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.

Guest Post – Melissa Snyder Novak

I don’t do this enough – act as generous host to other poets, whether established or otherwise. Let’s rectify that, shall we? Today, I’m proud to offer this wonderful piece by good friend, Melissa Snyder Novak. I trust it takes you to similar places that it takes me.

Enjoy…

Cliff Walk

In the summer of my soul,

the waves crash against

the jagged cliffs of memory.

My heart, burning sun-hot,

draws a mist of longing from these eyes.

All thought, suspended.

All desire, unfurled.

 

Along this rugged cliff walk journey,

the misshapen boulders line up –

leading me to places previously unknown,

down, deep-soul’d places.

I walk unsteady, uncertain, afraid, holding out hands

for you to guide me in mystic vision, sweet.

But, once again, you are gone.

 

Feet sink and slide in sand, and

I struggle to press on, breathe, know –

Will you be there when I arrive?

Will you meet me?

Will you help me see the small, shattered edge-stone pieces of shell

that wait for foot to fall?

 

Waves push, invite –

Will I let myself be swallowed by your sea?

Will I open to your crushing waters?

Excruciating, this pleasing thought of being overtaken by you,

sweet uncertainty.

 

In the summer of my soul, alas,

the deep darkness begins to rise,

even against the backdrop of midday sun.

Winter is making its return in me,

anxious to hurl over its blanket,

waiting to devour with nights, cold.

 

The thought delights.

Ocean Pic.jpg

Somewhere, long ago

Somewhere, long ago, I lost a language.

Words, like jeweled coasters perched light on window-sills,

just out of sight; carefully lettered, dim-lit hallways,

diffused in a dappling dawn –

a reverie in lost sentences referencing only themselves.

I sought what little I could find,

rummaging in refuse, refusing the catalyst of tongue

and tooth when, better equipped, silence met me instead.

Still, as phrases found the furniture of faith,

they stood a bit taller than the mouth that spoke them,

and, in a final flash of familiarity, returned.

 

Then

When your matchless woes meet the seamless stretch of dusk,

and the last wisps of darkest night part for it,

and memory becomes hazy, less insistent upon its way;

when your thoughts creep out, undecided, but curious,

and venture out to something they don’t yet know

but from which they no longer hide;

when all those bruises, brought to ripeness

are more visible but less painful, and 

you begin to wonder why they’re there,

where they came from, their purpose;

when tides again rise and fall, taking out

the bad with the good, the sand with the treasure,

and your shores appear complex but not strange;

when clouds and sky appear unyielding but conciliatory

in their pronouncements, less wanton in demand,

and you remember your green from their grey;

when friends no longer squint or squirm or hide their

skeptical smirks, but raise a glass to your shared blemishes,

and arms link with stories told and mouths, made

joyful-heavy with wine sing wordless songs;

when all this combines to reveal what is

seeking you –

then.