Part of a Process
Devastation is Not the End.
Life moves everywhere in time
never ceasing its toil to
reclaim the blasted land
Dust will be soil
Ashes will be a beginning
Life is process
Hear yourself speak
Listen to the sound
The music unwrapped in pieces
of broken thoughts put back together
in another mind
It floats in the air, shattered
how do I speak wonder?
Is this room connected to the world?
I am trying to remember
how a puddle of water on a shiny leaf
looks like a piece of ice
in the sunshine of a rainy day.
A Twice Found Note
From a note that was on my desk on a Monday afternoon
that I found later in my pocket
as I searched for parking meter change:
Louis, the blind man
came to see
about covering the door windows.
He says he can hang the shades over the door,
but nobody can come in or out
when they are down.
Will this work?
Here is something to try
In the world as you go through it,
If a person annoys you or seems out of sorts,
“You have a light.”
“You have a song.”
“Can I help them find their light?”
“Can I hear the faint whispering
of singing deep inside?”
Each of us has a light to shine.
The light may be covered by pain
but it is there.
You may see a glimmer of it
as if through a dark wood
Each of us has a song
that sings from within
The song may be muffled
or picked up angry discord
through years of abuse
it may just be lost
in the jumbled noise of machinery
or inane babble
of the shallow stream of thoughts
that runs through the world
without direction or meaning or passion,
just the yammering of greed and loneliness.
“Look at this!”
“You really need one of these!”
“You can really have it all!”
while pointing big flashing neon signs at the void
You may need to find your light
to see where the light
is hidden in others
You may have to learn your song again
in order to hear the sound
of a real voice
above the clamor
You may need to sit quietly:
shining and humming
in a field on a warm day
with a soft breeze moving
the leaves of nearby trees
Or in a room with people
who care for you
just listening to soft conversation
Or, maybe, on a beach
with the waves whispering
or in a car
on your way to work
when the noise of the day
has not begun to drown you out
There really is nothing
more important to do
Nothing else will matter
by the time it is
Running Into The Future
The jibber-jabber of hidden teeth
Sketched on the wall of a bright winter day
Has led them all away
Into a land where nothing stays.
I lay on the sidewalk,
A sucked and spat out
With still some hope of earth
Rain, bleak sun
Not even a shoe to kick me over
They have all gone ahead
chasing that shifting
might be glimmer song.
How does it go?
Little by little, too late
Trane and Miles Mapping the New World
Acid lizard grin
on a jade cat bell,
Passion pins about
Languid kiwi valley haze.
Red eyes, Rolled smooth
Bleeding ragged at the edges
Low drooling, pear juice hum
Dripping down the chin,
Tasted on the tongue.
Plugged nose moan
Scuffle slide drag
Scrape soles sand on old ridged planks
Lily cool murmur
Round bowl howl
Covering over the world
With one tortured joy
A spiraling Precession of Crenelated Tessellations.
The savage knife cuts
refracted into precise hard lines.
Twenty Years Ago
In the heavy forest
My skin bordered the sky
Played with it
Eyes turned on themselves
I was unprepared
Whirled from almost every year
Back to that object of finding gaze
And folded bare twigs
To fill the spaces.
Free Will vs Destiny
Made of millions of glassy splinters
Move water in through filtering holes
And out through a central cavity
Loosely organized of microscopic entities
If strained through a sieve
And poured in the same location
Will form the same body
though each tiny entity is
Capable of surviving on its own
More than a Bag of Accumulating Tissues
This simple body is not burdened
But enclosed no further
With no shell
Soft ballooning tubes
Move one mouthful of another
Side to side
The Difference in Seasonal Light as Seen in a Semi-precious Stone
Reality in a jar on the top shelf
Flying is the only option
the same as hers
14 years later
A fish frozen curved on the air
A town under a snowy mountain
River rising in spring
Overhead, It was all Vibrating, again
In the beginning,
Always aware of the forces
Gathering in the hub
Under my feet,
A sword frozen inside a diamond of air.
I crouched, recovering
to feed flawlessly prepared anatomical specimens
Into the machinery
In the middle of the branches
Working with just the sharp edges
Two Worlds/One Door
I rinsed out / two worlds
A cereal bowl / open into
(someone else’s) / myself
left crumbs of / locked inside
crusty cereal / except
all around the sink / pouring forth
for Mary to / when I
find. / unlock
I will continue / the door
to collect / I live in
black pens, / the shadow
keys to both sides / and nuance in
of one door / the midst of
that opens into two / my own
different worlds / primordial ooze
one of light and shadows / bubbling
the other of shades / up from
of meaning / holes I
and deception. / poke with my pen.
The balance is the beauty,
each part moving freely
and yet affecting each other part,
compensating to retain the center.
If the form is awkward,
the movements must wobble.
Thus perfection mars the balance
and brings the structure down.
The balance is the beauty.
Can I give so that you can take
and receive what is given equal to your movement?
I must move to fill a certain space,
if you move toward an empty place.
If you bend to pick up a pin,
I must move further from the center .01 steps
and up one penny’s width.
Or, should I scuff an indent
and sink in a cold puddle depression at my heel.
“I want to hear a poem
where Tito Puente is still alive and Elvis is dead,”
Tito Puente is still alive,
still chugging out the rhythm,
The old bridge leads like a scout
Through tropical sweat dripping
Tangle of vines.
He is still alive!
But, Elvis is dead.
Hot Vampires in Love
The TV Guide shouted
above the conveyor
carrying my groceries
to the supermarket checker.
Suddenly I missed
Only he could write this song.
From Reach to Tilt
The light shot strikes the corrugated pattern of the stone wall
A lip accounts a tube
undulating throughout a cruel century
a lonely tooth shaming the agony reflected in a
Cement coughs through stone
Above the worthwhile danger faints the invented effect
Can wealth summarize stone?
Tilt originates from reach
The toe retracts under the tremendous shift of stone
Reach walks in the gut
Tilt leans the spirit forward
I wish I could say anything changed
the dawning takes eternity fragments
and hurls them toward infinite fleeing stars
Everything in motion, nothing changes
Matter is vibration, music of particles
anything in the soup remains there
cooling, coalescing, and dispersing
I always come back to this place
trying to make changes
how can I even find the tiny machinery?
it is locked in a border zone between
nothing and something
How do I bring into my magnifying vision,
within range of the tools I haven’t even
the ghostly sound of a web
shivering in a whisper of breath?
Darkly tangled in the vines,
loops and twists intertwine
knotted, woven, fiber and nerve
sharp things, sharps things,
cut them out
to examine each subtle curve
stretch them, stretch them
straight dead lines
drying in the sun.
Hi Kelli. I’m the Director of News Services for Mennonite Church Canada, a national church body. We’re currently gathering material for a news sheet for our national assembly July 6-12 and I wonder if we might obtain permission to use “Here is Something to Try.” It would appear in a few printed copies and online, and we would, of course, give you credit and link back to your website. Thanks for considering this request.
I am honored. Yes, please use it. I hope it works well for you.
Thank you for requesting the use of this poem. I just reread it after many years. Exactly what I needed to read today. It is a message, I believe, that can’t really be taken the wrong way. I am truly glad to have someone spreading that message.