Tuesday, September 29, 2009

what's in my head now...

this is one of my favorite all-time poems...

the shrinking lonesome sestina
by miller williams

Somewhere in everyone's head something points toward home,
a dashboard's floating compass, turning all the time
to keep from turning. It doesn't matter how we come
to be wherever we are, someplace where nothing goes
the way it went once, where nothing holds fast
to where it belongs, or what you've risen or fallen to.

What the bubble always points to,
whether we notice it or not, is home.
It may be true that if you move fast
everything fades away, that given time
and noise enough, every memory goes
into the blackness, and if new ones come-

small, mole-like memories that come
to live in the furry dark-they, too,
curl up and die. But Carol goes
to high school now. John works at home
what days he can to spend some time
with Sue and the kids. He drives too fast.

Ellen won't eat her breakfast.
Your sister was going to come
but didn't have the time.
Some mornings at one or two
or three I want you home
a lot, but then it goes.

It all goes.
Hold on fast
to thoughts of home
when they come.
They're going to
less with time.


Forgive me that. One time it wasn't fast.
A myth goes that when the years come
then you will, too. Me, I'll still be home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

another "L" Train poem


if you judged all of life
by the subway,
it would seem like an exhausting affair,
with row after row
of sleeping passengers in transit.

and it's true-
life can be such a tiring pursuit.
but the awakened ones,
those who fight their drowsy impulses,
see the grey skies and graffiti
and draw meaning from them -
meaning which allows them
to ride the rails,
connected to the lives around them
with tenuous strings

and to see a world
within, but beyond, this one.
a world where
even the sleeping ones
arrive on time.
they just miss the story of the journey
that makes the destination worth it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

new poem

today was a tough day, thematically arranged, in some ways, around conflict and suffering. but a poem came out of it, so how bad could it be, right???

on statues and suffering

where i live,
there's a place where anyone
can stop for solace
for weary feet
& weary minds.
To some, it just looks like
the Virgin Mary in a bathtub,
in an otherwise ignorable place.
i suppose it's just what you make of it.

and i needed solace,
so that's what i made it.
because solace is to be found
when it is most needed.
so i found Mary tonight.
i found her words in my heart
"Let it be done to me,
according to your Word."
"Let it be done to me,
and I won't count the cost."

because salvation entails suffering
(or it doesn't)
and suffering brings redemption
(or it doesn't)
and people are inherently sinful
(or they aren't)
and we are the world-changers
(or we aren't)

but i won't find answers in this place.
This is just Mary,
the mother of God,
in a bathtub,
with a light that's always on...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

one of the concrete problems with having a poet's mind...

is that you always learn more from sentences like this:
the irreducible, incomplete connection
between the dead and the living

or between man and woman in this
savagely fathered and unmothered world
(from "From An Old House In America" by Adrienne Rich)

than you do from sentences like this:

The ideologies, theories, and paradigms presented here are not mutually exclusive - they are interrelated. Some build on others, as seen in Figure 3.1. They are tools for analyzing social welfare policies and programs and the social conditions and social needs that are part of society. It is likely that particular paradigms may appeal more than others.

Both make factual sense and both contain truth. but i think we agree that one is much prettier than the other...

Friday, September 4, 2009

let the people say "Amen"...

this quote is my new credo, i think...

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.