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Chromosome Damage

(a post-modern renga)

(draft 1–this is the complete 46 stanzas, I will remove the numbers (syllable counts) when I finalize the whole. I am looking for comments

(23)

Lights break auras

As night deepens

The rain. The solstice

Grows closer through the dark;

Grim days shorten.

(28)

Half-way back

To summer’s long heat—

In afternoon hours,

It hurts to step

Outside as if someone

Near waits with knives.

(14)

Patient enough now

To watch all this unfold

Into spring.

(40)

Outside, another cold day:

Most of the leaves have fallen

From the sycamore outback;

Its white bark stands in contrast

To the stark grey sky. Beauty

Lives with our view.

(43)

Nietzsche said, among other things,

We experience only ourselves—

Even when I shift toward you,

It remains me who must see

The shadow which falls starkly

Between us on the floor.

(36)

If no one hears the Eliot allusion,

Does it make a sound?

Or should one pretend

A studied nonchalance

To carry one through the late afternoon?

(39)

Thus, an old ritual snickers

To a close, the porch lights

Turned on, the curtains

Drawn. I feel safe,

Less exposed, contained

With the pattern—

A spider moves toward motion.

(34)

We’ve woven our disparate dreams,

And become subsumed beneath the totality

Like ocean waves rolling upon themselves

Far from shore.

(28)

My anger sits at a distance,

It does not go away—

It whispers discontent

Like whip’s end striking wet flesh.

(41)

Ubiquitous as fear,

The air tightens

Without provocation.

Yet, still we sing,

Sing our song,

As if redemption

Can be gathered

Like bags of wet cotton

Blotched with blood.

(23)

I caught my breath,

And did not speak.

Is writing equivalent

To speech? I loved you,

In silence.

(42)

Self-doubt’s constant

Caterwauling echoes,

Like now— I mock

Attempts to quiet:

Hush, hush

Little baby hush—

All these scorpions

Are your own, each

Tail-strike skitters

Across skin.

(11)

Memory circles back to savage the corpse.

(42)

If only the dead would remain with the dead;

The past cannot so easily be revised—

I know what I desire to have happened;

Yet a mirror cannot be unbroken.

(12)

I can only see what

I think it is I see.

(4)

A lens warps light.

(38)

We are woven through our day

Despite our proclivities

Or desires. A thread’s easy

Enough to trace in retrospect

As being a part to a whole.

(31)

And here I am

Beneath a December moon

Waxing its way

Across a gray night.

Fate, or circumstance,

Is of no consequence.

(36)

He touches his forehead

To the damp ground

In a patterned response

To appease God’s chaos.

Here things are quiet;

Here one pretends

There is this center.

(6)

She waits, then dons her mask.

(7)

He scurries beneath the rain.

(41)

The sideways shift and snip

Clatters across the sand.

It’s easier to move out of the way—

Trouble passes, one remains

To proceed with plodding step

Along one’s path.

(3)

Time’s slow arc

(34)

All the variables led here

As inevitable as this morning’s

Sun striking the sycamore’s white

Bark; no god laughs as our choices.

(14)

A left, a right, a yes, a no:

Life’s crushed to binary.

(16)

I close an eye

To see the obvious

Connection: the moment.

(15)

I stumble step across a bridge

Swinging above a crevasse.

(21)

No saints guide us home,

Nor care how far we fall.

The emptiness opens

Like an aura.

(43)

This morning everyone sleeps in

As fog drifts between the trees

Near the creek and the gray sky.

The last brown leaf has fallen

From the sycamore; the solstice

Passed under a full moon.

(30)

Dusk and dawn, progressive

And simultaneous, flow through

The landscape. Yet, we think

Our futile actions have consequence.

(3)

I’m a lens.

(19)

Like you,

Light bends

Along each wave’s edge

Into separate

And singular parts.

(36)

I live on the periphery

Whispering songs

To the dry wind–

No bold flights 

Of choirs or timpani rolls

To assuage the silence

Which surrounds me.

(15)

Edges, like borders,

Allow difference

A false consequence.

(5)

Mirrors are echoes.

(26)

Like Narcissus,

I see only

What I want

To see; like

A song wedged

In my ear,

A flower grows

Nearby.

(35)

Another flower flowers

As if it were made for you

Each flower flowers

From bud to petal fall

The flower flowers

With or without you

(35)

In action, the noun is

Verb without separation.

The sentence inscribed

In bone, slippery as blood

Along a knife’s edge,

Leaks into our veins.

(34)

The sun moves and spins;

The earth spins and rocks;

The galaxy twirls along

Its own circuitous dance.

Nothing stops. I am tired,

And wish to rest.

(45)

The creek behind our house has risen

As the rain has been unrelenting

For the last few days. Work begins

Again tomorrow; over time I’ve grown

Accustomed to the pervasive fear.

(36)

Each day leads to another;

As do such platitudes; thus

We humbly don our daily masks

As those we meet present their own,

Forever and ever.

(12)

Rituals bring comfort,

Like an old dog its bone.

(16)

I keep revising the past—

Hoping for a new denouement.

(32)

She unfolds the origami crane

Next to his bed, but does not

Write the note. Oblivious,

He cannot erase what is not there.

(40)

We make only one choice.

Possibility’s extant only

In possibility. The first

Motion’s desire, which

Collapses upon itself

Continually.

(1)

Choose

Featured

Chromosome Damage (work in progress, part 3)

(41)

The sideways shift and snip

Clatters across the sand.

It’s easier to move out of the way—

Trouble passes, one remains

To proceed with plodding step

Along one’s path.

(3)

Time’s slow arc

(34)

All the variables led here

As inevitable as this morning’s

Sun striking the sycamore’s white

Bark; no god laughs as our choices.

(14)

A left, a right, a yes, a no:

Life’s crushed to binary.

(16)

I close an eye

To see the obvious

Connection: the moment.

(15)

I stumble step across a bridge

Swinging above a crevasse.

(21)

No saints guide us home,

Nor care how far we fall.

The emptiness opens

Like an aura.

(43)

This morning everyone sleeps in

As fog drifts between the trees

Near the creek and the gray sky.

The last brown leaf has fallen

From the sycamore; the solstice

Passed under a full moon.

(30)

Dusk and dawn, progressive

And simultaneous, flow through

The landscape. Yet, we think

Our futile actions have consequence.

(19)

Like you,

Light bends

Along each wave’s edge

Into separate

And singular parts.

Featured

Chromosome Damage (continued)

(Work in Progress)

(23)

I caught my breath,

And did not speak.

Is writing equivalent

To speech? I loved you,

In silence.

(42)

Self-doubt’s constant

Caterwauling echoes,

Like now— I mock

Attempts to quiet:

Hush, hush

Little baby hush—

All these scorpions

Are your own, each

Tail-strike skitters

Across skin.

(11)

Memory circles back to savage the corpse.

(42)

If only the dead would remain with the dead;

The past cannot so easily be revised—

I know what I desire to have happened;

Yet a mirror cannot be unbroken.

(12)

I can only see what

I think it is I see.

(4)

A lens warps light.

(38)

We are woven through our day

Despite our proclivities

Or desires. A thread’s easy

Enough to trace in retrospect

As being a part to a whole.

(31)

And here I am

Beneath a December moon

Waxing its way

Across a gray night.

Fate, or circumstance,

Is of no consequence.

(36)

He touches his forehead

To the damp ground

In a patterned response

To appease God’s chaos.

Here things are quiet;

Here one pretends

There is this center.

(6)

She waits, then dons her mask.

(7)

He scurries beneath the rain.

Featured

Chromosome Damage

(in progress)

DNA string against black with clipping path

(23)

Lights break auras

As night deepens

The rain. The solstice

Grows closer through the dark;

Grim days shorten.

(28)

Half-way back

To summer’s long heat—

In afternoon hours,

It hurts to step

Outside as if someone

Near waits with knives.

(14)

Patient enough now

To watch all this unfold

Into spring.

(40)

Outside, another cold day:

Most of the leaves have fallen

From the sycamore outback;

Its white bark stands in contrast

To the stark grey sky. Beauty

Lives with our view.

(43)

Nietzsche said, among other things,

We experience only ourselves—

Even when I shift toward you,

It remains me who must see

The shadow which falls starkly

Between us on the floor.

(36)

If no one hears the Eliot allusion,

Does it make a sound?

Or should one pretend

A studied nonchalance

To carry one through the late afternoon?

(39)

Thus, an old ritual snickers

To a close, the porch lights

Turned on, the curtains

Drawn. I feel safe,

Less exposed, contained

With the pattern—

A spider moves toward motion.

(34)

We’ve woven our disparate dreams,

And become subsumed beneath the totality

Like ocean waves rolling upon themselves

Far from shore.

(28)

My anger sits at a distance,

It does not go away—

It whispers discontent

Like whip’s end striking wet flesh.

(41)

Ubiquitous as fear,

The air tightens

Without provocation.

Yet, still we sing,

Sing our song,

As if redemption

Can be gathered

Like bags of wet cotton

Blotched with blood.

All Fall Down


01

            Four haiku with a tanka couplet

 

 

The last bits of blood

And flesh licked clean long ago

By a parched dead tongue;

 

The dry wind scatters

Sand across the blasted sky.

No one sees the bones.

 

What are words, but dust?

An unwritten love letter waits

On lovers to wake.

 

The bed’s rumpled sheets

Lie tangled across the floor,

Seaweed on the beach.

 

Unrelenting heat pulses

Well after the setting sun.

 

(November 5, 2017)

meaning’s origin

a leaf on the water
is a leaf on the water
he reaches through his reflection
for a leaf at the bottom
of a puddle
what one values
determines its worth
in his notebook
an old man finds a flower
she gave him years ago
the past holds regret
the present’s perfect
he hears Dr. Williams sigh
like rain water glazed
across his memory
a last aspirated gasp
rose like a dove falling
death slips quickly
into place alive
then not like that
each day the pattern persists
yet still we act surprised
lost in thought
during his long commute
he suddenly arrives home
the sun rises the sun sets
noticed or unnoticed
he bundles up
as the temperature drops
a mockingbird sings nearby
“You don’t know what you’re missing now
any little song that you know”
–Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, The Song Remains the Same
(January 6, 2017)

Cross Pollination


“Collaborate with the moment.”
–Lyn Hejinian
Summer’s heat’s outside
I wait lost inside my books
time patterns the walls
turn along a labyrinth
everything seems so simple
a leaf turns yellow
then falls obliquely to earth
inconsequential
as I age I disappear
a slow fade into grey dust
on her car he drew
dusty hearts she wouldn’t see
then drove home alone
much goes unseen and unheard
oblique gestures in the dark
he held his hand out
unbidden and undesired
if noticed at all
along a vague edge it lurks
shadows enwrap the shadows
a heart darkly marred
provides a darker tattoo
a hard-blued rhythm
veins like sun-baked cracks in mud
trace patterns within my flesh
dried rivers and roads
no longer pull us along
we’re alone and lost
as if another state could
exist where I had a clue
to think divergent
instead of a precise line
is praised yet despised
all the boxes in a row
we only reap what we sow
the dust rose higher
obliterating the earth
smothering the sky
our history laughs quietly
the obvious slaps us down
the ubiquitous
surrounds us like the night air
breathe and disappear
today I wish to vanish
take the interstate and drive
got to pay the bills
I’m too much like my father
self-abnegation
even now his anger burns
a cauterized part of me
thick scars from old wounds
split and crack like winter’s ice
blood flows into earth
as summer’s heat ends
the trees finally relent
leaves drop to the ground
I’m even too tired to weep
my age wears me down
not so much stamina’s lack
as that of resilience
to maintain my shape
requires me to be alone
darkness blurs edges
an amoeba flows slowly
silently devouring
silence speaks as well
all he said was unfinished
she only misunderstood
within conversation’s flow
there’s not room for impatience
see where I stand now
opens up a newer world
both for me and you
a mirror or a close friend
reflects and distorts us all
I once was certain
in all my fixed opinions
I am still the same
my clichés clot every word
I speak my aneurism
I move into fall
a cold dotage I now rue
so many lost paths
implication of a choice
all delusions are heartfelt
he wanders alone
each step divides another
as if he were one
the leaves have floated away
squirrels scurry about in fear

(September 17, 2015)