Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Writing On The Wall

Will anyone remember me at all
When I and all who know me now are dead -
When all that's left is writing on the wall?

(They say the One who sees the sparrow fall
Has my whole lifetime stored within His head.)
Will anyone remember me at all

Or will these poems fade away and crawl
Into a dusty corner, never read?
When all that's left is writing on the wall

What eyes will see, what ears will hear the call
And resonate to anything I've said -
Will anyone remember me at all?

Perhaps there will be those who can recall,
If only I will say what is unsaid,
When all that's left is writing on the wall,

The words half lost, a hieroglyphic scrawl.
And then when time frays memory's final thread,
Will anyone remember me at all
When all that's left is writing on the wall?


poem: a villanelle, and not my first, either

photo: Florence, Italy, May 2015

This is #30 in a series of poems that I wrote for National Poetry Month. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Poem To Explain The Lack Of A Poem Today

empty
as the skies above the northern plains
as the towns abandoned by the last descendants
          of the first to settle that new land
          newly abandoned then and now the echoes blend
          ghosts of the conquered and the conquerors

stagnant
as the muddy shores of rivers going dry
as the dying pools where minnows gasp their last
          out of water out of breath out of time
          the land is begging for a cooling rain
          skeletons of trees stand sentinel

bare
as the pantry of an artist on the edge
as the canvas waiting stretched against the wall
          the only paint that's left is blood or tears
          abandoned brushes stiffen on the floor
          how can you summon inspiration at a whim?

how do you draw

a blank?


photo: on Amtrak in the middle of the Montana canola fields, July 10, 2015

This is #29 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Siren's Song

I never dreamed that I could fly
The ocean holds my fantasy of choice
With sparkling shallows for my sky
A dolphin's song, or silence, for my voice
Deep breaths as liquid fills my throat
A single O enough to give me air
Disdaining snorkel mask or boat
I dive to seek the kraken in its lair
For now I'll live each landlocked day
Remembering how it felt to swim so deep
Until I find if there's a way
To be a mermaid when I'm not asleep


photo: the Silent Pool at dusk, Breitenbush Hot Springs, December 5, 2015

This is #28 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On What I Missed

the comfort that comes from
years of tradition
a time-lapse photo of
the family at the table
grooves worn so deep into
your daily routine
that you no longer have to steer
(and I never liked routines)

the security that comes from
someone beside you
there in all the photos of
adventures taken, decisions made
a future together
each doing their part
divided burdens weighing less
(and I carried so much baggage)

the peace that comes from
having a home
the rooms, the photos on the wall
familiar to the point of vanishing
no need to think
about how you're going to get
to where you'll be tomorrow
(and I was never satisfied with today)

and yes

this Rockwell vision is as true
as any other dream
and once inside it heaven knows
if I'd be happy
or if I would spend my time
finding ways to make thoughts rhyme
in poems mourning my lost freedom

and yet

the choices made were often mine alone
no room for regret in a tight-packed schedule
and now I can't imagine any other then
but when I think of what might come
sometimes I like to think
that what I miss
is waiting for me after all

a little further down the open road


photo: Museo Civico e Area Archeologica, Fiesole, Italy, May 2015

This is #27 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Poem Of The Open Road

Somewhere in my soul I'm
Still on a different time; in my
Heart an albatross cry
That sings of weeks I'd fly before
My feet would touch the floor.
Someday there will be more delight
As day gives way to night
And I sit down to write of all
I've seen, that sweet recall
Of what held me in thrall that day.
All of which is to say
I find it hard to stay at home
With so much world to roam.
What makes up my genome? Travel.


poem: done on the model of the complicated Vietnamese poetic style called "lục bát" (except for the tonal element, which made this poem a LOT less complicated), in honor of Quyen's parents, who left for their southern California home today

photo: on the Belgrade-to-Florence overnight bus, just over the Croatian border, May 5, 2015

This is #26 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Monday, April 25, 2016

I Need A Small Vacation

piled up around me like a squirrel's winter hoard
are all the good things in life, more than I need
and everything I wanted

though I enjoy the harvest, the scrabble into dirt
with busy paws, organizing all of the nuts into rows
the satisfaction of security

today I want to curl my tail around my weary head
and burrow back into the warmth of rustling leaves
let others have my share


photo: Wichita Portland, November 2015

This is #25 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday

even in darkness
the light is always waiting
for you to see it


photo: on the train in Montana, heading west towards Glacier National Park, July 10, 2015

This is #24 in a series of poems being written for National Poetry Month 2016. All work is my own, as are the photographs.