No. Not. Never.

There are many different devices to put a handle on no, not, never.
To mow, cut, sever. But thankfully, or, I would like to thank what I call God,
this place, or as I like to say, nature, is better. Personally, I believe,
and I am biased, because I am an everlasting part of this place,
or, nature, is the best, of what we have, what we could be,
and of all the varying forms of what all we have been before.

Reason being, this tight, enclosed corner of the universe I’m seeing,
perceiving, contains no thing but no. In the storms, crushing gravity,
supernova explosions and radioactively violent suns, collisions, impacts,
toxins, outright baseline poisons, surrounded by harsh-sucking vacuum.

This is an entire universe of no.

And then, there is us. This place. I will, for the simplistic sake
of old-fashioned poetic device, call it nature, is doing whatever it pleases,
which is what it has always done best. Living, breathing, alive.

Our great rolling magnificent mechanism of yes.

A Crimson that Lasts Forever

They leave metal edges on the insides of lawn mower engines sharp.
Pull cord broke. Spool fell out tucked under Honda’s little black-painted hood,
and a whole coil of flat tense sharp and hard came undone.
It was rewrapping this infuriatingly functional component,
rewinding that winding coil up tight and small,
when an as sharp as a kitchen blade metal dove deep into the white cartilage
of my middle finger knuckle. Held that arm up above my head, to God,
to balance, to the stonewall all the tools were not neatly strewn out on.
Waiting like a child for discomfort to pass, for some parent
to sweep down like a miracle and make a distraction.
Four hours in on an eight hour work day,
and that hand must keep going, gripping,
pulling handled cords and squeezing plastic gas mixture powered triggers,
arriving home to a large-udder goat, counting on the milking
she’s been getting each afternoon, and soon, rather than later,
one handed the impatient beast, took twice as long, more time gone,
and a yard still full of soft stalk moss-dotted grass needed to be worked on,
and, about fifteen dibby birds too young to know to put their value up at night.
Never seen a raccoon’s leftovers of her majesty plucked alive, eaten raw,
from the crown to scaly yellow legs and red, white down scattered all over.
A little Rhode Island Red beat her wings just the right way.
Scratched her twiggy claws and must have flipped that whole slice
of wrinkled skin on my knuckle back, because every other bird
I touched that night has blood on its feathers.

In a few weeks though, each one will receive her opportunity
to repay the favor. To show their truest color.
And we will have stained one another
with a crimson that lasts forever.

No Free Dinner for the Wise

You come to terms with dying because you intend to live.
It doesn’t mean you won’t fight to keep alive,
it just recognizes the reality that there will come a circumstance when you don’t.
Enlightenment is like that moment during an amazing dinner,
something you didn’t plan on, a meal set out most likely by a stranger,
when you feel called to ask how you can pay for it.
The moment you create a bill for yourself,
even though none was ever handed to you.
Foolish to everyone except the wise. The enlightened.
Who came to terms with dying.
Just to get on with life.

God or Love

Just because an organization leans on a word over and over does not mean the word begins and ends with them. The word God for example, or the word love, defined solely by their most common associations, are deduced to simple dichotomous choices. To believe in or be in or nothing at all. But in truth, regarded as they really are, definitions never fully known, neither God or love is a choice we would make. We wouldn’t even use them the same way. Different altogether, bigger than, beyond, buried deep above our heads. The way we talk about weather. If we were honest, God would be another thing to complain about with strangers. And love, forecasted, right there beside the storms.

When fresh eyes are needed.

Family has become something very different.
Not just from previous years or decades or generationally segregated nostalgia,
but in the way family influences our genes, the daily development of our minds,
the very temperament of our lives. All creatures, us included, are products
of the physical and social relationships of our species, and more specifically,
our immediate families. Products, and yet with every glitch and malfunction
the manufacturer is seldom contacted.

With therapists, friends, coworkers, neighbors sometimes,
we talk openly over bar stools, leaned on counters in office lounges,
even hosting weekly barbecues with entire streets and blocks of familiar strangers,
whose faces are known well, but whose hearts must remain dark.
Even with our closest oldest friends there is a line drawn, in life,
through memory, where we can no longer walk together,
and one must be led by the other.

Family, however, hosts no line, no fence, no division,
like in a forest, the sapling roots have been tangled
with mother and father’s foundation,
competing on equal terms with brother and sister,
in good seasons and dry. In family,
we all lead and follow sometimes,
even the old behind the children.

A different.

A different time of night.

Smelly dog mouth yawning beside my nose.

Her head lays down closed.

I can’t go wrong. Do not worry.

Blue dog orange knife laid forgotten, or maybe misplaced.

There is a carved wood case holder, a sheath,
a vagina, a portal, shaped, etched, cut to fit
that shape and that shape and that shape.

She enjoyed herself in those caloric, ceramic, educational years.

We all participate tonight, and tomorrow, renew interest in tears,
while where did the hours go becomes what happened to all these years?

A poem about longing. And I forgot I asked a question,
so I take time to write out the words, out loud, on paper, out.
No saying no this evening. Or yes. No saying goes either.

But writing is a loophole. A carved wood case holder,
a sheath, a vagina, a portal, shaped, etched, cut to fit that shape.

The alphabet is misleading. But necessary.
Like a yardstick. In taking measurement.
But my mama also whooped me with it.

At least for now.

Sluggish black snake crinkled over life and death all mulched together.
Army ants sort eggshells in search of crumbled chunks of gold.
Water with a hint of rust red orange iron. And a breeze,
which signifies the passing of blue metal skies,
and coming rain. Consciousness is wasted on people.
The sun can not, not for lack of trying, break through the trees,
caught tangled in wide paw-like poplar leaves
and ones on oak limbs that look like turkey feet,
with shifty raptor eyes. That sun has even left
a shady place for the moon to shine through,
intrude toe-stepping the fluctuating light of day.
Not putting up much of a fight. This spring star
is different from the one that comes out for summer.
Content to warmly tickle the mounded backs of rain clouds,
keep the ground too much mud to hope to plant a plow.
At least for now.

How to: Human

Everything is different, not so forced,
moment to moment, instants like chain links
past and present pulling both sides.

We’ve become so singular.
Specialization, we call it.
It is a most superior sort of crippled.
We have stacked cities on it. Ancestries.
Like who we are is who all was
and what they did to play their part
should pave some way in determining ours.

All lawyers and wood workers and writers and thieves.
Pretending we’re not all just hungry.
So focused on our focus we forgot
if we chose it or it chose us.

Only know it is now and all we know,
and that no one ever thought to put
just human on the curriculum.

Separate from our Source #considerallthings

Five hours from it, the air smells like ocean. Last night’s rain dotting windshields. Two cats on the hood of a jeep begging for food to eat, before the chickens are out to take it for themselves. Before it makes its way to them, it sits on shelves, waiting, for us with the lock-pick fingers to crinkle open and scoop like stingy saints. Like fast moving clouds. We may be dark gray mounds, but don’t think that always indicates rain. The keyhole of grace is the choice to abstain. Remember that. Next time someone calls something gracious. Remember how close the ocean is to all of us on the east coast. Seagulls circle a Walmart parking lot. Salt in the air. Sand in our soil.

Five hours from it, the dissent of the District is in my ears. Stoking fears, and rocking the boat so we won’t rethink our grip. Throwing up over the side of our ship, because captain can’t seem to steady it. But then again, why? Swimming isn’t so bad. There are lots of boat rides to be had. The ocean is still the ocean no matter the ship we elect to float on top of it. This government. Invented by underestimaters of the word freedom. Written by misunderstanders of the world we live in.

Fifteen thousand years from it, my ancestors sing unintelligible lullabies to my mind. Shut my doubts while I close my eyes. We have been here before. Lift your chin and smell it in the air just how close we are to our source. Five hours from it. Fifteen thousand years to numb it. And yet the birth of Mankind out from the torn folds of nature’s womb still stings. We cut ours, but we can not cut hers. And she grips us like the roots beneath trees. For the most part unseen. But felt. Delved deep. While raised heads seek crowns in orange sunlight and rainbow leaves. You can call it two parts, but on a long enough timeline, we will all see what is one. On a broad enough lifeline, we will feel what a misplaced sense of separation has won. A chance to be two together. All wrapped up and warm. By a mother who only ever wanted to see us set free. And far more than we, this buxom planet knows what freedom really means.