conversation

wild waves of spoken sound
consonants and vowels surround
my tender ears, beams on the hull
that is my skull, floating in the sea
of rippling air.
I, a surfer, perch within,
ride part pilot part victim
to the tide of words and whispers,
veering to avoid protruding rocks and hidden shoals
that would founder this delicate dance of aural graces
swamp my cheeks with rising redness
and break my grip on rudder tongue
to set it stuttering.

I see acrobatic figures
turning tricks high on the waves, so intricately
and others loving to revel in the splash and foam
wear it like a costume
to the Mardi Gras of semantic vibrations,
always seeking more, more to display to others’ eardrums.
“Come, have more!” they call to me,
try to catch my hand and pull me into
the whirling dance cacophany.
Sometimes I join, try to surf that vortex,
but I tire quickly, usually
let my inertia fling me out of the circle
before repeated sound splashes upset
my balance or capsize my attention.

The cry of more I answer with less,
preferring quiet peace
of spiders, mice, and fleas.
Control the chaos, less!
My less is my ‘more’, reduce the mess,
clear the clutter, free my feet
to wander daywise rooty paths
and windy hushings of trees’ breeze
unburdened with the human honeycomb
we call ‘meaning’. Speak to me
with air waves ungrouped by word-bundles
unhung with sentence weight or rhythmic phrase.
Set me rather on the placid sea
of hidden chirpings, shaded rustle ripples,
swells of unplanned resonance
in wide open bays of space.

pause 1 full breath

There, now: Did you hear it?
The mother tongue of every hearing creature
rolling on, undaunted, uninspired
by grammatical games we play.
You go on, dance and laugh,
I will sit and listen to the untamed sea
of sometimes silence, hope to harmonize
my utterings with its rumblings, somehow.
After a while, I’ll float back to the splashing crowd,
and with luck, bring a new song to share with you.

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What I am

I am not this earthen vessel,
nor am I the wind that blows.
I am the harmonic tone
resonating in its hole.

I am not the smooth grey stone,
nor am I the water drop.
I am the splashing flower that blooms
at the water’s sudden stop.

I am not the dry brown branch,
nor am I the troubled skies.
I am the flash of lightning bright
and the smoke curl you see rise.

I am not the big damp cloud,
nor am I the sunlit blue.
I am the face that you espy,
whose puffy grin peers back at you.

I am not this lump of meat,
nor am I just memories.
I am the dance of life it plays;
I am the music this voice sings.

posting poems

I used to only post poems to this site that I felt were somewhat polished. While this meant that I was usually quite proud of what I posted, it kept my update frequency fairly low. In the meantime, I have been attending some open mic poetry events, mainly the one at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe here in Boulder. I often read poems aloud that may not be quite finished, because the process of reading them seems to help me improve them.

Eventually I realized, “Why do I not post these poems to my blog?” Continue reading

Pyre

I stand before your funeral pyre,
a lit torch in my hand.
Your straw-stuffed corpse is dry as dust
and ready to go up like tinder.
I hesitate, sweat rolls down my brow,
there’s no good reason why not now
but
      I can’t
                do it.

How long has it been?
since you nobly strode
up the sakura-lit boulevard,
clad in white, with gold tassels on your shoulders?
How long,
since you baubled the precious blue sky in your palm
like a common sapphire,
and made the sparks of fundamental forces fly
between the sharp probes of your imagination?
What was it, again, that drained the blood
from your flush face to make
the deathly papery cheeks here now?

Maybe … maybe I could keep you!
Stuffed like a trophy! A tschotschke
to decorate my walls with the crystallization
of so many past dreams.
But … but corpses breed disease, they say,
and the say dead souls should be freed of their vessels,
and so, I am here to burn you.

The oxidizing reaction is driven by
an irreversible disordering of the patterns of your flesh.
I think that’s it: there’s no going back
once this hungry flame licks up your cuff, up your sleeve.
Who am I kidding? You’re already dead!
If I tried to inject some moisture back in your dry tissues,
you would just turn to a foul, stenchy mush
and from that filth I would never recover.

I watch this moment hang in time
like Damocles’ sword swinging to Zeno’s paradox.
This instant will be over an eternity from now,
when I have gained the courage
to leap over the gap to a new world,
without you.
I fear falling into the chasm between,
but I know, somehow,
that the light you give will show my way
and keep my footing sure.

So let me set you free.
Let me see what Phoenix spirit rises
from your cast-off material trappings.
Your thermal photons, your energy
will follow me as your matter never could.
I must let you stream
past atmosphere and outer space
continuing for eternity at the speed of an instant.

one last breath
to fix your form upon my memory,
as, obliterating your form,
I leave.

I wrote the first draft of this poem on 19 May this year, and wrote the second draft right before I read it at the Innisfree Cafe open mic on 20 May.

Ripen

One day while picking berries I
asked my dear mother why we die.
Her answers did confuse me.

“We’re not unlike these berries, see.
Come, watch me pick the dark ones clean
and leave the green to ripen.

Now you are green and bitter, child,
but someday you’ll be sweet and mild
and Death will come to pick you.

The juice in you will break and flow.
Who knows then where the skin will go?
and you’ll be lapped-licked-swallowed.”

“Lapped, licked, and eaten!” Aghast, I
stared at my mother, who grinned wide.
“Why can’t we just stay berries?”

“A berry left will spoil, lie
upon the path and attract flies.
I’d rather be well-tasted.”

“But what a grisly end to meet!
with crunching bones tween jagged teeth.
Death sounds like such a monster.”

“You’re not alone in that conceit,
but that is not the point, my sweet.”
Her hand lay on my shoulder.

“My son, take heed! The berries mind.
Take care to ripen till you die,
and dying, leave yourself behind.
Surrender all your sweetness.”

Finished yesterday, 27 January 2013.
This is the first poem that I completed piece by piece instead of coming up with the whole thing more or less at once. I’ve been working on it off and on since last November. Constructive comments are appreciated!