Posts Tagged ‘present’


It’s not because anything special happened.

Though I’ve sat in silence in desert canyons

and climbed iron rungs on overhanging cliffs

and sung in cathedrals and sung in snow caves

and hiked naked through juniper and

washed dishes in inner city shelters

and wandered the cobblestones of ancient villages,

today, sitting on the couch in my own house,

I finally understood with my whole body

how life puts us in the places we need to grow.

And so I made tea. And sat a while longer

with the windows open, listening to my longing

as it wove with the sound of the sprinklers and the oven fan

and I said to the moment, what do you ask of me?

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I’m now going to dazzle myself with the pluperfect.

            —Jack Ridl



And isn’t it dazzling, the notion

that an action not only began in the past,


but was finished in the past, or,

as they say in Latin, it was perfect.


Not like these leaves, that began

in the past as green flags, but now


transform into gold flame. And we all know

what happens next. No, not like


the boy who once fit in my lap

and now looks me in the eye.


Not like the dream I had for my life

that changed before it could


be achieved. What really ends?

What do our cells not remember?


Even the dead are here in this room,

on the streets, in cafes. We carry


our history with us everywhere

we go, and it wriggles out of its


perfect cage and dances through the ending,

though we thought we’d shut the curtain,


though the director has long since yelled “cut,”

though the audience has already left,


see, here it is, even now, progressive

and as present as these cut sunflowers,


spilling their pollen all over the table,

hardening their seeds into future gold.

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Sometimes in spring

I forget it is ever

not spring, forget

that there will be a time

without hummingbirds

and the raucous call

of the geese. These lilacs

and their purple scent

are forever. Forever

is this deep green field.

I almost resent

the voice that writes this poem,

the part that notices how already

the apples have gone

from ecstatic white bloom

to small hard fruit.

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Radical Abundance




Every branch

of the raspberry bush bows

with the weight of sweetness

and our busy hands

pull the ripe berries

to our mouths.

It is a long time

before we remember

we have bowls,

we have tomorrow.



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hulling strawberries

for the freezer I think of

how many sweetnesses

are put off till later—


that ripest berry,

it is delicious, red stain

on my hands, my lips

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One Saturation



soused with joy—

unable to remember any myth

that didn’t end happily

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This Very Here

And then came the day
when I knew to stop asking
to be anywhere else,
when somehow I no longer
believed any other garden
was better than this one,
when I wanted only
these weeds and this field.
There will come a day,
I am sure, when I forget.
But today, oh the freedom
of being utterly tethered
to this very here with no
other dream, no plan
for other plots, just
a song on my lips
that I sometimes know how
to sing and sometimes
have to hush to hear
how it goes.

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What was it under the tree
I was hoping for—perhaps
forgiveness, not the kind
you can tie up with a bow,
no, rather the kind
you don’t even know is there,
except you notice you can’t
stop laughing and everything,
even the awkward scale
you carry in your breath,
even that seems luminous,
some small, amusing scrap
of heaven.

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Sometimes a Chance

Laying beside
someone asleep,
listen to their tide
of breath. They
are like shells
held to your ear,
reminding you
how we come
from the sea.
Put up your sails
and travel here
in the morning’s
small dark hours.
Never mind you can’t
read the currents.
Never mind you
can’t remember
your name or how
you got here,
how to get home
or why you came.
There are no
anchors. No
horizons. The
waves are never
quite the same.

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There I go again,
thinking that if
life were different
it would be better.
In specific, I wish
that you were different.
Which is to say,
more like me.
Which would,
I do not need to think
long about this,
be a total disaster.
Okay, so that’s not
what I want, I don’t
know what I want,
I just know that I don’t
want what is. And that,
I don’t need to read
Tricycle magazine
to know this, is the recipe
for unhappiness.
Okay. So I tell myself,
pretend everything
is the way it should be:
You the way you are.
Me the way I am. And
all those other folks
screwing up too, just
like screwing-up you,
just like screwing-up me.
And then there’s the goldfish
that died in the middle of it all.
And the rash that came back.
And the news. There is always
the news. The night leans in
to laugh at me.
I lean back, knowing
I won’t be caught.
For a moment,
I almost believe
that everything’s for the best
till I see the one who thinks
she has to think that,
and then I’m falling again
into the night’s leaky net.

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