What do we care

What do we care of the past?
We burn most fossils we find
and lock the rest in cases.

What do we care of the future?
We borrow with no plans to repay,
hoping death will forgive us.

What do we care of the present?
Always trying to escape
and leave it behind.

When do we care?

©JEREMY RUZICH

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for a frightening moment

.when I was a child
.they told me
.I had a hole in my heart

..this frightened me

.but they told me
.go easy on it
.don’t strain it too much
.and you’ll be fine
.you’ll be ok

.and so
.I took it to heart
.through childhood
.through adolescence
.into my current phase
.whenever I have pushed
.my heart to near
.maximum
.and something jostles it from
.regular rhythm
.something sets it to
.excited spasm

………………….a misstep, a deep breath, a collision

.I stop
……for fear
.it might completely
…………burst open

.I withdraw
……………to a place away
.find a flat patch of ground
.on which to lay
.and wait
.for it to return
.to comfortable
.silent
.beats

.and I am fine
……………………..I am ok
.I am just fine
……………………..I am ok
.always be fine
……………………..always ok

.still
.then
.I think
.how nice it was
.to feel this heart
.for a frightening moment
..as it flubbed
..and raced
.within me
..abandoning
..all diastole
.giving its all
.just as I was giving
.my all

.but safer now
.back to quiet
………………muffled
………………….solitary
…………………….murmurs

©JEREMY RUZICH

some days

outside of my house
men in green glowing vests
and growling strong-armed machines
are filling holes
the ones they dug
only weeks ago
and all I can do is watch
as they pound the earth
back to its resting place
my floorboards shake
just as the earthquake
in Oklahoma
shook me awake
some days ago
earth heaving
and sinking
heavy lifting
and breathing

next door
a home is being made
of crushed earth
clad in white
slate gray metal roof
neighbors friends family
come and go
nothing prevents them
from showing up
no one stops them
from leaving

across the street
in the crook
of a sycamore tree
a collared dove couple
construct their spring
and summer home
no one told them
nest here
nothing prevents them
from leaving
their young

all I look for
is pieces of life
out of place
minute changes to remind me
of the frightening truth
I am earth heaving
and sighing
a path of wind
an eddy of water
a stream of consciousness
that will some day
evaporate

does a sane man
pilgrimage to places
of lingering pain
does a wise man
surrounded by friends
seek loneliness
and find it
just as the street lamps
buzz alive
and young pale couples
shield each other’s bare skin
from the cool wind at their backs

meanwhile
a bashful acrobat clad in yellow
is doing handstands for an audience of one
on a pedestrian bridge
as the opaque river
swirls on below

©JEREMY RUZICH

she bends over the table

she bends over the table
to bring her voice close to him
asking if there is anything
he needs from her
or if his cup is full
and he is comfortable
desiring nothing
of her

he wants not to burden her
carry nothing for me he tells her
and so she turns
in all of her thirst
his eyes fixed on her leaving
lips parted
and praying
for her return

©JEREMY RUZICH

Youth

You have been dealt
full hands
of life and death
prematurely passed on to you
by the too far removed
older children
who have forgotten
what it’s like
to color outside the lines
to see the world for the first time
to imagine impossible things
and make them real
with cardboard
and tape
Your elders
we’ve heard more than you
we’ve seen more than you
we know more than you
but no more than you
remind us
of our youth
and promises
broken by our elders
and so long since abandoned
in exchange for such knowledge
You have witnessed
again and again
the violence
you were instructed
to never invoke
and if you did
you were struck
You have listened
as parents
cry for their children
only their children
no other children
not your friends
not our neighbors
only their children
You see
we have also
almost
forgotten how to cry
and why
Youth
You are more than
survivors
You are more than
minors
You are more than
hope
You are more than
the future
You are even greater than
the sum of your dreams
You see
as the tree sheds
a generation
to grow taller and deeper
You may come to know
how we did love you
but never learned
how to
let go
until the fall
You see
it may be
the greatest lessons
you will learn from us
will be those
we cannot teach you

whirlwinds

I am so grateful
we found each other
after being apart
in myriad places
scattered across
unspeakable distances
over unknown years

You were of a falcon’s feather
for a while
I briefly in a leaf
on a spider’s thread
spinning in the breeze
You graced the sky
grazed its highest layer
rode its constant winds
over every nameless body
I rode on a snail’s shell
moved at the pace
of unfolding top soil
You met a cloud
gathered its vapor
and fell
towards earth
I was taken back
by a tree
and rose skyward

then, now
after unintelligible time
here we are
arranged
You and I
every element
in its perfect path
for seeing each other
how good
to be pulled together
in this space
how phenomenal
to meet
and to listen
to the stories of our past
knowing
full well
neither will this last

for we remain
only occurrences
whirlwinds
of dust and carbon
sparks
between earth and heaven
a night’s fire
turning to ember
just as it began
to remember

as we happen
again we’ll dissolve
taken apart
by the same winds
that brought us
together

so for now
I rejoice in
You