moose mask undone

               one breath can begin Anything.
it doesn’t mean anything.   it’s a moose.

that’s not me.   there are stacks of things not me.
someday, maybe, I’ll be each one of them.   we
take turns.

this time, me.

although rumor is, I’m on my way toward
becoming something else.

might be asked, who’s spreading that rumor.
          confess, maybe me.

a moose has four legs to tell the truth.
I only have two.

yes.   I am somewhat unreliable.   unpredictable.
I buy books I cannot read.   too tired, when
they arrive.   no focus.   not that a moose
would care.
          more unquenched good ideas.

I’m able to forget almost anything you say to me.
did you know a gathering of sea otters is
called a raft.   no moose knows that.
that’s why they do.   so they won’t.

won’t drift away.   apart, like me.
I should’a.   see?

no water.   I ain’t that smart.
abundance is a word that applies to them.
not to me.

more words won’t make better.   but not the point.
wrong font, seems to me.   so why.   because She said.
          because, I do.
          here, these words on my tongue.
maybe a moose is smarter than me.
better landscape anyway.
               I think a poem can carry one breath.

               what does this breath begin.
image:   © Delphine Margau,   Delphine Margau Art Photography, France
this image is part of her chapter/series, Under The Woods of Childhood.
kind permission granted for use of this © image.   with our thanks.

yes.   you are seeing double.   same moose as recently.   why?
here’s why.   cause the moose said, I have something different to say.
will you.   will you let me speak.
   I am symbol for you.


drawing fish

I never could draw a fish.   or a bowl of fruit.

no face came from the finger of my pencil.

I made shapes.   sometimes color.

I said, that’s what I meant to do.   made friends with
abstract painters and writers.   they understood.

it’s a matter of choice.   I said that too.

everything I draw.   everything I write.
it’s all dreaming on the outside instead of in.

a matter of conscious choice.   I said that, didn’t I?

accidentally on purpose.   stubborn too.

that’s the phrase.   my nest, where I sleep.

a matter of faith.   when you ask, call it prayer,

then accept what answer swims back to you.

all colors mixed don’t make black, they make
     brown.   just like dirt.

we can be shy saying, but that’s home.

a fire.   food to eat.   catch a fish.
call it art.   poems too.


where poems come from

maybe a good idea will fall out of the sky
and land on my head.

sky knows many words and listens to all
that’s ever said.

wind spreads far, repeating, repeating
what was said.

I take these as gift to pass along.
maybe a single phrase will materialize,
then I go looking for more kin.   by name,
by deed, by glad happenstance.
maybe from your lips or your fingertips.

maybe you’ll say or write something that
teases my ear.   I’ll welcome it into my home,
give it food, see if it wants to curl into my lap.

your words are as good or better than mine
and besides, we share everything, earth and
air and water.   and words.
neil reid
read footnotes about this poem

real poems

          What is human existence?
          It turns out it’s pretty simple:
          We are dead stars, looking back
          up at the sky.

          ~Dr. Michelle Thaller
is a poem real?   take it off your leash,
discover how it wants to play in your
define real.   is it how we occupy space?
do we know by touching boundary lines?
how does it share the space with us?

how do we integrate a poem into our life?
pardon me, can you make room for me on the bench?
is there body heat being this poem-close with you?
poems begin far before their voices announce.
they arrive an unraveling thread.   your hand
will make it right.

and making the destination uniquely your own.

no poem stands alone.   it’s a matter of choice.

even quiet poems await becoming your skin.
who you are, how you hold my hand, all these
matters matter here.

what makes a poem real?
your willingness, allowing heart room to change.

here’s the part of the poem that’s invisible.
it’s each and every different you.

is this poem real?   are we?
read footnotes about this poem

how poems move

          more than can be held in my mouth at once
perhaps an outreaching finger
from an outstretched arm.
perhaps, more cordial, both arms
waving into the sky.

sky moves too.   like kin.

maybe poem takes a first breath,
chest taking wind like a sail, then
breathing out, mixing its taste into
where we breathe ourselves.

how does a poem arrive?   notice how
it walks into the room.   does it stride
right up to, or sit quietly waiting you
to notice the space it occupies?

does it drop stones or pebbles at your feet?
does it swerve around obstacles or sit right on top?

do they bite?   or patiently nibble toes?
does it scratch its head wondering, or wait you
to catch your stride?

does it crawl on all fours, gauging your willingness
to look down?   look down into its face.

do wings sprout or does it stride on four feet?

see the rocks pile into ocean waves.
see legs dance between stances too
fragile to keep.   they arch like
horizon does.
read footnotes about this poem