Tagged: the Heart

People Near a Fire

A woman sings without breathing mask
in all this smoke
She covers Wagon Wheel
and smoke covers the mountains

A crowd of people gather. They dance
as though someone
has just completed
a successful surgery, or a birth

and small green shrubs have popped up
from the fires before. 2003, 2010. They seem
to run back and forth like children
between challenges

What challenges me? A guy lights his cigarette
and his girlfriend gets on him
He says I need it to be myself
while we’re here!

I’m standing alone for the same reason
You’re off in the market, carrying
my bucket of water. It seems impossible
that I should be able to cry now

smoke like a grey wool pillow, pink
bandana around my face, but I am. Something
about the altitude, my solitude, a mixture
of short air and of people, how

I love you, how I look like a bandit
how I love to see your ideas
nesting in burnt trees like eagles
I see how people continue to dance

long after the woman has lost her voice
how when you look closely, you can see
where new life
has been pulled out of old life

Why Some People Make It

I feel the weight
of a very large decision
left open to me, like
a container in the snow

I lie to a park ranger about
the temperature back home. 110 degrees!
You lie to an old lady about
how long we watched a flip-flop
flip in the glacial rapids, caught
in a whirlpool, not emerging. At least an hour!

Persistence, I point out. Arbitrarily
pointed persistence

Here, you say, passing me a stone
feel how smooth

Sinbad on Astral Projection

You say you’d like to stop at the Industrial Market
on the way back from Houston

You’ve passed it so many times. You’ve become
like a metronome, I think you say

I am very much inside the car. Sinbad is on the
radio talking about the dozen or so times

he has left his body using astral projection
Something jumped on his back in

another plane, so he decided to stop. He did go
to Michigan. And thought he had

super powers for a bit. I speed
around a few cars. I do that little look to see

who’s driving in them. I notice – maybe
for the first time – how similar this look

is to the one I use almost always. It is non-
committal. Shark-cagey. Like

I know there is a cord that will pull me out
We pass what looks like a bridge store

An old VW sits on top of a short, disconnected
section of scaffolding. I jokingly say

we should stop on the way back, but
you don’t hear me. I watch you think of

vehicles which will take you to your thoughts
which are far away. Is Sinbad there?

He said he quit because he thought
he might bring something back

Ferris Wheel Spotted from a Crow’s Nest

Only dream
on the last night
in each bed, a dream
of shipping crates,
lifted and sat down by
the hand of a crane
I feel the difference
between winning and
not winning
a prize for you
in these moments
when life is contained
There’s a fair
you wanted
to go to. To be fair
I always assumed
we would go
It magically appeared
on the side
of I-35, opening
like a way home
once it is remembered
There are lights
when some people
can’t see lights
Lights in the carnival
Lights in the compromise
I always thought
it was light
that let you lie to our
guests about
the door I broke
The type of light
that spins, stopping
at the top, then
tipping over

Herding Thoughts of Children

how many things do we do
to cover up the last thing we did?

this poem, the next poem
all poems. poems carry joy

as far as a newborn elk
carries her father’s antlers

i want to be a bison clearing snow
i want to be a bison clearing

abandoned cars off the interstate
i want to lead with my face

and leave trails made by it
sometimes it feels like my face

is way out in front of me. like
there are pictures of me everywhere

a nightmare i’m sure I had
when i was younger, before

the world changed. there i am again
blowing smoke out of my nose

always the one eye
out the side of my head. there are

times when i have seen myself
and looked significantly older

times when others have seen me
and said i haven’t changed

what will i do with a kid? i hope
she is the fastest in her class. so

she can go. she must go far enough
that things regrow

before turning back. in a meadow
the herding animals gather

we begin the slick exchange
of doing over, genetics

passed like promises
under a table. four good legs, heart

history, blood history, the history
of grass regrowing, not regrowing

if we have a kid, will it really be
unable to stand? will it be

unable to run immediately
if it needed to?

Rubbing Two Sticks Together

I see those kids again
Her pink hair. His hands
attached to her
butt pockets. Walking down

Walking down the trail
overlooking the Fire Academy’s
training center. It is more
of a wading

than a walking, the way
they synchronize
their leg movements. They
move as if through

cool ooze, the morass
of skipping classes,
the way a day passes
when you are young

I lose them behind
the Fire Academy stairwell
A fire truck ladder
lands on an open window
Recruits scramble up

And the sun sits. It seems
to think the same long thought
it’s been thinking
since we were born

Future Fire Building

My job is to give
some hope of love
to the woman
at the bus-stop, the one
with her binoculars
who tells a story
of buses coming
and gets the kids off their music
She is built for love
We are all built for love
somehow, even with our
breathing and water sloshing
Even with our bones
in perfect sleep position
against our poses
Even with so many acres
of blood, being able
to see our blood for miles
as if structures
had been lifted from it
How can there be room
for such a giant-chested
lightness as love?
That feels like someone
pointing the way
with their fist?
How high is the river?
Tell me again
about the good old days, when
nothing mattered more
than a fire
built suitably

Yell Fuck at Farmer’s Market

Twice now, it is windy
A woman selling teabags
has run from her stand
to collect its contents

She does a thing that most
of my great loves have done –
yells FUCK
then asks me to wait

So I’m waiting
The paper squares floating
are like copies
of the same tiny letter

I wonder if the word Great
has ever preceded Love
in my case
If Love as moving expanse

is measured in paces
or if it is more like
water being
held inside a room

I guess it doesn’t matter
A family selling peaches
has abandoned their post
to help the woman with her tea

Their jars instead hold
suspended organs, misshapen
toads in formaldehyde
I imagine even the good stuff away

Like how being alive
is more like
selling the thing you’ve made
until it’s a good life

Standing Up Eating in the Kitchen

Standing Up Eating in the Kitchen

The custodian at work said
there will be no more

standing up eating in the kitchen
no more clothes unfolded on the couch

when you move in with a girl. Plunging
his mop in the bucket, squeezing out its hair

No more soda cups
on the counter-tops, no more cultivating
strange gardens in the sink

These are the things that are going:
my isolation, to be replaced by

being seen isolated. My freedom
to see what grows on me if left alone

Our first house together has a child’s doll
hanging from the power lines
strung up by her shoelaces

We fear it is
something ominous

And a kid with a bluetooth headset
riding by on his bike, talking about

the fights his friends should be fighting
Their own fights. The pussies

But that is another thing that is going:
the fear that any fight
could ever be my own, and not yours also

I cut my forehead clearing trees in back
Their branches now sit in large piles
I can’t wait for you to see it

And tell me what goes where
what simply goes

For hours while I was clearing
you stood on a bucket at the window
scraping off caulk

In reflection it looked as though
you were scraping pieces from yourself

A molted skin on the carpet
I could do what I’ve done with the snake skins
the former rooms of spiders

I’d put your shed in a jar, next to mine
to remember how much less we contained

That we used to eat mealworms, crickets
leftovers while standing up