Curtain

black-curtains

Curtain

Adept at withdrawal, it retreats.
How appropriate, we think,
that its body curls
with the wind’s
tug, offering
only the
slightest
resistance. Then
it returns,
bringing to mind
the habitual offender
whose discomfiture
lies in choice,
the fear
of enclosure
removed. The
forward glance.
And back again,
whispering its
edict: concede, reclaim.
Give and take. We are as one.

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“Curtain” first appeared on the blog in July 2015.

Return (El Salvador, 1983)

image

Return (El Salvador, 1983)

Two years with no word.
The stick you planted
sprouted leaves last spring,

restoring hope. We had long
thought it dead. Two leaves
and a bud. A note

scrawled on a dollar bill,
unsigned and smuggled out
by some kindly stranger.

This is not much.
We can do little
but watch the tree grow

while you count steps
and deny the walls of a room
that light never touches.

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“Return (El Salvador, 1983)” first appeared here in June 2015.

In Response to Nadia’s Misdirected Email, I State Exactly What I Am Looking For


tulip

Independence Day. July 4. Perhaps amidst our celebrating we might consider what those words mean. Freedom has become more precious to me of late.

 

In Response to Nadia’s Misdirected Email, I State Exactly What I Am Looking For

Balance. The ability to stand on one foot, on a tightrope, and juggle AR-15s,
ethics and dollar bills, while chanting the U.S. Constitution, in tongues.

Or good health.

Unweighted dreams.

A mechanism for disagreeing without needing to annihilate the opposition.

Doorways without doors, truth without fear.

A simple tulip.

One word to describe that instant between thought and pulled trigger,
intent and wish, the elevated pulse and sense of diminished space and time.

Sanctuary. Regret. Apology. Respect.

A tonic to the bitterness, a foil to the sweet.

Fitted sheets that fold. Uncommon sense.

Love in the abstract. More bacon. Smiles.

A closet that embraces everything you place in it. Everything.

The means of unfiring guns, of reversing wounds to undamaged flesh,
and rounds to their magazines, full and never used.

Self-organizing drawers. Due process.

Mothers who know only tears of joy.

One peaceful day.

Just one.

lights n sirens

This first appeared on the blog in July 2016. The poem was a response to an email asking a question intended for someone else: “What exactly are you looking for?”

The Fog (after H.D.)

Man in fog

 The Fog (after H.D.)

I am dead.
You avoid me.
I open like a shell.
You expose me with your breath.
What am I, heartless one?

This was an exercise in which I used H.D.’s poem “The Pool” as the launching point. It’s fun and occasionally illuminating to try these. “The Fog” first appeared on the blog in April 2016.

shell

 

 

 

Video of New Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith

In this P.O.P (poets on poetry) video on the Academy of American Poets’ site, Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith reads a section from her poem “My God, It’s Full of Stars,” Seamus Heaney’s “Digging,” and discusses whether poetry should address political issues.

Political Haibun

 
Political Haibun

The wind knows impermanence but does not trust it.
Dependent upon atmospheric pressure, absorption
and rotation, who can blame the wind? We, too,
lend ourselves illusions, only to barter them away.
Three miles for a beer. Seven seconds for a fresh look.
A dollar extended for every five stolen. Empathy,
but only for the wealthy. Electing liars to office,
we justify our actions with more untruths. Nothing
improves. Even the quality of lies diminishes.

yellowed grass bending

under the sun’s weight

god’s will, they say