habit, hope, illuminations

A river to forget and another to remember

Here again every evening, like a ritual
I hear this ruckus of seagulls,
so far inland and no signs of rain.
I search for the meaning of this anomaly –
I’ve heard this primal dance predicts
some kind of mishap – a storm, perhaps
the ground suddenly moving underneath.
Equally violent and buoyant are
the games we play with our watches.
Trying to find in mythos an escape
and a healing, even though we know
Lethe only flows in the caves of Hades.
Yet we return again and again flying
to the planes of forgetfulness
looking for subsistence in leavings.

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change, illuminations

You are free to choose

What is to be done with this new
opening and widening of time,
arriving again on the innocence of choice,
and the violence of loss after.
Like finishing a race she
accidentally entered and won,
and could not care for the prize.
Maybe there will be Greece again,
the guardian of the Tomato museum
who sat motionless and calm
in the face of forgotten histories.
Or a cabin in New England,
its streams covered with sheets of calm,
hiding the madness underneath.
When every direction is equal and fair,
choosing also means abandoning.
Today, she begins with her temporary
manufactured contentment, books of poetry,
sunshine and an empty page.
Which shape will this ink take,
she wonders as the river begins to flow.

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illuminations

the grace of an ending

It has been snowing for a few hours
and I have watched each snowflake melt
into the ground, existing only for a moment.
We assign great value to things that last
and people that stay and objects
that we can keep forever.
We preserve fruit, harvest roses
and take a million photographs.
When I was younger, I would capture fireflies
in jars and fists and shirt-pockets,
only to find them dying a few hours later.
I wish we talked more about letting things end with grace.
that we had more words for abandon,
and more ways of appreciating love
that looks more like lightening, than like summer
suddenly bright, and already gone.

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illuminations

It rains all year in Serengeti

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And I’m struck by how easily the profound
& the monumental, live in the same space
as the colorful & the fleeting.

Every afternoon the rains arrive —
even the thunder is quiet here.

Time doesn’t have a fixed unit,
but expands, like the belly of a leopard
perched high after a fresh kill.

Time has the face of satisfied slumber.

The endless afternoons
take up a lifetime & a day
is more pregnant than a decade.

And I am left wondering why anyone
would let themselves be consumed
by anything but the wilderness.


Originally written for The Pastry Box Project

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illuminations

Hippocampus Hippocampus

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1.
I stand on the banks of river Thames,
before crossing the bridge, I pause,
looking over at the water, the wind howling
A plaque diagrams the creatures of this water.
A seahorse is the shape of memory.

2.
This heart moderates,
it has been mild for some time.
Strong currents can do that some time.

3.
I remember now why I have carried it
on my back for a lifetime
studied its origins for months
walked for years backwards
and finally arrived.

4.
Here at this corner
where the ink that was once foreign
has begun to blend in my skin.

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illuminations

Smoke & mirrors

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I look around and see this summer day,
lovers in London fields,
smoke, laughter & mirrors.
Spreadeagled days of content hearts.
But everything is always, just out of reach.
Ships pass in the night,
a sparrow flies into a glass window.
Over and over, unable to understand
the very idea, of something
that seems clear, but isn’t.
A large cage, locked still.
Too often I have felt bound by flesh.
Thought time too linear, limbs too short,
map-makers all too selfish.
This desire to be everyone,
everything & everywhere at once.
Have you felt it too?

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illuminations

A study of the way children learn languages

Today I learnt of a little boy,
charred to bone, who said “I’m ok”
when help finally got to him.
After a point, what we feel can
no longer fit the bounds of language.
They say using words to tell stories
is the crown of evolution,
But what if all it does is arrest
what we are allowed to feel.
Like a mirror that warps to show
only what you are taught to see.
The heart grasps to find the right words
but they slip through these fingers,
too small to hold, too volatile to share
and ends up a fist — closed, still, resisting
unable to feel a single thing.

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