Thursday, December 15, 2011

You

I could write a thousand
poems about you and
they’d all be different and
they’d all be true.
I don’t know how to start
with all these memories
and all the feelings and
emotions flapping around like
a flight of birds against
the summer air.
I can pick one out for an instant
before it’s lost amongst the others
as some invisible will swoops them
down and out around the other
side of a barn.
Maybe I’ll start with the driftwood
antlers of our moose and how we
yelled to keep it a comfortable
distance away at the portage site.
What about Starsailor singing
us through those mountains all
stone against blue and so high
it’s as if they were climbing
themselves?
I should start at the beginning.
The hallway intersection
into the living room and the smiles
and that moment when everyone
else disappeared.
I could definitely write something
about the tent. We were so thirsty.
There has to be a poem in our
ironic escape to suburban food chains
and super-sized bookstores.
All these little birds of thought just
flying around carefree and I can’t
get a bead on any of them.
It’s all right, though, because soon
enough a pair of them will
appear on the other side of that barn
and find a perch on a fence or a telephone
wire just long enough to reveal
the brown and white patterns along
their wings before others join
them and  there’s a long row
sitting there against the sky or
the grain.
Anyway, I don’t know when they’ll
land, but when they do
I could write a thousand
poems about you and
they’d all be different and
they’d all be true.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sparkle

Be what you are, Happiness.
Taste as you taste, Sweet as Honey.
Concern yourself not with the weight
Of the Rock

On the riverbed waiting for the water
To strip it light enough to be where you are,
But wishing not for you to come down
From the sky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Martha

My sisters and I threw a party for my mom on her 60th birthday, and invited the guest list to submit words that they think of when they think of her. I was looking for words that they felt describe her, remind them of her for some reason, are an inside joke, anything. I put them all together and cut them out of paper and placed it on a mirror, so when she looks at it, she'll see herself reflected against the words that make people think of her.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Opposite of Superiority

I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until I am better than you.
I shoot bullets at your likeness until
I am better than you.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you because I do not shoot.
I am better than you
Because I do not shoot.
Because I do not shoot, we pass each other without fear.
We pass each other without fear, so we do not lower our eyes.
We do not lower our eyes, and we look into each other’s.
We look into each other’s, and we see ourselves.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Indoctrination

We did jumping jacks until we called them side-straddle hops.
We walked with ruck sacks on our backs until we called it humping.
We fired guns until we called them weapons.
We accepted punishment until we called it discipline.
We shouted for death until we called it singing.
We studied myths until we called them realities.
We shot at plastic people until we called them “enemy.”
We trained to oppress populations until we called it liberating them.
We said things about stomping babies until we called them jokes.
We did the wrong things until we called them right.
We lived in fear until we called it courage.
We called it something else until we believed it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

War Is Trauma

I was asked to participate in a poster project with the Just Seeds Artists' Cooperative around the theme of "war is trauma," or "support GI resistance." I chose "war is trauma" and designed this poster as my contribution. The final product will be a limited edition of 130 portfolios featuring all 30 posters in the project and covers by the Combat Paper Project.

I am glad to be a part of this.




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unsettled

I remember hearing once about a rare flower
that grows only in the Chilean Andes near
the top of the tree line and blooms just
once every 16 years.

Every so often the flower, having been
grown in a conservatory and nearing bloom,
makes the newspaper or a webcam
so everyone can see.

Photographers and random gawkers
crowd a university to flash fast pictures and
leave with their stories before the bloom fades in
a couple of days.

The flower, I suspect, imagines more for itself
than the convenience of a 33-second 
walk from the parking lot to the white-walled room
in which it now sits.

It resents the casual stares of the public, the
carefully controlled climate, the artificial
lighting, and its own decision to bloom
despite these things.

I, who am not a morning person, insist on following a
compass through the valley in the misty dawn and dew
to climb the forested Andean slope to where its
ashen peak begins.

I wait among the trees with a canteen and a
piece of fruit for an authentic bloom, that we both
are grateful for the other, whose standards find them
in the mountain wind.