Archive | Poetry

An Argument Still. . . .

 

My mentor, the Nazarene  said,  seeing you will not see and hearing you will not hear.  Why is it when we profess to be followers and even from the pulpits, do not venture to ask,  what did Jesus mean when he said those words?  We think because we see what we see, it is all that there is to see!  And hear what there is to hear!

As humans all, if we do not even hear or see the cry in Crisis,  we are in peril.

An Argument. . . 

It was an argument
persisting its stuff as
all of them do.

 

I say. . .
the camera portrays
what the photographer perceives.

And he insisted. . .
that the camera sees
the fact in nature
and records it as such.

I say. . .
a fact in nature changes
as the person perceives it.

What do we do. . . .
if what we see is not
what the photographer sees?

I say. . .
get thee to an altar and pray.
Rightly so.
Go find an altar and pray.
So that what is perceived
as beautiful, as poignant
or a crime to humanity
is what we see.

Quickly. . . .
Go find an altar to pray
for your heart is in imminent danger.

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Sometimes, more than cola. . . of course with hot tea. . . .

 

With all that is happening on our national scene and our global scenes, we all need something that will settle the dyspepsia.  It seems I have run out of tonic water and cola so a good stiff drink of something we should find, with hot tea, of course.

I was again reminded that heavy thought like continued heavy dinner fare soon brings on cardiac problems to the neophyte.  Those in my peer group have time given in survival techniques using some long tested straight shots of oblivion.

I scribed the following in 2016 and the requests have been heartwarming.  Even the Sages took issue with my discipline of ‘serious business’ as you see with the poem’s tone.  But are we not again in the midst of serious business and needing a touch of levity?

And this soul of no fun at all. . . had to laugh.

Around The Bend. . .

I was told you have stretched
your boundaries as far as you can and the rest
will require another world.

You work too hard at this, he said.
Break the pattern, because you do not need
more information to underscore what you already know.

What good to understand worm holes and
black holes, white holes and time warps.
You work with them every night when
you flutter in and out of worlds, and
know your way around the bends of light.
You don’t need anything more.

You need a good stiff drink of more than cola.
Love, take a bender.  You need rye, straight.

I say, around the bend
there will be a hand;
someone to pull me up. . .

around the bend will be a someone
to pull me up. . . . .I know.

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Enter Ye, Cautiously. . . .

 

Enter Ye, Cautiously. . .

‘May I enter your house?’ I asked
and  you answered, ‘yes, but cautiously.
You must discard all pretense, assume the mantle
of charity and hold high the torch of love.’

‘Ahhh,’ I said, ‘but would I qualify?
‘This house I see has a green carpet
with blue ceiling, mystically supporting
poufs of cotton, shadowing and lined with sparklers.
It has spheres of light masking the dark outlines
of animation, movement in forms
different than my own.’

‘I have lived in this house and participated
in celebrations of great sorrows, have laughed in truth
and wept with joy.  I have danced in funerals
and in great succession marched words through
battles of mind and spirit.’

‘I have accused myself and have hung by fingertips
grown numb and identified the faults of Others
only because I identified my own.
I loved and continued  to love in the face of contradictions
because I did not know what else to do.
There is nothing left now, so I ask,
may I enter your house?’

‘What have you described?’ you chide as I stand astonished.
What else is there I wonder and
what is to be exchanged.

‘I hang a star,’ you say, ‘midst the night sky,
and in the quality of your God you will build
your world.  It will not be mine but yours.
And when you leave the spot holding you hostage,
you will take your world and those becoming to it will enter.
But entering also will be the dark angels,
but with premises swept clean,
they will delay littering.  But once established
the land will become familiar and they again litter
and your sights will be pinned on Me.’

‘And I will hear you ask again,
may I enter?  And I will say, all ye who enter here,
discard pretense, assume the mantle of charity and
hold high the torch of love.’

‘I see,’ I said
‘and then the Father’s House will be swept clean.’

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Straight on Through. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emile. . . . 

‘Do come in,’ she motioned to the visitor.
‘Things are not straightened, but they will be shortly.’

The large home had seen numbers of people
marching through the hall; booming voices, woman whispers,
babies’ tears baptizing the walls and christening the marble.

The gentle woman swished quietly to lead the way;
her skirt evenly hemmed and velvet ribbon
threaded through  the eyelet collar.
Her hair glistened with care and was piled
neatly in waves as gentle as she was.

‘Come this way,’ she said as they moved through
a group of people murmuring importantly.
‘They will be going shortly,’ she said.
‘These people won’t be here long.  We will take
the table in the corner.’

And they made their way to the table
and looked at each other for the first time.
In her eyes she hoped the pity would not be evident.
Within a moment the guest knew it was.  But Emile,
true to the cut of her coat, rejected and dismissed
what she saw.

‘The people here are not for long,’ Emile said.
‘The family has so many parties I cannot keep up.  The house
is hardly large enough anymore to hold them all.  But soon
it will be quiet.  It is getting late and time for them to go.’

The rest of the visit was not a replay of times long gone;
no memory of dreams dreamed or books discussed.  No
memory of philosophical turbulence enjoyed.
The guest in time stood up to leave.

‘Emile, it has been a wonderful visit.  But I must get home
and see to dinner.  We will do this more often.
With so much to do each day, we seldom have time to visit.’

And Emile led the way to the door, rounding the tables
like the lady of the house seeing to everyone’s comfort.

At the curb was a car waiting with a grey haired man
standing by.  ‘Hi, Emile!  Hope you and Mother
had a good visit.  Sure do miss Alan and John now
that they’re gone.  We were good buddies.’

Emile waved her hand and puzzled to her guest.
‘He looks familiar, but  who is that old man?  Is he
the grandfather of one of your children’s friends?’
The old friend took Emile’s hand and said,
‘he is my youngest son, Paul.  You remember Paul.’

Emile smiled blankly and withdrew her hand.

‘No ,’ she said.  ‘I only know you.’
And she thanked her friend for coming and
promised a neater home for the next visit.
She then firmly closed the door.
Her friend walked down the stairs.
Emile was right for the guests soon followed.

Paul took his mother’s hand and helped her to the car.
He looked at the imposing Home and whispered,
‘I wish we could afford such a place for you.
The Largess is the best retirement home in the state.
And we can only give you a room in our house.’
Sighing, ‘where to my lady?’

And in a clear voice allowing no nonsense, she roared,
‘home, Paul, home!  To where I am no guest and do not tire
from using energy to keep a dream alive.  Home, Paul, home.’

And the rest of the journey was straight on through.

1

It Is A Gift. . . .

 

‘Each lifetime lived adds to the cumulative sense of loss.’
the teacher

All Who I  Am. . .

I feel the pull of the Polish one bent over her bread board,
pounding, kneading, smoothing the egg dough
into a satiny mound.  Raisins, like eyes, half buried
in the fleshy loaf, stare at me, daring me to absorb
her rhythm into my blood.

Her aching restlessness I breathe already.
Her utter frustration to make new whips me to
a working frenzy, a woman possessed.  She delivers me
to my bed in agony.  With memory splintered, glinting
off the corners of my eyes, I find me.  And awake again
to a morning promising me no relief from her visions.

II

My brow furrows, forming ledges to shield my eyes
from a sun that beats unmercifully.  Sweat pours to drench
my body and nausea routes its way flooding
an overloaded circuitry.

The wandering tribesman leading the camel favors one foot.
Calluses shoot pain into the moon calf of his leg and I limp.
The tart taste of yogurt in his mouth washes clean
the sand out of mine.

Each step becomes a mile in length and his laborious effort
throbs in my temples.  I will be harvest for the flies.
I cannot bear the heat anymore.

 III

The air, sharp as a cut lemon, washes me.  The children race in
their overlarge sweaters with roses painted on their
faces smooth as milk legs.  Lace fringe curtains entertain
the visitors agape at the starkness, the simplicity,
the square picture.  I am at home.

The arctic terrain beats my blood to a froth with exuberance.
My sturdy body matches my earth.  My love shields me,
woos me and I am as cherished as a milk cow in a land
of sparse grasses.  To each other we are the heavy cream
poured on a dish of skyr .

IV

How far back do I dare reach to uncover all who I am?

Is part of me racing, black skinned and hot, basket overflowing,
precariously balanced on my head and heart beating
outside my skin?  My loose breasts clap-clap in pain
against my rib cage as I hurry to make up time spent chatting
with my sisters, fearful of the masculine outrage brewing?

I sit at my desk, surrounded by the present essences of
today’s people, today’s commitments.  The air is spicy with
fomenting earth.  My brow does not furrow from the heat yet.
Summer’s dog days will arrive too soon.

I ‘ve reached backwards and sideways and tasted portions of lives
both palatable and unpalatable.  But altogether rich.  Is my
fatigue of genetic empathy, perhaps imagination gone wild
or an accumulation of too many lives lived, too many
sorrows sorrowed, too many dreams dreamed?

V

The answer will be mine.  With my departure I will take
the sum of my days, the loves loved, the dreams unfulfilled
and all who I am and walk again the cosmos.

And because of my love for me I will create another world.
Due to my cumulative sense of loss. . . .

There will be no more loves aborted.

5

The Farm Woman. . .

 

Someone probably said, considering there is nothing new under the sun, I knew the journey my spirit would take would be the one closest to my heart.  That would be  the earth and sky of course, a farm.  

The details would be only as difficult as I could overcome and not more than I could handle.  I would of course argue that premise.  In retrospect it was the most influential segment of my life. 

Directing and encompassing the who I became to love the Earth Planet as the grandest classroom ever given to viable, developing creatures with potential who worship learning. 

Having said that, my wish is for overwhelming intellects equipped to keep our planet safe and prospering healthily so the young need not worry they will have no dotage. 

It is a beacon to the Universes and we are more than one.  And nowhere are the conditions as ripe for  ideas with materials  becoming expressions as this planet.  Pray that we take only good what moth and rust do not destroy when we terminate our stay, so that we only enhance life elsewhere in whatever form, in gratitude for what we are gifted.

The Farm Woman  . . . 

Woman of the Earth, you are loved.
You gather the fruits of your labors
to your bosom and feed the children.

You’ve inched your way along the
dusty path with back bent in great fatigue
and cultivated rows yielding wise fruit.

You would feed out of your mouth those
you think hungry and then beyond measure.
The fruits are the heart of your labors , the harvest of
your mind’s philosophy, spilling indiscriminately.

Who is left to feed you, farm woman?
What commissary is left open to feed your
hungry soul after hours?  What bookstall will
house the words between stiff covers
to increase your harvest?

Labor, till the sun closes its blinds on the day.
Restless legs will speed you through the night

to find the bins ever full.

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A Respite. . to walk the fields. . .

The Door Closes . . . 

You say the door closes
behind me and you cannot follow.
I take my place beside the one
who holds my ceded heart in his hands.

All I know is here is the place I belong.
No other place feels right.
Though as I walk in other places,
they seem to be the places needing work.

I miss the belonging that once I had
in the arms tightly holding heart to heart.
It is now an isolation that accompanies my every day
with an emptiness that does not leave.

Nighttime brings my companion
and I to his side.  And I am at home again.
We walk my fields and I do not rush away.
It does not last, for morning

brings to light the day’s increment
of work and commitment.  Time was
when we  wound our arms tightly but Conscience
awakened me to finish a work once begun.

Those arms no longer fit the who I am
so it is my loss and isolation.
Yet that will be remembered always

as the time our arms fit and wound tightly.

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The High Jumper. . .

It has been said with anger
that I set the bar
too high
for mere mortals to scale.

It was not for them
the bar was set
but for me,
to rise as high

as the immanent god
had deemed for me.
I could not know
that they would try

 

to jump for me.
I was not the reason.
It was for them, you see,
for someone told them

they would never do it .
I showed them though
they could .
And they believed.

And they surprised themselves.

(Please understand that even when I learned that I was not abandoned, I was not spared.  This was not a known premise for me until I was quite aged.  Heaven does not play favorites.  The log was always in my eye;  hard going.)

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A Meditation. . . does the world stand still for you?. . . .

 

Come with me to this place
I visit often, hidden behind an eyelash;
where it is Easter all the time and
rebirth is not a sometime thing; where
gods cavort in joyous abandon.

Come, we dance. . . .

 

Today the world stood still. In the
bright afternoon sun I saw a butterfly
dart into a spider’s web woven between
the power lines and lift it up and carry
it with him.

In the silence I heard the question.
How heavy is a spider’s web on a butterfly’s wing?
Since everything is balanced,
the question is proportional.
A friend said to me, ‘only you had eyes to see it.’

Does the world stand still for you?    Ever?

 

It sometimes has seemed as if my life has been lived under a premise of ‘hurry, we are late already’.  And I’ve wanted to  say like the phrase I learned. . . I am dancing as fast as I can. . . I am taking time to reread things I have written and learning to thank who I was for finding the time when my  half of the world slept,  to leave a memo of hundreds of thousands of feelings.  Veronica,  I hardly got to know you. . . . this was the first post 8 years ago on fromanupperfloor.com  . . . a gift from me to my new readers. . . .

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Far Beyond Where We Are. . . . .

Recently I was lost in thought  and found myself saying out loud that I have to get back to teaching!  I surprised myself but to whom was I speaking and what world but more importantly, at what depth?  I remember a conversation at dinner where there was argument and I exasperatedly said, the wrong people at this table were educated!

David looked at me with a steel glance and said, only the people who needed the education ! And I looked hard at this lawyer son of ours with a philosophy major in his life struggle and knew what he said because all of them held credentials except me.  And I said you are right, David, right.

In that world I held in conference and said I had to get back to teaching, was a real world though I would be laughed at with derision in this one.  Yet much of what I find compelling in this world ,in a concerted effort daily of independent study, avidly, tells me it is not new.

For me God is a verb and Jesus, the Nazarene, is my mentor.

I understand that all time is simultaneous, which  Albert Einstein verified by saying man will not ever begin to understand his own ‘why’ until he understands this very important element of time.

My mentor became my friend as I was held accountable and as I sought his divinity, I found mankind’s and eventually my own.  Then I was able to see the GodWithin which sparks us with conscience.  In the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Nag Hammadi Library)  Jesus said, ‘I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard’.

Even with no credentials, and whatever our persuasion, we all have a highest and best we hold onto.  It is a good beginning knowing all the while there is a realm of existence so far beyond  where we are that it cannot be spoken of because there are no concepts beyond our immediate conceptual abilities.

It is still some distance where awesomeness will lead to further realms of thought not possible for the human brain.  Fir’ piece to go?. . . .long ways. . . .a very long way. . . .

The Uncovering. . . an excerpt. . .

The idea will find its home
in the minds of all men
and the revolution begins.
The learned ones will marvel
at the evolution in thinking
and peace with brotherhood
will slowly mark its beginning
in the house of one man.

Nestling in the house will be the children.
They will be remembering where

the promise was given.

 

above photo by John Holmes

 


 

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