before light

      
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.

Anatomies

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.

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

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.

show & tell

taller people are not necessarily smarter.  (although they may feel it’s true)  the yogurt in your bowl don’t see any difference, tall from not.  all it sees is your spoon.

some might wager taller is closer to heaven, or at least closer to the stars.  but that just depends whether you’re looking up or looking down.  who’s closer then!  so, no.

a mountain may be very tall, but mostly what they see to appreciate is looking at their feet.  feet are important to mountains.  it’s where they came from and where they’re headed next.  gravity is the smile they contain.  my daddy was once a Southern mountain, but then he was gone.

mother’s family, they were rocks, big ones.  but there was nobody to tend their opened fields, so they left.  they moved to a land that harvested fewer hard stones than before.  grandmother fed the cats, no matter their size.  it was exactly the way she spoke goodbye to me.

words are shells where someone else used to live.  now we put them in pockets, toss them far as our arms willingly reach on the Water’s face, or, collect them sorted by Color and Shape as if they still belong to someone else other than us.  sometimes we eat them.  but only rarely.

when eaten we become another life.  another life.  another star.  but we’re still the same.  the same as the first thought we thought.  like stars will do.  thoughts shimmer, do you see?

other eyes see us from far far away.  more than ten toes, more than my nose.  I am the I who is looking from here, and this is the sea and where we swim.

2016