It is like I am chipping softly at the ice, a little bit at a time, trying to get to the clear water underneath, but the ice is thick and I can only chip a little bit at a time and every little bit that I chip fills up with water and when, the next morning, I come back to try to make more progress, all the cracks and crevices I have chipped, all the progress I have made, all those fissures have filled up with water in the night and refrozen, becoming once again just more ice. In some cases it seems the seams have somehow become even stronger, harder, more intransigent and resistant to my efforts to break through to the water beneath. I know that there are fish down there. I have seen flashes of them on occasions when I have managed to make the ice thin enough to see to where the sun penetrates into the depths and I know that if I could get through then I might capture one of those fish and make a meal or a trophy or at least I might have a solid, silver moving thing for a moment in my hands, painfully cold but brilliant and gleaming.
I wrote this for my wife, the beautiful mother of my beautiful daughter, but I offer it up. A Mother's Day poem for all the nurturers.
Mystery This is the mother’s month, the month of the morning of the year when the earth begins its cycle song. Here is the mother’s milk where we always knew it was, where we leave it as we found it, as it found our mouths without looking, as it gave what could only be given, being what could only be once, though it is again and again beginning. Here is the new-turned leaf, face to the sun, brilliant in the warmth, lobes spread wide to catch the day. Here is the heart of the wood, where would will only find will, where only heart can know heart, be still and still be.
This is my city.
My city is a dark city.
My city sleeps in the light.
Comes alive when niceties,
formalities, moralities doze.
Murder capital. Mainstream
mainline midwest nightmare.
Only a city could have made this.
Only a city would have made this happen.
Susurrations and permutations
in plain black and white surreal noir.
Darkness made Visible. Organic ordination
in non-ordinal imaginary numbers.
The Order of the Night.
The statistics lie and we are all spies
sleeping through our lives and
turning and turning and turning
on each other and turning
each other on
and off, on and
You have been saving the world for so long that no one can find you anymore. No one knows where you are or how to get from there to here, how or who to search for in the dark of darks, what strip to lay waste to, what waist to circle with arm or belt, saying ‘come along, come along’ as if everything will be all right at the end of the hall, when the therapy is done, when you go back home to bounce back but no one says anything about bouncing back and forth, do they? No one tells you the price. No one mentions that it’s paid in all directions at once, that there is no keeping it contained. It goes when it goes and you can not make it go when it doesn’t. It’s just like that. And that other thing; it’s like that too, but it’s not like anything else, nor is it elseing like nothing at all. You have been saving the world for so long that no one can find the you that is doing the saving. [Inspired, spun off from, SPRUNG from this poignant piece by the most indefatigable M. Lewis Redford. I can not say exactly what happened to me when I read this poem, except to say that mind, memory, hope and heartbreak all collided and colluded to give me this piece--of a piece--and it fell, whole, into my lap. (Well, except for that last little bit. It fell later, like an over-ripe fruit from what strange tree...into....the sea....you see?)]
It is so much to bear.
So much on his shoulders.
He feels the weight of it upon him.
Such pressure. Such weight that he
cannot even grasp it all.
He looks down—always down—at his iron legs,
at his stone feet mired, rooted in the pavement.
“If you could just turn, just the littlest bit…”
“Right there….just over your…”
But no. You do not know.
It is a darkness you can not know.
It is too much.