Too Many Conversations to Slough Off

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After the teacher conference

spent listening to others

speak of techniques

to hold their students

locked around an idea

of reading and writing

with little actual reading

or writing of consequence,

 

I am reminded of a Greek

statue of a wrestler,

who stands silent

scraping sweat and

filth from his arm,

his day done.

 

(November 11, 2018)

Perpetual Reinterpretation Machine

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It is familiar enough

to be familiar, but no

more: a scratch in the dark

which stops when you stop

to listen to what you think

is a sound somewhere nearby,

but it’s just you thinking

in the silence to the dark.

It’s absence breathes heavily

as if aroused with metaphor

still clinging to its half-formed kiss.

It waits on memory to form

a shape which conforms to desire’s

simple reduction to a truth.

 

(August 17, 2018)

 

 

 

No One Watches the Train Fall from the Broken Bridge

 

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His problem has nothing to do with the train which travels steadily through the night. Everyone is content, if not happy, on the train, reading opinions they already agree with, drinking champagne, eating delicacies imported from foreign countries. They pretend they do not like the food, but wish they could eat as well at home.  All of the people on the train are facing the same direction, which gives them all a strange comfort.  A few of them look out the windows, but it is too dark to see the trees in the forest. It all follows along so logically, like a math problem in high school where rats scuttle east over well-polished wing-tips at a variable rate of three feet per second. They stop randomly to nibble on discarded bread crumbs dropped with nonchalance by the passengers on the train. Meanwhile the train travels south at a consistent seventy-three miles per hour directly toward the crumbled bridge which once traversed a chasm one thousand feet deep and a mile wide. There is no question at the end that one must answer. However, there is an answer; there is always an answer. No one watches the train fall from the broken bridge. No one hears the explosions as it crashes into the rocks below, or the last cries for help of those who are momentarily still alive.  On a trail nearby the train tracks, a monk moves through the dark as if he has been here before, thinking vaguely of other things. He pauses, peers into the dark, then wanders off along his way. The monk’s tangentially wandering mind is not enough to mark the train’s passing beyond the silence which lingers in the mountains for several hours after the sun has risen again.

 

(July 6, 2018)

Macbeth had Scorpions in His Mind

 

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Me, I’m much more mundane:

just piles of clutter collected over

meandering decades: associations

misconstrued; memories cast,

broken, reconfigured again

and then again into iteration

after iteration, before scattered

about the place so willy-nilly

one can barely move without

stumbling, causing stacks to collapse

onto stacks, shifting the only path

throughout this maze as if there

were ever one way to go,

as I was about to find out.

 

(June 21, 2018)

Circle Maze

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“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

–Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

Emerson once wrote

that the first circle

is that of the eye.

My self fleshed in words

falls in a circle

that binds me to god.

My world’s in my voice

which whispers close by.

The first circle sees

these limitations

inscribed in thin lines

along the edges

of my fragile skin.

The weight of my words

holds me to the ground

where the air grows thick.

No fairy circles

exist to conjure

magic from a dance

only a few know.

I know my own dance;

each step a new world,

each thought adds new flesh

to my empty bones:

my thoughts embodied

in the day’s motion.

I wander slowly,

head bound in prayer,

obsessively lost

in the ancient turns

one must take each day

to gather the strands

that were left behind

by all the others

who tried to escape.

 

(June 14, 2018)

 

 

Minnows

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Metaphor turns all

to itself. I am no more

the subject, than I

am the object. Like Delphic

seers speak god’s voice,

the poem moves through me—

changing itself like air

moving slowly across grass.

 

As a child I’d dangle

my feet in Clark’s creek.

Minnows nibbled my toes

cautiously; I’d sit still

as god listening to prayers

happy in my boredom.

 

(June 6, 2018)