Saturday, February 27, 2021

Enjoy Selected Poems from For It All

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(For a hero)
In that moment the light will gray.
Beyond it you will see an arch.
Fear it not.
There is nothing past it you need cower before.
It is yours to use as you see fit.
Once an instrument of supreme evil,
you may employ it for the supreme good.
Beyond it is your destiny.
But do not confuse what I am telling you.
"Beyond" and "destiny" are traps.
See them as so, and you are free to redefine them any way you please.
That is your gift.
There is no need to feint.
Besides, it is not your way.
You once cried for an angel.
See that she is you, and the tears will cease.
The light will gray.

Tell me of your moments. Share them with me.
How? 'Tis easy, my song.
Just let them change you.
In the changing I will hear your Voice,
and you mine.
And in the changing you will become,
each moment from the next,
more and more who you truly are.
That's how you'll know I'm there with you.

Where your life is concerned,
you can know the sun setting over fog-draped mountains,
and dewdrops gleaming in fresh moss,
and the minty kiss of cold, moist pine air,
and the roar of the emerald river below the high bridge,
swollen with rain and anxious to mate with the silver sea;
You can know the dark shade of winding lanes,
and orange mushrooms against redwood stumps,
and the lone crimson heart of a leaf hanging over a lost cliffside,
and the exhaling ease of it all, the silence in your own spaces,
which has called out for these things and the places they occupy.
Over and against your day-to-day scramblings,
which by themselves create no lasting meaning—
not without these.
Not without this.
Your soul is this.
Enter within or enter without. It's all worship.

An empty bench watches the sunset.
Wood and iron: worn and ornate.
Pink light falls on it brownly.
Another bench. It's beneath my desperation.
The leaves at my feet rustle. I look up.
It's like a cathedral. The redwoods sky over winter's vicissitude.
Emerald now. The high green captures the crow's dim calls.
Soft, soaking bark. A winding trail.
A gentle incline, but not high enough.
The air smells like wet blankets. A vein of riversound catches my attention.
I can say that I stood here, that I looked up, that I looked down at my feet.
But I did not sit. Perhaps I should've.
Perhaps I will next time.

Tell me I'll fail.
Go on, I want to hear it.
Better yet, ignore me.
A decade-plus of blood, sweat, and tears ... Do it. Ignore it.
No worries: go on and stand with the rest of the herd as you turn your back on me.
"If you weren't there for my struggle,
don't expect to be present for my success."
Struggle: what you and your ilk have only a vague conception of.
Success: what you and your ilk can never truly know.
I read somewhere that I should be kind to everyone,
for everyone is having a hard battle.
Some long-dead haughty-minded philosopher said it, I suppose.
I thought about it.
And then I laughed.
What if the hard battle these sad sacks are having involves keeping people
like me down?
—Or oppressing the weak and the infirm?
—Or bombing innocents?
—Or destroying our civil rights?
—Or hating on women and gays?
What then?
What if the hard battle these assholes are having involves ignoring people like me,
who have literally bled or starved doing the work they were called to do?
Ever thought about that?
I didn't think so.

The abyss. Ah, the abyss!
Can heartbeats fill it? Can rustles in the night sate it?
The line on the horizon is sharp this morning.
Feathery virgin circles above it, below it:
The geometry of motion has no real enemy, surely not I!
Motion is its own reward—and its own punishment.
We waste our minutes fighting the truth of it.

Here in the castle I maintain constant vigil, even though I pretend not to.
You do the same.
We make enemies of the descending darkness, but it desires only
to assure us of its simplicity, its grace, its inevitability, its distance.
The day will come when I shall be blown back into the Void—
Will I know it?
These heavy elements sip green tea today; tomorrow they'll power a new star,
a new world, perhaps even a new life.
But they are not I. Not by themselves, at least. 
They came together for a reason, against all reason.
The probabilities don't even matter, so slim have they always been.
My existence is a refutation of mathematics;
God is left without a voice.

Tea and distance.
I do not fear the cold, because the cold is equations and sets
and solutions and broken pencils scattered across frustration, and I am not.
But what I am I do not know. Cannot know.

The older I get, the more childlike I become.
The blood pumping through these veins remembers those days,
though every cell that makes me me wasn't around even as late as last year.
The habits of old are worn like ancient mountains.
Some are still quite formidable, and mighty to behold.
Others have been ground to the fertile plains below.
The weather of Me has a varied climate. It has brought rain and snow,
has brought baking blue days of sameness and drizzly gray days of depression.
And through the valleys flows my lifeblood, rich and frothy.
I have endeavored to live life steadfastly,
and though I am quite averse to risk, boldly.
I have failed utterly one day in ten, probably;
two in ten saw me give up after a half-hearted try.
Three in ten waited for God or circumstance to clear my way,
and four in ten I have succeeded to a degree sufficient to encourage me to press on.
Often the road signs were obscure or deceptive;
many times they weren't there at all.
I've been known to take the wrong road with shitty passengers,
and I've been known to defend taking it, and them,
even though I knew both were eventually going to harm me.
I've closed my eyes to evils I could have fought, even defeated;
and I've been the cause of evil at times.
All this is true.
But so is my Renaissance, my Awakening, my Reckoning.
I've changed—for the better. For the much better.
I find it ironic that most would say the opposite of me.
But they are ground-down habits, and their silt has long since
washed out of my bloodstream.
I am penniless.
But I am richer today that ever I have been.
Thanks be to God for it.
For it all.