Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Somethings I've Seen

The Roses
     elected to form a crystal vase corporation
             and market themselves as
     relation ship executives
Can you unfold yourself
               in proper coloring
          to inspire intimate connections
                                              between us

The Honey Bees are seldom subtle
             in their advances
   toward your milky sweet skin
                      they just want to fuck you
                                         till it stings

The Piano Keys
                wait patiently
         to be ushered
into the politest of symphonies
            or
           the sound
             of a fist pounding

The  Cherries were picked
                  five years too late
              already melted to rotten fruit
       and living again as
a three foot sapling
      which does not taste nearly as nice
                               in a juice or jam
               


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Road to the Shrine

After breakfast
in the middle of all the things we have to do
and pieces of this puzzle we have to put back into place
my sister and I turned

taking the road under the gate
     guarded by the japanese cedar
             leading up to the shrine at the top of the hill

"Look for mushrooms," I said.
            a search I had started one month before
in a poem i never wrote
      but acted with all feverish sincerity
            this psychadelic treasure hunt
                    this conversation cycling between myself and the earth

God fell asleep in the cloudy morning
                     left his toes sticking out of the covers
        Hazelnut caps and stems that stain blue
The systems of mycelium that spread underground
all the while I was rushing past
        carrying only faith that they exist
until the day when we saw them pushing up
          past the carpet of grass and dew

a whispered word to each kami I passed that day
from the hill top to the little church in the valley
           where we heard
love is not a feeling but an aching of the will
that should always lead to action

In the evening we sat waiting for the rains to come again
I talked with my wife of the journeys
       these toenail clippings of God
could take me on
           Why I would go she could not understand
                 we opened our hearts and hurt
to see such difficulties between us
and pushed on
      questioning ourselves
                    our ideas of wholeness

deciding to leave the mushrooms alone
we left the room
to walk on our own
   
       I sat on the stoop of a pre-fab hut filled with junk where no one lived
         and kept conversation with the neighborly Sri Lankan mechanic
as the rain tapped at our shoulders through the cracked plastic roof
                          He said without a doubt
a world without beggars
is possible
     and of course we will have to do away with most boarders too

And I saw the tree
          the one that had waited all spring to put forth its leaves
now had the modest hangings of foliage
      no one leaf bigger than your eyelid
             and each one greener than the word of God

      sitting on the concrete
      with the other rain drops I heard
the liquid carbon slide
           up the grey trunk
                         and out on tender reaches of the farthest twigs where
it came forth to catch the sun


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Train to Sendai

Of all the patterns spilt in red
the fingerprint catches my eye
wandering its labyrinth of identity
in the middle a mustard seed mystery
who am I to be sprouting here this year
but really I was sown over 23 years ago
yeah back before I knew what numbers were
and mustard too

This poem was written with my wife, Jenny, as we rode a train to Sendai, Japan. We took turns writing the lines. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Barefoot Talk

Arkansas is
where I grew up climbing trees
with skint knees
it is known as a place where
folk might be so  backward as to
walk barefoot

For the most part it has become like the rest of the world
a synthesis of interstate highways
internet hideaways
and interchangeable suburb sets
lacing us up in cotton socks and rubber soles

But some of us still remember what words
the cool grass will share
in the summer afternoon
or the joy of a winter creek
the shift of the rocks beneath

Some of us fear not
the broken glass, black
tar and burning gravel
we have planted in our gardens
Eden is there below
the grit of sand and humus between toes

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dead Morning

Drinking coffee this morning in the rain
will it turn black with bombs
who is making such troublesome thunder, I wonder
will they ever come in and have a cup

Porcelain petals spin down from the
newspaper-grey of branches
into beds where
glass ferns are uncurling, broken

Yesterday I would have been afraid
but I woke here to find my body tingling in death
and the life I knew yesterday spun away by
the clock so that all I have left to do is breakfast


Monday, April 22, 2013

Will Surely Fade

just yesterday
starlike they were splayed
trumpeting the sun's yellow
from proud standing stems of onion green

the daffodils today
shrink toward the soil
in shades of brown already
becoming earth before they touch
its humus layer
just now sinking to darker humidities

in the warmth of coming summer
it can be felt that the sun too
once turned black and moist
cycling for three seasons
and returning at dawn

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ready Set

Newspaper said the pressure cooker that exploded
at the finish line was carefully set with
nails, ball bearings, and screws
        planted with a black duffle bag

Today I sifted red soil into a pot
turned in leaf compost and dark humus
collected from the forest floor
last I soaked it down and
        set a seed within 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Once


Once I was a pig
but I ate myself for breakfast
            fried
then grew up into me

Once I was a seed of a sunflower
but I chewed me up and spit my hull
in the sand of the home team’s dug out
and struck out

Once I was a dream
shared by two navels sweating together
                 pressed
but then I came

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seek The Harvest

With your hands
you seek the harvest
in compost piles, pig manure, garden beds
and the handle of a hoe that leaves
calluses and blisters

In your hands
you hold the harvest of the earth
cook it in a heavenly sauce
let it fill all who will humbly receive

See you hands
become the harvest
it is now growing in you
give thanks
press the palms together
break them in your labor
giving each piece with joy


I wrote this poem for the Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration in October 2012 at the Asian Rural Institute. I read the poem as a performance during the event. I worked with a Japanese poet who was also volunteering at ARI. Tomi helped me translate my poetry into Japanese and I helped him translate his poem into English. It was a beautiful exchange of poetic and cultural fruits. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013


Not So Simplicity

On the day that you realize
not all white, American, once-where-Buddhists
understand
that all beings are one

because they hate roaches

you will also hear of free ranging Jersey cows
in Georgia
eating out of mother’s flower bed
milk so fatty the skim can be butter simply
seal in a jar and let the kids make a game
of rolling it back and forth across the floor

as the farm van climbs the hill at the
end of the workday, filled with fall
conversations
the smell of deep soil and fresh carrots

you will also see the dirt drying to a grey powder across
your hands, showing well the lines where
the skin prunes
curling in upon itself after
tugging all day
at the earth



in the dream worthy blues
of your darkened bedroom
you will tell your wife that she

never has and never will understand you
completely



which is true
for everyone but God
though
you don’t have to tell her that way

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dream Home

The deep yellow sunlight baring through the window of my west facing third story dorm room. I totter around these tight commons and narrow shiters.

I've tried to call this home. The twitching in my eye tells me I've failed.

For four years I’ve been drinking my coffee while standing in the shower, letting the spin of the day burn off.

It is an odd existence of fluorescent lighting and empty hallway paranoia. Incomplete sounds slurped into pipes and wires and pushed through walls.