Poetry - July, 2008

Poetry

As I sleep

Turning as I sleep, I take
Across my eyes the silent words
Sung by our old sun’s golden birds—
They hope I will awake.

Learning, I have longed to shake
An apple from the sacred tree
That sings sleep into unity—
Before my true day-break:

Yearning, at the end, to make
My entrance in a gown of light
Woven of day, woven of night—
Hearing, at last, “Awake!”



Poetry

The question

          Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
                                                                                           John 6:68

Never the I-dare-you gauntlet in his sack,
Full as it was with fishhooks and the like,
A whittled bird—industry of Nazareth,
A cowl his mother wove;

And when he looked at twelve men lingering,
Some women, too—intrepid girls
Whom others labeled bold,

Where boldness grew transparent.

As I was saying, when he looked . . . he thought,
How numbered, wayward, pitiful,
Their feet, caked from their trekking back and forth,
Poolside to shade, where he would speak

Of busheled lamps and fig trees.
Should he demand excess, when all the rest
Had shuffled back to portals and to sleep?
And, if he did, how many—if any—would say, yes?

John’s mother would be horrified, of course,
So young, and he had mesmerized her baby. Would
Golgotha go quicker by his side? And what
Of Peter’s wife: another net suspended.

The sun basted the hillocks purple-green;
The men shifted their feet, the women pulled
Blue cotton, hid their hair—Now what?
And so—at odds, the flesh of his heart hefting his

Love, he looked at each and asked, full knowing
They had nowhere, not any where, to go.















Poetry

The mind's eye

Could be the sun, if it ever was.
                                                          Darkening sky, darker shapes
not shadows but clouds
                                           shapes only you can see—
smoke from a fire,
                                 that dream about your mother.

Could be the thing at the back of your eye
                                                                            upside down
until the brain turns it around—

trees walking on their leaves,
                                                      wearing their roots like hair.

Could be the thought you forgot
                                                            then remembered later
after everyone had gone.

In the daytime it’d be different.
                                                       Everything white and fluffy.
The sky blue.

Still the half-formed shape, the real beneath.













Poetry

If, then

A wave in the water. The word
              opens, shape for knowing
                            at edges, darker fields, trouble:
a wave in the water. The word
                            waits long to shatter on silence,
                             prove, prove that falling is
a wave. In the water, the word
              opens, shape for knowing.
Poetry

My father and the dark

Ten inches of snow this week,
gradual, over four days,
so that we didn’t realize

until we tried to walk
the tow path along the canal
how deep it was,

and I think again how quickly
this first trimester’s gone
a season already, reaching

around to rub her round belly,
its waters stirred this month
by tiny fingers and toes,

knowing our baby
has earlobes now, and genitals,
hearing again the racing

heart in the doctor’s office,
wishing my father, who sat up
at night like this to smoke,

could be here,
so that I could show him
how I sing into the belly

when she lies back down,
and could ask him
about the dark and its lack of answers,

dark he slumped in for years
with his beer and news radio,
dark he drove to work in

and came home in,
lived on those last few months
through tubes and drugs,

dark he lives in now,
or does not,
dark our baby swims from tonight,

in the waters where time begins,
adding cells and muscle and bone
all the hard way to our lives.