Prayer

 

Prayer

Death does not choose you at random.
It approaches at your pace, rumbling
downhill or floating in the air,
debris or dandelion fluff,
concealed yet evident.
Listen: a small cloud bumps another,
merging into one larger being —
can you hear its ecstasies?
All the world’s souls, gathered.

 

Palinode (salt, mask, descent)

mask

 

Palinode (salt, mask, descent)

Tracing the map to the swaying places, she rises
through the interior world, garnering peace by
syllable. Water, clouds and sand mark her ascent.
The expectation is return, renewal. My friend did not
awaken this morning, and tonight I praise her
passage with drink and song. Matter into spirit,
mountain into sky, redemption, freedom. We bathe in
light, reclaiming the liminal. Our tears evaporate,
leaving salt and untrod paths in our wake.

The paths in our wake delimit the future, but
everything falls. Which do we desire more, the grasp
or its release? That instant preceding fear defines a
yearning particular to its course, a cycle of regression
and progress: ancestors descend into human or
animal form, die, depart to the heavens, and return
anew. Distilled power, a bridge to the spirits, the
mask unshutters and conceals the conscious mind.
Opening my eyes, I release the sun.

I release the sun and observe the results. From sky
to soil, from above to below, to solidity. Spirit
acquires matter, disperses and regroups. Rain and
alluvion, flooded homes, the dark night of childish
laughter. Each to her own path, each to an end. Muting
the string, I touch the harmonic into the world, linking
civility to proportion, lowering dissonance. Everything
falls. Everything. From curve to angle, we resist and
rejoice. In this design parabola, she descends.

 

ascent

“Palinode (salt, mask, descent)” was first published in Otoliths in slightly different form.

Roast Chicken (recording)

roast-chicken

Another attempt at recording. “Roast Chicken” was first published in Kindle Magazine in December 2015, and also appeared in Gossamer: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry. 

 

Roast Chicken

Contemplating the afterlife of birds,
I empty the carcass. My wife
offers rosemary sprigs,

which I stuff into the cavity
with whole garlic cloves
and seared lemon halves,

and then I compact it by tucking
the wings under and pushing
one leg through a slit in the other,

lessening the surface. One might
debate the shape of a bird’s
soul, the sanctity of structure

and limitation, of ritual and
the weight of fire’s gifts in
human brain development,

but trussing is essential
to the goal of proper
temperature attainment.

I pat it dry, sprinkle kosher salt
on the skin, put it in the oven,
set the timer for an hour, pour wine.

Following custom, we eat
without saying grace.
Piece by tender piece, it descends.

Day Twenty-six, Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, August 2016

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My poem “It was 10 A.M. When the Angel Said You Have to Go Now” is among today’s offerings of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project (9 poets have agreed to write 30 poems apiece in 30 days, to raise funds for Tupelo Press, a non-profit literary publisher). I am grateful to D. Ellis Phelps, alum of the 30/30 project, for sponsoring this title on her birthday. Happy Birthday, D!

It was 10 A.M. When the Angel Said You Have to Go Now

Forgive me for seeking clarity, but do you have a specific
destination in mind, or are you saying, with a little less
force, get lost, go away, I’m done with you, or might you
merely be suggesting that I go forth? And what exactly is…

Click here to see the rest of the poem.

Tomorrow’s poem, “As the Gravy Flows” was sponsored by Lady Phoenix.

THERE ARE STILL OPENINGS FOR SEPTEMBER’S 30/30 CHALLENGE! If you’ve considered participating but have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. There are rewards beyond producing thirty poems a day…

No more title sponsorships remain, but I could squeeze in one more 3-word sponsorship.

The  sponsored poems have been a blast to write; the titles and 3-words have led me to poems I’d not otherwise have conceived. Thank you all for helping make this such an enjoyable month.

If you still want to donate, other opportunities remain:

For a $15 donation, I’ll send you a signed copy of one of my 30-30 poems. Your choice!

If you need something to read, Think Dink! A $30 donation will get you my 2015 chapbook If Your Matter Could Reform, Barton Smock’s Infant Cinema, Jamie Hunyor’s A New Sea, and Tim Kahl’s full length work, The String of Islands, thanks to the generosity of Dink Press founder and editor Kristopher Taylor!  I hear that Kristopher Taylor is providing a little something extra with the collection. You can read about it here, thanks to Ken at RIVRVLOGR.

For information on sponsorships (and my other incentives), click here.

Thank you for supporting poetry! Only 5 poems to go!

 

Scarecrow Questions

scarecrow

Scarecrow Questions

Though my tongue withers from disuse and
drought, I taste from across the sea astringent
smoke and the progeny of a hundred bullets
buzzing by like misguided insects through
the theater of the dying, and I question how
pride and greed, hubris and fear, unwind their
cords to detonate these differing yet tangled
lines. How to fathom such depth of mistrust?
The Christian paints her door frames azure, a
Muslim carpets his tile floor, the Jew panels his
walls, yet among each, various segments clash,
and all of their houses implode. I feel nothing,
yet shiver throughout the sun-blazed afternoon.
Then I consider the structure of zero, whether its
body contains or extracts, negates or compromises,
hollows out duplicates within duplicates, exorcising
with a blade so sharp as to peel away memory from
those it crosses without the faintest murmur. Gone.
Erased. Banished to never having been. I neither
breathe nor digest, but I absorb and recall. How do
you so willingly forget history? This post determines
my destination, but not my destiny, not tomorrow’s
promise, nor the returning birds and faith, the long
nights, their stars, their deaths, the following days.

Eifel