Week 38; A Poem a Day

9/1516 & 9/18/16

Your wrists are glowing

Your wrists are glowing
Because the moon has reached down
And wrapped fingers of light
Around them
And will not release
Even if you turn your back on her
Dear neighbor
She is an inhabitant
Of Earth too
Just further up
A mountain range
A continent
In orbit
With a clearer view
Of the Sun
And a satellite’s view
Of everything in the world

That’s why

That’s why she angles sunbeams
At your wrists
Fulcrums of choice
Pivotal point of human potential
She knows your power
Knows the arrangement of your bones
Has more strength than your organs
Know how to handle

And that’s why

That’s why she grips you now
To finally get you understanding
She and your skeleton
Share the same shade of white
Only yours concealed
Dear distant sister
Who has watched you
From your infancy
From afar
She is concerned for you

You are still so young

You are still so young
Making so many mistakes
Learning to use your hands
Learning to trust every piece of you
It pains her
To see you hurting yourself

You know how to cast shadows
But do you know you can wield light?


Week 37; A Poem a Day


I spun
I used to dream
of spinning
Once dreamed
of spinning
a web
inside my locker
A web
To catch her
Catch and hold her
I spun
Spun webs
Corner to corner
Side to side
I spun
four intimate walls
One a door
which is a wall
with options
Outside of slits
and the clang
clanging open
clanging shut
more space
longer strands
stretch farther
My strategy
larger webs
stretched out
are less visible
And weaker
My strategy
I spin
To become a father
between dreams
I spin


Distant sky talk
Rumbles at me
And I lay here
Cocooned in blankets

Rhythm of rain
Asks me to dance
While cellular alarms
Interrupt real dreams

Crass blue jay calls
Hold me to my past
As I wait and hope
For new songs of winter


Week 36; A Poem a Day


What conjures us together
Movement of spirits and Spirit
Blown in on the four winds
Meeting at one slope at river’s edge
Downstream from our ancestors
Who rose like thunderheads
At the thought of us, their children
A prophecy of rainbow doorways
Visions of how history might have been written
If hearts had not hardened to hungry steel

Why not think universally
Heartbeats synchronized with the waves
Because water is life and there is one water
So much of it, there is only so much of it
It fills in our lowest points
Then expands, ascends and dances above our heads
For everyone to witness
It salves our lips and tongues
Making speech possible, making words audible
When it bathes us, it takes on the filth we produce

Somewhere along the way to civilization
Some of us decided they needed more than enough
Some other liquid they wanted to fill up their lives
So, they began piercing the ground that long supported them
They sliced and scarred the land with dull knives
And burst the sacred hills into fragments
All this using the same ancient stuff they sought to extract
All this at a pace the planet had never known
Did the ancestors of our ancestors’ ancestors
Ever imagine they would one day be unearthed and burned

How can prayers slow the current
Return to a flow sanctioned by the texture of the land
Let the women lead us to the water
And give us their blessing, if they choose
How can prayers heal a ruptured channel
Mend a supply line out of its time
Let the betrayed people foresee disaster
And use good medicine to prevent its manifestation
Let them be first again
Protectors of our future, a nation of rising waters


Week 35; A Poem a Day


I’ve realized
My comfort zone
Is at the edge
Not further back
Where I can’t see distance
Where I can hardly imagine
At the last horizontal inches
My feet make a home
Wrap toes
Over right-angle threshold
And feel the height
I look down
And up
And out
At the miles
And think to myself
This must be the end
The margin of my world
But I’m fighting
A pull
At my sternum
A pull to break
The plane of safety
To jump
And trust the gases
That have filled
My lungs
For thirty odd years
While a voice
At the back of my skull
Don’t do it
Step back
Not worth the risk
The voice can’t see
What has taken me
So long
To see myself
A rough-cut path
Beyond the edge
To the unknown
I’ve longed
To know


The owl
Sent pillow calls
Into the barely lit
Dripping air
So I sat
Beneath his present tree
To hear
What I could learn
To see
What I could gather
As he conversed
With things invisible
To me
But he could not stay
For long
Another rooftop beckoned
His wings ached
To find more
Leaving me
With only
Silent flight feathers
And night vision eyes


Week 34; A Poem a Day


What lacks you
In language
Of the tongue
May be made up
In simple gestures
Humble pictures
Made by hand

What pines you
For talents
With high exchange rate
You may compensate
With compounding interest
For neighbors in duress
And exponential philanthropy

What misses you
In riches
Of precious metals
May be paid in full
With abundance
Of patience
In your broken home


Toast and tungsten light
Descending barometers
Hidden clouds
Of flying insects
Late summer evening
Cluster of birthdays
Of first three months
Feeling with own skin
Seeing with own eyes
Then anniversary
Of conception
Apples and goosebumps
Totems of home


Week 33; A Poem a Day


Crickets occupy
Every corner
Of my living

The camouflaged ones
In my garden
Who only reveal themselves
As they flee the water
I splash on my tomatoes

The glossy black ones
Sleek as sports cars
Waiting in the grass
Of the front yard
Hoping for
A predator to outrun

But most crickets
I only hear
Under or after
The cicadas and katydids
Their song changing
With the weather
Slower in the cool
Quickened in the heat
But always
In time

There was a dog
I called Cricket
After I saw him
Catching and eating
The little morsels
Skinny and brown and long-legged
He also reminded me
Of a cricket
A little

And of course
There’s the long-legged cave dwellers
Living in my basement
They make no demands
No protests
No mating calls
That I can hear
Though I’m pretty convinced
They aren’t happy
When I grab them
In mid-air
To feed them
To my chickens

8/18/16 #2

Is practicing jazz
On a trumpet
Through one of those
Golden windows
Of that house
On a terrace
When I walk by
Practicing poetry
On a book and pencil
Over concrete squares
In sodium vapor light
That turns everything
The same shade of yellow

The only thing
Separating master
From novice
Is practice


Week 32; A Poem a Day


It’s remarkable
The sheer number
Of reminders
That are called for
Little prompts
To return
And remember
Where you are
On a big world
With so much
Elbow room
But still
We keep
Into each other
Arms keep clashing
Unsolicited commentary
Keeps changing
Our moods
When the sky
Is scheduled
To spark and catch
And show some color
Over black and amber fields
Of artificial light
Try to remember home
Try to remember all your homes
When your frame of reference
Falls away
Beneath your feet
When the air
Lights you
A little differently
Now reflection
Is the progression
Of the day
If memory serves you
Let it paint
Prehistoric pictures
On your walls
On your modern walls


Poet’s note: Many of the poems I post this year I consider incomplete, or works-in-progress. This might be one of them. In the past, incompleteness has kept me from showing and sharing and publishing my work at all. My prevailing tendency is to hold it and wait until I’m 100% satisfied. Among the many other gifts of A Poem a Day, I am finding it is a healthy context for training myself to stop clinging to my work and keeping it to myself. I still want to do my best work, of course; but I also want to not be ruled by the obstacles of fear, uncertainty and excessive self-consciousness. The poetry (and the photography) can be incomplete and changeable, much like myself and my life, and there is peace in knowing that. That’s more than just a metaphor: for artists, the tangible manifestations of our artist minds cannot be so easily separated from our lives.