When It Was Winter/The Egg of Potential/For the Good Man in My Life, Whoever You Are
I was just a bunch of bare branches
camouflaged by the hides
of hemlock and doug fir
and even my own detritus.
I was a withered trunk
that you trekked to
and sought out my secret bounty.
You slid your hand up and down
the grain of my chilly bark
and fingered between the splits
until I felt a heartbeat.
You stuck a tap in me
and turned my sap into syrup.
You sucked my sugar
into your mouth and were
satiated by my sweetness.
This poem isn’t about sex.
This poem is about self-love
This poem is about you
cracking my egg of potential
that I’d been afraid to hatch.
You are the kind of color
and smell to sew
bells on, so
when you grow
distant, I’ll know—
even from under
time to start
Brown Skin, Sin, (compassion)
Will snap your femur
Hold any close
So one says,
Stomp and hold
One knee to one chest?
Is this the best
Humanity can serve?
So for you,
The skin we ware
Ain’t always what we choose.
Never there a choice.
THEREFORE: claim privilege?
We did not choose a costume;
DNA like tidal swirls;
Chromosomes link or are undone.
I am undone.
Your adrenaline hatred.
Your scorn for brown skin.
Your stump dumb prejudice.
Call me Buddha.
Where are you Christ?
If the brown baby cried;
Would you feed it
Like a breast?
Of pressure will break
Your femur or mine.
A feather weight breaks mine.
A knee decimates.
—Jason S. Davis
The UPS driver delivered
a boxful of my new book.
I gave him one. “You’re
a writer?” he said. “No,”
I said. “I’m a poet.” “Oh,
is there a difference?” he
said. “Yes, writers write to
be understood. Poets write
to be remembered,” I said.
“Well, I’ll remember you,”
he said. “Good,” I said.
“Also it couldn’t hurt
to understand what you
remember.” “Got it,” he said.
Bleed Into My Boy
This is my son
I draw him a bit darker today
I press hard on the pen
and feel the weight
and watch the ink
bleed into my boy
I draw him
and I press hard
because I think on him
I love on him every day
I watch the ink
play through his hair
dripping into tiny locks
What is this
my fair son twelve and bigger each day
I can feel a new firmness in his back
when we wrestle
I think on this sketch
this darker sketch
of my boy carried into our lighter town
he’s chasing a friend across a neighbor's yard
How hard do I
press the pen
before my boy is a threat
and not a friend
—James Christopher Carroll
Often it appears
as a slight inflammation,
Yet the attention
better to leave it,
you just have to pick
until it becomes really sore.
One day you wake;
to seek a second opinion.
his small hands grabbed at birds and bugs
without the grace to understand the delicacy
of their spines as they struggled free
and she watched him
apologizing, with her eyes,
for all the things in life
that would escape him
and make his world
—Sophia V Paffenroth
Some plants seed in autumn,
And some in the spring.
We seed where life takes us,
But often in dreams.
It takes but a glance,
“Yes, my coffee with cream.”
But the moment passes,
Leaves lost in a stream.
The Pros and Cons of Cigarettes
When you’re young, they’re something new—
they give your hands a task to do;
and, then, you’re looking so mondaine—
just add a top hat and a cane;
they buzz a person pretty fast—
five minutes in, you’re flabbergast.
Sure, drinking hits you more profound
but not as quick, just ask around;
the soothing of the nerves, also
the analytical gusto;
they keep your concentration strong,
your train of thought they will prolong;
at least that’s how it goes at first—
it don’t take long to get immersed.
Besides to help you concentrate,
they’re efficacious to lose weight;
suppressing appetites sure hooks
some people hung up on their looks;
and, then, there are folks who lean t’ward
just having smokes because they’re bored;
which is another way to say
they need ‘em to get through the day.
They give you something of a break
and maybe help you stay awake;
but when you’re older you’re aware
tobacco’s not so debonair;
the repetition does infer
it’s rather an empty succor;
and then there is the vulgar smell
you qualify under its spell;
it’s true they help to calm you down
but notice how your teeth are brown;
your skin’s sallow and leathery—
you don’t exude salubrity.
To get addicted to a plant
is rather most inelegant;
sure, it was lots of fun at first
but now the fun feels all coerced;
and every year it’s harder still
to get your breath to move uphill.
You know they’re going to kill you soon
and that will be inopportune;
look at the mucus you eject—
it’s unrefined if left unchecked;
your lungs are gasping from the strain—
that smoking, sir, is quite the bane!
I am the knowledge of the experience of my awareness
The shadow ahead is the light behind
I am the tree that shadows life
Imagining His World
lying there listening to his labored breathing now
saddened to think of the time when it will stop
then smiling to hear his floorboard scratching
all legs twitching in full muffled barking pursuit
and wondering what creatures he can be chasing
in his exhilaratingly exhausting dreamworld game
watching him later as he rests at driveway’s end
trying to imagine how he knows to patiently wait
for the time his small friends take their daily walk
curious to comprehend why well into his old age
he still finds so much comfort in the stuffed toys
that he proudly offers to us when we return home
or uses for his pillows on stone floors or soft rugs
or sneaks outside on walks to show off his domain
before absently dropping under some tree or bush
trying to picture his life shared with others before us
that compels him to block the way when you vacuum
or bark crazily when family now playfully hug or kiss
or anxiously paces waiting each evening homecoming
measured minutes and miles from my journey’s end
hoping that all the memories he seems to still hold
stay alive in him in the other world that he will enter
when that final sleep puts to rest his labored breaths
I like a certain type
of rubber band,
with a band that’s
Only the tan ones.
They come in boxes
with rubber band dust,
and then hang above my sink.
Not circles, or anything really,
they give you…
freedom, and limitation;
expansion, and a place to come home.
I want love like
my rubber bands.
—Anna Keville Joyce
I am Born Daily
Into My Own Arms,
From the Womb of Yesterday,
And Delivered to
The Handmaiden of Tomorrow.
Who am I then