Write Here, Write Now, Write On
Tea songs in the kavÁrna
The last time you served me anything to drink,
you also handed me a ticket and a new blue suitcase
but no dictionary to decipher the language of us.
We roam through the pages of our home
like foreign words looking for loose interpretations.
We are to each other as porcelain to earthenware,
as mrkvový dort to buttered southern biscuits.
Like a sooth deduces her tea leaves,
I read our future
in the way you ride bikes with our boys,
order my own disarray,
learn the music that makes our daughter dance.
This is how we raise our children up,
these are the thermals on which they will ascend.
Steam rises from both our cups.
Is there anywhere I cannot go with you
where, in coffee or in tea,
milk always soothes and never scalds
where we come in from the cold, serenade our days,
and drink each other warm and full again?
What is this strange new Force
above us they call sky?
All ambient and azure,
a periphery aquatic. My anatomy answers
in yeses and capillary applause.
See those flights of motion,
something like song and heartbeat
cloaked in down.
And what makes contact with the morning?
The mere weight of cotton and calcium
moors me so. Disconnect me
from my tea mug, my news radio.
I too want escape from
broom bristles on kitchen floor,
from chafe. I want to levitate
above the white crunch turned slush of
Wednesday’s snow and surface beyond
the pale blue body of the bowl
and look back and proclaim,
We should have floated more when we had the chance.
Empty Space, Open Hand
My God designed birds’ bones hollow.
Let me know this: what is hollow wrought of?
Echo? Breath? Sound of ocean in nautilus shell?
A symphony of sorrows, our liquid thoughts, our restive questioning
Or is it what we hold in our hands
around our porous hearts
furtived together in prayer.
The Edge of the Map
Picasso said, "I do not seek. I find." And so we journey on, head up, faces to the sun, lost on purpose, eyes wide open. Seeking, not to find, never to find, but to take joy in the seeking itself.
Ship builders installed prisms
to let in light, deflect
beams belowdecks. Sailors, reminded
of what they’d left behind,
looked around and reached
out to touch the shafts and rays,
the blue that fell
between them and the sky,
the distance from prophecy
to fate. And they heard the hum
of the whale song, no matter
how far they were from the bottom
of the sea.
From the moment I read The New York Times article “The Heart Stopping Climbs of Alex Honnold” by Daniel Duane, printed March 2, 2015, I was overtaken, the way one moment you can be standing in the ocean staring back at the shore and the next you are digging sand out of your eardrums. I wasn’t prepared for the rogue wave that toppled me with the sheer force of the parallels between rock-climbing, especially Honnold’s approach to it, and Life with a capital L. Suddenly, I was seeing rock-climbing metaphors everywhere I looked.
epics & epiphanies
I do not hide behind my poems
I am out under the open sky
hand over hand
looking for chinks in the language,
lines on an unlined page
to slip my fingertips into,
to grab hold of and pull myself up. -
I have no reliable safety net
I have no pickax
but this pen, these hands,
With them I chip away at the rough surface
of what I’m supposed to write
to arrive at what I must write,
what will sustain me;
to arrive at the summit
of my own private mountain,
the pinnacle of my own private epic.