Tag Archives: memory

From the City of Gloucester, with regards to trash pickup

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

October 27 [Book of October]

October 27

Before the soft rain the leaves
Finally sing their groundswell chant

They who met the sun first each day
Now embracing the earth without regret

Walking through the leaves releases
Whispers of crisp wishes burning

The air we breathe is on fire with wishes
The soft rain gathers in the branches

Overhead, hovers, a dark respectful canopy.
It’s not used to going any farther but where

Are the hands that caught it so easily
And sent it to the center of things

The Switch

The Switch

–then everything else which turns off at night
is the switch that turns on the crickets

is there a thing at all in cricketsong
that means I remember

that bridges the slow heaving wave
of frozen ground between years

is there anything
by which they know they go on

do they need to when they hear
with their legs by which they leap only forward

and sing with their wings which cannot take them backward
what else must a cricket do to prove it needs

no memory

*

behind my house at night I forget
I am in a city the song is so loud

like the earth breathing in and out
the owl marking his territory in the pitch dark

is absorbed into the song it seems impossible
there could be as many crickets on the ground

as there are cricket voices in the air
till the sun climbs over a rock and shuts them off

in the morning which is the switch
for ten thousand starlings to fill the space

with another season–

June Flight

In a mind as mild as an eight o clock sky in early June
a thought swoops by like a swallow or bat

too quick for me to identify it by flight pattern
though it’s a thought that swerves and starts

again and once again after something unseen

not a thought that travels distances well but I’m not going far
content on the porch of my consciousness

a small level space on the outside of a house
I will never enter. The breeze

in my mind comes from someplace else and the thought banks impressively
in the same way logic sometimes makes us think we have direction.

The mind sky’s crayon color is half time and half heavy air

and despite its endlessness the thoughts flying in its late afternoon light compete
for an even smaller piece of space

held by a memory the size of a twilight’s tremoring bug
something I cannot even see but something that feeds the thought —

the whole reason the thought took flight is that this is the time
the memories come out of the earth and rise;

what they are doing there I do not know. Inside my house
in each room ceiling fans are rotating just above lamps shaped like leaves.

Perhaps they are turbines of an unknown will, a helicopter fleet in reverse
trying to keep the house from flying up in the air as it eventually will

like the tiniest memory of something bigger than my life
rising into the chasm of June light.

Dream, First Full Night of the Year

Dream, First Full Night of the Year

I am one of four men entrusted with delivering refugees
from a disputed territory. The road lays over bare hills and open

fields. Everyone carries only what they need. I carry
their memories, so I can only take half a step at a time.

When the first bomb explodes by the roadside, the others
are already far ahead of me. The memories are important

but sometimes you have to outrun memories to escape.
I am cresting a hill, beyond it are more hills and small fires

where the bombs have landed. Gunfire bounces off the road
nearby and I break from the path, dropping nothing,

staying low. Somewhere there have to be trees, undergrowth,
a forest, where I can escape the ground.