poetry without poets


I believe in atoms and molecules.
I believe in stars and places to go.

I believe in a glass of milk.
I believe in Easter eggs.

I believe in the rule of sevens.
I believe in moons and tides.

I believe that light is god’s
        open eyes.

I believe in Father and Mother.
I believe in here-I-am, a bump
        in the bed.

I see bright, I see dark.

the rule is less than what it portends
to measure.   such as my life.

we are the bump in the middle
of forever.   taken at its word.
 
 

we are, the age of stars.

 
 
red stars will go blind, eventually.
out of sight.   then every thing evaporates.

and darkness will be on the face of
        the earth.   and everything.

as it was in the beginning and will be
again.   what does your poetry look like
        then?

what are the poems beneath our bodies, ourselves?

why words will describe the heavens
        then.   words take no space.
 
 

will we be sleeping, one eye ajar?

 
     I’ll keep an eye out for you.
 
 
 
 
 
image:   (look see below)
Sagittarius A*, the great black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

2022.11.13 graphics revised from original post
 
 
 
 
 
 

She wears one mask

 
 
She wears one mask,
and beneath blue sky’s face, hers
is more calm, a pacific tide dressing
waves that siphon sand from under
my feet.
 
She wears one mask,
contours her face embosses in the air,
with veiled smile, easy affection, like
some curtain drawn in warm embrace.
Eyes that linger do arrive.
 
She wears one mask,
and in the twinkle of her eye,
my gaze given way, she lets go
the chrysalis gauze, desire thus
draped, now undone silk by
silken breath.

She wears one mask,
lips like leaves she stirs the wind,
tucks me within hushed embrace,
till begins this apple bloomed,

       Am I leaf or wind?

And behind each mask unmade,
the one who wears us both,

       radiant.
 
 
 
 
2022.11.02
 
 
 
 
 

memo to the Dalai Lama


don’t tell the Chinese.   you know the ones I mean.   those ones who are mean to you.   they should be ashamed.   Christmas stockings of coal for them.

not a lot of people I’d say this too – but you are gonna be really missed when you leave.   real and truly.   so can I borrow the convertible keys for the day?

and isn’t it odd (whimsical?) that the Chinese government wants to replace you with one-of-their-own when the time comes.   OK, political but spiritual – unlikely.   so they’re presenting half the truth, the part of truth that isn’t true.

and just so you know, if you’re ever in my inch of the universe, you are welcome into my home.   surely I’ve a generous share of imperfections, but you understand, and my love for you is genuine – so yes, my home would be happy having you under this roof.    for real.

I know, I know, old joke.   but it makes me laugh.   what’s the Dalai Lama say at the hamburger stand?   Make me one with everything.   sorry, but for all I know, you started it.

     this life or the next, there will be a reunion.

 
 
 
 
 

fingerprints

 
for no reason
the water the birds the rocks

for no reason why
takes my eyes away from me

for no reason, light
 
 
 
one white lie

alpine green then dirt then rock

no questions asked, no need to speak

a dizzy attitude this close to ground

set free set free, not what it would
seem to be, unfolding here

swept by gales you, you mountain tops,
you wouldn’t even feel

surely this place I’ve been
in a former life, half a minute ago

here, draw a circle, I won’t obey

my path averts your gaze, and
you’ll tire more than me

one white lie, one butterfly

here’s the secret I won’t tell
the air is made of threads

I am following, and
that explains, everything

some days I’d sail out of sight
beyond your reasons why
 
 
we found this scrap of paper
folded, inside it said, read
or let me lay in peace

 
 
 
for no reason, the universe said

for no reason, the hand of god
 
 
 
 
a man pointing at the sky

a man pointing into the clouds

an old man pointing, the sun and
 
 
 
 
 

nature says

that staccato hiss, like from a throat
in the rain.   and there, birds beginning
as rain swallows its breath.   now one
bird a circle right above my head.   then
a second arrives singing, singing.
        I listen even it its not for me.
a church bell moves away.   rain finds
us again.   steady this time.   ducks?
unexpected, yet my ears bounce their
rhythm calls.   or are they geese?
stubborn.   water arrives underfoot, no
surprise.   there, there’s the flight
lighting their way with voices, loud.
by itself, an echo inside.
are you there?   we all ask.
        are you there?
lonely now, grey sky makes a shadow play.
water sets it at ease with another bell,
closer this time.   crickets, oh crickets
and frogs!

your sentences are exactly right.
 
 
 
 

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance Day and Floating Peace Lantern Ceremony – Aug. 6, 2022

there is no other place that is so much home to me.

always a visitor, uncounted times, never a resident, or I never would have left.
 
I know this place.   how to get there, like an old Greyhound bus.   I know the streets the houses the homes the shops downtown the alleyways the beaches the old rounded grocery store.   Monterey Bay is one intimate face, and to the farther west, the Pacific Ocean wild, undressed.   I have climbed the rocks, walked in the sand, and yes, the cold blue ocean too.   Gulls own the skies except when the brown pelicans soar mere feet above the water below.   regal is the word.   I know where the monarch butterflies gather themselves.   and the eager ground squirrels watching your fingertips.
          sixty years I remember here.

I posted earlier about this event.   now I want to share some of the reality.   some drums atop the old concrete pier, some folks talking why, lantern floats being set loose onto the Lover’s Point ocean cove.   I was there once myself.   now, you too, this much anyway.

I wish you peace.    I wish you love.
 
 
 
 

Lucky Mud

 
          God made mud.  God got lonesome.
          So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!”
          “See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea,
          the sky, the stars.”
          And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and
          look around.  Lucky me, lucky mud.
          I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had
          done.  Nice going, God.
          Nobody but you could have done it, God!
          I certainly couldn’t have.  I feel very unimportant
          compared to You.  The only way I can feel the least
          bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t
          even get to sit up and look around.
          I got so much, and most mud got so little.
          Thank you for the honor!

          Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
          What memories for mud to have!

          What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud
          I met!  I loved everything I saw!

               Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
 
 
Gravity.

Attraction begins at the feet.
 
 
Do we dare?  I’m unsure how to say this – polite.  Could I be more clever than I am?  More or less by my own words?  So forgive, as you see fit.  Not only the sky is overcast right now.  Me included.  Forcasted, fog.

Pardon the lengthy quote.  But seems it translates better stated whole, top to bottom-ish.  Sometimes I read and think I have a real-life glimpse.  
Sometimes I forget.  Sometimes a lot.  And god or not-god, this stance is about our response to living.  So Christian or Buddhist or whatsoever don’t matter here.  Allow yourself to receive and see how this fits on you.

We will, we do, make some immediate measure of judgement.  But so much as you can, save that for five minutes after reading is done.  Do these garments linger on your skin?  Can we really – really – know till we welcome the visit whole heartedly?  No drama.  Listening is a gift we give ourselves.
 
 
Isn’t it odd?  I feel my most genuine self when engaged with other people.  Yet what source am I?

What’s the right time for what feelings we allow to roost within?  Not uncommonly I’ve used the word “hate” to colorize, emphasize many of the situations and events in my life.  Make me look bigger.  Bigger than what’s perceived as threat, even discomfort as well.  Two lessons learned.  Who feels that texture, that taste on the lips, that sense of less-than-wellbeing?  Yea, obvious.  And more of personal lost grace, is that extreme attitude really what I mean?  Do I hate the can of cat food I spill on the floor, the slow motion customer in the checkout line in front of me, the person who cut in line ahead of me?  Do I hate the overcast grey sky above?  Do I really hate the weather?  It’s an emotional dishonesty.  And habit takes no measure of appropriateness or desirability.  Buyer beware!

Be honest about what you say.

And the mirror stance here?  Gratitude.  In its active form, generosity.

Decades past I worked on a project that put me ground-zero in Portland’s skid-row district.  Spare me some change, a common refrain we were asked.  My partner and I did some initial agonizing about the “right” course of action.  Would a handout just buy them another cheap bottle of wine?  Were we suckers to give in to their request?  Then it dawned on us!  What if their request story was not true?  What precisely was our sin if we give them money?  Simple.  Our sin was being generous!  If they lied, that’s on them, not us.  We became at ease to respond however felt appropriate in the moment.  Just say what you want, leave the “story” in a bag.  Someone asks for your help (big or small). What do you do?

I want to choose gratitude.  I want to choose generosity.

Suppose I got reasons to fret or worry or adopt ingratitude.  Blood gone astray, seriously.  It has been (and present tense) a challenge to attitude.  No matter.  Every day, another choice.  If any prayer is worth my time, then pray, may I choose gratitude.  No vacation.  No days off.
 
 
choose.  where does choice happen?  describe that who and where and when.

Feeling like kind of a long story here.  Maybe sometimes repetition serves receiving?  I can also feel my own resistance to allowing simple notions to have their moment of truth.  Oh no, that doesn’t apply to – me.  That’s something I can’t really do.  Iceberg tips.  Till I take something full onto my skin, I can’t see if I even really really understand.  Call it an unashamed trial.

And there’s an issue about being naive and being gullible.  Give it up!  Life is bigger than doubts.
 
 
Gratitude.   Generosity.   What is the left hand here?   Appreciation.   choice.

 
 
          What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud
          I met!  I loved everything I saw!

balance

  
standing on the balcony.
well below body temperature.  I feel.  a token name.
moisture squeezes from sky above.

feet on damp wood, there at one end of me.
legs like wooden stilts.  do they bend?

relax posture from bone to muscle.  feel.
feel tension discover itself.  upright.
two legs.  pillar pairs.  wordlessly ripe.

one center in between.
that’s where weight is held in breath.
a little more here.  then there.

balance.  amazing.  amazing.

uplift.  erosion of doubt.  surprising.

balance moves is the truth.

leaves with feet, traveling

everything close is close to me

there’s a fondness I have for things near my feet
 
 
Thanks rendered to Ren Powell for her intimate photographic essay entitled Left.  Observationally brilliant.  When this poems first blog started, I’d not thought to include anything other than purely language poems, clean and focused.  But I’m coming to recognize the lack-in-generosity of that content filtering.  So here this photo image in kin response to Ren’s imagining (my thanks, and while looking for something else, found this cousin of that image and so here presented, in sighted appropriate kind I think).

neil, december 2020