Joseph: a work in progress

Who tossed the body into the pit?
Who dipped the coat into the blood?
Blame them, because for us, its easy.
Blame me, because for me, its easier.

I still taste iron on the lips I lick
When I should just wash my hands
In the stream flowing beside me
Walking down the road from Dothan.

No one will bow to anyone now, no one.

The Four Chambered Heart

Now, where are the words? My heart needs
A moment to sort through its four chambers
To mix blood for my body to keep moving,
If not forward, motion is better than none.

From chamber to chamber I look soft
Walls, nails dangle, trim ready to fall,
Ceiling cracked, windows frosted with dust.
I find these images attract hope.

Like the frail old man who hobbles around
Believing he will golf once again, someday.
Will he? We doubt. He doesn’t. That matters.
And the chambers still pulse, hear them hum.

A voice from outside tells me 
I am not alone, but inside something bigger.
A tap on the window tells me
“Come out and play, you are not alone.”

I collect buckets of blood from each chamber
Like an Aztec, I bleed it out, sacrificing
What little remained in the soft vessel.
Hope the old man still clings to, let’s go.

Meet again where the boardwalk begins

This moment twists in on itself
A cruel freak show contortionist
Who stares agape, shock carves
A delta from his made up eyes.

If only it would twist into a pretzel
With lots of salt
That we’d eat with mustard
Like two kids walking a boardwalk,

Gulls, stalking them,
Their fingers’ taffy sticky
Stuck together,
The sweetness like glue.

They cannot imagine the people
Walking beside them
Walking counter to them
Two kids talking about everything.

The oceans inside their hearts
At once calm, at once stormed.
They find their turtle shell
And build a home inside.

This moment, twists like a contortionist:
The boardwalk ends, taffy shops close,
Kids depart; apart long enough to think up
New ocean creatures. Aloe sun burns.

And Dali Melted Into Matisse

How long had my heart been in pieces on the floor?
How long had I looked at the pieces needing a dustpan?
Mopping up the blood that just attracted ants,
I picked up the broom from its handy storage spot
Between the refrigerator and the wall, tucked in like
A child robot awaiting its moment to be a real boy.

Everything felt surreal, like Dali raised from the grave
His mustache in tact. Somehow, the ants began to march:
A retreat. The blood became mercury, congealing together.
Each piece vibrated on the floor until magnetic attraction
Thrust them across the tiles making a whole throbbing
Vessel that sucked back inside its ventricles the blood.

The broom robot boy turned his head and looked up at me
As if to ask a question it had no words for, so I spoke them:
“Make me a real boy, Geppetto,” and reached down to pick up
The newly formed heart in my hand. My chest opened its wound
As the boy whispered one word: “Home.” Inside the empty space
The heart fit so nicely and Dali melted into Matisse, dancing.

Unheard Incantations: A Collaborative Poem

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)

Breathe deep, dear love;
Be still with me
Listen to my heartstrings
A song meant just for you (KMA)

Each tear
An eloquent elegy
To tortured truths (AP)

Each note played
On a hand carved lute
Strung with strips
Of my soul (JWL)

Your breathless aura
Beats in time
Undulating ululation
With my exhaled psyche (AP)

Intertwined, tangled,
Unified: whole
Healed. (JWL)

Yet with hearts torn open
Bleeding out the notes of our song
You turned from me (ME)

I am fire
Drowning
In desire
Weep
I beg
Save me (1W-W)

Fetch me an instrument,
For the untrained ear
Is soothed by that
Which it cannot comprehend. (LEL)

Not everything is black and white.
For even the eclipsed moon
Is not without a little light. (SD)

Whispers through the distance
I remember
As you reach for my hand
my heart (CER)

Our words
Still
Bleeding
Drip like fire
Into embers
Wanting back
Their flame. (SFF)

The words we cannot say
Will be wept
Into silence between us (CER)


Written by:

1Wise-Woman

Kindra M. Austin

Sarah Doughty

Michael Erickson

Stephen F. Fuller

John W. Leys

Lois E. Linkens

Aurora Phoenix

Christine E. Ray

40 Minutes

Say no to clowns, rode in on the donkey thinking
The end of this adventure will require humility.
So when we departed one another in the desert
I had no regrets, but second thoughts do come
Every now and then. Couldn’t I reach more souls
If I was the one king to rule them all?

Say no to clowns, harder to do in a crown
Drops of blood and this will take some humility.
What were those offers? Could I choose to fly,
I might catch his son as he fell off the cliff, but for
The sake of art could I just accept the tortured gift
His soul sings to help us say goodbye to our fathers?

Say no to clowns, even as they raise me off the ground
The wound in my side burns more on this skeleton tree.
Why couldn’t we have just turned some dust into tea
And discussed, like distant cousins do, connections
Our stories have to the greater Narrative? We could’ve
Shared a few laughs at His expense. Now, though, it is

Finished. Just say no to these clowns, then invite me
Down when they show up and we can share that tea.

Revisiting Backcatablogs: Say No To Clowns and a response: 40 Minutes.

As this week draws to a close, I am happy to report that my week spent with saynotoclowns was valuable beyond words. Digging around a fellow poet’s back catalog not only feels respectful, it is also a chance to connect to the larger human beings that we all are. In this week’s adventures I discovered a great writer, a deeply spiritual soul, and a musical kindred spirit whose taste in music already has me thinking about which musician I want to tackle after I finish my National series; Nick Cave comes to mind. Fortunately, I have a few more weeks to think about it, but I am pretty sure the Bad Seed is planted (so sorry, couldn’t resist).

My response poem to saynotoclowns tries to encapsulate the humor I found in her writing (…this woman’s first post was of a donkey for crying out loud!…) while also respecting her deep spirituality. Somehow, while on a too-rickety airplane from Singapore to Hong Kong, I began riffing off the title to her blog and ended up on a conversation that Jesus had with the Devil in his final 40 minutes. While this falls far short of the deeply hysterical but very reverent book, Lamb by Christopher Moore, I do hope it shares its spirit of both being respectful of faith while also being respectful of the humanity of Jesus and therefore he had to have had a sense of humor. Oh, and there is a Nick Cave reference in there for good measure.

As always, I encourage my friends to go back to the beginning and see what the writers posted when they were just getting started, there are some gems back there! Finally, as always, there is more to be found at saynotoclowns… please go explore.

My response poem:

40 Minutes

Say no to clowns, rode in on the donkey thinking
The end of this adventure will require humility.
So when we departed one another in the desert
I had no regrets, but second thoughts do come
Every now and then. Couldn’t I reach more souls
If I was the one king to rule them all?

Say no to clowns, harder to do in a crown
Drops of blood and this will take some humility.
What were those offers? Could I choose to fly,
I might catch his son as he fell off the cliff, but for
The sake of art could I just accept the tortured gift
His soul sings to help us say goodbye to our fathers?

Say no to clowns, even as they raise me off the ground
The wound in my side burns more on this skeleton tree.
Why couldn’t we have just turned some dust into tea
And discussed, like distant cousins do, connections
Our stories have to the greater Narrative? We could’ve
Shared a few laughs at His expense. Now, though, it is

Finished. Just say no to these clowns, then invite me
Down when they show up and we can share that tea.

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/dont-touch-me/

https://saynotoclowns.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/shoot-the-clown/

Stephen’s Tuesday Morning Reflection 9/5: Noticing Life’s Details

My most recent post at my personal blog, a short poem called Yellow Butterfly (link below) was inspired in part by watching a TED talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast that teaches us to Stop-Look-Go while being grateful for the moments we are given.  I want to share a complementary article from a good friend, Saeah, at imperfectionistblog.com (link below) not only for its excellence, but also to show gratitude.  She turned me on to this TED talk a few weeks back to help me process several of the challenges life has tossed into my moments.  She writes: “Clarity of mind and heart allows us to see life’s details. These details bring an abundance of beauty into our lives that we often reject by choosing to be lost in the busyness of our day-to-day.” This article reminds me not only to stop, look, and pay attention to the little details of life, but also to stop, look and say thank you to the people who take the time to become bells of awareness in our lives, waking us up to the moments we are too busy to notice.

This week, I want to stop, look, and notice the precious details of life, and also friends like Saeah, and so many others here in the Cafe and outside who have taken the time over the last months to wake me up to these moments life has given me.  Perhaps saying thanks is all I can do as I stop and look around in this time of great challenges, but with friends ringing bells of awareness like this, how can we not become more aware of the goodness inside all of us and become better humans?

http://imperfectionistblog.com/2017/09/hunting-for-pictures/

Yellow Butterfly

Yellow Butterfly

Every moment gives a gift
An opportunity to see
A yellow butterfly land
On the pool deck to give
The daughter a smile
She seemed to have lost.

 

 

Image: Me, Chinese Gardens, Singapore.

Artists Who Inspire: Jessica Semaan

This morning at the GDG, I want to begin a new weekly series that brings to the cafe other writers whose stories inspire.  The first, a writer I discovered at Medium (I am new to this forum, so my first share of this article was a big fat F!):

A quote: “There’s no school for this kind of writing. “I didn’t study writing, it’s not like I got a degree in literature. English is not my first language,” Jessica reminds us, “so if I can write, you can write. And now, more than ever, we need people to write.” You don’t have to master sentence structure or memorize The Elements of Style, you just need to have something to say.”

Follow the link below for an introduction and the explore.  Looking forward to hearing your suggestions for other artists who can inspire us:

https://noteworthy.medium.com/jessica-semaan-8226ba965f55

Spinning Naked Singing

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty
Tied to the post barks at the convention of standards
She turns to the mirror, gagged, looking for a safe word
Unable to spit it out.

Who is prisoner, who is warden?

Wrapped inside this lace prison strips beauty
Of depth. In the fathoms, sharks swim with barracudas
She turns to the mirror, looking for an oxygen tank,
A rifle to shoot at the gag.

Who is hunter, who is hunted?

Wrapped inside this lace prison, beauty asks, naked,
Why don’t you untie me, stare at gently falling flesh
In the mirror, laugh, then smile at the unravelling
Spit out unsafe words until the tank explodes

Who is safe? who is safe?

Lace lumped on the floor, the mirror looks back
At beauty dancing, spinning, whirly-dirvishing
Singing words that explode, spitting them out
Like poison sucked from a rattlesnake bite.