We are the Light

“It’s up to poets to revive the gods.”

                        —-Jim Harrison

There are no more gods

to conjure our hope

against this darkness,

no soft rituals

filled with smoke and fire

to sate writhing snakes.

We must shape the dark

to find ourselves

a space to live,

protected from rain

and heat, a space

to sleep and be reborn.

We alone must be

the wood and spark.

(August 29,2019)

Teaching

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I’m not sure I do much,

but open doors, set up chairs,

provide a place to read,

talk, write; which is enough

and yet, is not enough

to beat back the belligerence

barking like a spittle-flecked

beast. I can’t save them

from what is to come,

nor always be there to speak

amiably into their distress,

and voiceless traumas.

But there is this room,

an open door, and a chair.

 

(March 27, 2018)

Ways of Knowing

“the outline of what he learns”
            –Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet
Hierarchical needs
Create stone stacks
To a non-existent god.
Doubt displaces belief,
I believe. Love needs
No proof to know.
Not only the clear
Path lays the way
Through a dark wood.
Side steps by tangles
Allow departures past
Shapes only alluded.
I hold the dark
Cognizant itself
Of more than I am.
(August 29, 2017)

the need to be alone

Each moment bears in its fragility
the omnipresent weight of all my wounds,
as if they were only feathers adrift
after a sole shotgun blast silences
the crisp air in a sudden gasp of fear.
Desire for silence propels me to gloom,
for few will tolerate such dark despair.
They wander off embarrassed to intrude
further than any wish to be allowed,
leaving me far from any distant crowd.
Solitude allows the mind to wander
away from life’s niggling inconsequence
and the dark voice’s articulate doubts;
allows the rage and fear to fall away,
leaving love like light to a new day’s dawn.
(August 29, 2015)

Map

“It took dominion everywhere.”
            –Wallace Stevens
why do we pretend
our moves determine
so much as to what
we allow ourselves to see
like the harried tourist
stopping along the way
to gather the view
into something known
something  manageable
something easily folded
into a pocket and lost
the wilderness flows
without our definitions
of control or of what
we want the wilderness
to be for us but beyond
beyond the tight margins
on our inscribed maps
beyond dream’s awareness
beyond what we pretend
to grasp in translation
stuttering each to each
(October 20, 2014)

rhetorical questions

Is it simply naïve
to assume your answer
is in play at all time,
or that the question
involves you at all?
Do you see a line –
a place to cross,
like a roadside memorial
of a brutal death
casually caused,
yet purposely desired?
Where do you place the rose,
pour the wine on the ground,
shed whatever tear you have?
Does a monument manifest
a space around itself
like a finger lightly
touching the water’s surface?
(July 19, 2014)

an umbrella opens a space in the rain

Our souls’ tendrils long
across narrative fragments
arbitrarily held up as one,
lacework traces to veil a chaos;
the folds, vaguely demarked
like sheers breathing into a room,
resonate a stillness like rain
within the day’s tectonic fractures:
sense abstracted into a reduction,
momentary and illusive like air.
(July 7, 2014)