a reader and a writer. His own work, such as the poem here, are wonderfully evolved mechanisms of concision that you don’t even realize have gotten into your head until suddenly a thought of your own blooms, seemingly out of nowhere, and you realize it grew from one of his poems. This poem is a great example of that. You will remember this, hours or days or years from now.

Leonard Durso

the things we carry
are the things
that won’t let go

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What does an eclipse mean? Let’s have an eclipse social! #pathoftotality

owl eye

Many of you have joined in our full moon socials over the last few years. Whether you are in the path of totality or not (here in Virginia we’re not but will still see quite a sight) the solar eclipse is another moment in which the moon plays no small part. But what part does it play, for poets? for photographers? artists and prose writers?

On Monday August 21st, I invite you to experience the solar eclipse and join in a social gathering — on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter — and use the hashtag #pathoftotality … I’ll re-blog and re-tweet everything I see.

No special glasses required… unless the poetry is so bad that blackout glasses are required… but I would not bet on that…

Monday, August 21st. Whadda ya say?

Looking to the ground on an overcast full moon evening and seeing the sky

Taken with NightCap Pro

Looking to the ground on an overcast full moon evening and seeing the sky

And on waking we move from the month
of vines to the month of ivy.

From sensing

our own growth relies on support to sensing
heights

and a path we create by ascending.

Pausing while reading ‘Brief Pause in the Organ Recital’

Pausing while reading ‘Brief Pause in the Organ Recital’

0805cloudoverlake

I

The cloud is caught between worlds. Hovering over the man-made
Lake, tiny people gliding across it in boats and rafts like bugs,

well below other fair weather clouds drifting slowly by
Like a certain type of movie on an old TV in the background

you do not need to watch. It holds a flat gray shadow.
That kind of late arriving family looking for a place to drop

Its giant blanket on the grass leading to the shore

II

Tomas Transtromer, both adult and child, sits in an old church
in his poem “Brief Pause in the Organ Recital” and also in a churchyard

in a dream where he is waiting for someone. The three Transtromers,
One adrift in glowing heather, two sitting in sky blue church pews,

separate into being as the massive church organ pauses and the rumble
of traffic beyond the ancient stone walls fills in the silence. Here they wait

for some additional comprehension, an overheard whisper of an elder
Or a word in permanently capital letters like on a graveyard tombstone, only nothing

so definite as DIED, more like PERHAPS. Death is about to turn up the lights
beneath the heather– I know because I have been here before myself —

but before it can I have to pause to let a small bug wandering across page 163
find its way to the book’s bottom edge. Its legs are so small

I cannot see them but it steps over important words with no effort, doing what it does.
When it is safe I turn the page, though I know death is on the other side.

0805bugandpage

III

The cloud and the bug. Which is the shadow of the other?
The cloud, hanging around as if it had something to say

But kept changing so the words kept changing?
Or the bug, whose intricate pattern too small for me to see

Was the shape of a new, moving punctuation mark that means pause
While reading a poem about a brief pause that lasts two pages?

A few inches down the next page I walk a snow-covered island
with Transtromer who points out deer tracks, the imprint’s detail

lost in shadow like a blue church pew on Sunday,
like the cloud that comes closer on an overcast day.

0805bugclose up

Early August Near Midnight

Taken with NightCap Pro

Early August Near Midnight

At the edge of the house I cannot afford,
Old window open, conscience thin

Black screen barely a mesh between
Two environments. One built to keep

The other out, the other which does not
acknowledge even itself. Behind every

Wall upstairs the cricketsong of heartbeats.
The family’s dreams swirl around me:

These are fierce hunters. Bills and debts
Look for places to hide but the dark wins.

I know I will have to sleep, awake, pay
A daydream down. But tonight

I will enjoy their protection, my fears
Fleeing from the dreamy claws of trust.

The Barrier Keeper

LOVE

The Barrier Keeper

For you the music is a stillness. Only what is still
Can walk the two roads. Here is your list

Of things to pack: did you forget the water?
Forget comfort? Forget profit and loss which rub

Against each other behind a tree? There’s a fire
In the woods between the roads. Forgetting

How to run you run without pain. The words
In these lines are here as guests and if you do

Not forget them they will have failed
Like guests who stay too long.

Along one road I found Chuang Tzu’s skull.
I only remember because I wrote what it said:

The ukulele and violin have traded hands.
The nine ordinary openings are closed

And the owl guards the dead rat.
This daughter exists because of what you

Didn’t do. Tell her this: As you play
Your fingers change as things change

And you forget them, and there is music.