Thinking of my father today, I wrote this memory-poem.
Reading the news this morning, I was stuck by how all the words and phrases, taken randomly and out of context, still tell a story of what’s happening in the world, though in a less linear and predicable way.
The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are beesthat burned with sweetness or maddenedthe sting: the struggle continues,the journeys go and come between honey and pain.No, the net of years doesn’t unweave: there is no net.They don’t fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river.Sleep doesn’t divide life into halves,or action, or silence, or honor;life is like a stone, a single motion,a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves,an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metalthat climbs or descends burning in your bones.
As Sewing is to Torn – Adrienne Asher We mend the world, our every choice a stitch in the rough bark of life. Our hopes embroider our beginnings, and look—our hands are opening into birds within some lyric tree of sound. This is all meant for worship—our beating hearts and shouted silences leaf out into a forest filled with restoration for us all. Photo: Hannah Streefkerk’s installation at Land Art Biënnale 2010 – Valkenswaard, Netherlands
Malheur Before Dawn — William Stafford An owl sound wandered along the road with me, I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears.. Little ones at first, the stars retired, leaving polished little circles on the sky for a while. Then the sun began to shout from below the horizon. Throngs of birds campaigned, their music a tent of sound. From across a pond, out of the mist, one drake made a V and said its name. Some vast animal of air began to rouse from the reeds and lean outward. Frogs discovered their national anthem again. I didn’t know a ditch could hold so much joy. So magic…
Paris – Willa Cather Behind the arch of glory sets the day; The river lies in curves of silver light, The Fields Elysian glitter in a spray Of golden dust; the gilded dome is bright, The towers of Notre Dame cut clean and gray The evening sky, and pale from left to right A hundred bridges leap from either quay. Pillared with pride, the city of delight Sits like an empress by her silver Seine, Heavy with jewels, all her splendid dower Flashing upon her, won from shore and main By shock of combat, sacked from town and tower. Wherever men have builded hall or fane Red war hath gleaned…
Relax by Ellen Bass Bad things are going to happen. Your tomatoes will grow a fungus and your cat will get run over. Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream melting in the car and throw your blue cashmere sweater in the drier. Your husband will sleep with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling out of her blouse. Or your wife will remember she’s a lesbian and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat– the one you never really liked–will contract a disease that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth every four hours. Your parents will die. No matter how many…
Into My Private Silence // Adrienne Asher Into my private silence I throw crows and branches, moon’s rising, bleached summer hills. There is a reason some say she’s a poet; it’s not what you think. At the center of all things is a spark. Brief and bright, it starts the song, moves the dance, unfurls words, splashes color. Its quick whisper shimmers just below the surface, sudden as a raven’s laugh, swift as an overflowing stream. Understand, I do not catch it, lucky even if I catch a glimpse. But still, she is my elusive muse: the glimmer at the heart of life.
At the 2019 Association of Writers Conference at an offsite poetry reading with Bruce Beasley and Suzanne Paola at Taste wine bar in Portland, Oregon. GREAT reading. GREAT conference: inspiring, exhausting, 4-day marathon of 15,000 people converging on Portland and celebrating the written word.
Burning Through Dreams Curved around my dreaming I dive deeper. Your image morphs into a candle flame wavering before me. Streets curve and reform under strange skies. Oceans surge and tower, falling. Lifted by the night’s tsunami, I awake with dreams lying tangled in my hair, the taste of the moon in my mouth. Your memory lies flashing like animal eyes in the dark.