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.

The Taste Of Brambles

Thorn-pricks and pin-points and
electric on the tongue,
the rushed spurt of blood
from soft places,
the change of moisture –
acid to base
(like wind shifting north to south,
no change in composition
but it feels like leaving home)
and the thought that
you can’t keep this where it lays, certainly
won’t be able to mash and chop and chew and
swallow down these brambles, no,
but they’re lodged too deep to spit away, no,
and nobody wants to be seen
spilling their brambles out to polite company.

The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter

Eight hundred years since last these two
bright sparks coalesced as one;
and time beats on, beats on,
shaping and quenching and throwing off sparks and steam and
eight hundred years more will pass,
with more smoke, more flame, more
sparks in the sky,
and in eight hundred years the peoples,
soot-scarred and weary,
will look up at the sky, just like tonight,
just like me,
and curse these black clouds.

self-destruction

We look up at the stars and thank, thank the
cool night and the mucky earth and
the buzz of mosquitos,
bzz bzz bzz and the quick slap, the
dab of blood, and we thank the
crimson pinprick
and we thank the slap, too.
We look up at the stars and think how wondrous it is
to live in a world with so many poisons,
slick and warm in the gullet or
fast and lethal in the blood,
how wondrous it is to
leave new red pinpricks on our arms,
how happy and whole we feel,
how heavy,
and how beautiful it is, the two of us,
sinking deeper and deeper into the muck,
with our fingertips up,
brushing away the heavens.

led by the guess

plates on plates stacked
and spinning,
teeming with masses,
who guess that the rung above
knows; each rung, knowing only
that they themselves can only guess.
Surely someone knows,
surely someone is keeping the plates
spinning, spinning,
surely this is not the mere
slow flying apart of a system,
or so we are led to guess.