Each new year brings Now this garden grief Nourished by regret Each year, this day, here— Standing, kneeling, sitting—I Spend tears, words, wishes All meaningless now, In the barren garden grief Flowers never bloom Seven years gone now-- Nothing roots, though it has tried, In the garden grief inside
Consequences of time
Climb and mount
About the throat,
Following the path
Of arteries and veins,
And as if by magic,
Enter into the blood
To provide a dram bit
Of bitter choking poison
To the will of moving blood
That slows and stills
In the knowing.
Marshal forces Of the earth, moon, orbits of planets, Laws of time, All we hold mighty and true, Stop everything in its tracks, Turn it all back Before the start of any of it, Falling away, Marshaled from memory.
I first wrote this a few years ago after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s work once again. Well, after revisiting Mary Oliver and gaining familiarity with Pablo Neruda this summer, I once again returned to Bishop’s work and then had to re-watch Reaching for the Moon. So I decided to dig this one out and tweak it and revise.
In this thing called losing, Bishop said we become masters And that losing isn’t a disaster. No, not a disaster. Losing socks and such stuff. I’ve lost earrings, bracelets, Expensive ones too, didn’t care Beyond maybe a minute or two, And never was it a disaster. And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia Did I have upon saying goodbye To three houses and two cities, And never did I feel it a disaster. And yes, it was no disaster To bury my mother, A father who really wasn’t, The man who really was, First one brother, then the other, Then lastly, a wife. With each, my body and soul Savaged by a catastrophic hurricane, yes. But no, no disaster. No disaster is it, I’ll admit, For a tiny bit of soul to erode As I buried each. But nothing, nothing did I ever master. Except, maybe this— I did not look for them- Looking to forget them Since they were gone, Emptied of this earth. No, I did not look to forget While driving home In darkness under a full moon Lighted with regret Of a new unfamiliar scent. Yet the swirling of this sad scent Is no, no real disaster. No real disaster is it— That I look to forget A lost return now. A return to life Captured, fleeting, lost-- Filled with a scent Of hope or a fool’s thought— Matters not but now lost. And in this thing Called losing, In which I am well-schooled, As are we all, I have tried to make an art, To make an art of all this loss. Yes, this may be no real disaster, But Bishop lied. There is no art in losing, No art at all, That I can find to master.
to feel that glow,
let it flow within
and know in peace,
the truth held within it,
rolling slow warmth
like the sun in springtime–
that glow, that warmth—
nearly, yes nearly extinct,
such a rarity to be found
though some try incandescent tricks
in mocking mimicry
its rarity rivals the hunt for new alabaster,
which always served a cold master
and there are no dreams glowing still
of truth to be held within the fragile
beaks of hummingbirds forever
searching the lush gardens of Babylon
for a heady nectar that does not exist
Winds and rains came today.
I tried to follow the trail
But on this first day of May,
I was not strong enough–
To let the wind take me,
To allow pelting rain to abrade away
All my accumulated grime.
No freedom could I find
Within this day of winds and rains.
Give me a minute.
Let me have another cup of coffee,
Before I slosh on after,
Down the trail–
You say, a guard now stands there,
Of the newer variety,
Who advises of the locust thorns,
The kind that pierces the shoe
And can go straight into your foot?
Could have used that advice–
Once or twice
But now I’ve rubbed my thumbs
Over the sharp tipped thorns of regret
Until callouses formed.
Then I moved on to other
Fingertips until bloody, raw,
Proving to myself the sharpness of thorns.
So now, you say this stony guardian warns
Of all the thorns
Along the paths and trails?
Might this guardian advise of a thornless trail?
I really wouldn’t care, but the soles of my feet
Are without callous, and I’d like to keep them so.
Send me down a muddy, sloshy trail where
I might just fall and break my neck.
That would be simply fine,
If the soles of my feet
Remain as soft and unmarred
as a baby’s behind.
Sit among the willows,
drifting in ghostly silence,
each wrapped comforted
by misery’s blanket.
Except I am no longer,
listening to words
tumbling into deceit’s
by your thin lips mouthing words
filled with ghost meaning.
bitter in the soul and heart–
I can tell you that.
A thing you would not
ever know, catalyst of misery,
your starring role.
tell-tale signs of age
now crackle through songs of your
sweet, deceitful voice,
makes harder to catch
victims snared in misery
of life trials made.
Stop floating among
the willows, thinking yourself
spells of delicious
deceit, when you’ve aged into
Macbeth’s witch drifting
in the ghostly fog of ego.
In the fading light,
My hindsight schools, lectures, drills
In how to take steps,
In how to look away,
In how to live hopeless,
In how to heal with saltwater dreams
Overflowing with hope.
Yet still with foresight
In how to guard,
My scars, my wounds,
My picked at scabs
fading light of days
Flowering with dreams,
Of life remaining.
When you found the things you could,
A mist of breath showed in the rain,
Twin clouded rain shimmered colors
Of gray stone before you on a path you would go.
If only, if only, you should know the bones of us,
Move knotted stiff with the griefs you’ve piled upon your soul,
We’d glow of phosphorus and neon in velvet darkness.
Walking the dark, shadowed canyon of dreams
Wilted by disappointments and deflated sunshine
Waking to dimmest daylight at noon
Where you cannot bear to look
Upon your own reflection,
A sight of horror in your own eyes now
In that cracked crystal ball where you stand,
In your own self-consecrated field
Of plastic flowers bowing their majestic heads to you,
Your straw haired head is bowed,
Smiling at the ground.