Toward a finished poem

I’ve been feeling like a suburban home,

family-bound, dog-eared, cat-haired, dust-bunnied.

The floor sprawls, covered in lines of loosely connected

bits of string and tape, shoes without mates,

things without name or purpose or place,

shoved in too many drawers, beside stray Tupperware lids

unsure where home is.

I’ve been thatching a wayward garden,

long since surrendered her virginity to the fate of

time and neglect. Her gnarled roots now

the bed of fools – those with nothing to do 

but wait for another dry Spring and

long, parching Summer to follow.

I’ve lost the memory of how to cultivate in her

whatever tempts or teases a solitary bud.

I’ve lost my place in the song,

where happy, drooling drunks drop their lines

of sprawling melody, disconnected from time or tune

or taste, but dripping, soaked in the solicitude of friends.

Old lyrics lie waiting for my attention,

faithful old soldiers of forgotten wars,

older still, fought on fields among the family

of tables and tumbling talk, well-practiced lies

in well-memoried songs.

I’ve been acting like a poem in progress –

a toss-about of lost words, tongue-tombs tied

together by accident in a free-falling frenzy.

Outdoor syntax lost in the mall,

painted-on ivory-tower lips for her rent-a-friend parties.

The ironies, playground of op-eds and writers of no

fixed address, wasted in wordless

sentences no one can read.

 

But the best poems are never really

finished

What’s so different?

LFIMVFUM2JEXRI7GBYQ2WNAHSI.jpgWhat’s so different,

now that one bundle of thirty,

arbitrary and detached, passes,

barely noticed, from one to another?

We have a time.

 

What’s so different,

as we look out from inside the same

rooms with their corners, known but

unobserved, safe but stultifying?

We have a place.

 

What’s so different,

the streamers fallen, wine now flat

in decanters of promise, jokes all told,

recognized, congratulated?

We have another.

 

What’s so different,

these moments of grey ineptitude

encased in more moments, equally

lacking in certitude?

We have ourselves.

 

What’s so different,

promises made, unkept from the year before,

through wine-stained teeth, and 

blurry, careless shrug?

We have a hope.

 

What’s so different – 

she still can’t remember your good things;

he still doesn’t recognize your worth;

they still haven’t apologized

from last year’s infraction?

We have more time.

 

What’s so different?

We’re alive to ask the question.

Merry Christmas from Ours to Yours

Blessings of the season to you and yours!

innerwoven

50382-full_christmas-paintings-wallpaper-thomas-kinkade-wallpaper-memories.jpgA fire makes its heartening presence known, tucked under the hearth upon which hang individual stockings and an antique clock I inherited from my Dad. A delightfully chaotic looking tree, augmented with bobbles made by growing dexterity of little boys’ fingers, the accumulated little boy detritus of Christmas past. They are now men of humour, virtue, and creativity.

Snow falls without sound just past living room windows that shield from the oblique, grey winter, and all I can think is this: if Christmas – the incarnation, God with us – means anything at all, it must mean more than the homegrown Thomas Kinkade painting I’ve just described.

It must mean that God is longing to burst forth into our own souls, finding enough room to receive the gifts of our own inner Magi. It must have the rough and tumble character of a once upon a time, ramshackle stable…

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Thank you, Yakima Herald!

innerwoven

I’m especially grateful to Tammy Ayer at the Yakima Herald who thought our storyinteresting enough to include the following piece about our final Celtic Christmas Eve. 

80867692_10156312679816895_1439314918951092224_o.jpgDetails for how you may choose to support our venture are found in the article. The link goes live tomorrow. Blessing and peace to you all as the Yule is once again upon us and the smell of food fills the air to meet with laughter, fellowship, hopefulness and gratitude!

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Just before you

Just before you swing wide the curtains

to let in the lusty morning light,

close tightly any wafting vanities of

night-time fears. Hush those petty insistences

of self and its imposters.

Hide the shifty catalogue of excuses you

handily slide under rumpled sheets.

Look out upon many discoveries to be made

in newly open fields of day-turn pages.

And start again.

I could say that

I could say that this hour

is set apart for prayer, the obligations of my station.

My expected obedience.

A fitting praise.

A suitable gratitude.

A reasonable confession.

An obvious adoration.

A humble intercession made in proper posture.

I could say that.

 

I could say that this hour

is ours to do the business of heaven,

The diary of eternity.

The stuff of paradise,

changing sheets and fluffing pillows

for the angelic choir.

Making coffee for saints.

Cleaning up after holy gatherings

of those whose leisure time fills the eons.

I could say that.

 

I could say that this hour

is to learn the language of God.

Syntax of saints.

Songs of millennia of songs sung

and sung again.

Singing still.

Poets poeting.

Writers wording.

Artists arting.

Lovers longing.

So many people still laughing at old jokes,

funnier with each telling, always new.

Always the first time.

Constant punch line surprise.

I could say that.

 

I could say that this hour

is an exercise in self-discipline.

The prowess of patience.

the wages of praxis,

paid in full with each Doxology.

Invocations only please.

There is no need for Benedictions

to forever stories.

You don’t preach any sermons.

You are the sermon.

I am your words.

I could say that.

 

I could say that this hour

is the first of many just like it.

A rehearsal in minutes for what will

soon become lifetimes.

Epochs.

Never less.

Always more.

Without the constant threat of boredom,

the language of loneliness,

all sentences run on.

It doesn’t matter, if they all matter.

There’s no hurry for anyone

to make their point.

I could say that.

 

I could say that this hour

is mine alone.

These shoulders carrying

no burdens, since I never need to

look over them to see another.

A solid silence,

never morose.

No longitude of self-abasement.

No latitude for self-praise –

coordinates of old religion in the checkmate of grace.

I could say that.

 

I think I will.

A Bell in the Word Barn (a poem by Kelly Belmonte)

Dive into this great new poem by fellow poet and friend, Kelly Belmonte.

All Nine

This past Sunday evening, my friend Julie and I adventured to The Word Barn in Exeter, NH for a reading by the poets Ben Moeller-Gaa, William O’Daly, and JS Graustein. It was a privilege to meet the poets before the reading, shake their hands, and share how I’ve been experiencing a bit of a writing dry spell of late (and they understood!). Such a gracious and renewing evening, which opened up a small crack in the writing dam, out of which streamed this short piece below.

A Bell in the Word Barn
Revelation at a Poetry Reading

A barn-full of words and whimsy,
wooden beams and beer –  the rooster
crows at just the moment
to save us all from drowning
in ourselves. We laugh
and I think: Poets are strange.
But then again, so are preachers
and politicians, all so sure
of their words, so sure

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