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Posts Tagged ‘heart’

           for Donavan Dailey
 
 
The heart perhaps thought it was open
until a moment of silence is followed by fingers
flying across nylon strings and then, with no warning,
the heart breaks open as a high alpine meadow in June,
splays wide as a snow-deep cirque midwinter,
is exposed as a woman sitting in the first row
with tears spilling down her cheeks.
The heart does not question why,
it simply opens, wider, lets the secret tango
move through its channels as only
a secret tango can do—dancing the heart
ever closer to the moment until, beating wild,
the heart forgets it could ever be anything
but spontaneous as jazz, honest as the man
being played by his guitar, expansive
as the silence that shimmers in the air
just after the last note rings.

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By Heart




 
 
So familiar, how the dusky pink sunset
glows above snow-covered mountains,
The color blesses me as I walk alone
while Eva Cassidy sings in my ear,
I know you by heart,
I know you by heart.
My son has been dead
for over year, and now by heart
is the only way I know him.
No longer by touch, by sound, by scent.
Eva sings about how old joy
lives on and on,
and I breathe into the truth of it.
Two years ago I sent my son photographs
of this same dusky pink sunset
over snow-covered mountains—
there was joy in sharing it with him
and I feel that joy now as I talk to him,
my words coming out as visible air
as I speak to what cannot be seen.
Eva sings it again, a descending line,
I know you by heart.
I am grateful for the certainty
that rings through me in song.
He is here. As is joy.
Though he is gone.

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In Gaelic, they have a phrase that means
the shadows cast on the moorland
by clouds moving across the sky
on a bright and windy day.
Though I did not know
this phrase before today,
I have lived it.
Though I cannot pronounce this phrase,
my heart is a moorland.
I have come to love
the musky scent of heather,
the sweet scent of gorse,
the theater of dark and light.
It is beautiful there,
open and spare
and so very alive,
and for a tall soul,
there is nowhere,
nowhere to hide.

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Coursing


 
 
Once love was tsunami,
a great wave of love
that crashed into me,
and though I was pulled under
and held there,
somehow I did not drown.
 
Once love was the buzz of a red laser,
precise and powerful.
It focused on my heart
and rewrote me, cell by cell.
 
Now, I put an ear to the wall of my heart
and I hear the steady thrum of love,
how it moves in me
the way a river never stops singing in its bed,
the way stars naturally resonate,
albeit at frequencies too low to hear,
but that doesn’t mean
they are not making music.
 
Perhaps I needed the crashing,
the buzzing, the proof.
Now, I trust the love that courses there.
I trust love’s constant hymn.
I do not know how it works,
but I trust I will be sung.  

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If the eyes
can adjust
to the dark,
the iris expanding
the pupil
as wide
as possible
to open to light
and enhance
sensitivity,
then dear
heart, how
might you,
too, adjust?

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The heart doesn’t have perfectionism.
            —Joi Sharp


All night I dreamt
I was teaching a class
I’d never prepared for.
I’d never even seen
the textbook,
didn’t have a roster
for the students,
and couldn’t understand
how I’d arrived in this place
where I seemed destined
to let everyone down.
Even the chalk wouldn’t work
on the chalkboard.
All night I fought
an inner monster,
the one that says,
You are not enough.
All night it chased me
through the channels
of my fears, those
synaptic paths
well-traveled for years.
Oh world, let me be
the student.
Let me be one
who learns to live
through the heart,
who loves with confidence.
Let me study the ways
love meets the monster—
not with a fight
but with indifference.

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inspired by Leigh Gage


I try to make it beautiful—a spacious place
with room enough for blue birds to migrate,
where whole herds of elk can bed down,
and with fields so vast they hold
every memory of you—
not just the warmhearted memories,
but the hardest ones, too.
Those I hold up to the soft light of morning,
grateful for room enough to walk around them
and give them the space they need.
Those I hold up to the sharp light of noon
and say, yes, yes, it was like that.
I fill my heart with the scent of apple pie and cinnamon,
lemon zest and the river in spring.
Sometimes, when I am most vulnerable,
there’s a floral fragrance of forgiving.
I try to keep my heart soft. I try not to clench,
not to harden, not to set. I try to create
a place where you can rest, where you can stay.
It is full of blank books, each one waiting to be filled
with stories of how it is with you living here in my heart,
this place where you have always lived,
this place even death cannot take away—
this place death has made more holy, more real.

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feeling it inside me
tender and tired
your heart

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The Bailiff of the Heart wears comfortable shoes—
she knows she’ll be standing
outside the heart’s door
for a long, long time,
while inside the many voices of love deliberate.
It’s never so simple as innocent or guilty.
The heart is full of what ifs and if onlys
and the jury’s aware of what’s at stake—
nothing less than everything.
The bailiff doesn’t mind.
She can hear them in there bellowing,
pleading, reasoning, stonewalling.
She gets them water. She tells the court to wait.
It’s her job to protect their conversation.
She long ago gave up believing in justice.
Still, she believes in love.
 

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Compass




Every day we become
the self we once tried to imagine
but couldn’t. Though we planned
future paths. Though we trained.
Though we took steps. Nothing
can stop us from becoming
exactly who we are. Sometimes
I see them, the ghosts
of the women I thought I would be—
I pass them in the airport or
see them in restaurants.
Can they see me, too?
I did not know, when I imagined them,
how the path that would come to matter most
would be the path that has heart.
I still can’t see the woman
I will become. But I know how
to find her.

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