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Posts Tagged ‘reality’

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Dear X,

 

In the book I’ve been writing for years,

it is summer and the schools are about to get out

and you just went to a huge party

where they passed around food

and people ate it with their fingers

and hugged each other and tasted

each other’s wine. You live in a world

that no longer exists, and every day

I try to reconcile it—how easily you

go to the store, no mask, no gloves,

no fear you’ll contract a virus you might

pass on to your elderly mother.

Every day, your life, which once mirrored my life,

seems increasingly impossible.

Every day, your life, which was once my life,

feels increasingly like fiction.

Every day, I try to hold these two worlds—

the one in which you get on a plane

and the one in which I put on rubber gloves

to go to the post office box.

I’ve never once written about how you wash

your hands for fear that someone you love

will die. I’ve never once written how you

check CNN every twenty minutes

to see how the world has changed.

I almost remember what it was like

to hug my friends with no worry

of harming them, to go to a restaurant,

to plan for a day past tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for blessing me with reality,

for showing me when I’m guilty

of what my friend calls cognitive slippage.

It’s like stuffing a big scoop of wasabi into my mouth,

thinking it’s guacamole. The mind believes

what it wants to believe until it’s shown otherwise.

 

Thank you for demonstrating how sometimes

I disconnect from the facts—especially when

emotions are involved. Like when I think

I’m a pool of warm soothing water

another could enter, but really, I’m a woman

made of bone and corpuscles. Little can I hold.

 

I always thought imagination was a gift,

but not, perhaps, when it puts me at odds with what’s true.

Dear moment, I want to be attentive. When you pull out the rug

from beneath my thoughts, I want to be the rug.

And when you poke my theories full of holes, I want

to be the hand that pokes, the fresh air that rushes in.

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and we will go

to the haiku cottage

in the mountains

where there are no roads

and there are no pens

and there we let ourselves

be written, the seasons

will shape our syllables,

the moon shall be

our cutting word,

and every time we think

we know what line comes next

we will thrill at how new

the world can be, sliding,

escaping, unswirling,

and calling follow me,

bring only wonder,

follow me

 

 

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staring at numbers

hoping to find, hidden in percentages,

a trap door

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Transportation

 

 

While sautéing onions

in the warm kitchen

I find myself on a tire swing

arcing through fields

of night—

is it the sound of crickets

or the pungent scent

that makes me cry?

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Oh Geppetto, I could have told

those real boys always break your heart.

It always starts as a dream come true.

They cannot help it that they are real.

Oh the real girls, they’re no better,

all of us with our built in yearnings,

our essential fragilities.

I would not have tried to dissuade you.

A real love is better than one with strings,

regardless how strange and scary it gets.

Still, I would have loved to have warned you.

Not that it helps. Just because

sometimes it’s better to face

what is real together.

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In the dream, it was a man.
He pretended it was an embrace,
squeezing me as he did.

Getting dressed this morning,
still feeling the places he crushed

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Black Friday

Oh America, get out of the mall.
Get out of the box stores, the boutiques
and fast food drive thrus. I don’t know
where else you might go … a forest,
perhaps, or over to your friend’s kitchen
where there is a cup of tea and an empty chair
near the window where, if you look
out into the snow-filled yard you might just see
how lovely that light is as it escapes
one more time, one more time.

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Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
—Albert Einstein

Am I a woman dreaming she’s a bear?
Or bear who’s dreaming she’s a woman, lost?
I cannot find the answer anywhere.

One thing’s for sure, the bear is not aware
she might be dreaming. She is hungry, cross.
Am I a woman dreaming she’s a bear?

The woman, on the other hand, she cares
if it’s dream. Are these her teeth? Her paws?
She cannot find the answer anywhere.

The she-bear lifts her nostrils to the air
and sniffs. She feels the edge of coming frost.
Am I a woman dreaming she’s a bear?

The woman falls down to her knees and stares,
confused by her wide footprints in the moss.
She cannot find the answer anywhere.

It’s time to sleep? It’s time to wake? I swear
I cannot say. Are these my hands? Or claws?
Am I a woman dreaming she’s a bear?
I cannot find the answer anywhere.

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(translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, poem I,1 from “Book of a Monastic Life”)

We are lonely,
the tea and me
and nine o’clock.
So I ask Rilke
to join us. He tells me,
just as the sun
leaps over the mesa
and enters the window,
that nothing has ever
been real without
my beholding it.
I sit a long,
long time considering
his words. Not the sun?
Not the tea? Not
the gray moth?
The Holocaust?
He tells me this:
All becoming
has needed me.
Looking over the white field
to the blue spruce in the grove
I do not hear
one of them fall.

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