Dandelion dust

Restart the breath of spring, retake dew drops
as morning flows down the flute of nature’s spine.

Now yesterday’s bright petals grow paper sharp,
from hours of constancy fading like a subtle wind

while countless dawns suggest an ode (there is one here,
somewhere) inscribed on the bark of others’ dreams

and parched desires. Removing themselves from the minutes
they have pulled over and slowed for no reason

other than to inhale the river’s dust and wondrous deltas,
still under the endless lamp of time.

Years in the Making

His two hands
hammer and tongs vibrate
aching to translate into sound
scatter-gun recollections
of sixty years or more

the pavement steaming outside
an apartment glowing before dusk
one forlorn June day, the waves
rising with a sweet crescendo
dangling hands:
bliss at dawn on the mountaintop
two lovers parting
(or just a breath?)

leaning in he carries
with a swift arpeggio
a moment or a decade
only he can tell

transfixed within this musical grammar
we edge closer to these key-lit stories
to step into his hands
where comfort rests
in life’s brittle arrangement.

(9 April 2015)

A Formula for Living (8 December)

How to recapture the design for youth’s
Inquisitive eye creeping into small gaps,
Crooked places holding life’s careful mysteries,
Whose constant fiddling and axis-tilting dims
To bleak acceptance of this invariant now?

How blood stirs when unsudden life is jostled
Awake by a single and unexpected discordant
Bang that grips your shoulders like a madman
Concussing the unchanging present with a
Mighty blow, this ever-waking unstill now.

We marvel at a single distraction that blossoms
Into an accumulation of these neglected wonders
Respiring beside the constancy of all the
Sweating days and nights where our stumbling,
Sealed lives are ripped apart by

A hidden cat who startles us, and it, correcting
Gilded eyes in shock while overhead arachnids
Perform high-wire maintenance, bending girders
Against the foaming winds, their labor
Unmoved by this, our blissful gaze.

Be still
For these brief seconds:
Only look,
Let time wait.

Still more (June 10)

And then you wonder what we are collecting,
all these flash-frozen stills
compiled in one unbound catalogue
filling evermore life’s larder
like canned preserves compressed
into tiny jars and stockpiled
for some eventual consumption
if only to confirm these dotted days
on our single strand were real,
even if we were not,
though we kept adding because.

Just as we might accumulate
a stockpile of friends and followers:
for who is to say when enough is enough
so long as it is easier to take
the measure of our lives numerically
in the weight of numbers,
the movement of masses and
the height of reflections,
for what can be counted must surely count

and so we continue hoarding life
but never loving what we can hold,
inhabiting an uncollected now
instead of the other.

Somehow this seems like a moodier poem than I intended. And yet: if you could see the drafts, the deleted words and phrases – all those “perfect” lines inked and then erased. Seemingly, the voice turned as I was rewriting, in the process of feeling the rhythm and trying to capture a feeling, an attitude. I’m not convinced it’s quite there but, then again, this is really “draft” poetry.
I find that forcing myself to publish makes me go through a different process (as does writing this on computer). I won’t write it all the way through, but might write a few lines/images, play around with them, then come back. Later, when I’m reading it aloud, I try and find a flow and pace that fits – that helps the meaning “sing”. But I don’t find myself (consciously) thinking about where to place a symbol or metaphor, where to alliterate. When I notice it happening, I might revise and see whether I can improve the effect. That, though, is just how I write (at least at this stage in my writing life).