five confessions of reality

          one Mississippi, two Mississippi’s…    five Mississippi’s.

how long for smoke to congregate?    or do we gather the other way round?

dissipation.   does that mean less?   or more, spread out on the table, wide.
     salt and pepper.    surrounding.    embracing.     taste.
 

    this will need do as my sugar substitute.

one.

it’s not the water that passes under the bridge.   it’s the water that passes beneath your feet.   can you feel the body you are walking upon?   how it softens to your familiar stride.   like tide and sand, it slips away so easily.
hardly time for hands to reach inside.    let go, that’s the wisdom here.
 

two.

I remember you.   but that’s the story I repeat to myself.   see the paint brushes in my hand. see the colors fade, then return.   brown then gold then blonde, all shades of silk.   if memory has a color, it’s the color of sky.   from the far corner of my eye a cat takes shape.   then gone.
 

three.

how is my balance the same as yours?   should we lean, the other comes along, bright-polar shadowing.   embrace.   falling, even while we are still the centers of the universe.    in your arms.    same as me.   all balance, relative to the one center of the universe.   here.
 

four.

here, this is inside the lion’s cage.   no cape, none at all.
of what I anticipate.   I couldn’t be more wrong.   it’s a gift.
it is always farther than I think.   and sooner too.

     balance restored.

perspective is mirror image.   right here.    reflecting.
     I am myself recursively.

I am a prisoner of wings.    promises.
 

five.

for many years I had a tail.   it was a way to remember home.   motion is the better part of true.   changes.   change is understandable.   that is to say, we hold it above our heads.   focus is resident.

if the river seems making us apart.   then swim as a river swims.   inside.
     body all around.   without conditions.

mississippi is my name.

I wonder where the ocean is.

 
 
 
 
 

ocean deeply

          look deeply.         a newfound ellipse.

think like water.   like an ocean does.   nothing untouched.

means, no blemishes.   light tells better truth.

know where you look.

valleys, dark standing forest, meadow’s bloom of light
last place the rain fell, a glint of sun in a puddle unseen
your eyes, any time of day.

these will determine the measure of truth.   by need
     or some fallow desire.

look where light takes root.   better soil is better fruit.
 
 
be close.   here.   closer.   these teeth?
the more better to adore you dear.   no fear, only light.

     lingering, reveals more.     don’t fall.

navigate.   any direction the compass wants.
some reason unknown, south suggests itself.
     stones, rounded in the creek.

     pleasing, being chosen this way.   here, feel
     inside your hand.

for no better reason, here, we move.
there, she comes to me.   dear gravity.

nested near.    see, it rains.

right side up.   like the deep
deep sky.   & bright.
 
 
look.    see.    let go.
 
 
 
 
 
image: Chloe Tomasetta
 
 
 
 
 

smoke signals


        there are signals in the noise.         find them.
 
 
 
think of everything you think.   that’s the noise.
        the tilt of a hat.

        is it the smoke that
makes you squint?   how does perspective rearrange itself?
        only elements get broken.   ever

        like right here.   then remembered, never broken.
 
 
two is just another way of saying, one.
 
 
beginnings are much the same as endings are.   we just forget.
we just look the other way around.

splashes dissipate in the blink of intention.   she loves me.   she loves me not.

        gathered at your good feet.

        it’s brief, this scene we share.

 
 
        thus was finger-painting born.   rejoice.

sometimes a poem begins in the middle and spills out from there.

        or is just another mess on the floor.

almost the middle.   the moment just before, innocent.   now, a rag.
sometimes empty.   sometimes, we left the front door open.
        says blood, I remember when.
 
 
in the end it goes like this.   someone sees a painting like it were
a photograph.   twice viewed, mandatory.   then the painting said,
 
 
        a dragon dreams of falling.
 
 
        just as a child does.   ergo, children and dragons are the same.
 
 
 
 
 

poem lions

    keep your preferred knife not among knives but among the poor
    defenseless spoons.    Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking

 
 
 
a poem lion is nothing for show and tell.   the color of their words,
complementary to our vocabulary.   rendered meaningless grey.
          out of step to our ears, nameless, to pronounce.

old adage.   you may not have seen their shapes in the grass, the
trees, but eyes have seen you.   their eyes.   clear like noon sun.
          we know how to find you.
          and how you taste.

if kin, we come when you call.   we lean into you.

what rubs across becomes language revisited.
moons get new-found this way.

face to face, we like being that close.   scent is a thirst, satisfied.

think that’s about some lion?   well, no, about this poem here.
management suggests:   turn your back only at your own risk.

here, a story to sharpen your claws.

when you set aside this page, turn away.   then think, oh look
there she is, like no spoons necessary.   no fence.   a smile.

fallow feet trace soft lines.   what’s in.   what’s left, behind.
that song you hum, that becomes my name.

          scent.   sound.   sight.   navigate.
          taste awaits.   you’ll see.   she sleeps with you.
          eyes closed means family.

          even asleep the pages are gathering words.
          licking lips.    you think poems don’t?

now awake.
four feet close at hand.   an easy breath.
 
 
 
 
odd.    how I feel the wind blowing through the tall grass
          and through me.

and.    no matter the story I recall, how it comes to a sadness
          told like a star.   I return to graze once more by choice.
          like a cloud inside a seed.   nomatterwhat.

          my turn to smile.   to show my teeth.

          loving this stance.   nomatterwhy.
 
 
 
even when outside the room.   more than cousin.

family.   we know because our breathing is some kind
          of thread.   some kind of rope.   asked with

an outstretched paw.   claws.   you remember them.

          whose belly will rest a head?
          a story in sleep becomes history.

we know what was said, and by whom.

could’ve meant sister, that color you painted into sky.

here, this is where we sleep.   (trusting you.)

          word by word
 
 
          the remainder of them, we eat.

 
 
 
 
 

anticipation

 
you won’t know what this poem will be tomorrow.

perhaps a stranger, fellow traveller, or even lover, lost.

we might remove the mask only at the very end.

anticipation.   who I am.

dare surprise.

borne again.   (the other way)

he tells you his name.   his hand to his heart.

meaning here, you understand.   same circle

where you now stand.   grace is given.

I am the poem.   not some object, in another box.

treat me as if I were alive.   a candle flame.

is it yours?   ownership curls at another’s feet.

but still, reading makes you integral.   magical.

so yes, you’ve been here before.   there,

your initials carved on the landscape and.   this story,

as they say, it’s a mystery.   come tomorrow to see the end.

 
 
 
 
 

meaning in their feet

humans travel with meaning in their feet.
 
 
 
when young it was about what do I get.

much older now it’s about what do I contribute.

would’a been better if I’d adopted that child.

a matter of scale.
 
 
 
not only by mouth, but

what reaches the eye is what shapes the world.
 
 
 
living has such a terrifying abundance.

stand mid-stream, look either way.

barely visible, inside a leaf, watching water flow.

the awesome chemistry of light into food.

one leaf shines green, goddess-like,

one withers, too much shade, too hot, too cold,

maybe getting nibbled after dark.

or am I the limb, the branching stem,

a society of leaves, ever turning to each day.

we love the rhythm.   we love the feast.

oh, yes, and then a flower.   living becomes

a butterfly from nothing much.   spreads

wings into wind.   another, different leaf.

thus you find me here.   resplendent.

not my doing.   not undone.

if you must.   blame the stars.
 
 
 
 
 
 
image:   how the universe used to look to astronomers; the image
                recorded directly onto a photographic glass plate.
 
 
 
 
 

fully formed


she’s making this up as she goes along.

she’ll make it half a block, then decide.

where she’s going comes into play.

it’s the great unknown they speak about.

catechism never predicted what she found.
 
 
this time she heard response from strangers.

she was by all accounts, surprised.
 
 
it was counting rocks and measuring water

that revealed the most to her.   unexpectedly.

pleasurably.
 
 
she said, I speak with them as human beings.

she realized, as is music as are sciences,

she needn’t tighten the strings to appreciate.

just as god doesn’t paint every dawn one by one

a thousand thousand times.
 
 
dawn knows what to do.
 
 
she observed, we get what we’re ready to receive.

along with birds and rocks, we are god’s agents

here.   beingness is a function of willingness.

openness to possible.
 
 
the thing about the ocean is, constant motion.

likewise, she is never only just one person alone.

she is everything touching her.

no borderlines.   wet.
 
 
dawn and dusk are one coin.

all that ever was, all that is or will be, emerges here.

the grasp of fingers intertwined.

landing from a sky inside.   we arrive.
 
 
 
while dawn makes day makes dusk makes night,

each interact yet each carries its own table of truths.

plates and knives and spoons and forks.    placed by hand.

the great grand theory of everything is simply

there is not one.   there are many.
 
 
we are.
 
 
 
a pleasure when feet find their way.

 
 
 
 
 

thirst, the long march to getting here

the water doesn’t look deep.   but the water is.

above the ankles.   more than shoulder height.   one measure of me.

breathing underwater, a skill yet unlearned.   keep an eye on the fish.

they say that’s how I began.   a salted rendering of ideas into the pond.

        use your hand.   draw a circle into the Earth.
 
 
draw a shoreline close.   bare feet on wet sand.   water low breathing.

feel the wave take sand from beneath your feet.   come now, home to me.

first, I think I’m writing this.   then life says, no, write this instead.
 
 

who are the ghosts that get embedded into the creases of a life?

 
Janet, Louis.   like it was yesterday.   Virginia.   Mother, that’s half a world.

Marsha, Ione.   Breathing (we hope) but gone, far lost faces far away.

like Robert, more commonly called Bob.   the youngest best of a century.

Like Paul.   Like Kathleen.   a space man, drowned.   and a love, half lost.

Charles.   with a period at the end.   generous love that humbles me.

     a Tahitian circle in the sand.   there, that was me (saying no).

I thought it was a hurricane.   I didn’t step across.   No, won’t explain.

several, no, many cats.   if you know, you understand.   their tails are long.

good habits.   lost along the way.   whateverwillfit.   makes no sense.

love, random kin.   honesty.   like fruit, some bruised but given away.
 
 
 
 
does water care?   equilibrium floats.   water stirs orphans with a spoon.

one hand in the water flow.  waves shaped from horses running bare.

too much to ask of pockets.   let rivers raise their arms.   promise gravity.

our faces, subject to waters measure.   oatmeal lands inside the bowl.

 
and yes, water lands where it will.   rain makes room.   says,
 
 
 
this refrain:

be the stone in the middle of the creek.

be surrounded.   be.

 

buoyant.

 
 
 
 
 

he does not mention love

and in this story, as in all good stories, there is a ghost called upon to tell the truth.

 
I can’t tell this story the right way now.   I know too
much more.   Makes past something apart from me.

but

could’a been me.   that much, yes, I can see.

(I confess, I like how I see) (a better bowl arrives)

there is a desire to connect.   isn’t that obvious?

          mutual.   her picture in his hands.

no, didn’t then all understand (appreciate) what
those feelings meant.   all filled up, bright inside.

attraction meant exactly that, like a planet and
a moon.   something round.   easy

          without a thought.

we wouldn’t always feel as now, more than memory.
sometimes when, forever just seemed natural.
 
 
no end in sight.

hand in hand.

and now.    bigger than.