The problem of evil

Isn’t it interesting how other animals don’t seem to feel sorry for themselves?

The loss of a child

Starvation

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

I wonder

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

Buddha Nature

Nature’s ceaseless muscle

Pulls us

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

I was here

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-

Love letter from my brother

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

You’d say–

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

Congratulations

Shouldn’t they be the ones moved by us most?

Faithfully,

Jack

Drop down

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’s Gospel

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.

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.

Coming home

Fat birds in the lawn to greet me

just before twilight when the blades are cool and the earth exhales in shadow

Engine idling

Solo piano swelling in the cab

in my chest

I crack the window

A break in the dam

for notes to spill

into infinite space

unnoticed by gravity

I like to imagine treading there in that dark matter

waiting with a child’s grin

as the melody draws near and advances deeper still

above my tiny skull

resting like the eye of a needle upon black tapestry

I look down again

wonder at the beautiful stranger who bled this song

at the miracle of our world

water to drink

rocks to gather like bread crumbs home

cracks in the concrete

for plants to begin again

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:

Stardust of my Song

Once upon a time, I could hardly wait to curl up in some dusky corner and fill my veins with smoky blues and red wine.

Clink glasses with Billie Holiday.  Hold my knees.  Sway.  Ride the dark current of longing.  Sob religiously until the drunk took me at last.  A form of premeditated spiritual murder in retrospect.

But tonight I realized I haven’t cried in 98 days.  

The rest is still there.  The voracious hunger.  The bleeding heart.  The inexplicable kinship with hundred year old divas.  So many songs that will not die.

Drinking didn’t enhance the pain, it didn’t suppress it, it didn’t purge it…

It was the pain.

What I am left with now at 2 am on a Tuesday morning after a long, hard night of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald is quite simply the lucid, ruthless ache for Love.

My name for God.

The throb is the stardust of our Love.  An all but tangible signpost, the texture of which only thickens with sobriety.  A constellation of breadcrumbs Home.

Bittersweet consolation in our song.

And we all have one.  A God song.

I sang mine for you today in my car after my lunch break.

At the top of my lungs, unabashedly, head thrown back; my song swelled endlessly in my chest like a tiny universe.

Looking for empty spaces.

Sweet dreams,

Sp