Categories
Poetry

Ghazal: A Life

Ghazal: A Life

Name one life not filled with light.
Even a cold heart melts in light.

Fog no longer blankets the canyon.
Hear the warbling wren in flight.

Recall the lessons November taught.
After summer fades, fill its void with light.

Hear the day’s internal rhyme.
A soft chorus calls twilight.

This life is not the final draft.
No life is cursed with delight.

Restore stars and the sun to your heart.
My friend, let there live lyric and light.
Categories
Poetry

The Old Man

The Old Man

The old man paused on the bridge
a favorite stop
upstream of the lazy oxbow

where a boy once watched
the milky gold
of evening sunlight

spill through the alders
into empty space
over still water

its silent weight
filled the air

suspended dragonflies
patrolling the cattails

urgently

as if they knew
the lateness of the hour.
Categories
Poetry

Logistics

In the end we left things undone.
The piano player drove slowly home.

We did not sing the final refrain.
We did not read one last poem

to the ring of guitar strings.
So many threads

bound one heart to many.
In the end we were practical.

How can you bury a life
and be home before suppertime?


——————————————————
Photo Lissa Arroyo
Final line borrowed from the novel “The House of Broken Angels” by Luis Alberto Urrea

Categories
Poetry

A Still Life

A poem begun years ago, edited recently, I set it free today.

Categories
Poetry

Triolet

Eternity smothers this one day.

This day devours every hour.

I taste each minute along my way;

still, eternity smothers this one day.

Of the beauties that bloom today,

I savor the lowest flower.

Though eternity smothers this one day,

today I devour, every hour.

Categories
Poetry

I Could Say: A Poem Is More Than Meets The Eye

The editors at The Cortland Review saw something in my poem, “I Could Say” and they published it in November 2015.

[Poem text is in the photo]

Today, I think the poem is strange, I do not like it, and I don’t think it’s very good poetry. Reading this poem conjures memories and emotions associated with my writing of the poem. Unpleasant, disturbing emotions.

I was very ill, living with a massive, destructive brain tumor, only weeks before diagnosis and surgery.

My notes tell me I had become obsessed with Sappho, and I tried to adapt Sapphic stanza and meter here. I even obsessed using long vowels at the stresses and short vowels at unstressed syllables. I don’t know why I did that. I mean, I worked the poem instead of eating, talking, bathing, sleeping. I was possessed by frightening drive and detachment. Writing was not comforting; writing this poem made me feel desperate and ill.

This describes a fairly benign episode of my otherwise terrifying insanity in summer 2015, when my brain tumor had begun noticeably crushing my neurons and blood vessels.

The parlor of my cerebrum where Sappho would frolic is today an untidy mudroom. Cleared of the big-ass mass, there’s neuro-crap strewn about, surgical and radiation damage, and a wee tumor has regrown. Could it be that Sappho’s cousin Dementia has moved in? That’s kind of funny, no? I’m laughing at it and you can, too.

Categories
Poetry

Desert Litany

Desert Litany

In spite of your thirst
you gave up prayer
and wept
bowed your head
lowered your hands
put down hope
took up despair

And in despair you envied prickly pear
growing gray by day, invisible each night
or sandstone’s insensible dementia

And erased every tear
stifled hope’s breath
forgot hurt’s bite

Until one warbling figure of wren-flight
with song-sweet-spit-of-flame
claimed his domain

And released tear’s sting
set hope’s hook
hammered hurt’s spike

Until raised hands surrendered
and folded round bird, song,
trembling heart.

Categories
Poetry

A Poet’s Resolution

Of means, none silent as the candle

greetings, none soft as dawn

causes, none grand as the moth

to weave moonlight each night.

Of words, make mine such steel

that I too would render

wonder from darkness.

Categories
Poetry

The Gift

What comes each dawn                                      
I do not know

Dawn knows no reason                              
Keeps its own season

Buds at budding time                                
Ripens at harvest time

Dies in its prime                                        
Leaves one fresh gift

To confound the clever painter            
Blending at their palette.

Categories
Poetry

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is not yours.
A guest in our home,
It arrives warm, bright, generous,
Leaves quietly before its time.
Happiness is not mine.
It lives untamed
In wilderness between our hands
But not in our hands.
A tide between our shores,
Happiness is not yours
To keep, not mine to give.
But it may be shared
As you swim beside me,
The wake trailing your body
Gently joining mine.