Living in the light of burdens astride the great heavy dull. Wherein masks diverged from faces plant themselves in history's embrace. And sing-song nature's revel in the deep and wide of the world; it spewing fodder for men of the fullest persuasion. Light me amid these dark moments that I might know fear and, in so doing, feel the pain of finitude that is every person's fate to feel.
Up from broken bearing does spring settled the wide-berth of deliberate mind. In swells, off course a song of sweat set sailing to this tiny track in time. So small are rivulets, the frayed ends frightened to resolve a salient form. Through life, a son erects a favored will representing all passion long since born.
Holes, hard ones that tamp themselves. Ready, lying always in wait of the clumsy, soon-to-be sufferer. All the thick space between Earth, man, beast and branch. Decorative, unfashionable and boring holes. Wells of the living who happened by too close. Earmarks of eager destruction. These holes are hollow indeed. But boy, do they ever paint a scene.
The whole universe in this tight space. If not the whole, at least we ourselves. Complexity exposed and manipulated for benefit or benefitting needs. The need to express the whole of lives. The lives we lead in this tight space.
Fit of force
I like a tall confidence; a fit of force at nature's best. The emboldened gait of yesterday's fright, casting shadows as it glides. Own each step as you control the respective space. If pound of pavement be a precious rhythm, soon you'll see us close beside.
Irregular object, incessant war
A flustered who behind every fizzle with a top popped-off for each submission. Submit? In fact you have. Long ago, with adornments pronouncing validity and verities unearned.
Martyrs of the faith
I suppose I should have added a note to this piece since it is ripe for misinterpretation. It is not, dear friends, a lamentation of the effects of life/society upon the religious. Rather, it is a lamentation of the effects of religion on all the rest. Here, “faith,” is a reference to those who continue to strive for the greater good, not because it is a decree from on high, but because it is the worthy aim of their lives. Religion has so permeated the highest levels of power in the United States and abroad that I would find it difficult to write a lament over its having lost anything (other than sight of its stated aim).
All that said, let me assure anyone reading this that people of all faiths, political persuasions and identities are welcome (encouraged actually) to read and discuss my writing. I look forward to spirited commentary everyday and would be hypocritical if I didn’t explore various viewpoints.
One sad and slow for the martyrs of the faith, us all. A retread of the trodden, where wisdom whistles its low longing. And the good are forced into order with a march maiming all their deeds. They step too. They step over. They step on. The martyrs of the faith are we.
The human remains
Forget child? The human remains. In all those ways that feel disturbed and incongruous. In all those moments of triumph and resounding delight. The human remains and silences the murmurs of elevation living in the great sea of collective intensity.
Humanity; oh, macrocosm of the human. Say, please, that it is not so. Be not an association, but the hope of something finer.
The weakening wind
What with the wind of the power universal at your back, Yet you whither and fragment! So gentle a breeze as against the streaming tide of omnipotence Yet you blanch and regret! How must the stream of ages sputter when corrupted, So will you screech and moan! Set for the seedlings the flexible arena, take them apart And falsehoods shall your voice intone.
Weight of the prolonged
Under the weight of the prolonged rests the peaceful disintegration of a name. What is your hope? It is feeling, oozing past reality to where experience suffers spasmodic fits. It is the long and sullen attaining critical mass. (The belief that) with a push from the other side, the anguish disperses and comes relief. Maybe this is where you find it. In the remembering. In the soothing. To mean, to suffer -- sister soldiers of internal discourse. To verily believe the unbelievable.
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
Phillis Wheatley holds the distinction of being the first published female African poet in the American colonies. Her story is a dizzying tale of enslavement, achievement and the unpredictable nature of life and talent.
It’s nearly impossible to do her justice in poetic form. While her life seems a lesson in the righteous power of the human spirit, her story is rife with irony, which makes it exceedingly difficult to honor.
Though born in West Africa, (either Senegal or Gambia) she was kidnapped, transported to the colonies and sold into slavery at 8 years old. By all accounts she was treated *kind* and given an education well beyond what most men and women (white or otherwise) received at the time. While developing her talents she embraced Christian dogma and the societal conditioning of colonial life, going so far as to decry the “pagan” nature of her homeland.
Her major work, Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), was published prior to both the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the commencement of the Revolutionary War, putting her at the vanguard of a movement of independence that would offer no immediate relief to those in her position. She corresponded with George Washington at the start of the Revolution (he rather obnoxiously referred to himself as her ‘obedient humble servant’) and was remarked upon by Voltaire in European literary circles.
Wheatley eventually tasted freedom upon the death of her master after which she married a free black northerner. The couple had three children in all, two of which predeceased her, the third died only a few short hours after Wheatley herself, in 1784. Unfortunately, her husband had not the ability nor financial wherewithal to grieve her properly. At the time of her death at age 31, he was serving out a sentence in debtor’s prison.
I wrote the piece below in an effort to explore Wheatley’s life with its many tragedies and triumphs. I don’t pretend the piece is fully reflective of the woman — no one poem can ever do justice do someone whose life was so complex and so curious. I do hope, however, that the work serves as an homage to her many struggles and successes and brings to light some of the complexities of a woman history all too often neglects.
**Author’s apology — please excuse the .jpg formatting of the poem. Due to its length and style I found myself unable to post it directly in my blog. Hopefully the image form will not dissuade otherwise curious readers. I believe the read is worth it.
So shall the settled
And so shall the settled remain affected. Caught unaware in the blister of the street. Summer time, winter time, that holly holy, slim lined fleet... Oh, the settled shall decompose amid the bones of those with nothing but the rancor.
Heartbeats and shadows patter, beating out the cadence of the ancient lover's cry. Tense is the refrain secret endearments claim, a melting of resolve does not such deceit absolve. Were all our failings so, better that we might perceive enchantments and phantoms. Oh! The tacit consent of sweet and innocent, erectors of sturdy lore set to avert the bore. And then when uncovered, pitiful in undulations, left to strip a quiet thrill. The last of those to feel may know of shadows real, such as is plain for lovers without name.
I’m on to you
You think it's the excess that sells, but it's that excess that tells. Nothing exceeds like pretension. It bleeds, like attention it needs an audience to please. That's a hell of a hullabaloo sweet terror, and you know I'm on to you.
For TJ, for myself
That I may remember the man and the moment
during sunny-side soon-eves, we stood thoughtful, wondering: are there waders in the offing? with blasted hollow tethers beneath us sounding depths. and rickety planks, the boundless energy fusing one in to the other, over and above a customary step. "I've a mind to dive!" and set self-sinking in the sludge to wrest from this paralytic a darkened grip fathoms below the surface plain. Cheapened talk then, hearty to me now, but arresting a bold effort. Here lies a preface to a promise: reclamation of that tether. Time was time did not matter; only the attempt, to attempt anything was a living proof. With dynamism, accoutrements, and slipping awkwardly beneath the still; all weight shifting, cask like, then pushing and probing a wasteland. Mine eyes were weak there. That trait so roundly prized owed nothing from the deep and so, received nothing just. Cutting through surface slop, wrapped in film, a grin resting familiarly with the ferocity of youthful error. Failure? But a moment. Success as well, and a bond formed fit and deep worked its way inside.
Swell of burdens
It's peculiar the way that carrying out can usher in: Burdens. I've seen a swell of burdens carried out the door. Burdens that fill bags-- literally fill bags-- beautiful bags that sat at cross purposes. I saw a beautiful being tote those beautiful bags, swelling with burdens, out my front door. Such a sight and such a sensation.
For those who show distress, utter the refrain: Veni Vidi Et flevit Wheresoever is the value in those tears?
Trace BBs as they kiss the luminescent peak of waves; parabolic explorations observed by a bright eyed boy cognizant of the limits of their destructive power. See them arch through the midday malaise-- Tuesdays wasted in repetition, that's the state of this young boy's heart. Here is now and is forever, never mind the decades that slip past and the many meetings with one mind.
The knife that spoke with a buzz
This is a funny little piece I worked up after I heard an interesting story about the first use of forensic entomology — yes, using insects to solve a crime.
In the smallest nooks live the slickest crooks, using sharpest wares to strike at maidens fair. Bet that evil hounds plumb the open grounds as day turns to night to exercise their might. So in a village green far from active scenes, came a man who stood beside a newly minted bride. The man, filled with temper, did her body half dismember and escape like a breeze before the break of eve. But the foulest must admit that sharper minds do acquit the cause of justice fast and pursue until their last. As county men took over, staunch as that county boulder, and lined up all existent observing each with insistence. "Drop your wares friend and let us not pretend that the vile and refuting will halt me in my duty." So all spilt their wares upon the township square. They did look for a savior and divine, merciful favor. Ah, twas not god on the brain for county copper plain, but the nature of a buzz around a man of woolen fuzz. As copper proceeded toward he soon spotted his reward. It seems flies cannot resist where fresh blood doth persist. That resounding buzz upon the knife told a tale that must be told: the slick and vile murder of a wife who never shall grow old.