a life lived in shade

What shadow is cast by the light of love?
and what people live in it,
unlit and beyond reach with
eyes rimed by darkness?

What worth is a life lived in shade,
hoping for a break in the sky,
aching for the hurts of adjustment?

What object can block the light of love?
some foul demon with
wings that span the sum of sky,
or is it merely the heart?

future stimuli

we build fires when we’re cold, right?
reaction.
stimulus and response
eating when we’re hungry,
seeking others when we’re lonely;
simple.
natural.
But there are other stimuli, right?
things beyond nature,
things undiscovered but imaginable;
smoke clouding the starlight, but
dispersing a little every day;
and perhaps when we find the right combination of stimuli,
the perfect terror
the perfect bliss,
perhaps, finally,
we will seek peace.

it takes a village

some children don’t grow up, they only grow older,
and older, and perceive themselves as wiser,
without shedding their childish thoughts,
without putting away their childish things,
they look at others
and believe they know how these others think of them,
and think of the world,
without asking – or without asking correctly, these
children draw their conclusions, their inflexible philosophies,
ink spilled upon pages in places where
the moon dwells close to Manhattan;
they think themselves special from their peers –
they think themselves powerful when others are polite,
offering glad words at their scribbles, “ah,
beautiful work, a beautiful piece, we’ll go
hang this on the fridge” and
some children don’t grow up,
they may have mortgages and may
collect dividends, they may give orders and may
be called sir, but they are still just children,
clumsily stuffing their fingers toward light sockets,
being shooed or corralled at the last moment
and, beaming, effervescent,
celebrate their triumphs.

the caterpillar

The caterpillar is an insidious machine
all pistons and poisons and pincers, and pivotal
so pivotal to all: the caterpillar hungers,
always, devouring all good and green things,
treading them and ripping off shreds,
moving on, now, to unspoiled land,
until all land is spoiled.
And there it begins, toes on sour earth and eyes on sweet skies,
hungering more; a transformative hunger,
and so it spins, spins, spins,
spinning a silk of sorrows and suffering, swaddling itself in
all it has stolen, all good things regurgitated as
armor and arsenal; so it finishes,
hardened and uncaring, waiting a time,
brooding in a shell
and emerging with broad wings.
It alights,
and seeks new appetites.

Working with clay

to see you working with clay,
hands wet and sticky, leaving
fingerprints as you mold,
a tune of yours happies
the room, you
look to me and all dissolves to
sculpture and serenade,
the clay slopping over the rough spots
and mending them, the fingerprints
smoothed with song and scraper,
forgotten in the molding; now complete,
pleasant, soon to be dry and useful and
your hands, too, smooth and drying,
filled with softness and sweetness and
the promise of greater works yet.

to you who feels so little

a single spark is all it takes,
one ember left burning after the humiliation of water
(or, worse, a pit that knew neither
fire nor water)
a single spark is all it takes,
inside or out, a wisp of smoke can
burn the world, or something else –
the static from your socks and a busted valve can
level a city block, yes, yes, a single
spark is all it takes,
just one wayward thought
can be terribly explosive

Rung of Ripple

oh, new rung of ripple,
formed full, radiant,
spreading, long then thin ,
then replicated;
oh, how you resemble the impact,
and break apart reflections, how
you’ve built circles within,
circles without, how
imperfect an echo you are, my new
rung of ripple,
and how we are children,
all laugh and cheer
at this new start,
how you make us all feel like
we, too, are just a new
rung of ripple.