Merwin said on the last day of the world
he would plant a tree
Not for the fruit bearer
but for the one that stands
in the earth for the first time
Innocence. Wonder. Remembrance.
That the first and ever ancient spirits are ants and spiders
And the land is God
So when I step out into night I can feel their quiet work
Stare and crouch
with the fervor of one who has unearthed a city lost
to the wrong kind of unknowing
Glance and brood
over either shoulder, wary of thieves
But it’s just myself and the many legged gods
whose caps like the crowns of teeth
suggest roots unseen, dark and vulnerable
whose mortality I know if I too bare my outstretched limbs
That faith in life is moved by
a delicate and dreadful energy that is Love
How can I not feel this
I want the hawk to eat and
I want the dove to thrive
The impossibility breaks my heart wide open
in agony and ecstasy
The soul is like Jesus
Bare feet in both worlds
Everything here has one
The dirt soul
The cow soul
The man soul
The sea soul
The bird soul
The world soul
I think it’s so we never forget each other
One long bridge
So time makes sense
Especially when it doesn’t
Isn’t it interesting how other animals don’t seem to feel sorry for themselves?
The loss of a child
Bitter cold, brutal heat
They simply bow their heads and eat when it’s offered
And how we look so hard within domes and people, that which is offered so baldly in the wild
People don’t really climb Everest for the view
God doesn’t want me loved safely behind locked doors
I think he wants us like Szpilman
That gorgeous Jewish pianist who scarcely survived the Warsaw Ghetto in the 1940’s
A desperate Lover of family, strangers
Bewildered with pitched eyebrows
Lame legs, wandering still
So that when we sit at our pianos at last
His drama swells in and out our bodies
like a lighthouse sweeping dark waters for crouching forms,
everyone aching to see and be seen
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
Nature’s ceaseless muscle
From these small hours
These dying bodies
Because the Truth is
Fires that start in space never stop spreading
Sunlight is touchable on a horse’s hip
A soft hand always heavies the eye
And we breathe through our hearts
Knowing the notes of a song we’ve never heard before
If I live to be a hundred,
I will be just as beautiful as I am now.
My sun heart will still rise before I do.
My moon mind will still gawk about the midnight of my bed quarters.
My star-fire blood will still warm the bow of infinity that is my flesh.
And my earth belly will still roar into the pregnant silence of all our wanting.
-photo credit, my beautiful sister, Stephanie Donovan-
God shows himself in mysterious ways
Sometimes he’s Louis Armstrong on the radio on your way home from work
Sometimes he’s an owl-shaped tealight candle holder, small and gray
That way when you turn off all the bedroom lights
his face flickers in haunting shadow
Actually he’s a million different solitary birds
presenting to each of us one by one
And he sings too
Did you know that?
I actually read that somewhere…
That if indeed in the beginning was the Word
It was probably a sung word
I saw this man wearing a sign today on 42nd street and he reminded me of you
how you would have Loved him
and all the people who never looked up
Maybe the guy behind him is texting his wife
can’t wait for Colorado
Maybe the fella to the right is meeting an old friend from California
Maybe the woman in the red blazer got off work early to spend time with her daughter
Then I thought–
what of all the people we encounter every day
how no one ever looks up anymore
just brushes of hand and commerce
For some strange reason it reminded me of that passage in the bible
that one where Jesus gets his feet washed
Made me want to read one where he washes a man’s face
I bet he did that
I bet he did that a lot
So I stopped and took this man’s picture for you
because we should remember how precious we are, right
And even if what we do matters to no one else but the ones we Love
Shouldn’t they be the ones moved by us most?
Leap from your structures
There are animals down there clinging to rock canvas as old as God
Leave the dishes
The clothes on the floor
The wine in the bottle
Your nocturnal predator needs her beauty sleep too
Open all the windows
Do you see it now? I do
There’s a sun ball on your chest reflecting itself
Mary asked good questions. The kind only a woman thinks.
Do I see you with my soul or with my spirit?
He smiled. The deep kind that starts in the eye.
Neither. It’s your mind, Miriam, the space between the two.
She chewed on that awhile, holding the weight of her hair at the top of her head.
I ate you with my mind, she said, and now you’re inside of me.
Yes, a woman’s magic.
To suckle the world and then devour it like Kali.
To suffer the stone of truth like Cassandra.
To choose blood over honey like Eve.
To cut strange fruit like Billie Holiday at Cafe Society in Greenwich Village.
To cry out your gratuitous pleasure.
To harvest your ancient, rounded, beauty.
To brave your raw death.
To become Corinthian Love.
He who has the mind to remember,
Let him Remember.