My Hawk

I love the way she cries

Only does it when she needs to

She beats the sunrise to her totem overlooking the meadow

I try and catch her through binoculars, but what could be better than my naked eye

Then it occurs to me in this moment why I love her so much

She is what my soul wants to be right now

Thought clouds, one by one, passing by

But she is pure concentration

The weight of nothing but hunger on her shoulders

Not food, but sustenance

I might live my whole life trying to grasp the distinction

Ode on intimations of immortality…

Just a little Love tonight from the Oregon coast and my first Lover, William Wordsworth.  As a little girl, I remember stealing from my mother’s book shelf, stacks of classic romantics.

But William was the first theft.

He and I conceived my passion for books.  Real books.  From the ornamented bindings, the textured ink, the earthy musk of page on page, and to the endless gift giving of their content.

This poem was truly my first kiss.

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

What i fear most

the same thing i love most

feeling

I don’t want to miss anything

I’ll set down my recorder in the world and walk away and take in

the cool in my sweat

my daughter’s deepest wound

traffic yawning in the distance like a seashell over a child’s ear

barking dog

laundry detergent

wood smoke on a Monday night

there you are, my people

bird chase and pink streaked skies

let fall a tear for the first star i see tonight

before all others go out

and i can’t remember anymore

and i’m too lazy to get up and write it down

that once upon a time there was a child who saw the truth like Jesus, dripping

forced to watch him die

forced to indulge the asshole with tickets to the resurrection

maybe im most afraid of never solving the riddle

never feeling good

and god help me

never wanting to

For the sake of a single poem

… Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough) — they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you have long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else — ); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, — and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves — only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

By Rainer Maria Rilke.

Poetry making always comes with this song for me:

Why Wine is Forbidden

“Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared. And that’s the sin. Literally, without. Empty. Disconnected. Lost.”

So I love red wine.

The passion behind that statement deserves its own sentence.

In fact, if it weren’t for this pesky disease, I would be Rumi and she the honorable Shams of Tabriz.

I flip open my Essential Rumi this afternoon and, no kidding, I land on this one:

Why Wine is Forbidden

When the Prophet’s Ray of intelligence

struck the dim-witted man he was with,

the man got very happy and talkative,

Soon he began unmannerly raving.

This is the problem with a selflessness

that comes quickly,

as with wine.

If the wine drinker 

has a deep gentleness in him,

he will show that

when drunk.

But if he has hidden anger and arrogance,

those appear,

and since most people do,

wine is forbidden to everyone.

Selflessness (ego abandonment).  Comes Quickly (Knowledge, not Wisdom).  And, when drunk (I think we can all draw our own conclusions there).

That’s the trifecta for me in that poem.  It’s not about our so called true colors shining while under the influence.  I don’t believe that.  We are all capable of volatile displays of emotion at any moment, drunk or not.

What I see happening here is borrowed enlightenment, descending in a passionate rush.  An enthusiastic one night stand.  There’s no conversation, no engaged dialogue, no authenticity.  The Love element is unstable, implodes, and comes out the under side on its back.

Without traction, without mindful intention the addict’s sensualist power turns on her and everyone she encounters.

Ever chasing that sweet spot, on the brink of delight, Billie Holiday moaning in the background; then suddenly (or so it seemed in retro), fetal and broken.  With someone I love telling me how “different” I seem.  What do you mean, I’d say?  (Denial).  I don’t know, you’re just different.

God, that line really haunted me for some reason.  Still does.

Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared.  And that’s the sin.  Literally, without.  Empty.  Disconnected.  Lost.

I’ve never been a fan of fire and brimstone conversion no matter the circumstance; but I will admit the analogies resonate.  Addiction is Hell.  An abuse of communion.  A perversion.  A demon to be exorcised.

Until then, the ray of intelligence falls over and over again on a dead body.

<Insert soulful sigh>

But as for this night, Lovers: “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” and we are the moon rising and the wolf within, licking a wound where Rumi’s Light will enter.

One damn day at a time.

A Brief for the Defense

“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world…”

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

Jack Gilbert

Lament

“I would like to step out of my heart and go walking beneath the enormous sky…”

Everything is far

and long gone by,

I think that the star

glittering above me

has been dead for a million years.

I think there were tears

in the car I heard pass

and something terrible was said.

A clock has stopped striking in the house

across the road…

When did it start?…

I would like to step out of my heart

and go walking beneath the enormous sky.

I would like to pray.

And surely of all the stars that perished

long ago,

one still exists.

I think that I know

which one it is–

which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,

stands like a white city…

Rainer Maria Rilke