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Ode to the Bic Lighter


 
 
My first lighter I found in a parking lot—
a smooth red plastic tube that fit
in my pocket. I knew playing with fire
was dangerous. I knew I wanted
to learn how. I remember trying again
and again to get the right purchase
with my thumb on the serrated sparkwheel.
I rolled and rolled until my skin was raw,
until at last the brief flame sputtered then died.
It wasn’t long before it came second nature—
the smooth flick needed to produce a spark,
the slight pressure on the red tongue
to maintain steady flame.
I learned how it burns
to be lit up too long,
but once you know how to make light,
how easy it is to bring it with you
everywhere you go.

This poem is published in the wonderful ONE ART Poetry Journal

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One Devotion

these darkest days

teach me

the light of you

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“We have a lot of things we are in the midst of. What do you think this moment is inviting us to understand? Where would you like to be in spring? Where would you like to see us as a world be?” 

—Kara Johnstad, Voice Rising Host, Om Times Radio

For a sliver

of a moment

I cradled

the whole world

in my thoughts—

every president,

peasant, seamstress,

beggar, businessman,

acrobat, child—

every one of us

a vessel

and I knew

in that instant

the power

of a wish—

as if hope

has a foothold

in reality,

as if a slim glimmer

is inevitable

foreshadowing

of unstoppable radiance.

With quiet clarity

I knew exactly

what I wish

for each of us—

I told her, too—

but I will refrain

from telling you.

Instead, I’ll hand you

the question

so you, too,

might make a wish,

so that you, too,

might glimmer,

might beacon.

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making you a bouquet

of morning light—

leaving it at your doorstep

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Any light I carry

is nothing I

have manufactured.

It’s entirely unearned.

It is easiest to notice

in the dark.

It cannot be faked.

Perhaps I wished

I could control it.

Instead, I marvel,

ask it, how

can I serve?

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A Change in the Light

 

 

 

Now while the moon

is hiding behind the clouds

now when the rain

is falling midwinter,

and now that they’ve told us

not to hug or kiss each other

for fear of contracting

and spreading disease,

yes now is the time to find

whatever light we have

been hiding inside us—

whatever measure of brilliance

we’ve managed to conceal

from each other, from ourselves—

now is the time to bring forth

that luminescence and offer it

freely to the world, now

when light matters most.

 

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Too Close to the Light

 

 

Just for a moment

my hair was on fire

and just for a moment

orange flames

rose from me

and just for a moment

I knew what it was

to be candle—

even now I can see it

beside my face,

how before I was afraid

I thought, how beautiful.

 

 

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And this is the chapter

when it just feels

too much too much

to turn on the light

and so you sit

in the dark.

 

This is not a myth

in which you are punished,

turned into a tree or a kingfisher—

nor is this the story

in which you discover

your own light.

 

No, this is the night

in which you are simply

a lifetime of tired

and unable to turn on the light.

And so it’s you

and the night.

It’s you and the night.

And then it’s just the night.

 

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One Reveal

 

 

 

long bright meteor

unzipping the night—

now the dark so naked

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Literal

 

 

The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.

            —Shakti Gawain

 

So I invite lanterns,

candles, torches, tapers,

street lights, spotlights,

glow worms, lasers,

wood matches, lighters

and one small prayer,

and at last I notice

it’s brighter around here.

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