a sestina of sixes
March 12, 2012

A few unbearable and failed wonders

Brought out in the light, words
have silent ways about them – I
have seen hushed vowels who just
wait for the consonants they need
quietly, like so many children, six
years old, proving they are good.

But nighttime’s hushed space is good
for hearing truths, for sounding words
and slow wonderments, the reality I
know after every eye-closing, just
after every dreaming rest, a need
in the winter’s dawn at 6:00.

Of the soft syllables, there are six
in my room.  They taste good
leaving my tongue, the words
with their rounded edges, and I
look them in the mouths, just
waiting for them to speak.  Need

is the coldest loneliness, this need
for voices in the night – six
pregnant silences waiting to do good,
waiting to prove themselves.  My words
fall to the carpet.  Here I
am, lips parted.  I am just

a magician fumbling in moonlight, just
a mumbling midwife with a need
for strengths I can’t conjure: six
lyrical, brilliant tributes to the good.
I have sacrificed all my words,
all the others.  But still, I —

I
just
need
six
good
words.

a pantoum
January 24, 2012

While dreaming of pears and figs

There is a secret smoothness to every quiet need,
a familiar stone turned between fingertips, worn
and tattered as every ancient, memorized creed.
I spoke with a soul pulsing, holy and torn.

A familiar stone turned between fingertips worn
down to the marrow, to the bone,
I spoke with a soul pulsing, holy and torn.
I lived, Divinity, with words to murmur, to intone

down to the marrow, to the bone.
My spaces shrunk to accommodate manageable fears.
I lived divinity with words.  To murmur, to intone,
I lived, a breathing wonderment of darkening years.

My spaces shrunk to accommodate manageable fears,
and, tattered as every ancient, memorized creed,
I lived, a breathing wonderment of darkening years.
There is a secret smoothness to every quiet need.

nine haikus for ninth week
November 8, 2011

Tightrope

Here it is: the end.
The finishing of it all.
The start is long gone.

Forever is now,
never, always, unfolding.
Moonlight on skin.  Yes.

Sinking down, don’t breathe.
Bubbles float, eyes close, limbs lift;
swim deep, rock-bottom.

Feel the building up,
reaching immanent lightness.
What else could there be?

No rain, no wind, none,
but open the umbrella.
Wait for what will come

Do you know the words?
The notes? Rests? The melody?
Sing it. Loudly. Yes.

Steal the blackboard chalk.
Draw duty, morality –
impossible things.

Can you erase them?
Try. Yes. There, you missed a spot
All gone. Good. All gone.

What is left for you?
Your hands, mouth, eyes, and what else?
What else do you need?