Viral Dailies, Day 4

Few poets have the ability to paint such big pictures economically and simply as does Pablo Neruda. My friend Nancy Kelly recently posted this to my Facebook wall and it was a reminder of the impact of well-conceived, well-sung verse to lift and illuminate and proclaim.

For today’s Viral Dailies in celebration of National Poetry Month in isolation, let’s read this together, and just…breathe.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Poetry

And it was at that age . . . poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, not silence,
but from a street it called me,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among raging fires
or returning alone,
there it was, without a face,
and it touched me.

I didn’t know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind.
Something knocked in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first, faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing;
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire, and flowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.

Pablo Neruda
(1904—1973)

Viral Dailies, Day 3

Kelly Belmonte.jpg

Today, I’m featuring someone who’s become a good friend and favourite contemporary poet, specifically her short form works. Lately, she’s been collaborating with other poets, visual artists, and photographers. In so doing, magic has emerged.

She writes about today’s collaboration: “Tom Darin Liskey was born in Missouri but spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The Red Truck Review, Deep South, Driftwood Press, Biostories, Spelk, Heartwood among others. His narrative and documentary photography has been published in The Museum of Americana, Change 7, The Blue Mountain Review, Cowboy Jamboree, Literary Life and Midwestern Gothic, among others. He lives in Texas. Connect with him on Instagram at tomdarin.l and https://www.tomdarinphoto.com/.”

I could make a stumbling attempt to recreate the magic here. But, alas, I think it better to simply send you directly to her wonderful poetry blog, All Nine Muses, where that collaboration sings a truer tune.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Viral Dailies – Day 2

I’ve been looking forward to National Poetry Month. It’s one more thing to do in isolation! But, not just anything – something meaningful and hopefully, moving. I shared a new piece yesterday as we kicked off our month of poetic goodness together. Since then I’ve been reaching out to various poets and have invited them to share some of their best work with me so I, in turn, can share it with you.

Lesley-Anne Evans is a dear friend, fellow mystic and poet who has won numerous awards for her writing. Follow her on Instagram. Day 2 is a collage of short, refrigerator magnet poems entitled simply, “She Said.”

Enjoy.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

66BC543F-14E5-4952-A4AE-170E4DC13091BD200CCA-CFCB-4801-AC48-856CE398FA14.jpeg

3847C79A-DE7D-4F0E-8553-8DF11271B8ED.jpeg

Viral Dailies – Day 1

We are, all of us, in a coup of sorts. The forced injustice of disease stomping its boots on our collective heads. It’s one of the unknown dangers of our diverse lives lived frantically, furiously, frenetically in close quarters.

But, there can be light in dark places. People are finding it all the time. And, serendipitously, April brings with it the hope of poetry: National Poetry Month. Into this current of shared shared beauty I would cautiously but willingly wade. 

A poem a day. Sometimes my own. Often the works of others, both new and historic. I pray you’ll take this wordish journey with me as we cry out our voices against the melée and toward our healing and the comforts of physical community again.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

We write so many poems 

We write so many poems.

Some, like bones, protrude through thinner skin

of vulnerability and loss.

Others meander in slow-drift brooks

of thought-filled cadence.

Still others jostle, ruffians of heart, reminding

us we still have memory and expectation,

angels and devils of our days to contend with.

But, all the time, as words spill out

they grow us up, closer to the stars – 

and the old light.

 

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.

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