Saturday, March 27, 2010

While Flying Home

I am in an airplane among many distinct people, all coming from separate starting places, having, by record, no formal connection, when the experience begins:

I feel a warmth enter my body - an intense kiss of pleasure – not mine to keep but like lips full and present - I turn my palms over to inspect my fingers, their tendons and veins, their etched skin. I have an instance where I cherish them.

Instead of retreating I grow quieter - I hear a voice, mine, telling me that though not myself I am still intact- I open as the plane tilts and a low ray of sun pierces the west-facing windows, filling the cabin with west, west, west. Quieter still, I acknowledge that light is reaching out from the core of my body – I want to request a witness to see me and help me understand.

I am calm, still, harmless to self and others. Children and adults continue as before.

I deduce that I have had a private experience, a brief collapse of boundary where I may have sweated and appeared odd to others observing. No one is observing!

I feel urgent in my need to talk to someone, to put into words what I have seen and felt - To my right, a young man presses his call button.

Drinks will arrive in a minute or two.

March 26, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sorting You Out

Notes, letters, scraps, two pictures, your house keys. I have arranged your things at my feet, in piles. We collected most of what we were able to sort out, and then applied the process creating a plot, establishing order from the stumbling heaps.

I lay pieces out on the wooden floor of the old house, sorting them into beginning, middle, end. This big room was quiet now- No distractions to prevent me from hearing a bit of what you once said:

Why do people keep silent about the kinder and nobler things they witness? Why is it only the hard biting story that gets shared?

You spat at the stupidity of waiting until afterward to give voice to that heart-glittering bauble tucked beneath the pile of off-cast debris. You told me that we are all misfits, cast-offs, hippies, and rednecks. Moths circling our own flames. But we are gems, too. All of us.

Your sermon: Lift the man up while he can still hear you. Do what you can blunt the edge. That was your gift -to redirect careening steps and set drifters right. Each day amounted to a succession of made-up initiatives. Don't force it. Let it be what it is. That's all.

How I want your voice to speak to me now as I pick up your pieces.

March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Firefly Spell

When we got to a clearing - beyond the point where we'd left the highway- you tugged my elbow and whispered “look”-I lifted my head looking up to a near absolute blackness.

Then I saw the fireflies. Fast spirals in and out of sight- I watched them tuck into the silence of trees to return, spin, tumble and increase. Tens became thousand – I could not count them.

A second time you whispered- "Breathe" I exhaled and let my feet root to wet earth and my eyes expand to blue-white sparks that came close enough to touch-

I can't say why but I grew anxious and you took my hand, asked me to give it just a moment longer, to open up just a little bit more – Then I felt a release-

A succession of slips, phosphorous ghost glows twisted from within my skull and out through both eyes. memory and lies, bits of laughter chains of events and voices of long dead friends, all gone and out!

Then your third whisper lifted me up, held me suspended, and brought me back down to your side. How long had we been here? And what issued from me into this night's wet blackness. . .

Your silence told me that now was no time for talking. Not just now.

March 13, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Exploding in Silence

First an image of the opposite
Of the Buddhist’s hungry ghost
A full-bellied prisoner who instead of begging for more
Must expel, exhale, exude, reach
A spirit full, not empty, with infinite juice –

Then the second -a diver
And his descending in an arc from a cliff -
Toes pointed, arms extended to grab clouds
And in this image I find even a vulture who circles
Waiting for the diver’s next move. .

I am tossed to a memory –
three years of fighting with someone I loved.
We can’t speak now and can’t touch
And I am my only witness to the fact
That I will not forget.

I feel these rushes - body medicine
Coming on strong and in waves.
No one to talk to
Since the calibration is off
And what would people say?

How can I help you?
What else can you tell me?
Are you still seeing a counselor?
I would guess it to be like bleeding out
In front of bound and gagged witnesses.

Then comes the third image - rush of salt water
Shooting through my body and out my pores.
To the no one watching I want to say
There is nothing you can do but stand back. . .
I really can’t explain.

In all of this rush I know
That the explosion happens on the inside
And the outside remains still.
Passers by see nothing and maybe feel less.
Maybe it’s not happening at all.

And what of the accidental empath
Who happens by in this moment,
A misplaced intuitive
Who stands within range
Of the explosion and its subsiding?

Then silence returns.
I see my atoms returning and re-integrating.
The expanding and incendiary starfish contracting.
Body intact and the eyes glassy.
Crosswalk says go and I cross to the other side.

March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Truth or Dare Tree

In the tree you and I grew from seed, leaves trembled in spring-shifting sky- took in the late day sunlight and shown in black mirror quiet of the cold pond there just beyond the fence.

There the property line met with an open pasture of ranch land. That’s where you and I met to play a child’s game of truth or dare, where I stepped out of my knee-worn blue jeans and the red diamonds of my shorts and you pulled off your thin T-shirt.

In my memory now I see that we were more than skin naked, untouched, both actors and witnesses in a turn of seasons that moved through our bodies, shaking us as it shook the leaves.

I can’t speak to what came between that time and now, but when I returned to the land where we once played, I could feel our old language in my body -far away, hard to hear, lifting the way birds depart when winter closes in.

On our tree, someone who came after us had carved in the trunk, and on the hills where the ranch had been, tractors guarded hilltops in the dusk, silent, claws high.
Wind ripped through empty branches. I asked what would happen if I saw you now where we had once stood.

When I came back to the land for the third time, at the point of sale, I took a barefoot walk on baked and broken soil. Water had left this patch of land but I stood in the dirt and gave permission to myself to invite old spirits to seep in through my feet, to rise into my arms and legs.

I stopped, looked down, saw seeds seeking to sprout, dozens there at my feet, amber and brown, tiny, expectant, still capable. Picking up a fistful, I shoved them in my pocket. Then it was time. I turned to go.

Our place was at my back. Old branches and roots now left to take their own course. That's how I had to leave it.

March 6, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010


They called the meal a celebration!
A lunch for 500 friends and tag-alongs.
Several women who had outlived the man
Had come to arrange pictures among the flowers
All of us could see who he had been as we walked by.
On a slide show over the stage they flashed pictures –
One in particular of him stripped to the waist
Brown skinned, lean,
Khakis looped to his small hips
By a brown belt pulled to its last notch -

Two men stood to talk of him:

Still flickering memories from decades before-
When the first man spoke
He wove together the patches
Of himself and his best buddies,
Bonded by nicknames but now separated
In the afterword that death brings -
Recounted when they rode bikes by the river,
The river that flowed in its banks
Before they built look-alike houses
And dead-earth levees -

Then the second man stood
To finish the first man's story -
Of how that night they rode together
To deliver a letter to a brown-eyed, black-haired girl,
The letter was the impatient scrawl of true love,
Testifying to the everlasting and the forever-
And before this old friend stepped down
He managed to take his story all the way to the end,
To his last days when Gordy rocked in his chair
Eyes wide open in tired sockets –

That ending looked nothing like the beginning
When a younger man kept his hair combed
And wore blue v-necks
And kept his teeth white -
First broad jumper, then tired ancient,
To dust and a shrinking circle of friends -
Who brought him back in words,
Who kept their eyes open,
To could hear him, see him, smell him -
Kiss his wrinkled cheek.

Just this once, stop long enough
To take in this wanderer one more time
The entirety of him who came to an end –
Don’t step to the side
When he reaches for your arm to hold him up.
The old soup, too, asks to be tasted.
Listen and push nothing to the side
He will only need a minute
So stay, sit
Lets talk of days long gone.

March 4, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Stars

Small burst of light, stars, most of them named,
Bounce with the rhythm and rise of this night walk -
Punctuating dots for tonight’s long cloaked sentences.

Vast and beguiling, sky chilled and huge
Beyond any eyes' capacities to see
They ask me to fly out light years beyond imagining’s chase

Just stars, I describe them that way to myself -
They start in small ways
Collections of energetic particles

Light fused in bright twisting points -
Sustained through nuclear interface,
United till the implosion and even then, grand.

They spin to sing in chimed notes overhead
Inviting me to look up and begin to leap
From one to the next and farther away.

Clusters lead in light pocked chains to an enormity
That pulls me closer to the ground
And to the small warmth of my mammal's body

I feel my ribs rise and my back arch
Taking in the air
And some of the particles that reach me here.

Just enough of the night-spark to light my brain
And ignite a flash of a dream that hints
At a body and mind beyond these dim, small aches-

And some steps that take me beyond
All of these memorized endings
And well worn rights and lefts.

March 3, 2010