From the City of Gloucester, with regards to trash pickup*
Do not put out your trash tonight. The sky glitters with ice like glass
Slivers escaping the recycler, but made of purest water. They can land on your tongue
And you shall not be harmed. Do not put out what you have already
Disposed of, tonight in that monotone cold. Everything you no longer
Wanted will be covered up and turned overnight to something
Beautiful, a unique shape that will never be seen again.
The morning temperatures will rise and you will soon forget
The shapes of wonder that gathered before your door
And even as the snow recedes your memory will stick out its tongue
And your heart coming back to you will feel like walking on broken glass.
*Title stolen from a reminder on WordPress to residents of Gloucester, MA not to put their trash out because of the impending snow storm. Same situation tonight in Staunton, VA as the snow begins to fall. I love Gloucester and mean no offense. The title of that WordPress post just cried out to have a poem written beneath them. / JS
The man who will die
Some day oh daughter, resting next to me
You will hear the breath of the man
Who will die. One day, not today, you will see
In my eyes finally the glance of a person
Who will not live forever as I saw once
In my father’s gaze, still piercing
But unable to break a veil of loneliness miles
Away where his wife sat up suddenly
Remembering only his name and not
Those of her sons or daughters. As I heard in her
Breath of resignation one day when words
Would not come and the unsayable sentence
Dropped over her head like a hangman’s hood.
But not this breath. Though for several years
I have heard it in my own breathing
Or seen it in the eyes studying me in the depth
Behind the mirror, I will keep these from you
As long as I can. And someday, not today,
When you see them you will say nothing,
Thinking surely you did not hear what you heard
Or saw what you saw. But I will know, though
I will already have begun to forget why.
The moon looks out the window.
Reflects on the pane of consciousness
Thin as a snack. Feels himself sliding
Across it, helpless. At the edge
He will become something that does not exist
In the real world. Something partial
In a place where even broken things are whole.
The week lays before us like a red ladder on the floor.
While it seems to point forward it is going in the wrong direction.
What can I lean it against that will let me climb up to you?
–sometimes the present has no leverage!
The black belt looks at his watch.
For a long time he does not move.
He is like a pen hovering over a blank page–
The shadow is written first.
There is an art to flying across the days
To reach out without holding on.
The will, like a migratory pattern, synced
To wingbeats, weather and hunger.
Before we knew what we were
We knew where we were going.
On the ground below, at the site next door
A worker rests his ladder against the wrong house.
And here we are now. Like hands on a watch.
Atoms that can get no closer no matter what we do.
In the quiet do-jang, the students disperse like birds.
The music from the mall hesitates at the entrance
And slinks away. The black belt has seen enough,
He covers his watch with his sleeve and turns us
Into a form of silence and motion. Like words
That could save someone’s life, or kill them.
Conversations (XVII) — to the time after
This tide laps gently at the soul’s hull,
Drawing you out where water’s wide.
Someone hears a hearty laugh
Jump across the water like a fish.
Conversations (XIII) — to sleep
I ask you so many questions
Then I stop listening just
As you begin to answer
Conversations (XII) — to pictures I’ve not taken
Your face. The moon through the branches of days.
Morning sprouts from the top of the tree
And brings light down to earth.