times

…times we fall through
moldy, scratchy thatch
to stiff, pine planks,
losing memory, stones
and sonnets. forgetting.

There is a strange emptiness I often feel at the first day of cool stillness in Fall. Today is overcast. The wet air leaches warmth, persistent in its chill. Persistent and immobile. It is here to stay, moving in. Memories of languid, long, endless Summer days float just beyond reach. The reality of suffering in the South is no dream, however. Their’s is aching, palpable emptiness, loss. They have no luxury of daydreams.

Yet this calm chill comforts me, reminds me all things change. It is time to recharge, request a new sheet, a clean slate. Time to move on, shift gears. Let Summer memories become the dreams they now are. Let tragedy’s lessons sink in, brand their mark on memory.

The garden outside my window is still rich with green textures. The long, fragrant, golden trumpets of Brugmansia herald (and hope for) a few more sunny weeks to come. All is not lost. But never the same.

At work I am having to work closely with those in power and money, the trustees who support my orchestra, but also control it. I used to assume they were automatically corrupted by their power, but I’m beginning to see their genuine interest in my art, in the success of my orchestra, even though I may not always agree with them. They know things about money and success I cannot know from my position. They have experience we can use. Our orchestra needs them, whether we like it or not. It’s never black and white.

Thinking of events in the world, in the US, my country, I feel frisky with a new kind of hope. The suffering of millions in the South will not be in vain. Our eyes are open. We see the chilly, calculating responses of our current administration, which seems to be more of a power machine than human leadership. And we also see the fervent, human response, the support given by millions; human responses, neither conservative nor liberal, just human. We see each other’s hearts, that we are not so different as we thought. We see where we could go if we came together to solve problems.

Our enemies are not each other. They are the power systems which corrupt and mislead. We cannot afford to be mislead. We only have each other. We only have each other and one small planet.

The chilly air settles into my bones. It’s time for action, for change. Especially since I’m late for work.

Touch My Soul

Touch my soul and it is yours.

(It is never
mine.
Fire eating
snakes nip at my nipples,
unzip my fly,
bitemy mosquito)

Take my hand.

(Filling their mouths, drinking
mother’s milk, they
queue up at my statue.)

(It is not theirs.)

Look into my eyes.

(Then
Quantum
leaps
over a hedge,
falling flat
on
my back.)

What is yours?

Kissing me is not…

…the answer.

Touch my soul and…

…it is ours.
Take your bow.

Off the Wall Poetry Carnival

Since I didn’t officially theme it, I thought I’d borrow the title of the first poem to name this carnival.

Off The Wall was sent by Pat Paulk of Laughing Ghosts. He offers tight, vivid poems regularly to a rather large fan club. I had not known of him before this. I’m glad I do now.

A shadow on the wall
talked to a curious dog on the sidewalk,
what they said was without sound,
what was understood not known.
The dog eventually moved on, the wall
waited for the next shadow.

My dear friend Liz Strauss of Letting ME Be sent me a few choices, of which I picked The View, because it’s off the wall for Liz. Liz has a way of turning sadness into a bright lesson. Thank you, Liz.

my eyes
filled
with my response
following
a path
of two drops
that wash
away fearful feelings
to place a smile
on my
self-image

your eyes
in my head
change the view

Ron Russo of Wondering Soul sent this next poem, Remember. Ron’s spirit is always pointed toward healing and love. This poem, a gift for “Travis”, makes that clear.

Remember who you really are and be that!
Remember the vast, radiant emptiness
from which you came
and from which all things arise.
Remember, you are that.
Not that you are one with all…
you are all.
Remember the sun that shines from
your eyes.
You are that.
(continue reading…)

David Patton of Uncle David sent this new poem, “Silent As Snow Falling To The Ground” for the carnival. David’s poetry has raw, mythic power and rustic freshness. He told me he has written a poem a day for over a year on his blog. And these are not 10 line poems, either. This poem offers a soft, light touch.

Silent as snow falling to the ground
The speckled air abounds
As whiteness covers all.
First snow of the season;
An inch or two or so.
Tracks of the white tailed rabbit
A squirrel climbs up an old sycamore
The rusted links of a chain-link fence
Are barely visible as the cold wintry winds do blow.
Quietness sits by the door, piling deep in the cold.
A poet’s pen to paper marks this singular passing.
In the scheme of things it is its own doing,
In one day of many and many more to come.
The snow is here, blowing slanted in a northern wind.
It tells not who but the way that they go.
Snow is cold but melts in the warmth of the palm of the hand,
the hand must be cold to hold.
Walking alone in Forest Park
The wind blown snow is a song
Without words or instrument;
A song for the eyes and soul,
And I twirl around and flair my arms
To sing alone.

Kelley Bell sent me this little story poem, Godless Child, from her blog For Whom the Bell Tolls. Her words cut to the heart of sexist injustice.

Once Upon A Time…

There was a little girl, born in the Land of The Free,
and the Home of The Brave.

She was taught that she could become anything, even President,
though no girl had ever done THAT before.

She was taught the importance of education,
and read many books by Great Men.

She was told to get a job,
But to expect less pay then her male peers.

She was told to climb the Career ladder,
and bumped into a glass ceiling on the way.
(continue reading…)

If a haiku could convey a philosophy of life, MB’s poem The World as my Oyster is the poem. Most of us are familiar with MB’s poems from Find me a Bluebird. How does she create so much sublime space with so few words?

a pearl grows slowly
around the grain of sand that
is lodged in my heart

Here is another of MB’s haikus, Darkenss.

the edge of ice cuts
against the last of the green
darkness settling in

Ozymandiaz of Toadstool Diaries, who has apparently hosted a number of these carnivals, was thankful I was hosting this one. He sent this poem, simply called Entry. Though written as a Christian poem, it carries a universal spiritual message to submit to the wisdom and forgiveness of our higher selves.

I burn myself in effigy
Mourning my life as should be
Wherever ears may be bent
I strain them without relent
Displayed in Jesus Christ pose
I am revealed without repose
Clearly you can see the pain within me
I cannot be free until you all see
How I let me be
Insecurity
(continue reading…)

Ren Powell of Sidestepping Real sent this unpublished dream-like poem to me. When asked what the theme of this carnival was, I suggested “dreams of poems”, which I had listed among other ideas for sumissions. One can see why she is a published poet. Images are layered with meaning, scenes within syllables. The last line can be either a question or a statement. Both are true.

Elder Moon

The girl behind the counter
of the Dairy Queen (sees

the tree branching from his mouth)
(believes

everything)—his voice fragile,
dry bark

snagging on the velvet esophagus
wet with ice-milk:

That Neil Armstrong never stepped on the moon!
‘Goddamned government ruse.

The old man makes
craters with a plastic spoon.

On her cigarette break she sits with him
(digging into the Depression, and
deeper

hair-like
pale moments
of his supple years)

Don’t you believe anything

anyone tells you.


Jo Janoski
sent a poem called The Poet. It’s a series of Haiku’s. How did she know what’s going on in my head when I try to write poetry?

Head bent, thoughts flying.
Playing touch football mid air.
A poem is born.

Poets express love
While warriors declare hate.
They meet at depth’s door.

Words elude poets
like water avoids deserts
until monsoon time.

Rhymes make cozy friends.
Meters have minds of their own
But married, they rock.

I wrote a poem called The Room to convey a dark November night of waking dreams.

Black November air
oozes across the pine board floor,
cold molasses being poured.
Shadows of craggy oak twigs
gnaw the walls for flaws.
The moon cannot escape,
so peers helplessly
from her thin blue ark.
(continue reading…)

This final poem is most appropriate to my after thought theme of a dream about a poem. Bill Piety of Peter in search of Pan posted
not very far from 4th yesterday. It’s a dream of dreaming poetry, dreaming life, lost dreams, and living dreams.

dreams make a hard death
old brown shoes that keep no shine
pants that keep no clean
i frighten women from the church
sunday feigns a bitter cheer

but i’ve a corner not far from 4th
i can hear some whisperings
from my local catholic saint
telling secrets without relief
jagged little words unclear
(continue reading…)

Well that’s all folks. Thanks for stopping by.

Rhythms of the Seasons

The rhythms of the season hypnotize us
as they go ’round and ’round and ’round,
faster each year as we age,
building to some distant, palpable climax
while receding from another, ancient past.

Faster they spin, compelling us to fill fleeting days
with meaningful events.
(love may deepen,
hate grow brittle,
poetry more necessary)

To and fro, light to dark, the pendulum swings
stupendously, irrevocable across the map, throbbing
in every molecule with its unabashed preponderance.

No sooner sweet Summer arrives
in her full sensual glory
and vapid dissipation,
then be the slightest incline, the longest day tipped,
we start the slow, poignant slide
to the depths of
Winter.
Thus we arrive again at this valley
of Yin,
whose darkness and gravity turns us inward
to our sweetest, softest, most delicate
center.

As if by sheer will (and hope and need)
we nudge the gyration
back toward light,
we indulge in glitter and compassion.
We reward love needed and given
with earnest countenance.
We search our souls for cheerful ways
to decorate the days.
We celebrate the counterpoints of our lives,
barely pausing to reflect
over the abyss which lies beneath
the fragile music we make.

This was one of Barbara’s favorite of my poems.

Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes at Sunrise
Thoughts on time
in tones of blues
or orange, bright
pearls of sun
drip down these tubes,
while air slips through
their purple scales,
random chance, dares,
wishing only for harmony.

Wind chimes remind us of the persistent nature of change, and teach us to make music with lessons learned from impermanence.

Click here to hear the chimes of a “Balinese” scale hanging near my house.

I have several sets of medium to large chimes hanging around my garden. Their scales are neither happy nor sad, but mysterious and questioning. I never tire of hearing them. Their music ranges from one tone lingering across many seconds to a joyous cacophony of 30 bells clanging in response to active wind.