may you smile.
Lightness is always good when plowing language.
What and how to say and be?
Maybe here is the best I can do.
Maybe my expectations don’t fit simple truth. Do my intentions really matter as a step ahead? Do I even, honestly, get to prescribe how my intentions reach to ground? Or should I simply look at them as shadow stitched onto my feet? Abundant self-criticisms. Moment inside moment. No quaking earth, but one foot in front of the other. What about all of those thousand thousand steps? Arrogant to criticize myself for placing the fork to the left or right of the plate? What other sins?
Does the cat crossing the street lament self-doubts? The birds embracing the limbs they rest upon? The window, the door? What storms intrude that make any difference to the feast? Cross the street. That’s enough.
Breathe. Observe. Participate. Appreciate.
When I was rather young it was joy that frightened me more than pain.
However. Cobblestones. I’ve been in the river a long time now.
dear Charles. Remembering, a present tense verb. Two footprints in the sand. Do you hear the village cleansing bells? Men lift and persuade the loadsome bell platform down the narrow village street. Homes, the sliding doors open wide. Families, they move the doors. Rooms open with sky. Purity of regard. The way that breathing moves the chest, moves the sky.
Once you asked, what could you do to make me feel safe with you? Anything. Anything, you said. (Who says and means something like that!) My silence was impermeable. Meaning, no, nothing to give. I was afraid. Now, in a new tropic dream, you enter the circle, you ask again, come with me, and now this time, I do. Did you see?
Blessings chimed. Expunge broken things. Lift. Move the bell. Repeat.
Ten-ish I gather my daily regimen of pills. Then drizzle them onto tongue. Some water. Then swallow. Do I hate taking pills? I used to say, well, think, I hated these exotic shells of chemistry that keep my blood intact. These days I favor not using that word, not what I really mean – too violent. Language makes difference. Besides, emotionally the moment that most confronts my attention are the simple actions moving pills from their bottles into my attendant cup. That’s when resistance happens loud for me.
I am probably mistaken much of the time. However this gathering of me is all I have to offer – except for having you. And yes, no matter distance, your living colors into mine. A matter of choice.
At my best, and that is only a fraction of me, I want to know who you are and I want you to see who I am. To know and be known.
Beloved. More than a word.
the simple breath that kept him alive.
Naomi Shihab Nye
A recent post I read brought to question relevance. So what if I have cancer? How mundane. Some people have cats, some have dogs, some, nothing to eat. Although honestly, so often now I color my thoughts with a myriad of not-yets possible. Far from any semblance of enlightenment. No, not a thought about why me, nor even how do I escape the fate of life.
But where is the grace in my heart?
Times in the morning early
when it rained and the long grey
buildings came forward from darkness
offering their windows for light
William Stafford, from Some Things the World Gave
generosity is an expression of gratitude.
said another way. generosity is the root verb of gratitude.
said another way. it is gratitude in motion.
May my life be received like fresh baked bread.
Poems. A late life arrival but here for the duration. I said I would – write – but sometimes it’s shaky ground. More than desire it takes the guise, do I have anything worth saying? No escape. Bonded companions perhaps – write and doubt. Mutual regard? But what if.
What if language grows opaque and rigid for me? Memory is a real question that way. Experience seems trustable, but words? For that I need a good hammer and nails. What to write if words get thin?
I don’t have an answer.
I have a possible obsession with the question – are poems real? Are they merely ink on paper? Do they harvest some difference in more than just a busy life with a bag of marbles to collect? I suspect they do. I hope they do. I think a poem can carry a breath. And one breath can begin Anything. And Everything. Participation is what makes a difference.
This is an unexpected universe.
Write a poem that heals. Isn’t that real? Possible? Once upon a time I gave this response, Read this poem aloud. Me, I don’t think it met the challenge, not in a conventional poem manner. Yet the title itself, that invitation to “read aloud”, that carries engagement in a real human sense. Voice.
That realization is within easy reach.
excerpt from Story Time
Bring me a new one, maybe with a dog
that trots along side, and a desert with a hidden
river no one else finds, but you go there
and pray and a great voice comes.
And everything listens.
This journal posting goes maybe one step more near. First and last lines. Keep them but toss the rest as you wish. Touch. Touch and motion is how I measure truth. Connection is only realized in twos. Given by one, received by another. Relationship, by another name. Smile.
Does a life have purpose being here? Is purpose attractive (not pretty, but attracting)? A pebble like a tree like an afternoon wind like the sound of a voice, these too apply their purpose being here.
Genuine acceptance is thus defined.
Is my life not poem enough?
may your face smile when you think of me.
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