(with apologies to Wallace Stevens and his Snowman)The Scarecrow
Mutely standing in a field of
fallow stubble, bending on the loam,
one’s mind is a business of
musing the morning sun to rise.
Bold mice scurry through holes in boots,
tickling would-be toes of would-be feet
and climbing through knees of overalls
that, overall have seen brighter days.
Sparrows puff from red flannel seams--
brown-feathered breath calling to
starling hands that wish to rub pale straw
moths from hollow sockets that stare
the stars from the sky. One has hopes of scaring
someone--anyone--and listens without ears to hear
all that is not there and the one thing that is.
(Four-for-one today, because I have been Presently Absent or Absently Present or....
well...Missing...and I may come up Missing again. Anyone who actually listens to all
four gets a cookie...and my undying....umm...curiosity? Awe? Stupefaction?)
Missing, part 1
How many times did you wake up
in the night, find an empty cup
and wonder where your mind used to
be, your self alone and just you
in the bed, and just the one bed
with unfamiliar sheets, your head
on a strangely scented pillow?
I would have brought her there, you know,
for you to hold, and not for me.
You needed her more. I can see
that now. I would have stood close by,
just a ways, and averted my
gaze; let you have your time alone
as I tried not to turn to stone.
Missing, part 2
I wonder--did those strange scents jar
your memories and dreams toward
unseen collisions with silence,
that wrong kind of quiet made dense
with soft specific sounds that spell
a place far deeper than our well-
used alphabet of ancient objects?
Our limbic world just disconnects
over time. Our temporal selves
get disheveled. Cerebral shelves
do not suffice any more. We
strive to hold things in place, but see
only place-holders and when age
eats worlds, the words fall off the page.
Missing, part 3
Do you feel the rain where you are?
Is there water there in the far
reaches of memory? Does time
fall through the air, like brittle rime
crusting the sea? Is this weather?
Tenuous shifts of the tethers
that tie us, each to our own place?
I stand in the rain, raise my face
to the falling sky as my sight
becomes a part of the pale light
that is left to us, and wonder
how we can all be so sundered
and still hold together all this
madness, beauty and darkness.
Missing, part 4
Are your words still with you? Did you
carry your stories deep into
the night and leave them like luggage
on a railway platform, an age
and more down silver tracks, with just
the wind, the stars, and leaves like dust
blowing and hissing in the dark?
This silence leaves a fading mark.
The thing that took you left your face
in bodies unknown to you, lace
filaments tracing what the eyes
of others cannot see: the ties
that generation takes away;
the look in eyes that cannot stay.
The presence of absence
this emptiness is not a substance
or a non-substance but a thing
or a non-thing. this emptiness
has a name, a place and a form.
when we speak of it, we speak
not of emptiness but of an emptiness,
a singular vacancy that
inhabits a place, a space
in an inner landscape
like a deep canyon where
nothing ever happens any
more, not even weather.
and this is how it happens. an empty
rumble echoes in an emptiness.
a space finds room to breathe
and the room finds space
to live again in the empty
rooms of another, and these
emptinesses are much the same.
they are filled with the same nots,
the same uneasy intervals
bound by different chords,
threads that thrum in the void,
the same void, the same un-
this-ness — the same— and these
emptinesses speak to each other
across the fullness of the world,
through the things we cling
to and avoid and we
color these things and
we build them up around
us and we call them memory
and they are never enough.
"god" is a word.
"god is dead" is three words.
Meaning is fluid, pumping
from three words
to what you believe
“guts” is a word.
“I hate your guts” is four words.
I don’t know your guts.
My words are
meaning moving in
“Can you taste the venom in my soul?”
I have no soul.
You have no guts
to call your own.
Venom has no taste and
“Guts” is just a word.
“Soul” is just a word.
just a word.
God is just.
God is justice.
Justice is a worm.
I have worms in my guts,
(A bit late...more on the cinquain sonnethere)Winter Madness
the streetlights, the
blocks go on forever
beneath the leaden sky. In this
straighter in the winter
night, lonelier than the steam from
belongs to the
night, to the filling of
empty lanes with the walls of words.
(two for one today, again, because yesterday was a cock-up and today we get weird...)
Hearth of soil and soul of
stone, gather us
to your bosom. Hum us
like warmth into
winter’s close conjuring.
Hum us into
the bellies of our love.
Heirlooms live in
ancient ovens leavened
with our tailings,
leavings telling of our
meals, the most sacred shared
by us, alone.
Pulses from one
to the one that sprang from
her very soil
(earth murmurs), the maker
passes on the
notes of a melody
for the making.
Six simple gifts, the land's
ascend in scales, soft sound
humble place; ordinals
older than words;
sounds fat and round and full
of life. "Fully
formed and transformed by the
mouth’s own making,
the soil's song sings itself
in tongues' silence,"
mumbles humus, a tune
down in its roots.
We went into the streets
and squared our shoulders
against the coming night.
The clouds hung low in
our minds, eating us--
eating our thoughts.
The rats were everywhere,
walking over our feet and
chewing our fingernails for us.
We twisted our hearts into
animal shapes and
gave them to the rats.
They did not want them.
They wanted the bones of
our world to gnaw on.
They wanted to be
the humming birds that ate
the fairies of our hearts.
They wanted to filet the blue
fish of our minds.
They wanted to burrow
through our marrow
and delve into our guts,
coming up with fresh oysters.