lonely as

My neighborhood has a program which allows local artists to display their work in the windows of vacant shops. Which I think is awesome--I love art and it makes the economic decline of my city feel more palatable. There's this one painting--I'll try to get a pic up in the next couple of days--entitled "Lonelier than God". It's a depiction of telephone wires strung from a pole with buildings in the background done in outlandish colors and the artist wants $1200 for it. Alas I don't have $1200, and apparently that's also the title of a (decent but I don't really love it) metal album by the band Blacklisted.
While the painting spoke to me, my mind got stuck on the title. It rang sort of hollow. People speak more often of God's love or mercy or wisdom or wrath, but his loneliness, to me, seems more impenetrable than any of those. He loves us and we're designed to love him back, but we usually don't. And we will never, can never understand him, can never see ourselves or anything else he's made with even a tiny fraction of the passion and possessive pride and anguished loss which, for God, are eternal and infinite.
Feel kind of...I think embarrassed is the word. Feel kind of stupid. Not about the stuff I wrote, cause it's written well enough, but about the fact that this is what I have to say.
This one goes Bm, A, C, G for each line, except the last line of each which gets Bm, G, E. There's lots of triplets which keeps the rhythm interesting. But it's still kind of reptitive melodically and clocks in at about 2 minutes. Still! It's been awhile since I wrote a song. Yay.

totally devoted
and unable to relax
constantly defensive
woman, these are not attacks
they offer what makes them feel strong; I understand, I play along
but so little of it is real

totally unable
to be more than human, weak
wish I could explain it
wish you'd give me leave to speak
for every step I have a plan to draw your hands into my hands
love's the only thing I can't steal

totally defended
oh you hold yourself so tight
your majestic architecture
does it let in any light
I don't know how to care this much and only look and never touch
God says, "now you know how it feels"

he loves us like I love the way
your eyes close when you choke the rage
back down, your laugh, your childlike smile
oh stay love, come stay for just a little while
nobody's as lonely as God
nobody's as lonely as God
nobody's as lonely as God


once the music gushed like rain along a gutter;
swept out, in tangles, every shredded leaf.
sky slit like flesh bled till the red ran dry
and there was only water itself, water after the end of life,
the wound exhausted.
the street drank it in till even the twigs in the cracks
grew succulent.

to an animal the rot of trees smells fresh.

so breathe like a plant;
peel back your parchment skin
and drink the sunlight raw,
set down roots in your own
dry carcass.

now the melody runs under you,
bedded in soil, in the cool round dream
that your scampering heart never let it dream.

the seasons swell your trunk,
crumpling up the concrete
like an old receipt. you stretch, a languid yawn
that takes years. palms to the shifting sky,
waist-deep in street, that thirst spools down
till it draws up crimson

and every trembling branch bursts into song.

tornado love

(Reposted from Facebook cause I like this thought and want to hang on to it.)

Had big fun at the MSI today with Amber! :D We saw the Omnimax version of Tornado Alley. It was directed by, and partly starring, longtime storm chaser Sean Casey. Dude built a homemade tank for the sole purpose of driving into the center of a tornado and filming it. One of the shots early in the movie showed him fitting the tank together and you see a wedding ring. I said afterwards, "he's married to his wife, but he's in love with the tornado."

It made me think, do I love anything the way that guy loves the tornado?

After a movie's worth of near misses and a lot of good science, the storm chasing team finally dooes it. You see a brief shot of Casey's face--helpless, weeping, but filled with a kind of awe and gratitude and pure raw love that you can't fake. Like a storm, that kind of love can rip through a life and devastate it in an instant; it can gather passionate people together and send them out racing in the rain hoping to catch a glimpse of it, hoping to brush up against it.

For me, getting to see someone have an experience like that--that's my tornado. The loves we build our lives around, the dreams and passions wherein we feel a slight inkling of the kind of relentless joy God must take in his creation, must have felt to have formed it in the first place, these things fuel us and shape who we become. Your driving love in a sense is your name, the touchstone on which your being rests. Sean Casey is a storm chaser, and in the climax of that movie, he caught one.

I live to see names come true. Like a storm, I can't make it happen. But I can do good science and look for the signs and hang on through long dry seasons for the hint of a glimpse of it. It doesn't happen in a place, and it doesn't leave scars across the landscape as such. But it's getting to see in people, just for a moment, what God must have seen when he first imagined them, what they know themselves to truly be in that secret place beneath all the pettiness and worry.

How do you chase that? Where do you go to find more of it? There's no Tornado Alley for the human heart; one place, one social group, one endeavor is really as good as another. But I'm glad to have that image for it.

what it takes

So I haven't actually "spilled my guts" in this thing in awhile. It really is, and always has been, my online diary, though I did go through a phase when I wanted to gain wider readership for it. Far as I'm concerned now, that's not what a blog is for. It's where I stash that portion of my poetry and song lyrics which are not too private to keep hidden away in my notebooks at home, but a little too edgy, let's say, to post on Facebook.

Forget which movie this quote comes from, but I hear in my mind some British fellow saying "it's been a topsy fuckin weird year." That about sums it up. I still kinda have no idea where I am right now. Scratch that. I know exactly where I am--my neighborhood has become a part of my identity in a way no place ever has been before, my home in the sense that I've chosen to feel it so in addition to the fact that I reside here. But as for who I am and what I'm going to do with my life, that's still up in the air. Settling slowly like leaves in a light breeze.

Note to self: "settle groundward, slow" would be a great phrase to use in a poem.

A great sign of increased mental stability, though, is that I'm getting back both the urge and the ability to write. Not quite up to my four thousand word a day habit from former days. But Mom actually gave me a great metaphor for this yesterday. I was telling her how I'd been worried because lacking the fear motive which used to drive me towards writing, as a form of release from the internal pressure, had left me sort of adrift, hard pressed to find other sources of motivation. And she said, "If you've been driving a car 90 miles an hour in reverse and you want to go forward, first you have to come to a full and complete stop. Then you can start going forward--but at first you go slowly."

We also spoke about our family and the past in a general way. And I got to say something to her that I'd been meaning to say for awhile. Forgiveness means it's over. There were a lot of dark and scary times in our lives, but whatever happens in the future, the past will never return. Even if only because we're all different people now, tempered and matured through experience, and the things which were once unthinkably scary because there was no frame of reference for them will never be new again, never again be totally unexpected.

For a good thing to be familiar makes the joy in it deeper, richer and ever new again. For a bad thing to be familiar actually weakens its power. Even if you confront a terrible event from which there is no escape, if it's something known, something you understand, there's a place inside from which you can laugh at it. Not, of course, because it's any less terrible. Rather that even the terror of it can't eradicate you, can't take you away from yourself.

This, I think, is why I've always gone running towards the things that frighten me. To know, to have made the acquaintance, of anything in life, is to understand yourself in relation to it. And with this understanding comes the experiential boundary between self and threat source, the knowledge of just what it can and cannot take from you. Ultimately everything can be taken except the naked spark. Consciousness, soul, will--names sort of collapse into it--that part of ourselves with which we choose. But the sense in which, as I see it, we are made in God's image, is that a whole self can be built from that spark, just as in Genesis the whole universe is spawned from a single fiat, let there be. And there is is. And here I am.

Even now I have a problem with this, have trouble believing sometimes that I'm really here. I keep seeking out ways to strip myself down to it, as if to reassure myself that it's still there. Which can be as disturbing to anyone who's close to me as it is destructive to myself.

did it right

Feel like this song isn't finished. It rose in part from a dream I had, which was disturbing because it was (as I described it to a couple friends) my first-ever torture dream in which I was the perpetrator and not the victim.

The desire to wreak devastation on another person is what happens to the desire for interpersonal connection when one gives in to despair. When I believe, deep down, to the point where it's something I
know and have tested many times and proven factual, that there is a depth and flavor of understanding which other people will not or cannot give me, there is the temptation to despair. If I give in to that temptation, then I desire to hurt others as I feel I have been hurt, to force a connection that can't or won't be given voluntarily.

I'm uncertain of the song in part because it doesn't go far enough. And it needs guitar chords. And some of the rhymes feel forced.

Also I'm wrestling with my ability to feel self-generated purpose to the degree that I'm asking myself, with some irritation, why I want to bother.

[did it right] 10/6

when the eyes roll back
when the breath croaks out
when the spine goes slack
then there ain't no doubt
when the bitch can't run
when the kid don't fight

that's how you know, that's how you know
that's how you know, that's how you know
that's how you know, that's how you know
you did it right

when the vomit's dried
when the knife grinds bone
all the way inside
then you're left alone
with the heart's last beat
though you're their last sight

at least you know, at least you know
at least you know, at least you know
at least you know, at least you know
you did it right

baby please don't speak
you'll dislodge the hose
I'm the one who's weak
I know where it goes
when you understand
you will smile so bright

cause I never let you go
never let you go, never never
never let you go
cause I hold your heart so tight
never let you go, never let you go, go
no, no
that's how I know you know
that's how you know I know
that's how you know I know you know

I did it
I did it right

what is artificial?

What is natural? via Christian Taoism:
What is natural?

Anything free
of human invention.

What is nature?

Everything outside
of human intention.

All artifice is natural to us.
We sprang from flesh pressed, sweating, till it heaved:
till hers and his thrust, shuddered, let loose. Thus
are persons made, is all design conceived.
Ants march in ordered rows down broken ground,
each shouldering a mote of dust, a crumb.
Queen, servants, soldiers shelter in the mound
raised from their labors, eloquent and dumb.
So what if nature's structure's wound so tight
that schemes we build to couch it come unsprung?
Our craftsmanship's a grass-high pile of dust
riddled with tunnels never meant for light
to penetrate, nor words shaped wet on tongues.
We are. We make. We can. We will. We must.

eating out

This is a Shakespearean sonnet and also a pantoum. The sonnet contributes the meter and length, the pantoum the pattern of repeated lines in which the stanzas interweave with one another.

People who are used to keeping themselves aloof, in one way or another, over time can discover they've grown fond. And the fondness, even the comfort of growing accustomed to the comfort it brings, can be an uncertain thing that wisdom dictates one dance around. Like two people treading the spirals of a labyrinth, starting at opposite ends in opposite directions, their paths draw near together and then wind apart many times before they reach the center.

we two hands circle, meeting at the twelves,
spread from the rung round which the world revolves.
we lift the cup, pay up, indebt ourselves,
and even domesticity evolves.

spread from the rung round which the world revolves,
a wave of calm strokes down the ruffled spines.
and even domesticity evolves:
a slaughtered beast, poised succulent on tines.

a wave of calm strokes down the ruffled spines.
we sit up straight in hard­­­-backed chairs and smile.
a slaughtered beast, poised succulent on tines,
rests warm within us, cradled there awhile.

we lift the cup, pay up; indebt ourselves.
we, two hands, circle, meeting at the twelves.

destroying ontology

"We must, on the contrary, stake out the positive possibilities of that tradition [of the question of Being], and this always means keeping it within its limits [...]"

­­­­­­­­­­­~ Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, p. 44

I, relentless, name only truth addictive.
Ricochet, burst open to spill within it,
then bow down to kiss what is most restrictive:
absolute limit.

I, undone, define me in opposition.
What uproots me? This, to be sure, has touched me.
All I have submits. At the core, ignition
sparks in what must be

I, inmost, ownmost, who cannot be taken,
broken, torn away from the self which shows me
to the world, and shows me a world to wake in.
Thus my God knows me.
response to Dangerous Fear:

All I did was build
me cages, and like a rat
was always cornered.
response to Faith and Doubt

They're parentheses,
belief and disbelief, held
open like two lips.
Life is a breath that passes
through them, arrives. Falls silent.

to all trains

Holy crap, this is the blues.

Within the first couple years I started writing poetry (and my songs started to not totally suck), I noticed that it's not possible to write about something until you're outside of it. You need the perspective of time and maturation to be able to create something that totally encapsulates what you've experienced. Which means, if you can write it, REALLY write it, then it's over. In the context of this here set of lyrics that is
an incredib­ly good thing.

This exact sequence of events did not happen as such, because this process took place over the course of a little over two months. (Although the boots and hat, yes, are real, and look totally awesome on me, though not together.­) Roundabout April and May sort of time period. It was after the shockwaves from what I called "hornet's­­ nest time" (which is not possible to describe)­­ had finally died down. During the time this song describes, the part of myself it took all that nasty to dig up out of where I'd locked it away was more or less firmly seated, and began growing to the point where I could functionally express it through my consciously accessible personality.­­

The preceding paragraph is weird enough, but I'll go one step further and say this. Intentionally investing a system of symbols with the emotional force of your entire personality is not a strategy I recommend for anyone, ever. The development, alteration and application of symbolic systems­ is an area of work in which I've invested a great big chunk of my life, and­­ I still almost screwed it up completely. And even given how effective it all was, I'm embarrassed to think of how everything seemed to me ­­­­at the time. Of course it's very useful to keep an eye out to see whether you've UNintentionally invested a few symbols with part of the force of your personality­. Whether it's a few worrywart superstitions or a great big sprawling paranoid certainty, what's actually happened (if my own experience here is at all comparable) is that you've denied reality, denied existence, to a part of yourself. Which, as long as you live, will speak to you, will stand between you and the universe howling to be let back inside. And it feels terribly alien, inherently wrong, destructively desperate. Till you stop panicking and start listening.­­­­­­­­

the trash is talkin to me
what does it say
why you gotta love
what's gettin thrown away
crushed up cans of soda
b­rown orange peels
motorcycle tickets
cause somebody got wheels

got wheels, got wheels, got wheels

trudgin down the alley
late to punch in
a broken baby carriage
empty bottle of gin
I'm actin immature
and I'm addicted to news
I suck your every word
like it's a bottle of booze

of booze, of booze, of booze

when I let go
I get surprised
brand new ­­­­­­­­­­­black boots
in just my size
a rhinestone heart
a Stetson hat
"this is your song
listen to that"

the trash is talkin to me
speakin my fear
"you're absolutely worthless
you belong down here"
a bag of kitty litter
a toilet seat
"come cry here by the dumpster
wallow in your defeat

defeat, defeat, defeat"

­­­­­­keep on across the river
the Loop in the night
inside my skin I carry
everything that I fight
my heart is like a dry mouth
covered in tape
the truth I want to speak
it has no way to escape

escape, escape, escape

I peel it back
release the sound
I lift my eyes
up from the ground
above the gate
my love, my name
three little words read

there's rails that run forever
I hope that you know
all God's children
have got someplace to go­­­
whatever words you're usin
you listen, you learn
for everything you're losin
something good will return

return, return, return

love, weaponized

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it as one."
Don't know who first said that.
Thank God, though, even something that
can be used as a weapon doesn't have to be.

The act of observation alters things;
Attention moves what can't be told or shown.
No wretched shame or agony can bring
More horror than the gaping deep unknown.
And so I love, for what we love, we know
More intimately than what we despise.
I will descend, and gaze up from below
What answers to no weapon but my eyes.
As stone wears smooth and spattered vomit dries,
As spasmed lungs draw down hot reek, wet chill,
I wrap my gaze, my lips, my hands, my thighs
Around what I cannot escape. I will
Remain, remember, love, accept, until
terror itself breaks, and I've had my fill.


Divide and conquer: invert and multiply.

one grows, acquainted with the slow, dull ache
that holds, like woven fingers tightly clasped
around a word there is no breath to gasp
nor room between to loose the sound it makes.
there, twisted in, pressed by hot skin on skin,
the shape of things takes on the smallest groove.
with neither space to alter nor improve,
there is no foe to fight, no fight to win,
but only crooked fingers reaching in
and in and in to touch, until they pinch
that last raw nerve, which stretched but never broke.
then pain at last flares bright, and there begins
destruction, change, some fraction of an inch
through which dead years leak like a puff of smoke.

"...remember your hippopotamus oath!"

Here's the full text, the ancient and the modern side by side.

One of the little quips I have about myself is that I'm a hospital.

But I'm not the doctor. I just make room, I make a room and if somebody shows up needing to be healed, all I do is make a place where it can happen, then get out of the way while the real Doctor shows up and does the impossible. Even for me.

A "room" can be anything: any form, from a poetic stanza to the shape of a conversation to a moment pooled out of a season of time. Christ said, "in my Father's house there are many rooms," but heaven isn't a building made of steel and brick. It's the place where the war is over, and everybody won. My favorite definition of magic is still Gareth Knight's, "the creation of forms for spiritual forces to indwell." There's one spiritual force who trumps all others, one name through which all other names may be drawn and the poison purged out of them. I don't have to quarantine myself away from my own life anymore because there's not a fountain of plague at the center of my soul.

It doesn't make sense and I can't explain it, but it's still true. I'm free. And the best way to celebrate that is to seize every opportunity to pass it on.

"WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.

WHATEVER IN CONNECTION with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

WHILE I CONTINUE to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse by my lot."

she learns to keep a secret

This is my first-ever Petrarchan sonnet. I highly recommend The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, edited by Phillis Levin. She's an amazing scholar and helped me understand the expressive power of the different ways a sonnet can be composed.

I'd always thought of the Shakespearean sonnet as "three points and a prayer", like a sermon. Its three quatrains contain three ideas, couched in a pattern of alternating rhymes, with the couplet at the end providing a summary:

The Petrarchan sonnet is actually an older version of the form. There are two stanzas in envelope rhyme followed by six lines in a rotating pattern:

The shift in tempo between them also marks a change in perspective within the contents of the poem. This change is called the
volta, which is Italian for "turn." Even in other patterns of composition it's possible to see traces of the volta, though of course it is the most pronounced in Petrarchan sonnets. It's possible that the poet / litigators who first invented it came up with the division of eight lines followed by six as a way to represent the Golden Ratio, a mathematical concept which in ancient Greek philosophy had much to do with the universal ideal of beauty.

What I had not grasped before was why I was not really comfortable writing any type of sonnet except the Shakespearean. It just felt better to me and I couldn't say why. Levin included a quote from Paul Fussel, who described the difference succinctly:

"If the shape of the Petrarchan sonnet, with its two slightly unbalanced sections devoted to pressure and release, seems to accord with the dynamics of much emotional experience, the shape of the Shakespearean, with its smaller units and its 'commentary couplet,' seems to accord with the modes of the intellectual, analytic and even satiric operations of the human sensibility."

So there you have it. Analytical thought is my comfort zone--even in the process of creating poems, which on the surface is a highly emotional act! Some gals get comfy with themselves and learn how to feel their own feelings, and they go dance in the rain or dye their hair purple or take up windsurfing. When I want to let my hair down and really cut loose, I write a Petrarchan sonnnet.

Oh! And this relates to one of those pithy proverby things that came up in recent discussions of life issues. Togetherness is sharing for its own sake, appreciating others in their uniqueness, but sharing-togetherness is not meant to take away human loneliness. Only God can truly see always into the center of your being. Seeking the regard of other humans as a means to protect yourself from loneliness is a futile enterprise in the long run.

The real opposite of loneliness is privacy.

white fingers tighten, firm against the glass
the sand slips past them, grain by precious grain
grip till the flesh is bloodless, but refrain
from weeping. you can't reach them; they will pass
for gravity attracts all mass to mass
you, dust-mote light stick figure with a brain
excite, but cannot hope to entertain
earth's eon dance of solid, liquid, gas
and plasma, flame too ardent to contain
even within the endless curve of sun
that spilled earth molten from its fingertips
you grasp--let slip--delight in--can't explain
what God has wrought, and you yourself have done--
smile slightly. lift one finger to your lips.

construction on a door

I went downstairs to put the laundry in;
There was a hammering behind a door.
When I came back to take it out again
I glimpsed a ceiling fan, sawdust-strewn floor;
A crack of inner light spilled down the hall.
The sundered door leaned close on one-by-twos,
A frame, to build the door into a wall,
Raw yellow-gold wood neatly pierced with screws.
From elevator to washing machine,
The doors I pass, the rooms where I don't live--
Inside most of them I have never seen.
But I glimpsed into this one. Please, forgive,
Sweet resident, whose name I do not know:
My eyes beheld a place I may not go.

the feeling process

I am sick of this process of learning to feel
wherein "how can I help?" becomes "what can I steal?"
where the ties which are meant to bind lightly, to yoke
wrap their tendrils round mind and emotion, and choke
when the feeling is easy, analysis springs
like a coiled lidless serpent with stainless-steel wings
your intention's comprised of the following mess:
hope for comfort, confusion, and will to possess
yes, I know I can't see the inside of your brain
but with ten seconds' lead time I'll gladly explain
in a low impact-story just how it must feel
to be inside that vehicle, gripping the wheel
as you reel from momentum that skids through the turn
and the weight of your engine shifts under you--learn
to steer into it, darling, don't panic, don't fight
nimble, dance right across the oncoming headlights
forget all I can tell you if you can learn this
hold yourself centered, steady; keep moving--they miss
but you ache afterwards for the scrape of a crash
for the scream of the frame, for the flame and the ash
for the lines of pure force traced unseen through the air
to converge on an incident--accident--there
and to me you look like a drunk driver, spun slow
down a wide icy curve on a road you don't know
I've been lost there before, I've been stuck in that ditch
as you dig yourself deeper my cold fingers itch
to climb in through those windows, your eyes and your ears
to start stomping the pedals and shifting the gears
but you're there and I'm here and it just wouldn't work
I could name you your fear and I'd feel like a jerk
I could name you your dream and thereby make it less
just by touching it, something that's mine to express
so I tell you a story and pray you behold
shining, cupped in its structure, what cannot be told
and I ache with you, wait with you, patient as stone
when you wince away from it, you leave me alone
with the knowledge of just how to get you unstuck
while you blame friends and neighbors, God, Satan, bad luck
and you look at me, guileless, with unthinking trust
that makes my machine smile with cold rage and disgust
that now, now I've begun to be able to feel
the soft heart of a child, the precision of steel
welded, woven together, all rivets and bile
ratcheting up the back of my throat, and the vile
absolute certainty that from my mouth, my hands
all the truth could pour forth, and you would understand
but since it would be of absolutely no use
I breate on you--bleed on you--then let you go loose
the building, closing, opening of gates
the wheels that ring along rails with a chime
o, there are infinite transition states
and every one makes, manifests a time
I need a piece of paper and a pen
this metal raises lightning from the ground
and looses it, and calls it up again
to stab at night and wash the stars with sound
green land is pounded flat and wreathed in wire
yet it is life strung dancing in the coil
to iris, wondrous, empty of desire
and empty unspanned heaven on the soil
awakened--nameless, deathless, unalloyed--
to taste all things with pleasure, even void

the avalanche artist

for Myke

he's a closed-up man,
a line drawn in the sand man,
a maze of a man.

he knows the mountainside;
it's a coat he shrugs over his shoulders
the sweep of its vista from the canyon floor
each scrub pine and field mouse, goat perched
on a crag, the heft and shape
of every boulder, pebble, cliff
etched across his back

and he lifts a questing fingertip, to touch
just so
how so

and so
the avalanche that's cradled down the slope
shakes itself awake
he loves, he mourns, he cherishes
the thundering it makes

I think he hopes
I curl around my seismograph
and think he hopes

it shudders past the boles of trees
rolls crushing over burrows; dust
drenches out the sun, the switchback game trails
brushed aside like words in dirt
swept by a broad, flat hand

but when the flung shale settles into place
the traveled stones halt under their own weight
moss to the sky
there he stands, he stands, he stands, he does not break

and there he waits

to hear the still, small whisper
which will tell him why

my temptation

Think a lot of people will be able to identify with this song. One of the things I've noticed about creative works is that the more personal it is--the more a given work "has blood in it"--the more likely it is to touch something universal, something all human beings experience.
I think it's similar to the reason people like superheroes; because everyone has something inside them that's very powerful. It's got a slightly different form and means of expression for each of us. But I think we're drawn to our favorite fictional heroes, at least in part, because we hope that we'll find a way to use those aspects of ourselves for good, rather than being consumed by them.

holding it perfectly still
made it seem easy to kill
sucking the static down raw
laid over all that I saw

till I turned it to sound

walking down every street
everyone's ready to eat
insides are empty and cold
slaves as soon as we are told

where it can be found

it's not a game but it's a test
I watch you pull open your chest
put something wet into my hands
it drips until I understand

just where you are bound

no too long ago
when my spirit was colder
you weren't looking at me
but over my shoulder
don't think you can tell
that a change has been made
and it works just as well
and it makes me afraid
I may not be a gun
but my tongue is a trigger
you smile in my sights
and you only get bigger
is there no way I
can give you this perspective
you don't have to die
cause that's not my objective

so please
stick around

this is my temptation
this communication
this is my temptation
this communication

this incineration
with which I am crowned

and I'm pouring it into the ground
I'm pouring it into the ground
pouring it into the ground

doubt whispers (3/6/11)

doubt whispers like a listening audience
"this woman cannot possibly be real"
in shame miles deep, in towering arrogance
oh God, I know exactly how they feel
I'm loved so well, yet dare not let love rest
upon my fluttered lips--my teeth spread, bare
this frowning welter melting in my chest
bleeds rainbows, and chokes on the very air
click, shudder--one more flung perception strikes
the truth it sought, reverberates, taut-strung
we children weep, our fingers stuck in dikes
with names too vast to swallow on our tongues
spread empty arms, dive for the ground--we miss.
doubt whispers; something shrieks bright splendor. this.

teleologic (3/4/11)

lived-in look, that
sweater flung over a chair back
slouch, the sigh
of an unwashed mug that rolls
along a countertop
how now can I
just stop
let the trash in the can
smell itself for a change, the dust
beneath the couch drift
into motes or rodents as it will
not hold
but let
each twitching finger still.

the whether machine

all my machines are made of living flesh
and tears, and blood, and breath drawn deep and slow
my duty is to harvest, heap and thresh
but my joy is to cherish what I sow
here in the garden metal screams as leaves
fold out of armor, dripping, bright with dew
slow coiled roots roar, one wet red engine grieves
for though its tendrils bend to reach for you
each wire I cross short-circuits all the rest
each branch I stumble over splinters, sways
each touch I meant so gently rakes your chest
this bone-white bloom, this telephone who prays
is of no use if I do not connect
with those I’ve given trust, esteem, respect