is there a poem hiding here?
The world is not yet done.
David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear,
Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
I brought a memory for you. I brought it here for show and tell.
Middle December it was. About four foot tall, four blocks from home
towards Grandmother’s house. Small farming town. Grandmother
Janet and Great Uncle Louis. Now you know two names. Morning,
it wasn’t cold. A van stops in front, man steps out with a little red
wagon in tow. He knocks at the door. The little red wagon goes
inside into Grandmother’s hand. Me a mere hundred feet away.
Oh Grandmother, is that for me? The question was very ripe.
No, she says, for another young boy down the block. No other
question followed. Dare I ask again? No, I dare not seal my fate.
You already surely know. Just a ruse not to spoil the surprise.
To my falling wish, it worked. For another week or two, it did.
Is it important to remember this? I do. Memory too, says yes.
so what’s the closest place where judgements abound?
myself, of course. ripe and available.
like memories? is attending wrong to do? thus even
fair weather called foul. why christen the vessel wrong?
is there a line betwixt memory and this moment now?
grace says, receive like water does gravity.
Maybe the phrase also is, tell the right truth. Allow the story to be
what it wants to be. How to be fooled when you’re moving in the
direction you’re supposed to be. Understanding is a sort of booby
prize. What you breathe inside is better truth.
Janet had an unspoken rule. When I left her house she’d walk me
down the driveway to the street. Then wave me off down to the
very far end of the block. Another wave till I was gone from sight.
Some gestures last a lifetime.
And now you know two names you didn’t before.
And my wish for you.
That little red wagon, that’s for you.
See me waving.
leaves begin their autumn dress.
eager wind rushes to receive.
only in dreams, summer remains.
is it pen and fingers mapping a paper path?
how it begins. thought becomes body now.
broad blue swaths of ink. like rivers do.
folding in quarters. a pocket next. patience
while words arrive. water on thirsty skin.
listening. then. what does it say?
then doubts. then uncertainty. knowing the
faces inside. some speak. some are fish.
dare speak aloud?
does it quench?
the thing about reality is. it is reliable.
blessing when right words gather close.
the best part of writing a poem is letting go.
now stand near. close your eyes.
I’m doing the same. imagine now,
me imagining you, standing near.
to share a space!
to walk the same floors. and hand to handle,
orange juice on the left, milk on the right. the stairs.
the groceries. the calico cat. some ants. sleeping.
tending our garden. I do the watering. some of it.
blessing is this body of life.
it’s not so much your visceral intent, mattering.
it’s that you align with the intent that already is.
the writing itself, pen to paper on my fingertips,
takes me a step away from my shoes. from you.
think of mother remembering.
soft towels around her arms to keep her from drifting
out of her chair and away. she did. they brought her
home. well, that day, that home was a hospital room.
nothing familiar. memories free to put up a tent.
back in San Francisco. I was just there with friends
this afternoon, she says. she’s back to the boarding
house for her meal tonight. says, I look familiar.
she’s glad seeing me.
I don’t take memory personally.
it’s an ordinary skill taken to heart. I try.
think of this wandering like a ripe apple.
you know. something sweet.
what sharp teeth may appreciate.
there’s the child who labored, figuring it all out.
maybe not so successfully.
there’s the man growing older every day.
he feels the unconditional heft of gravity.
imagine your life. afraid. and release.
imagine telling. all your truth.
imagine knowing. what’s the truth of that truth?
gather me in like driftwood. I am. the same.
put me on the shelf. souvenirs from the beach.
all bleached brown and scattered white.
a few grains of sand speaking in native tongue.
it’s because you’re near that I remember you.
your after-shower, exuberant, untamed hair.
early morning in town. it is all too beautiful to want
leaving. open eyes. past due, observe.
palms on my seated knees. my collar up but chill
breeze behind finds me anyway. some minutes,
minutes yet before sun comes out from a green leaf
I miss your book being in my hands this morning now.
sun is now on the right side of the bench.
I’m on the left. slowly. closer my way.
Oh, I need This, is said behind my right shoulder.
was it really behind? closer to me?
sun creeps astride my paper coffee cup.
now here. now me. except my knees.
despite the warm glance, I shiver once with the
change. the brightness of the moon.
you and you, and you, are in this poem right here.
you veer from thought to ink. don’t need names.
we align by height, near and far.
now to ask, Is the daylight sturdy in these hands?
And it’s all that knowledge
that conceals what a thing is.
there was a man,
this man had body issues that kept him apart from
most sense of physical experience. what could this
man do? so the man learned. he learned to cut
his skin just so much as to feel some sense of body
connection. to be awake. what he now calls
in whatever way available to him.
seems like ample pain in this world. real and imagined.
is there a reality where pain is received in gratitude?
just to be alive.
the closer we look, the less we see of sky.
sailors say, some waves know your name.
many just ignore you, unless provoked.
if you don’t know how to do. do. allow,
allow not knowing to find its own way.
draw small circles from far away. like we do.
which of these threads have only a single source?
to see a thread is to become that thread. more.
more than chemistry.
this is what I go to sleep with and,
and what I wake up with each day.
it’s not so much being brave about life.
it’s more about surrendering. happiness comes.
like rain does,
two surfaces finding each other.
like planets do when they begin gathering.
gathering home. this could be me.
when I was this much tall. inches. now, measure
goes by another name. yet still, I am this much tall.
this is not like me
write down your sins.
no, those, those you don’t want to say.
maybe not even aloud to yourself.
some say the real meaning of sin is simply not ripe.
not ripe yet.
here, right here, have it sit right next to you. cousin, me.
here’s why. she said, dogs have a clear conscience. do we?
write. write your list or paragraphs, not that you
ever need show anyone. it’s process that makes change.
excuse me while I turn my back. some lessons are big,
but most are small. like this here.
here’s how you know when you’re seeing right.
how we got there I don’t know. but it is,
there are threads that say, who I am.
I am a child, a son, an aging man.
I am an observer, a writer, a forgetter.
I am willing arms. I am broken.
I am shy on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I am alone.
I am forgiven, when the truth is said.
I am your friend. possible.
you never see how many threads I really am
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not
certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
here’s a lesson, and it’s meant for me
take some small slices of pie, you know, like
those people those cars those crows passing by,
beside some bench beside some city street.
now, say thank you to so many each as you
can notice. individually, I suppose. saying,
thank you in your thought
no matter the face and shape.
sincerity counts. but observe,
is your silent voice genuine? you already know.
be the willing effect of. everything. freedom is.
notice what happens inside. your own thought.
does gratitude know the way home? it does.
to whom? when is the universe not listening?
making thanks includes who and what I might
think otherwise to hold at arms length from
being close? what changes? where?
where does distance first exist? who, you ask.
do we dare our feet to move? each motion matters.
is there intimacy? linger with that on your tongue.
a moment of intimacy is. each one. one moment,
and when I forget. remember instead.
appreciation arrives. like air. breathe.
who am I no question mark
am I my feet inside my shoes. no socks today. a holiday.
am I the feet that when they said, step forward, I did not.
no question mark it’s all continuous
before there was light
picture a blue barn and orange sky
I am not the blue barn. I am.
I am not the orange all around. I am.
each dawn I am, barely visible
some say eyes open is the sun
imagination more than a word
I do not expect you to believe anything you’re seeing or hearing,
and knowing you won’t believe me, that’s the only reason I’m going
to tell you the truth.
Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself
arms and chest and hands that’s how they arrive
for a few moments my world is just you.
embrace. I’d forgotten. but now…
the world is every possible way that it can be, including this way here.
are your thoughts affectionate? am I myself?
go ahead define, conscious affection.
am I breaking up & apart? glacial turning back to light?
the world is generous of grace,
yet seems some shy lest you willingly pluck each fruit.
we change. I change.
Not that I’m not the person that my history has grown.
I am. And I’m not the same. Bigger, Smaller, I am both.
and when asked, the word is recognize.
the rest will grow from there.
When you take a breath, are you satisfied?
Hands and. Fingers, that touched like ragged silk.
Maybe it was you.
What scars do we hide? How do I hold my hands?
Palm up, or down? Choices can be this much small.
My presence will be erased by wind and rain, like
a mountainside gives itself away to remembering.
By eyes I see. By touch, I know who I am.
What are my sins? Another name for sin is lie.
Pretending I am not you.
What feast is this? Dare we speak aloud, “I am beautiful”.
Did you mean it? Do I?
We are visible by virtue of light. No matter how sensitive,
no light, no sight.
Be the Light.