Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spring. Show all posts

23 April, 2012

Brief Introduction to The Atlas of Deep Time

Roads cut into mountain rock like long memories,
though the names and dates and reasons
have all been forgotten. One fresh grave
among the long lauded and appropriated dead
give us something to tell stories about,
each with a hint of mysticism and rebirth.
What is this place? Known and unknown,
traveled and unconquered, mapped and mysterious?

There are stories to be told, wood nymphs to chase,
crones filing ageless knowledge away in dusty bone husks.
Worries about the garden. Beware the killer mosquitoes
and the wrath of left turns.

If he is not careful, a man can come to this place
filled to his gills with the knowledge of good and evil
and leave feeling new born. Conspirators and coal barons
and tornadoes come and go, the sound of them
simply become rhythms to the songs
that have been sung for generations
and will be sung for generations more.

If he is not careful, a man can come to this place
broken and find his messiah
sitting beneath a tree in a lone cemetery
blessing the fresh grave of an infant
lucky enough to avoid the curse of naming
knowing love and turning back into dust.

07 April, 2012

Super Nova Cheese Cloth (A Poem)

No wonder we create gods to venerate,
only to eventually knock them down.
If I thought it would help,
I'd call for lamb's blood too.
Children leer and throw fruit loops like palm leaves
while their parents piss in the gas tanks
of unredeemed foreign cars;
addicts curled in the fetal position
on back patios offer prayers
and promises of penance to angels
dripping wet from the latest bloodbath,
and absent mothers shed martini tears
as their daughters lie in hospital beds
unable to walk and bawling.

They are all conspiring against us.

I have thrown the old gypsy woman's dice
and divined the lines in my face to discover
whether the planets are truly aligned against us.
Solar flares and tsunamis are false signs
of the end of things; which means
we will endure another 100 million cycles
around the sun without ever knowing
what it means when two pieces
of the same cosmic soul are joined
and go super nova.
This is the day we bury our expectations
wrapped in cheese cloth
swaddled in the guilt of our inequities:
proof positive that it's entirely too easy to kill god
when we make the mistake of giving him
a human face.

02 April, 2012

Porkopolis Revival: (Re)Return of the Native (a poem)

I have written this cityscape and it has written me –
chiseled into these bones, memories like the rings of trees
will tell the tale when I am cut open upon the slab.
It's not that I don't love you. It's not some need to escape,
like the one that first brought me to you
all those years ago before the road map started
etched itself into my face
so that my daughter tells me I am old and wrinkly.
(She is young, as young as me when I first wandered
your mysterious streets, and does not know
what age looks like yet, or what it is to be soul-tired.)
No. What brings me here is, as always, expediency.
The tape measure snaps back
I snap back, and the measurement remains. Some nights
I close my eyes and I see the city of my memory
– not the one that has risen to take its place –
and part of me longs to return. Yet when I do
it's not the same place. Even cement moves on without me
and I am left no choice, but to find my way
with an outdated map that indicates landmarks
which were moved in the name of corporate expediency.
Though the subway was never completed, Losantivlle,
you have roots winding all the way to the river
and just as deep and underneath you
so much moves that is not seen on the sidewalks.
The oligarchs have not stepped down
or turned over their power.
But this city is not theirs, anymore than it's mine.
And yet, when I leave, I know
I will sometime return and find some echo of the street names
that preoccupy my dreams and give depths to my nightmares.

19 March, 2012

Listening to the Earth Groan In the Space Between Sips

The grass will grow for sure. 
Three days before the first day of Spring, 
the first real rain falls 
after two days of preternatural heat.
Drinking coffee, I can hear your voice,
the way you used to tell me
You know you'll have to mow soon.
You used to be so excited about it.

Then again, grass grows different in memory
than it does on a three-quarter acre corner lot.
Over on Pumpkin Hill, the roof doesn't leak anymore, either;
no more dance to set the mop bucket
and empty coffee cans just right.
Old house, old house problems
I would say.

Drinking the last of the morning coffee,
I wonder what it must be like
to feel the groan of the Earth under foot, 
the way an old crone groans
remembering her last moment of ecstasy,
that moment of thunder and cloud break.

Do all men mistake that moan for interest?
Spring planting is all cow shit 
and bad porn metaphors, anyway. 
Nostalgia and bad commercialism
designed to make urban shoppers feel better
about not knowing where the plastic wrapped food
comes from.

If the Earth is a woman, then we really are
beyond all redemption. 

16 March, 2012

Epitaph For A Warm Winter In The Corn Belt

It's warm this year for late March.
The mosquitoes have hatched
and the mysterious downtown gnats
have moved in. Local criers prematurely whimper
that the Tinkers might return early, too.
Town girls traipsing round in butt hugging short shorts
inciting judgment and fury from the new mothers out
pushing baby carriages in defense
against the onslaught of middle age
and distracted husbands.
Fathers of teenage daughters
drink heavily bewaring nightmares
of early grandchildren
and preternatural impotence.

No one has started mowing. Yet.
But that is simply a matter of time.

Elsewhere in the county,
the agribusiness barons fine tune
their seasonal plans for conquest.
The ground barely froze,
and is pliable to the plow
like some recently wed rape victim.
The small farms prepare for the open air markets,
make sure to guard against the strong winds
and genetically modified corn seeds
that sneak into their fields –
following the pattern established by nature
before the CEO of Monsanto was born.

Carnival barkers of unforeseen future events
talk casually of increasing ocean temperatures,
melting ice caps, the cost of gasoline.
Conservative church biddies blame the President.
From here in the coffee shop,
where I sometimes sit and dream,
I imagine meeting you on the sidewalk
after returning from another long journey.
We hug with less tension. You laugh at my beard.
We talk about having coffee and almost forget,
for a moment, the onslaught of weather
that drove me out in the first place.

20 March, 2011

Meditation on the Vernal Shift

Thunder and rain renounce the winter and tell me it is Spring
announcing itself like an overdue guest. Thunder and rain
tell me somewhere someone will plant – I will not because
my thumb is purple not green and I have too much sympathy
for weeds and other devils anyway. Thunder rolls, a divine train
in the sky. Carrying what? Nobody knows and nobody dares
ask or attempts to sneak a peak at the conductor's manifest.
Rain falling, bouncing off the roof and back into the sky
or onto the ground; the rain is everywhere, the rain is nowhere
like words are my everything and my nothing and are everywhere
and nowhere. They fall and bounce like large drops replete
with memories of the eons lost and wandering amongst the clouds
like long forgotten deities. The muck and the glory of 406 years – no
of a thousand or a million or several millions – is encased
in each tear drop and they bounce off the roof and and they
fall on the ground and are boiled back into the sky and are rained down
again until the dirt will be sated with our bones
and our memories and our sins and it will all run 
in the streams and rivers and back to the sea, and over
and over and over. Thunder and rain renounce the winter
announcing Spring, the thunder train's manifest destiny echoing in and out
and out into space, creating that cosmic reverb no one ever talked about
on Star Trek. Thunder and rain tell me
it is spring and reminds me of the bass beat of house music
back when I liked house music, back when it was a meditation
to sit in the shadows and watch the hysterical loneliness played out
on dance floors – until the air so thick with sadness and desperation,
the old women imagining themselves young and digging into
fresh meat while the cops burst in checking ID's so they can grope
the fresh young girls in search of an arrestable offense
turned my blood to Kentucky Bourbon. The fights in the parking lot
are the same fights we have had for 406 – no a thousand –
no a million – years and they do not end because the memory of eons
is buried in our bone marrow and what is reaped is what is sown, whether
your thumb is purple or green or if you have no thumbs at all – 
anyway you go, it's all opposable anyway. 
Thunder and rain renounce the winter and tell me
(please tell me) it is Spring while the wind and the hail shake the house,
make the lights flicker and the storm windows rattle
like an old man's cancerous cough. I am upstairs and I wonder:
would it bother me if the house and I were blown away,
pushed onto the thunder train tracks with a divine engine bearing down
full speed, unable to slow down, for the manifest is full
and must be delivered on time? Thunder and rain renounces the winter,
calls out our names using a language we have forgotten, using words,
we have never bothered to learn, let alone be fluent in. Thunder and rain
renounce the winter, tell me it is Spring and remind me
that in all I find manifest when I open my eyes each day,
I will know – still – that there is something I am missing.

04 April, 2010

Two New Poems: Days 3 and 4

4/3: Fallen Cedar

My landlord’s sons made short work
of the fallen cedar in the side yard and
hauled it away in the beds
of several full-sized pick up trucks;
I didn’t approach them and offer
to help or to ask them what
they intended to do with the wood
because it was a silly question
and because they might have noticed
from my tone and general demeanor
that I will miss that ugly tree;
it was here long before me
and maybe
before this little old house;
and I also don’t want
my landlord’s sons to see
the guilt in my face because
it was probably my arrival
that made them remove it
sooner than they would have

4/4: In a Moment of Silence 20 Minutes After Waking

We slept late but it’s still
too early and the coffee
takes too long to kick in.
These Sunday mornings
remind me of others

when I was appropriately shod
in uncomfortable new shoes,
fit into unyielding new clothes
and herded off
so’s not to be late
for the absurd Sunday School
Fashion Show and yet another
telling of how the dead
can rise again and how
crucial it is to believe
in the impossible even though
upstairs, the preacher is,
at that very moment,
reading a long list
of the sick and the dying
who will not return
in spite of
what they professed
to believe.

Looking back now
I still find it impossible
to believe or to understand
how that all worked, or why
on those mornings,
it was more of a sin
to sleep in
than on a morning like this one
in which
there is no resurrection
save for the one offered
by a fresh cup of coffee,
a book of poetry,
and a comfortable chair.

01 April, 2010


Brightly colored plastic eggs and fresh squirrel traps
are hanging from the trees,
blowing carefree in the breeze
while the school kids,
on Spring Break, get in
all the play time they can
until its time for dinner
and talk about the new clothes
they must wear
when they go to Easter Service.
The gardeners are out mulching
and turning over tired dirt
and the obsessive lawn mower
is manicuring his grass

while the missus
is in the kitchen casually
dunking hard boiled eggs
in brightly colored dye
while talking on the phone
to her best girlfriend
who is going on and on about
that poor young woman who
hung herself last week
in the County Jail. Tsk tsk, they say.
Poor, poor girl, they say.
What would make anyone
missus begins… and a mother, too
the her friend says, only to interrupt
herself  So they
change the subject
to talk about spring hams

because one of them
nearly drops an egg
from the distraction of wondering
what such a fast suicide
must feel like
instead of the long slow one
necessary to get into Heaven.

08 March, 2010

Lines About A March Rain in Northwest Illinois

1. Morning Of

Woke to the first spring rain, still feeling the wonder
of the rarity of water I picked up living in the desert.
The sound soothes me and dulls the steady thumping
inside my skull, and reminds me
there are still small things worth watching
as the sun climbs high
hidden by gray spring storm clouds. The rain is
washing away what’s left of the snow
that’s covered the ground since early December; the grass
underneath is beginning to breathe in the still chilly breeze.
Under the large window facing the side yard, small yellow flowers
are blooming – a thoroughly pre-emptive strike at Spring.

2. Day of

I hear from the farmers, in town for last minute preparations
before the Spring planting, I should expect another winter storm.
It ain’t over yet, one tells me, though it’d be nice if it was.
Our conversation
interrupted his mental check list, the busy work
that kept them occupied through the winter
to avoid the worries about slow subsidies
and bad prices
and tornado season, which they are reminded of
because today is the day
they tested the emergency sirens
that warns people
it’s time to hide in the basement
and curl up in bathtubs.
Their voices are steeped
in anticipation, and their eyes are coated
in the worry born from generations of practice,
and I know they are weighing my responses
like another harvest – by the pound and ounce,
and deciding what its worth.
They have survived the winter
with mental check lists
and cheap beer at the local bar,
where they sit and tell stories and bitch
about having to smoke outside.

3. Morning After

The fog is still hanging close to the ground
and few patches of snow remain
like a bad hangover to remind me
of my first winter in four years
and that the memory of snow
is not the same
as the real thing.