Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What We Are and Are Not

The river is a heaven cried tear only Jesus turns to stone.

We are hatched from ice, born from glaciers.

But we are not water. This is what we must remember.

The water is other than us.

But we can stand on the bullrush banks

where rivers merge,

some salt, some fresh water,

we can be freedom's fireflies

can toe ourselves in, give ourselves

join our bodies with that of the river's.

We can flood the banks.

All the while remind ourselves.

We are not the river but its students.

Beneath our immersion, let our tears sprout wings,

fly our weeping,

listen to its lapping words that tells us how to care.

Less about some things

More about others.

We can stop making things up.

The important things are already happening.

Be a dam, be a funnel, be a moss crusted bank.

Be a pillowed shore.

Stroke, stroke,

be our truth.

Cry. Laugh. Remember.

Say please and thank you to good,.

To the innocent, yes.

No and stop to evil, (lips close to the mic and screaming.)

Keep swimming even in sleep.

Don’t course your way on whim except when it comes to love.

Be a sail.

Be an oar.

Be a boat.

Be a ladle.

Leave the dying to stonies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walking Down the Same Road

Last Night

Last Night

We were walking down the same road and we were both crying, Both relieved and disappointed at being alive. We did not hold hands. Did not touch. There was no embracing. And our eyes were closed. As failures in love, the view, let alone an embrace, would have finished us off. The unthinkable truth of our mutual suffocation was best left unsaid. Words in the fierce clothing of voice, mine or yours – would make us tear our tongues out. People do you know. All the time.

Which of us could bear the blood of our fallen worlds, the red stain reflected backwards on faces smothered by too many years. I can’t speak for you. But I couldn’t. I’d worked so hard at not shedding them and you’d treated them as theives. But clearly muscle was not enough and even if it was, my arms were love-lies-bleeding blooms and yours were broken timbers.

But there we were persisting. How we even came close to being in the same dream was a cruelty and a promise. Maybe the fault we’d lobbed between us had fouled out, flown over the fence and would be forever lost in the creosote weeds. We’d somehow slipped under the gate nobody guarded. Now inside how could we bear the agony of waking? The fact that we were there together was a borrowed clemency. Neither of us took credit for the speechless alliance of minds which had never before managed to meet.

About the nakedness: Maybe it means we’d had the courageous weakness to extend forgiveness instead of blame. Maybe we ceased fearing our bodies and killed our pride in the smokey changing room with all those messy clothes. In total nakedness you can make a killing. Which apparently we did.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Yellow Suitcase

It is a simple wedding.
Not elaborate.
They wear black and white.
Black and white.

No, this is wrong.

White and black.
The bride comes first.

Always the bride first.
Everyone agrees.
Everyone -
Florist. Caterers. Musicians.
Even the printers.
Even the priest.
The guests bring gifts.
Tied with ribbons,
swaddled in tissue,
dressed in foil paper,
kissed with glitter cards.

She carries a glass bouquet.
Imagine. Breakable blooms.
Blooms carried like
sky hooks to love.

It is a happy occasion.
But there are tears.
Wept and unwept.
The tears are here.

She knows nothing. Less than nothing. This is what she knows. This is why she holds her tears. She has agreed to what she does not know, to what she believes will be easy.

Something black.
Something white.

Knowing she knows nothing happens later. This is now. Now she does not cry. She leaves her weeping behind.
Behind is where it remains.

A ring is slipped on her finger. A circle of gold. And then on his. His hand is also captured with gold.

Pictures are taken.
Pictures help with remembering.

Nothing is needed to help them forget.
Forgetting is easier than remembering.

Between them is a suitcase.


The suitcase is as close to yellow as any other color.
For a surprise, the sisters wrap it with ribbons.
The brothers scratch blessings in its yellow side.
The lovers latch arms. This is why they think they are strong, why they believe they have power. There is strength in their arms.
They embrace everything. Lift much. Carry more.

The way is surprisingly rough.

She doesn’t mention the presence of hills
Ignores the ruts, sees only small declivities,
no ditches, no peaks, certainly no cliffs.

The road narrows, erupts with trees.
An unexpected wind sweeps down.

Avoiding the wind, she runs. Years of running begin. To slow her
down, wild animals appears. Wild animals distract her.
She dare not stay. Dare not linger.
Wild animals can never be tamed. .

Birds. Far off, now closer. Finally, alarmingly near, in her face, her hair, frisking her shoulders.

Infantry of feathers.
Battalion of beaks.

She is not at peace with flapping, not at peace with pecking.

Take your feathers.
Take your beaks.

Birds are not easily discouraged, especially wild ones. The birds remain. Before, she considered birds to be creatures of music, creatures of song. These birds do not sing.
Music is not in these birds.
Birds are the cause of their first fight. Not so much him, not so much her, but birds. Birds outside their influence. Birds they cannot cage or shoo away.
And so they cage themselves. Shoo themselves away. Dig elaborate tunnels.

They borrow almost everything - shovels, picks, back hoes as well as dirt.

He digs. She carts away, gets rid of the evidence.

Tunnels collapse suddenly.
Suddenly a tunnel can flatten to a grave.
Because of her worries, she is driven to warn..

“Look,” she says, waving the suit case like a torch.

He eyes the suitcase. Drops the pick. Returns the shovel. He remembers the sky, remembers desire.

Together they are a flower.
Open petals, visible stamens, scent of sea erupting.
Winter. Here in this unfriendly season, she feels a welcoming nudge. Small foot pushing. Small hand grasping. Instantly, she is captured by this second heart.

And then storm. And then rain. And then the sky slumps red.

The baby is lost.
This is the word used for death.
Many things are lost. Babies are no exception.

Where is he? He is other than here.
When he returns he’s ready to move.
She feels his muscled arms. He is strong.
She believes in his strength,
believes in his protection.

Time passes. First one. Then another: Daughters. The first daughter knows what not to say. And the second daughter, she learns also. Turning the house to smiles, the children protect the lost language of their parents.

Even still, she finds herself alone on a very steep mountain.
A mountain of shame. The nature of shame is
inadmissable. No one wants to admit a thing like shame.

There should be warnings, a large sign with an enormous black X. She is weary, panting, mopping her brow. It is almost Christmas and she is covered in sweat. And the suitcase has
become a millstone of lead.

Against all her dreams, against the black
against the white, she calls forth the
last dregs of strength, lets fly
the suitcase and wails.

By the time the wail leaves her mouth, it has gathered such velocity, she knows it has been in route for years.

The whole of their lives scatters for decades.
Photos, furniture, jewelry, books.
She suddenly knows they had far too many books.

And now it is snowing. Not a Christmas card snow.

Leprous snow. Hungry snow, snow devouring the sun.

For lack of strength, she lies down, calls to him. He does not answer. He does not turn, does not come back. .
A voice calls her awake. God. There is no one else. God has been calling for quite some time. Suddenly, she knows.

She has been elsewhere. For a long time, in a place dangerously dead.
God has taken on the cloak of fire. Only God burns in a blizzard. She lifts one heavy foot, flings it forward, lifts the other and flings it desperately ahead.
Always before she was cold. Cold but not in the way of shivering, not in the way of blankets of ice. Cold in the way of numbness. Cold in the way of dead.
Even before she is thoroughly thawed, she considers the fuel on which the fire feeds. Astonishing. She is bewildered. Enchanted. Is the fire feeding on the fuel of the yellow suitcase?
This is the form her bewilderment takes, the form of a question. With the same words she can make a statement. Instead she asks a question. The answer is yes.
It is the yellow suitcase. Before the whole of it turns to butter, she sees the blessing she knows to be the brothers’. And there are ribbons. Against all odds a tangle of ribbon remains.

She sits perfectly still. It is risky to breathe. She holds her breath. Breathing might kill the fire. Even though she reasons the fire must be God and therefore, impossible to extinguish, she cannot help but hold her breath.

She knows where she is.
She is with God.
God is with her.
She is not alone.
God is now her only light, her only heat.

About Fire

I watched the flame go out. It happened so gradually, without that last minutes sputter and spit, I sank to the temptation of feigning its presence. Instead of naming the dark, I searched for a match. Having found one I spent words striking it over and over but it was wet your sweat and my tears. I hadn't bargained for our skill at juggling dying coals, hadn't imagined the possibility of our combined genius. We blocked the light of our individual glowing by canny acts of partial snuffing. When our flame was gone, it caused a radiating stumbling, a kind of unheralded careening of accumulating ghosts. But you couldn't see them and I couldn't swim through the smoke.

Who Doesen't Know this?

The baby slept in the bed of a pickup. The bed of a pickup is not a safe place for a baby to sleep. Who doesn't know this? The bed of a pickup is open to meteors, child snatchers, chronic low grade fevers, other things involving robbed potential. The bed of a pickup is most often used for transporting dirt. What happened is this: a 2x4 fell from the site of exploding construction. I don't know if it was the angel Gabriel or the hands of God reaching from the womb of light into the place of the crime that steered the board across the sleeping baby. But the 2x4 landed in such a way as to protect her head along with her inexplicable body. Thankfully, my lack of knowledge didn't alter the mercy. As the debris cascaded through space, tearing up the blowing dunes, creating a storm to sand the eyes, the baby slept until the storm passed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Consider the flower
Don't pick it
Don't make it into a movie
Don't use it as a tool
Consider its shadow
Consider its holy petals

consider a woman
consider a man
consider lips and ears

consider the sound of listening
consider the risk of truth

consider yourself
consider the light
consider the faith of your breath

consider the ladder
consider the climb
consider the harvest
consider the crime

consider the woman weeping
consider the man cast down

consider the rain
consider the sun
consider the tender shoot

consider the sky of blue

consider God
consider the burden of proof

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the Hunt

He has looked everywhere.
He has looked in the heavens,
in nature, in power, in relationships,
in success, in symbols and
dreams and stories and song.
He will continue looking until
he allows himself to be found.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Cord of Three Strands

At first they thought it was all about them,
(an understandable mistake). And in fact,
it IS about them but not ALL about them.
They are secondary to what IT is about.
They thought their commitment, their cares,
concerns, worries, struggles, hopes, dreams,
frustrations....(those things),
could be surmounted by the
presence and power of each other.
After all, they are strong women.
As for uniqueness, their separate and
combined individualities are the stuff
of legends. And such legends....
but these women have
pledged to remind each other of the
origin of their legends, the progression,
the doubling back, the sharp curves,
the inconsistencies and themes.
Whether their legends
will be passed on for ill or for good is
a conversation that often absorbs them.
The turning point in these still to be
lived legends was the day they realized
it wasn’t all about them. At core, IT
is about The Cord of Three Strands,
a cord which is theirs to grasp, not to construct.
With this mystery in mind, they subsequently
and alternately launch each other in the
direction of The 3 stranded cord, urge
each other in maintaining a firm grip.
Some days maintaining a grip is
more difficult than others. This is where
the birds come in. The birds give witness
to the presence of The Three
Stranded cord and It’s ever present provision.
On this day of storm and thunder, the women
cling to the 3 stranded cord. The clouds part.
The light appears. The women are not straining,
but clinging, in so doing, yanking back the clouds
and basking in the light that is not their own.