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
company.
 
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

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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

rocket at dusk

vision gets intimate with only a half-evenings blush.

standing on the porch looking south.   there.   you see?   half a block
over, what you could easy do in bare feet.   round past the white wood
trim shed in back, an open yard, no fence, just imaginary lines.
there.   the pocket market and gas.   Bill’s.

neon brights in the half-dusk-dark.   a yellow billboard with red ink
letters.   the door a shadow indent.   behind, silhouette trees make
the horizon seem high above the conjured water line.

there’s a rocket in my backyard sky.

tonight we’re going to the moon.   count my toes.   leap that far.

tonight we’ve a thin white feather and red tail shaped like wind.

we are leaning into sky.

moon & me will be in the same sentence soon.

breathless life.   was it the same before?

moving.   moving fast.   here we go.

hold my hand.
 
 
 
 

 
one from a gathering of personal snapshots, taken by residents, of shuttle-craft launches. I am immersed within by their ordinary intimacy of a shared exceptional experience.

how it would be if I were King Kong

I am my own gravity.

night Moon is my kin.

stars nest in my palms. I know each by name.
same as water does.

morning Sun sees summer when it finds my face.

rivers tell me all they hear.
I drink their listening. following.

birds call out my real name.

wind carries breath farther than my arms.

you breathe me, even if you don’t know.
I breathe your sky across far broad seas.

trees, they don’t change my path.
rivers, I can wade them all.

landscape measures itself by my strides.

I lean into blue sky, trusting as you would
trust rivers to seek their grace in stone.

trails in wilderness follow my feet.

birds sing to me how they die. I carry
these hymns home to their nest.

here, boats sewn to the shore by threads.
I make waves that bring them fish.

of this realm what doing is most dear to me?
 
 
I’ll follow you.
follow till you see I am loving you.

counting, ones

do you hear? one wall plus more than three and a roof within.
that’s how it arrives. inside first.

rain, rain.

many voices offer names. none are taken home. instead,
willow cloud petal thirst. bright and bright.

meaning less. more free.

these received are your face in all the shades of light and sleep.
oh stillness beside. here, these hands.

drink, drink.

two palms will rend the drought. and you, you within.