On Fire

Bury me amongst the trees

Where redwoods overlook the sea

From atop a crossed mountain

Where my body will quicken

From flesh into sand.

Underneath the needle-bed

Blanket, the fibers of my hair weave

A way through the wind-filled leaves.

Heat my voice with borrowed sun

Which once kissed my cheeks

Where freckles reached to meet.

You now hear my broken chords

Faintly in the the distance unmoored

Tasting the salted shore. Safely clean

I lay down on a million fine grains of sand

Not feeling myself again I repeat

To no one: I am an empty vessel.

I’ll still wake every morning

Habitually, my hands still sleep

Parting the fitted sheets aways,

Long gone I still reach after you.

I am the water, then the dew

Maturing into a pinguid mist.

The palms clap and sway to

Conduct the band at noon

To play a song of our bequest.

The hour’s imminent.

Time to ride a wicked dream on

A silk weaved carpet twisted

With last night’s ghostly breath.

Come take inventory of my remains

Should the tree mark me no more.

The lumber that’s become of me

Taken over by the shore. I am a house

Now – shelter for a family to whom you

Lost me once again. My soul holds up

The walls now, my legs hammered

Into floorboards, arms encircle

Each bedroom where the dormers rest.

My fingers lace together to build

A painted white front porch,

That’s my hips now a swing

Hung there, under the eaves.

Look up to see my head holds high

A roof; my back’s now the front door

My eyes frame All the windows, my heart beats

In the kitchen. My birds left the

Forest knowing where my mouth now sings

And the woodpecker that lived inside my trunk

Hollowed out my attic in the spring.

Let me stand strong and steady

For at least a hundred years.

By then, long gone, you built your own

And our lives live on, unworldly yet eternally.

Looking down at the rubble of what’s

Left of my body in the demolition heap.

What at all might grow from me who once

You buried underneath a tree?

Let me now burn someone’s hands

Someone lit afire from my plight.

It’s cold outside where I once stood

In the trees and dark of night

And I’ll burn vast and luminous

My spirit gives newborn light.

Babe, in the woods

Wandering inside a rocky labyrinth
Whispering and asking myself for a complete and grand theory
A big punctuated unanswerable kind of question.
I’m answered by a softer voice in my head
I unheard it for the life of me I couldn’t tell you what it said.

The sounds of trees speaking to me
Voices melting together, humming a bee swarm choir.
All the creatures singing to my delicate sensibilities,
Breaking the crystal with those high pitched cries at
The octave of all deceptions.
Blindly sliding through an unshaped wood
Where all roads disappear
Maps drawn in night’s ink
On black cartography paper.
Long lines of highways and dashes of dirt roads,
Big blue bodies of water and brown paper mountains, all
Legendary and meaningless without any keys, locked
Inside the stomach of the night.

Between the packed rows of forestry teeth,
The pointed firs choked while biting me into pieces.
Swallowing me whole down
The throat of the past.
Disgusted by my taste
They spit me out, coughing from my flavor.
I fell outside the rows
Imagining a creation of myself from small
Fragments of past participles
Shards of who I once wanted to see
Sharply ahead of me.
In the onyx ink I know there’s a fire
Blazing outside the warm front door.
Red flares snap breaking sharp icicles
From yesterday’s storm, cold and incomplete.
Waiting for my mind to name it something simple, biblical perhaps
Like any new born.

Good Fortune

For purely economic sense as a sign of the times and other cliches, a September carnival arrives in town to entertain the masses. Let them eat fried cherry pies, snickers on a stick, giggle flavored cotton candy. Clown-clad townies clamor for a dollar to raise a big top full of color and ridicule.

Operating under misconceptions, the coin-fed gypsy dined on change. She returned yearly, a freshly repaired painted lady without apologies. Exposed slightly in her pouting mouth, the gypsy’s crooked teeth painted faintly the color of Daffodil heads bowing to die. The half bodied frozen expression finds redemption through her poesy red cheeks, set back towards a scarlet scarf tied crown and pirate’s lies. Perched like a parrot, she sits behind her glass barred cage. Shining round emerald-green eyes plucked from a wolf by vultures that fly to the will of her invisible sculptor to fill her up at long last. Done, he puts down the tools and trades her for a wife.

Nearly missing her casket wood box, she mechanically forces a finger to point at my heart. I see you, I see you. Then out flies my first fortune of the season and I catch it as fast as a garden mole. Out it slipped from my hungry hands and blew, with all of autumn too, from the vented tent. The parade train outside huffs and stomps and stops to allow the flutter of monarchs waived  like a protest banner, written in despair and orange powder from their unfurled wings, now left only with mottled spots of white and black eyes. They rise to the occasion of my good fortune without jealousy, like a dense fog in the last moments of morning. Air finally pulls out a shroud of sound, voices ringing in choirs and sing dirges in a hundred and one distant languages.

The deliberate wind whispers lines into my cupped palms, and the pall barer of pain’s fortune read, “What say you, magician? What moves the oars echoing waves in still waters? Your new name, Shameless, hides behind an alchemist’s golden disgrace.” The gypsy grins with cold laughter on her breath, sour with whiskey. Witch-gray gnarled knuckles extend like cat’s claws to sharpen on my graceless expression.

I soon realize the answers lay in my hands not on the ground, covered in a snowdrift of straw and shreds of paper. Pre-typed by an off set printer, her ready-to-wear fortunes sized in one answer fits all questions, meant to stop cowards dead in their traps. Awakened from an inky dream, I suddenly rise in my sleep with a morning hater’s heart, with my eyes as red as dead rosebuds. My god’s instructions are typed out of tiny slips of the tip of a forked tongue   and cover me with a quilt of guilty pleasure.

A carnival seamstress conductor waves her wand, and the orchestra of my Guardian angels sing to me just off key. “What brought you here, shiny black crow? What moves you to plough seedy dirt rows?” Hidden beneath her moon mask, clenching the truth tightly in her jaw, her hands now ascend towards the top of her box full of heaven-made answers.

Did she mean for me to unconsciously rediscover my reasons? Fortunately, at just that very same moment, the old girl grew new.

Fly Away Home, Blessed Body

In Memorium, Jnani Chapman

“Blessed body heal this beauty,”
Her song flowed gently —
We lived longer in her hands.
Once, all at one time
She let fly love’s bounty:
The heart’s harvest floating on
A barge atop a boundless wave.
Rivers of tears flow beyond our sight,
Farther this time — please, to not return.
Within the star white
Light of the quilted night, sewn into
A blanket of every color
By her own hands.
Swinging movements to and back
Here, to find the constant:
Love equals gravity plus motion.

Calling to us on the shoreline,
With a Cheshire smile
We wave her back in, yet
Calliope, turned to me
Whispering in the wind,
“Wish her safe passage, instead.”
Lifting our eyes to the skies
Ethereal blue air filled
With the soft silence of
Dandelion feathers blowing
And billowing in winter’s dusk.
Everywhere, time to head home.
All the better for knowing
Grace once embodied us
With the cure of her touch.

Let night shine with a million bits
Of candlelit diamond dust and
Let her spirit dance and spin in
Swirling white wild robes.
We seek the wide eyed child
Instead finding her silk sails had set
A course just above the curve
Of earth, into the horizon.
Glimmering into the shimmer
Of the red ruby crystal day
Behind the shadow of the sun.
Landing everywhere together
Touching every space, untethered
To the mystery unseen,
Now shimmering in us and in between.

A blue velvet bag opened by this single
Movement – her hand reached
Into the spaciousness above
And all stars’ light unpacked, and
Secreted away in drawer full of daydreams.
Now the seashore glistens
With the promise of night, and
Eternally luminous
With all the befores,
And all the ever afters,
Moving our millions of tears
Into a single smiling river.
“Goodnight my beautiful bodies,”
And we fly away home, laughing.