The six essentials for landscape painting, according to the sage, poorly translated without the benefit of the original
The brush moves forward, seizing forms without hesitation
with the elegance of an unanswered prayer
The voice of the brushwork is like a breath
in the blackness nudging against the window screen
In the left third the closest mountain
signaling from a distance appears
The shadow of right action
Moving freely through the forms
But in the ink wash we see it for what it is
A pile of unanswered prayers
The master cracks the brush and rubs his eyes
There are not enough mountains for that
This crushing craft
This crushing craft of being
a parent without parents.
Falling from a tree
As a nine year old.
Mapping the light as it spirals
Out of my dizzy eyes. Rattled
By reality’s gravity. Then the light
Gathered into the sun,
The swimming shadows into leaves.
The earth slowed down until
I could stand again. Now the sense
Is more of a sliding away decade,
Wonder with a sideshow of work.
In the south one day by a public library
An elephant’s trunk reached out for me
Through the temporary circus fencing
And I reached back. The vine of muscle
Coiled almost to my shoulder and held.
For a full minute we stood there
In a terrible freedom, neither of us letting
Go as everything else spun into shadow.
It was late for a visit. I opened the door
And outside was standing my own language.
My old friend had traveled places I had not been.
Well don’t be a stranger I said. Come in.
You’re the one outside, said the voice of my language.
And I was, and I came on in, not sorry I was late.
Note: My son August, age 11, wrote this poem this morning. Brok3n
The wind blows
It does nothing
The rain falls
It does nothing
Yet if you were the rain
Or the wind
You would cry out
“Remember me too.”
And if you were yourself
You would already be doing that
Oddly, I’m ready.
I don’t know what for.
But I know if the wind and the rain stops
I’ll cry out
“Somebody Break Me”
And the stars will reply
Told me to wait another two nights.
and the truth would rise like ice cubes
In a celebratory drink. Without taste
But accentuating the taste that’s there
Already, then adding volume to it
While weakening the taste but by then
It’s not the taste you’re after is it and where
Has it got to finally, absorbed, invisible?
The moon looks full but it’s not. Not that
It matters but it does. Like other things
That never happened but did anyway
And because they never happened never end
This entry was posted in
Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged 8, ice, if you are reading tags you're too close, JS, last things, nearly full moon, new year's eve, poetry, truth, vodka tonic, waxing moon on . December 31, 2017
Conversations (IV) — to Dylan Thomas
It’s because I love my love can’t be cut
Like a river by rocks, bent branches swift
Over stone misshapen or promises broken
On swerve. Because I love I love this soul alone
And am given immunity against the foamy drift,
And the heart’s wheel’s rims to resist the rut,
The charter to tax all the pennies of loss,
The unplanted ghost come off the cross.
We know what the year’s worth
Like we know a coin from its size in our palm.
The month’s full moon. A gumball in a gumball machine.
And once in awhile, two slip out at once
Into your hands. When did the fall’s first
Cold night become a harbinger for a life
Shifting seasons? I look out there:
Not a leaf has left me. Still, if what’s ahead
Is more than loose change, you’re going
To have to get a lot closer to keep
Us both warm with what’s coming.
Driving Through A Small Town Full of Churches on a Friday Around Dusk
The buildings vibrate like an old color
postcard whose message has faded
time lifting the letters off the back
one dark bit after the other
which now gather wordless on the horizon
rising without a message to take back
the sky which for a moment shows red
through the church steeples with no bells
This entry was posted in
New Writing, Poetry and tagged church steeples, dusk, haiku, not haiku, poetry, september, Staunton, unregulated verse, wordless on . September 3, 2016
In the walnut branches the birds of September begin to gather.
Late August. Empty chairs. My mind’s dinner guests.
The woman who bought the house next door pulled up the ivy
on the property line, and with it tore the bird-hollow branches
of the butterfly bush from their roots. And with that
the flying leaves of fall whose nature is not to fall will not
find my front yard. They who could bear thoughts of enormous weight
over great distances. Now I must take this thought
far up in the sky, where this poem will cast the shape
of it, its shadow only, on your mind’s green ground.
I am exhausted, ready to drop it all, when I see
I am carrying nothing. Down below you have found
a perfect place to plant a butterfly bush. It’s late August.
On the back patio the empty chairs await the arriving guests.
Receipts from something not a book.
The tongues of fortune cookies.
An envelope containing nothing,
the tears folded flat.
It might have been the last time
your name was written by that hand.
A bill you wanted to avoid opening
now opens a click of space
bigger than money, traveling time
by staying still. Something not a book
waits where you left the words.
It will take your attention like a ticket
whose destination is next time,
which you will shove in a book
to hold your place when the
landscape carries you away.