Parts in Process: Poems on Life, Nature, and Music

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,
think this,
“You have a light.”
“You have a song.”

Ask yourself,
“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
or worry,
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 stifled,
or picked up angry discord
through years of abuse
or neglect
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
and crashing

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
too late

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

Cherry pit,

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

Wings probing


Eyes turned on themselves

In between

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

Lacy skeletons

Made of millions of glassy splinters

Porous bodies

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

World gobbling

Simultaneously protruding

Side to side

A wide-eyed



The Difference in Seasonal Light as Seen in a Semi-precious Stone

Opal Opaque

Mystery radiant
Reality in a jar on the top shelf
Flying is the only option

My coin
the same as hers
14 years later

A fish frozen curved on the air
A town under a snowy mountain

River rising in spring
Glacial blue
Sinuous pull

Opal translucent


Overhead, It was all Vibrating, again

In the beginning,

Still shaken,

Always aware of the forces

Gathering in the hub

Under my feet,

I appeared,

A sword frozen inside a diamond of air.

I crouched, recovering

And began

to feed flawlessly prepared anatomical specimens

Into the machinery

In the middle of the branches

Working with just the sharp edges

Of clouds.

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.

Delicate Dance

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,

Tangelo, tangelo,

The old bridge leads like a scout

Through tropical sweat dripping

Tangle of vines.

Milagro! Milagro!

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

Warren Zevon.

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

 spirit ventures

a lonely tooth shaming the agony reflected in a

delicate molecule

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

The Unchangling

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.

3 Responses to Parts in Process: Poems on Life, Nature, and Music

  1. Deborah Froese says:

    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.

    • randomyriad says:

      I am honored. Yes, please use it. I hope it works well for you.

    • randomyriad says:

      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.

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