Theology of Carrots
We hide our best
plumed by ornamental
allowing the wisdom
“Theology of Carrots” first appeared here in September 2017.
But what of this notion
of the romantic?
It rained last night.
I could smell it
before it fell,
each drop a perfect
sphere until the final
is fact, impractical but
lovely for its truth.
* * *
Initially posted here in January of 2014, the poem was published many years ago (30?) as a poetry postcard offered by the literary journal Amelia. I admit to being wrong about the shape of raindrops. But hey, they start out spherical…
Self-Portrait as Circle
Ever-bounded, I express myself in
limitation, in one-dimensional
anxiety looped around the blank
self which is not me; unfilled,
or forever open, intuiting the history
of resemblance in tree stumps,
in concentric pond ripples and
entrance wounds at the instant
of penetration. Or, closed, as
barrier to all extending beyond
my linear border, I accept this
trait, knowing that even as I
surround this empty field, the
center is never mine to hold.
* * *
“Self-Portrait as Circle” first appeared in ISACOUSTIC in October 2019. Many thanks to editor Barton Smock for his tireless efforts to promote poetry and poets.
My hands know the sadness of rock,
of unfinished lines and rough
sides tapering to sharpness.
The shape of solitude, turning.
Now the stones fall as water,
a woman lets down her hair
and laughter chokes through silence.
Into this dream I ascend.
“Hail” first appeared here in September 2016, and is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus.
All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.
On the Burden of Flowering
Even the cactus wren
to the task,
though it rarely listens
to my voice. How do clouds
blossom day to day
and leave so little
behind? The bookless shelf
begs to be filled, but instead
I watch the morning age
as the sun arcs higher.
Yesterday you said
the mint marigold
was dying. Today it
stands tall. Yellowing.
The creek’s waters flow so quickly that I make little headway in my attempt to cross. A water moccasin slips by, and my left boot takes on water. This is not real, I say. We’ve had no rain and I would not be so foolish as to do this. Asleep? Perhaps, but I’ve passed the halfway point and have no choice but to move forward. I slip and nearly pitch headfirst into the dark current. Lightning stitches the sky.
dreaming, the snake
swims against floodwaters
oh, what have I lost?
Dispatches from the Pandemic: This Old Desk
This old desk whispers hints of lives lived in separate peripheries, of unseen treasures and thoughts and deeds. Whose fountain pen scrawled love notes on the inlaid leather pullout, which daughter broke a crystal finger bowl and wept for a lost pet? What books rested behind these glass doors? What curiosities? Old pocket knives, polished stones? Spent cartridges? And in these slots? Perhaps perfume bottles and note pads. Or unanswered letters and a worn deck of playing cards. A tin box of regrets, another of joy.
Haiku and Whitman
mingling behind beveled glass
Look: my mother’s ashtray
The desk and I are slowly making our acquaintance. I pledge that I will never take its untold history for granted, that I’ll respect its presence and do my utmost to fill it with purpose, with cherished objects and the satisfaction of good work. In turn it offers me solidity, an altar at which to sit and think, to rearrange words, create lists, read, conjure fantasies, breathe. I’ve only just realized that I’ve lacked such a base since abandoning my Texas shack fifteen months ago.
frames the distant crow
Home at last!
You Say Cicada, Which Shrivels My Ears
I say cicada, the difference lurking in the middle,
like the shortest dancer in an off-Broadway musical,
or a note hidden between two reams of legal paper
in the supply room of a well-appointed dentist’s
office, where you find yourself, by accident, searching
for the exit. But think how our sap-sucking friend must
feel, a foot underground, during its final instar phase,
reversing course, leaving behind the darkness
and moist roots, burrowing up through the soil
toward light and the shrug into maturity. And after
that, squeezing through a crack in what had been
itself, emerging, soft and vulnerable, slouching to the
inevitable call. I think of ecdysis, how we, too, shed
ourselves, leaving behind remnants, old skin and
armor, and rising, on occasion, wiser, softer, more
complete. But sometimes we try to reenter those
discarded shells. My acquaintance searches through
the past for bits of himself, purchases toys – marbles,
pocket knives – stitching together a semblance of the
old comfort. He keeps, in one jar, three teeth from his
childhood, in another the exuviae of a half-dozen
scorpions. How delightful it would be, he says, to
abandon your hardened self and become someone
new. He looks to the ground. I nod, and whisper.
“You Say Cicada, Which Shrivels My Ears,” appeared in the inaugural issue of Claw & Blossom, in July 2019. The poem was originally written during the August 2016 30-30 challenge. I’m grateful to Sunshine Jansen, who sponsored the poem and provided three words to be included in the piece: instar, ecdysis, and sap-sucking. Thank you, as well, to editor C.B. Auder for accepting the poem.
A Word Bathing in Moonlight
You understand solitude,
the function of water,
how stones breathe
and the unbearable weight
of love. Give up, the voice says.
Trust only yourself.
Wrapped in light, you
turn outward. Burst forth.
“A Word Bathing in Moonlight” first appeared in Eclectica in July 2017.
“Thinking Music” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License