A quiet alarm wakes my morning flight to cultivate my coffee beans to brew, each step is planned no room for nothing new I hardly hear the birds or see the light. To leave my country road into city. I glimpse a lonely swan upon the lake a white blur in eye on route that I must take almost a moment lost before highway. I pull into my place of employment, a vague color of my children in mind, my boss with kind salutation seats me. I contemplate what my birth may have meant at forty what answers do I still find, to open sleepy eyes and start to see.
Some Thoughts on Beauty
The sudden worry that it will be gone was truly gone around the fifth of June. The worry itself played as the first pawn, a delicate balance a bit off tune. When the pattern itself misses the eye, too wrapped in the worry of everyday life, sometimes each minute is filled with our strife. Lose the anatomy of the butterfly. To lavish myself with aesthetics, to hear beauties voice each octave, each wave, try to put the laws of beauty to play, such feelings are freed when one takes the risks. We create these laws, to collect, to save, to study and learn, to find the right way.
So many things deserve attention now and time will never alter it's set course my life is spent fighting against this force to never let the dust settle on the plow. Along with every necessary task no time to even sit and say hello, old friends who wait, but I will never show this worried brow that hides behind this mask. Yesterday I stopped to take a chance to roll with you while you still barely walk and spend some time to share a heartfelt laugh, my distraction, I love our little dance, I cannot miss a chance to sit and talk, our love, to carefully choreograph.
This Silent Requiem
A light layer of dust illuminates each stream of morning to this Baby Grand, casual glance at sheet music on stand, a sound, a pluck of each tension creates. Within the whirlwind of colors on note, to gently place my memories of you, complicated chords I thought I knew, a symphony genius probably wrote. In past reverence of God was turned into intricate works of creation to reach human potential closer to God. Stone upon stone to the heaven's arose to your name each notes visualization to create such beauty against the crowd.
My Marriage: A Sonnet Series
We build these bonds so strong within first years the time we interpret our unique signs and find some comfort sharing fears and tears, to write our poems with refreshing lines. Each kiss on lips or cheeks remain so new, each new second in your eyes, beyond sight, beyond bad decisions, these loving clues, to enlighten under a warmer light. This path that helps us forget old monsters that sulk around in hidden memories that sometimes surface heavy and mean. In first years these tonics and cures to build a boat and sail out to lone seas, to see a joy that has never been seen.
This thinking back to about the third year, so much new yet holding on to the old, puzzles to master, knots to unfold, a time in a love to dissolve old fear. This year we start sharing the cooking, finding the team in the I of our lives, to notice our connection makes us thrive, we plant the seeds for our spring gardening, and in this garden we find the most calm among the thorny creeping raspberry, among the vegetables lined in a row, these leaves, these lives, that hold a secret balm, remind our motions why we did marry, to show the seeds that we will need to sow.
A joke among the couples is this year, if you make it past the seven year hump emotional earnings become a lump sum, to say our marriage is a career. A degree of truth does lie in these words at seven you must keep ahead of the curve existing changes only seem to serve when status quo is considered absurd. So when you work out all the kinks in love your hard yet needed work towards common goals will make the night over a glass of wine and keep the blues away with extra shove, again will hold our hands and search our souls reach out toward the snow tipped mountain pine.
My breath becomes major irritation to these partners I have loved from the start I need a guide to show me my own part, with all my heart, to end this frustration. I admit I am hard to get to know, a shattered gourd from human addictions, grew up with a million of false afflictions, a severe anger that sometimes will grow. The two of us ended here in this room, we face each other from luxury seats, I know you were quick to take me as groom, I know our lives they never seem to meet, I want to figure out this human loom, turn this relation to fantastic feats.
I love us more when out of therapy, happiness returns like honey on tongue, recall every lyric of songs we sung, our trash removed by the Sargasso Sea. We realize the outliers of us pulling attention from our miracle, how we define our lives as lyrical, yet lose our way sometimes, I must confess. Sometimes you must walk away from yourself, see the creation that love created, to hold onto your touch before it's gone and know that you are my only true wealth, ah, by your touch I am still elated by redefining our marriages health.
A week of planning went into this task, we traded in the car for open truck, spelunk into a few years of the muck, create a glow of clean for us to bask. As we travelled to the county landfill we thought upon a nest of baby mice whose mother left them as if grains of rice the nature of fear can sometimes be cruel. Into the ancient burial ground of trash to separate the steel from rotten wood, as Hannah held her head out in the wind that blew where earth and life no longer clash, these mounds that grow each year since childhood, to glance upon her heritage and grin.
The Pool On broken pavement lies our yearly pool where in the summer heat the kids do swim as if each stroke itself a holy hymn, each immersion a spiritual tool. Their laughs become an Augustian chant as if the glare and Cicada are one our spirits slowly melt in the sun a splash hits me hard like a Baptist rant. Sometimes a life in books can seldom see what truths can be found alone in long looks upon the smiles of children in our pool. Their souls float in the water as if sea to dangle toys and pretend their fishing hooks, this does so much more than keep our skin cool.
Our Bike Ride
Even though we felt the chill in spring air we zipped up our jackets up to our chin so hard to snap our helmets with our grin and through windswept faces a laugh we share. I know soon you will be off these training wheels and I am struck with a certain sadness that to the chilly wind I do confess you ride off, me pedaling at your heels. You will ride to the end of the hill, so far ahead that my sound can't be heard hoping you've stopped at the end of the block but knowing you'll ride till you get your fill and these things will probably be as I feared you will notice I am gone after the shock.
Waiting for the First Step
So strange that I recall the moment when the wait for your first step took all my time for once this feat is done never again to see the first pull towards life's long climb. Even though this precious act will not be missed, by my diligent eye upon you fixed, and glued upon books of family albums, that time and play will not undo, remembering the time of longing wait more than this inspired mysterious act of memory and muscle and new found strength. Each moment before an altar, create a patience that I have normally lacked, that one day his strides will cover great lengths.
Another Birth to Witness
In trying to compare our young, each birth did make its own important history, experience which holds its weight, its worth, we see one birth as its own memory. Our son, our first, we were so ignorant, our lives were changing while you grew inside, our daughter planned as she was, sweet infant who barely rocked the boat, your quiet tide. To see my children's smiles every day remembering the little fingers grips the long soft stares from watery newborn eyes. So soon another mouth will have a say and baby coos will exit from your lips, another warming morning sun to rise.
A Children's Playground in Pine
These beautiful still days we spend in parks, as one small child climbs on tan plastic slides a group of children split on different sides, each shoe will leave a small but happy mark. So not a girl was feeling out of place and not one boy was left to play alone and in the cloudless sky the sun was shown, it's warming path among the smiling faces. A reprieve from the gray, this rough winter that left us feeling slow and somewhat bleak, a layer of snow covered our figure, this is the joy that we are set to seek, a need for time, our spirits to center, soon begin our climb to a warmer peak.
I was looking long into this craft's joy where theme is lost in these random ideas, from metals that moved over ancient seas, where bead upon small bead holds our story. These possibilities, a hidden play, I sat in our bare tent on the dirt floor, with every child's bead and strand to explore, each design I had only a slight say. To choose multiple coins from the i-ching, some used gems that had lost their sparkle, some dried sea shells from a deep sea lift, each small finger fell down the tight string, adding order an issue to tackle, she gave me this small necklace as a gift.
A CONEY ISLAND TRIP
After the Python steel roller coaster our fearful ride looking out Ferris Wheel, A day on the beach with the waves so near a walk on the pier before finding a meal. Early morning subway to spend the day, holding hands with my daughter and my son past the tenement buildings to Coney Island, rest from the tempo and the run, out past the Tilt-A-Whirl and the bumper cars, sat a young couple with dog, liquor in bag passed between, and then like a blur ran past us with his fist extended made contact with other as intended, a memory that will never be mended.
This poem also appears in "Six Years Of Service."
Time to Try Again "I think its time to try again, anew, a chosen goal, let's bring a second child to be." And so we tried, at morning hue at evenings solemn close, we tried and tried, when monthly cycles made their monthly rounds. Upon a year, when hope did slightly fade, another year did pass with crooked crown. Then right when time had taken toll, she came.
In morning, years from birth, we woke in bed. The smells of morning coffee brewing hot, my wife and son were heard to share a laugh and your small fingers felt my cheek, you said with silent voice, "I'm glad, so glad, you fought against the rain, and sought me on times path."
IN DISGUISE When I try to juggle with the baby and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William Carlos Williams as I move my free arm to the spot where dog throw up needs a spray I listen to Rock-n-Roll music while my daughter draws her pictures all in blue, I vacuum as these words come here to you, with sturdy beast that is nothing but a trial. See a volume of Great American Poetry Anthology Two-Thousand, I stop my vacuuming, to help my son who has the flu and water is needed. I realize then, poetry began the long moment we found ourselves married.
A Love Of Food
If lists were made of all that feel my love I'm sad to say that near the top, butter and sugar, flour mixed for each flavor on display, so sweet like a morning dove. But like all love, sometimes the pleasure will bring me back to the birth of my child or when our eyes met and we first smiled, times of confidence when we felt footsure. So we can see in books that love is cruel when we smile too long in sugary joy with need and desire we consume all with no control we eat like a fool our minds devious plan or some odd ploy to eat our cake and feel our earthly fall.
Deep Blue Eyes
Here born again our loves newborn saviour his deep small eyes whose blue a wisdom knew that us, just me and you, through him would share our love again, to share our sheets anew. But hard and long slow winter days upon us fell, and snow would cover up our doors. Where once the bitter cold would foster yawns, we saw the greyest dawns, the greyest times. Our tongues were lost, our talk had lost its light, as silent statues sat alone, I cried, I felt too tired to lift my soul to fight. When life becomes a never ending sigh, through this we both would answer your small cries and hold a grip, held tight, through your blue eyes.
The Fort Maker
To enter the age of the engineer, turn destruction into construction, front of us a focus, maturation, he is ready to build without fear. As if seeing his thoughts brick by red brick, to find the function of every tool, one day will be city in need of fuel, brave caretakers for our dying and sick, a world where he is no longer a boy, no longer this world of blankets and sheets, so much responsibility, as if each vision stole his precious joy, his flashlight for books and other feats, movement treated so delicately.
A Run at Little Washoe
Elias has had a horrible cough with him our time has seemed to stop his little frame all curled up, listen world I am walking off. Before my wife headed off to school I drove down to Little Washoe Lake and ran an hour for running sake to clear the muck from my dirty pool. Out in the sagebrush on a desert road I breathed in the air and out the worry redistributed my weight with each foot I let the mountains burden my load, all the lightness I could carry, my boy will be fine it is a cold.
A Day To Clean
On those mornings after a recent rain when my coffee steams in the window pane the slow warm of the day opens windows into the soft earth where my footprints show, to practice the poetry of planting, to involve the soil in my scheming. Then after a wash and my lunchtime and after I've thought about a good rhyme, on hands and knees reach deep into corners. A collection of things claim no owners to scrub and dust each item to sparkle try to make our home look remarkable. Every spring the old is removed for new to tenderly refresh my love for you.
Time Starts and Finishes
Time starts and finishes here within the pages of this notebook." A Poet.
I was able to log when time started, every hour every contraction, every moments miotic division on clean paper this datas suspended. I sat in each moment of time looking for a universal pattern within each of the numbers I had written, with each heartbeat a perfectly placed rhyme. Reality paints a different picture. It was really you immersed in the unknown, you needed soft touch to ease your fear, needed more than numerical tincture, the light in your soul was bright when it shone, this was yours to invite me to share.
Hitting the Slopes
Into the mountains at the first snowfall my father would share winter mountain strength with gloved hands we'd ski the trails length on our waxed skis we would stand up tall. These were the days my father shared his smile, These were the days my father spared the rod, our mountain church where we would glimpse at God, I think my dad was proud, just for awhile. My son and I also take this journey into the mountains at first sign of snow to ski awhile even if just to play. Each turn in the snow it's own symphony, the smile on your face is wide and aglow, hoping that his child will be here someday.
In A Pinch
When tightness comes you need to feel a pinch to force yourself out of your cozy nook to make a plan to give yourself a hook to save yourself from your own mob, set to lynch. With faith plan out your happiness quick soon you will see placed where it needs to be the comfort and calm of family, a smile from your son to keep you in check. You must always remember this option, learn to plan a goal when you're in a pinch, be authentic, don't go hiding your frown, currency of negative reaction, the plan could simply be move inch by inch, your children deserve you up and not down.
Perfecting the Shape
This searching for perfection begins now, finding music in our machinery, embracing sine, cosine, our frequency, thoughtless error we will not allow. Trigonometry with all its straight lines, outlining a form, our imperfect lives, embrace connections, embrace all the signs, these intricate carvings with sharpened knives. Gerard Manley Hopkins disassembled balance of numbers in each ancient song, the power hidden within eight and six into ten and one half his song condensed, a Curtal spondee is how he ended, a timely Italian song perfected.
The Train Trip
The train is entirely motionless. 2 O'clock: Strong moonlight, few stars." Track, Tomas Transtromer
On Amtrack from Reno to Milwaukee a lone boy held fast a hot wheels truck. He ran from car to car feeling lucky, his journey had nothing to do with luck. In harmonica rhythm, track on wheels, a life spent in collecting photos of dining cars where he sat for his meals, traveling through many wooden grottos. Now grown, years of working for the lines, who let him go, he showed Delirium signs. For years feeling each low down whistle, he was made of alcohol, tough as gristle. He tried to plow a crop in Madison, memory of his first train trip, freight yard ton.
My New Hiking Boots
As our eighth anniversary draws near I will then glance down at my weathered feet where my new boots and folded laundry meet, to contemplate our stumbling without fear. To resurrect my footwear as you did, to revive each green wooden memory, to linger in the taste of sensory, to resurrect my spirit from the dead. As we push away the Manzanita and crest the summit on an aged rock, another lifetime to tip the Lodgepole, to challenge marriage as old as cedar, the valley below with a grin to mock, another life for our Sierra soul.
My Old Hiking Boots
I don't know why I spent so much money on hiking boots, back when my life was lone and ragged trails up into the ozone, unlike the earth and sky they were not free. Four hundred dollars spent for my young feet, into the Canadian Rockies air to delicately place each step with care and to reach a ridge miles up, take a seat. I swear I walked every trail in the park, I kept on walking up into the snow to put mileage on those boots, that season. I feel on the land they have made their mark, each mountain memory I have to show, to pen, to give that beauty reason.
Building the Coop
With surprise, we gathered wooden pallets. With ease from grey industrial store fronts, to build our chickens bold new confinements. Simple carpentry is not my talent. To cover old dog run with chicken wire, moving the babies from covered garage onto old pallets with bricks for leverage, the dirt of earth not concrete, to retire. In the act of remembering names, a time of looking at my work with pride, with this soon to be interrupted peace. The beasts dug underneath the fence to maim more than just one of those chickens that died a lesson in joy being quick to cease.
Also printed in "Six Years of Service"
Tying Down Our Old Barn
A sudden shift from non winter-like days into surprise torrential wind and rain. We know our lack of concern is to blame, a path of destruction where our land lays. As we struggle to save what has been left, our child's bike and free floating lumber, the cold in our fingers makes us somber, to mourn our loss from this watery theft. Tying down our old barn with gravelly rope, unable to see through multiple drops, each stake has been pounded with passing hope, each shingle dislodged, destroying rooftops. As I trip and fall down a muddy slope I forget the odors of springtime crops.
Also printed in "Six Years of Service"
When comfort knocks upon our golden door, when life has found each step to be secure, and habits taken on each dulling chore, and forget the arduous climb to touch more, when finally we have found the spotless floor, no piles of laundry leave us feeling sore, each week one scheduled trip to local store and leaving home is no longer a war. A fallen tree will be seen from ahead, the weather will decide to take a turn, an obstacle that takes us by surprise and change will come upon us with its dread. Our love will lead us through and help us learn and charge us keep an eye out up ahead.
The Beach Day
The sand was black and muddy pools did sit where we sat our multicolored towels, our dog alone to roam on beachly prowls, near the early twenties getting lit. As I lay in sand with squinted stare one child digs, one child stands in shallow, one stands in hot sand like Crusoe, all mix together in the suns glare. Thinly clad women working on tans, some men digging ditches by the road have taken off their shirts and shoes with sweaty ballcaps they stand in sand to let the cool water ease their load, next to the tourists drinking Coors.
A Dream of a Waterfall
A dream or a simple remembering when Grandpa took him up the rocks to be near to the top where no one could see inside the mist and water's echoing. There on the top they stood among rock tall above the pinpoint where river tendrils out to meet the calmer water, each soldier caught in the explosive shock, so Grandpa points, every stone battlement strategically placed in each side of cliff, with each light spray canon fire attack, to fight until each dying breath is spent. Man tries to improvise natures riff under the tall white cross of Mt. Tallac.
Bath Time: A Double Sonnet
The first to sit within his bath in tub a warm reminder of your nine month home, you laugh and try to catch the bubbled foam with grin from ear to ear as Daddy scrubs. Three years have past with every nightly bath, you shared your space with love and peaceful grace, your sister settled in her watery place to learn the lessons of her cleanly path. To count each nightly drain as passing time we babtize yet another infant smile, each night a walk upon a watery mile, engrain this habit like a simple rhyme. Each night all three partake in bathtime play, each child with their own nighttime ritual, our soap, to sing a southern spiritual, some water to wet this moldable clay. Then back in time to when bathtubs had legs, when my mother had me fully immersed and showed me the joy of a well placed sud. Wrapped in a towel taken from a peg, a performance of love so well rehearsed, a reason to send me out into the mud. Every evening ensure to wash both legs, to scrub ourselves as if it was our first, repetitive removal of life's crud. There is one thing that most parents will beg, to live a clean life will be embedded with every little foot on bathroom rugs.
Fourteen Eloquent Lines I ponder while I work today about a gift to give that holds within it time as memorable as the most perfect line, a gift to show the love that I have sought. It seems to me that words in sonnet form will not express my love in history, Canterbury in western memory, These words will never bring on such a storm. I looked to Spain to find some "Clarity" and found poems of great variety and here decided to remove your name, this proper noun onto this earth you came, in letter only her, you, and she, your place in collective eternity.
LISTEN The day I listened and I learned we both did break our silent charms and changed in love, as if the words we shared from stars above finally were free to feel our growth. We sit as one our lips were filled to rim, here I am, you are you, with no more pass, sieve your secrets through fine filters, our mass of unity, a faith not shared through pen. It took so long for me to learn the truth, the truth, that truth in love, the strongest force, could break my tethered ancient rotten roots, reteach my lessons learned, they are all but false, we leave these silent subtle hints to art and find the words to cover every cause.
THE PLEASURE OF SHORT MEMORIES A message to my fellow sonneteer whose words upon my heart I hold so near before you move into those cloudy days, that will obscure your view of local bays, a life so lived within this City's nights to walk upon these streets in morning lights. I walk beside each step with every word within my mind each moment is secured. You showed me the importance of each short, each moment coming in near this old fort so like the cliffs that hide a secret tide, to leave our minds and turn our heads aside. To make each short moment a pleasure still each fleeting time its given measured quill.
The Tree Felling Each dog did pull against his leash with might to journey forth upon this paved road release my spirit from this heavy load to reach a place where man is not in sight. This place a trail with head in hidden pine a moment in these mountains, a memory so deep, this path of Lodgepole rectory, we loved with passion in this outdoor shrine. A warning sign that reads "Tree Felling Up Ahead," each tree now sits alone upon a thick new layer of brothers mulched limbs. With sigh I notice in this empty cup an open space where we had loved upon, a moment that had suffered by these trims.
My Carthage I opened my mouth to learn how to speak only because it was necessity I had to take my part and pay my fee to tone down a little on my ancient greek and center more on the movement of things. Son Elias has crawled his first few feet, my boy, such a grand Herculean feat, fall into your voice as the sirens sing. Sam, oh Sam, please bear your scholarly stone, you find the same world I find in books and someday maybe you will share this joy. Hannah your line it is straight, alone on the page, precise, to bring looks, this Carthage of mine seems long before Troy..
My Father's Gnarled Beard With every passing moment holding hard within your grip, a handful brown and white, my beard does take its place upon this tight end infant fist, who smiles with his strong hold. Then when you fall asleep upon my neck you lift your chin to mine, and nestle deep in hair that's seen you grow with every leap, a gnarled empty nest of twigs and stick. I wish I could remember yours, when beard was held by my young hand, your awkward laugh from deep within your forest lip was heard, a sound of rapture true, on my behalf. So every child, when darkened time is feared, I will place in their young hands my bearded laugh.
The Cry A cry, a wave to move sounds ocean storms to move our mass from point to point without our energy, a sound that's heard without our history, a wave of power poems. So lets begin to bring this seed to loam, to bring this cry into the proper route, a worldly cry, the kind that pulls the heart and stops each foot before the time to roam. From lips of young, too young to truly speak, cries bring us running from the other room, ready to act upon each little creak or early morning out within the farm when cows weep tears as big as faucets leak and brings the farmer out into the moon.
A SONG FOR DATE NIGHT
For these domestic chores that tire the soul one needs to lift themselves above the fray and find that fleeting time when kids do fall asleep, a time we tuck them in and say sweet dreams and let the daytime take its toll. Instead of a night out, expensive play around our town, let's take things at a crawl, and no T.V., let's cook a meal and pray. Will chop some Leeks with glass of tender wine and spread some cheddar into whipped eggs, to talk about our days with every line, discuss our race, our toil with every leg, reexamine thoughts of yours and mine, those feelings lost in finding right size pegs.
Pastel Colored Set Our daydream always starts with pastel clouds of baby blue and white, held high with wire so close to bright soft sun as to set fire the sky of turquoise seen from far off crowds. There each of us a figurine so placed with hand in hand upon a lacquer brown, such thick acrylic roads that lead to town, each smile upon our face evenly spaced. This art, this craft, which keeps us still, in life, is not the crayon Degas used with skill, a world of color, fields of yellow fall or Russian strokes to keep away the strife, in origin, a Winslow Homer sea, ours is a Grandma Moses tapestry.
Night Labor I had been there right then, from start to end, our darkened home in wait for you, our birth to come, we hoped at home, our own, our truth, an experience, honest, raw, to mend a memory of anesthetic kind, with fake white light, small hums, quiet beeps, to sooth, so clinical, where life sits close to death, a story Mother Nature has not penned. I had been there right then, when things began, the cramping started evening one, this time we planned for profoundness of birth begun, yet plans they seem to never walk the line, with labor only hard at night, a span of space, in dark, when all contractions came.