I keep forgetting what I remembered only yesterday,
As inconvenient past just seems to disappear,
Though never fully erased somewhere in the matrix.
I guess I’ve rearranged history from the elements,
Memories to suit my new-found self, a present
Chosen from the larger past,
Unchained and rearranged the scraps,
Given less emphasis to complexity
Never fully understood.
Damn, I can’t remember what I’ve forgotten,
Lost within my memory years ago,
(Or was it only days ago that I forgot?
How do you know the day you can’t remember?)
Including things I suppose I ought to know.
I assume my future will be based
Upon forgetting words and acts,
Now that some of the old photographs are lost,
Burned or misfiled up in the attic,
Some eaten by those goddamn mice I hear at night.
Then again there are those lonely, winter times
Where I am Scrooged and haunted by my memories,
Clear and painful, a futile fear that chains me to my past,
Lost friends, forgotten absences whose faces come again,
Old traces that remain a part of me until death
Releases me, finally cleanses all at last…
For now, I have to forgive myself and live another day,
Keeping what stands out, the golden nuggets
Mashed up with past mistakes and bruises,
Not pretend I’m perfect and not forget to pray
That when I’m gone, others will forgive me, too.
Before me stretches a dirt road,
As far as the eye can see
Running over a hill that rises,
Grows larger as I climb, steeper,
Rolling upward…. thickens,
Becoming one with Earth.
Trees beside the road
Wave their arms as I pass.
Browsing cattle raise their heads,
Lowing in tall grass.
Three hawks circle high above,
Soaring in invisible currents.
I cannot escape the thought
On the other side of the hill
Is a large, ferocious beast,
Mute and waiting for me.
And beyond, a widening bay
With shore of pink sand,
Thick white clouds tossing
Green shadows across calm water,
Disturbing the beast
With the presence of peace.
“Walk the middle ground,
Slowly onward toward deep,”
Says a voice in my head.
“You have all the time in the world.”
Wind cups my ears and
Bright translucent sun
Shines with shimmering heat.
I am slowly walking on a dirt road,
Accompanied only by an unseen god,
Barefoot and laughing— of that I am sure…
Spreading color across the day,
Flowing new and innocent,
Mysterious and pure into the world,
Wholly present and wholly empty.
And I am in and out of my mind,
Alone and not alone
And in love with the world.
Kurt Vonnegut said, “To be happy, you must not write poetry.”
I stare into smoldering coals at the deep truth of what he said….
Alexander Blok, in his deathbed speech, said that writing poetry required “restlessness and will… Not external restfulness… Not freedom of liberating, but artistic will and secret freedom… A poet dies because he cannot breathe.”
I could hardly disagree.
Mandelstam, another Russian poet, wrote “…a pattern set down, until now, unknown…” as though a word, said from the depth of a matter, becomes finally clear, as if without caring about making any sense, finds it.
Ah, yes. I see and agree.
Vladimir Gandelsman, obviously Russian and also a poet, said “To write poetry is to kill time….”
Does he mean that poetry stops time, frees the poet from time as author rises into empty space of artistic freedom which eliminates time? If so, then poetry has a future, purpose, meaning… a purity as sinless as a crust of bread or sip of wine.
Words come and words go as portal in space;
So uniquely alone, so alive in their grace.
No one notices when words leave; when they return.
When I cover my mouth; when I scream from the burn.
Words arrive through darkness, a tunnel for trains…
Like rockets in air, words flash in the brain
Until portal is closed and I notice the time….
Like prayers in the dark, I stumble for rhyme.
The sun slowly rolled
Over eastern trees,
Waking me from sleep.
Pulling curtains open….
Casting shadow across the bed.
Showered and dressed,
Walked barefoot onto the deck
To make sure mountains
Bordered shore of the lake,
That all was the same
As before the dark of night.
Faint morning moon
Confirmed it all remained—
The essence with God’s presence.
Gathering cup of breakfast tea,
I spread butter on toasted bread,
All the while thinking
The lake is but reflecting pool and
Stone mountains nothing
But a crust that floats on surface
Of hot molten core, hard
Buoyant breast sustaining life….
Solid rooting for trees,
Feeding birds and creeping animals,
Framing the clearest blue above,
Making me wish for more….
Higher mountains thrusting
Wider and wilder upon the Earth,
Beckoning to leave murmur of words
Within a peaceful mind and walk
Out into the world for more.
Sitting in a room with one large window,
Black dog resting against my feet,
One buzzing fly I cannot see
And whatever spirits stir the day
Glide across surface of the lake,
Enter silence of the heart…
Spread rainbows upon the roof,
Color mind with passing thoughts.
It all comes together—
Presents itself in an instant,
Islands within a moment of one minute,
Spreading warmth upon prickling skin,
Gently pushing doubt an inch away.
Hearing click of ligament against the knee,
Ticking clock on wall, time hovers invisibly,
Window open, breeze flowing,
Love swelling to fill the open space….
Awareness slides like a cloak around my shoulders,
Down the arching spine, tingling arms,
Curls hair slowly growing on my head,
Rises into air, disperses in the room,
Jumps through window, vaults out upon the roof,
Spreading to the porch, the deck,
Floods the lake with yellow light….
Wordless poetry lightly contracting, expanding,
Like wings of a moth, opening, closing,
Silhouetted, kindled by an endless flame.
Today, the mountain across the lake is gone….
Hidden from sight by heavy fog,
Low clouds draped across its shoulders,
Blue sky above invisible as well.
Are birds divorced as well from sun?
Do they fly high yet still not see but shrouded Earth,
As angels sometimes must when letting go,
Soaring home upon a prayer in rain or fair?
For now, I will rest content not to see,
To wait with simple creatures such like me,
Closed off to sight of sun or moon or stars,
Hemmed in among neglected places,
Finding what I cannot see in brighter day.
O Lord, accept my tears that fall
Upon the body of Mother Earth;
Harbor them as amber against your
Mountain feet, green against blue sky…
Higher still white clouds that rise,
Blown by angel’s wings to
Fan such fire as now inspires my thoughts.
Speak to me as you spoke to prophets
Long ago in silence of the night…
Out of thunder, fire, or whisper low.
Let me be as a bird, that flies to seek the wood,
Builds a nest in safety of your arms,
Sings a wondrous song
As I glimpse your breaking light.
I know that you are present
To all who welcome love.
Do not wait for words of prayer to ask,
But know that I forsake all glories of the world
That are not sent, bestowed by grace,
For me to treasure with
Embrace of hand and heart…
All within your providence and sight,
All blessed to serve with soul and might.