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Posts Tagged ‘ars poetica’


 
 
I want it to be said
I was the kind of woman
who would weep in the concert hall,
undone by the beauty of song.
I want to be remembered
as a creature who loved
spring grass in her bare toes
and dirt in her hands
and the sun on her skin,
and I want everyone I love
to know for a fact
I chose them as my family.
I hope they will say
I loved the blank page
more than any word on it,
though I thrilled for words, too—
It was weird, they might say,
how she would sit there for hours,
days, years, wondering
about the next true thing,
letting the blank rub off on her.
She was so happy, eyes closed,
fingers hovering above the keyboard,
leaning into that moment
when anything is possible,
that edge where she learned
she had wings.
 
 
 

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with a line from Charles Simic, “The Prodigal”


Glade of light on the empty stage.
She steps into it, eyes blinded.
Someone in the audience
clears a throat. Someone
scuffs a sole. Many invisible
someones make no sound at all.
She has faith they are there.
She is holding a stack of papers.
Her chest contracts, rises.
So much that happens goes unseen,
a secret cinema.
She opens her mouth
and the words fall out like leaves
releasing themselves from a tree.
With each sentence she is more bare
until only her trunk remains.
She is an aspen arriving in January,
skeleton exposed.
What no one can see
are the roots. What no one can see
is she is standing on trust.
It has taken her fifty-two years
of bursting into color and
wildly waving her branches
to finally learn how 
to stand still.
The other trees stand with her,
and though it is winter,
their roots grow wider, deeper.

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at the Immersive van Gogh exhibit in Chicago


Dark, and then suddenly
gold, gold in a major chord,
gold as if living inside Sunflowers,
gold in the ear drums, gold pulsing in pores,
gold thrumming in breath.
golden thoughts of only large sunflowers
van Gogh painted in anticipation.
Gold is perhaps the color of hope,
and so, bombarded with gold
on the walls, gold on the floor,
gold on my skin,
is it any wonder golden tears
fall like petals down the cheeks?
Perhaps, you, too, have prepared
for something beautiful
that hasn’t come to pass.
Perhaps, you, too, have lived
in that golden world
long enough to know it is real,
to know the beauty of bloom
so vibrant and full, know, too,
the beauty of withering.
Perhaps you, too, have known
love so golden the longer
you live it, the richer it becomes,
so rich you must create new colors
to know it, must give it away
to know at last how rich it is.
Perhaps you, too,
know the sunflower inside.

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for “the lucky buyer” who “went home with a certificate of authenticity” for an “immaterial sculpture” by Salvatore Garau


What could be more valuable
than nothing? The nothing that
frames “The Thinker,” the nothing
that holds every bowl,
every vase, every bust, every thought.
Let others buy the clay, the steel,
the papier-mâché. I will be satisfied
with nothing more than nothing.
Nothing pleases me. Nothing
enchants me. Nothing,
as Heisenberg says,
has a weight. Just think
of the space here beside me
where you are not.
If someone asks me why
I have a five-by-five-foot
empty space taped off in my home
with a plaque that says I Am,
it is because I am so in love
with nothing. Imagine it—
nothing, the color of happiness,
nothing, the size of love,
nothing, the shape of god.

This poem was published in Rattle’s Poet’s Respond on June 13, 2021

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One Divining


 
 
using words
as dowsing rods—
there, the current inside

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Symbiosis



 
 
These poems
are only words
nesting on a page,
 
but when you read them
they become
hummingbirds—
 
can you feel
how they are drawn
to the red flower of you,
 
how it is you
who gives them
the nectar they need,
 
how it is
what is inside you
that supports
 
their tiny
fluttering
hearts?

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Thank You


            for all poetry friends
 
 
I am perhaps the crow
who, parched, unable to fly,
arrives at the pitcher
and realizes
I cannot reach the water.
But in this story,
there are no pebbles nearby.
In this story,
there are other crows
who arrive, each
with pebbles they drop
into the pitcher.
You, my friends,
are the crows.
Your words
are the pebbles.
And slowly, sweet miracle,
the water rises.
 

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I want to read the poem of you—
want to hold in my breath
your intimate rhythms
want to translate in my lungs
the silences between your stanzas,
want to feel in my heart
the sharp tug of your turns,
the communion of your inner rhymes.

I want to follow
the ever-emerging form of you,
want to know which words
are appearing even now
in the divine cursive
that writes us all,
want to wander in your ambiguities,
wonder about your secrets,
marvel at your beauty,
be wrestled by your oppositions.

I want to recite your lines
again and again and again
so your stories
are the allusions that inspire
the emerging poem of me.

This is the poem in which I admit
every poem has the potential
to break open the heart—
imagine the size of the book.
This is the poem in which I remember
the heart was made to break open.

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What a woman really needs
is a blank sheet of paper,
which takes trees, of course,
softwood coniferous are best—
pines, firs, spruce, hemlock.
Their long fibers produce the strongest paper
able to hold the most difficult words.

And the tree needs sunlight, clean air, water.
And the tree must be cut using a chainsaw,
harvester, feller buncher. Must be moved
with a skidder or a forwarder.
Must be transported to the sawmill on a truck:
So many machines run by so many
human hands attached to human limbs
with human hearts and human hurts
and human hopes.

And of course, the woman
needs a pen for writing on the paper—
the ink no longer coming from soot
but from pigment including a solvent, a binder,
and a plethora of additives
such as chelating and drying agents—
a complex concoction suited to giving clarity
to complex thoughts.

She needs a room. Or a closet. A counter?
Or simply entry to an inner place
where there are no other voices
asking for help or offering help either.
A space where the predominant voice
she hears is her own—or perhaps,
more truly, the voice she is ripening into,
the voice that emerges when she lets the blank page
know more than she does, lets it lead her
on cursive paths that cross themselves often
but move her ever forward.

And then, with that clean sheet full of memories,
that pen with its synthesized balance,
that room with its impossible blessing,
she might at last meet what she really needs most,
that part of herself she will forever
continue to wonder about, that self
that reaches for her, that asks her to wrestle,
invites her to see what else she might find
in all that abundant blank.  

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The night is a poem
with verbs of shadow
and nouns of deep,
a poem I never tire
of reading, a poem
that writes itself
into my thoughts,
enters my imagination
like a Trojan Horse—
when its dark ink
overcomes me,
you’d almost think
I was happy
for the ambush,
you’d almost think
I flung wide the gates
on purpose
knowing full well
how the story
would end.

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