Tag Archives: JS

November hymnal (14)

November hymnal (14)

The sea stone sets down on the sky’s lobby.
Only the birds pass through it; their feathers

Still remember when they were scales.
The star has sent a poem to commemorate

The occasion. It’s the same poem every star
Composes. That every civilization has waited for.

The family pauses between house and car.
One of them points upward. A thousand things

Still alive in the trees and underbrush see
A thousand different families.

The birds rotate the stone like gears and snow
flecks off the stone as if God were sharpening

A great knife on it, to cut through the pile of burnt
Trees. To cut through ignorance, doubt, faith.

Four years later the house is empty. Sunlight
Streaks through the lobby and is arrested by

Clouds. Night falls. The star’s poem finally arrives:
“Too late!” reads the entire poem. Because they

Always have to be right, stars have few words
To work with. The sound of birds traveling through

The sea stone is like that of snow on steps.
The sound of stars composing is like a shovel on a walkway.

The wind let me live

IMG_8876

The wind let me live

The wind let me live
By not arriving. The ten thousand

wheels of the highway had stopped
And we sat on its back, still

As food in cans. And the dark
Grew quiet as we killed

Our engines to save fuel.
Mere hours away

The sirens set
Apart each moment in its stillness:

Duration’s blue and red lights.
They bounced off the neighbors’ houses

And into the distance, arriving
At some place where there was

No distance, and the aftermath
Of that. Then the windless rain

Like a chorus that is the song
Of the end of shape. Where will

I be when the one drop of rain
That is my life, descending with the rest,

Bursts against the earth, no longer
The same but exactly the same,

As many molecules as the stars
in a gathering puddle whose surface

riddled by wind reflects the sole
Of a child’s new sneakers

From the prayer of forgetting

receipt

From the prayer of forgetting

1
The shapes at the water’s edge
They are not your memories

They are the clothes of the drowned. Forgotten
Because they are no longer needed.

2
After a long walk through life you were tired.
You paused, hand on knee, to rest. It took

A little longer than you thought to catch
Your breath and the trees had been bulldozed

And the spiders had covered you with the silk
Of memory. I came with a single dream’s knife

And cut a slit so you could back out. Later the city
Builders saw the shape standing alone

Like a magnificent cocoon, covered
It with stone and called it a church.

3
Your soul comes to you
Like bees finding their hive

Assembling into shapes almost
Making sense to your eye

Defined by a sweetness it will never taste
And a sting it will not survive.

4
The onomatopoeia of forgot,
Regret. They sound like things

That almost are but aren’t
Solid enough to take steps

Or kneel on stone in prayer.

5
I invalidated a receipt once
By writing a poem on it.

No further exchange was
Necessary or authorized.

Like a cowbird I laid that egg
in the nest of your eyes

And you have raised it
Into something that flies

Away from you, recognizing
Neither of us as its maker.

Talking after running

talkingafterrunning

Talking after running

The heart after running is less likely
to lose itself to ledge or leap. It has

Asserted resolve over a measurable distance.
So if the heart leaps after running, it is more

Than a magnitude of muscle memory. Doesn’t
The steady heart know the world’s greatest

Victories are like fireflies in a July field
I walk across after the night’s mile has cooled

Me down? Steadier than these glimpses
Of what threads through us, across time

And space. Yet it leaps as though into the light
for words it might wander toward

If this path did not already describe it best.

The Sound

evergreen stars

The Sound

There will be no meeting. Go deeper– is it quiet there?
He is the one you could never have. Though he could

Never not be yours. Deeper– it’s the sound of waking.
When we were younger we could drink a lot more

Coffee. I remember our first cup together. In the depths
Of the night, its upside down ocean, sound is replaced

By a strange pressure on the ears. On the entire surface
Of your body. This is where fissures open up in the roof

And new mountains emerge. It’s where stars are born.
Where a shy medallion spilled from God’s pirate ship

twined through the waves of dark sleep and became
The moon. Some hearts would explode from the pressure

Mine is like the cork that has to be pushed back
Into the wine bottle corkscrewed side down. Torn

But doing its job. Deeper but not so deep
You couldn’t pluck it out with your bare hand.

Sometimes a memory is tame as soft rain, deeper
than falling asleep, like a read book empty and full

at the same time, the sound of a candle in the room.

My ghost’s primary victory speech

8

My ghost’s primary victory speech

I will first ask the mountains to stop counting.
Four hours after midnight I will wake my body.

I have done this a lot lately but he can’t take a hint.
I will say first I am happy nobody could be here tonight

Next I will say first nothing has been certified
Nothing has been sanctioned nothing needs to be

Said first I will say that first and then I will move
My body’s finger across the lever of night

I will do that first because nothing comes next
So it all has to be said first and hasn’t he said it

All already can’t he wake up long enough to
Lie by the open window looking nowhere

Through the silence of mountains and
See where this is going and do the math

There’s only one ballot to count but
So loud In their spring are the starlings