Write-Handed

Write hand has lost its stamina.
Whipped-shaken fingers clacking at the end of every sentence.
And penmanship, embarrassing. Some secretive tribe-speak
encoded only in laziness. Right hand has not been writing.
It has been fighting. Curled close folded like cats on cold nights
hugging leaky windows beside the fire inside.

Forming poorly insulated fists. Lifting over and over
a backpack stuffed with old World Books.
Autographed contemporary poetry reader.
An anthology of lesbian literature.

Throwing weak punches at unflinching air.
Short-hair. Tucked shirt. Alive like all it takes to survive
happens between eight in the morning and five at night.

And it isn’t right for the wrong hand to write too long.
Hardened hands at nothing. Feed clink in crimped metal pans.
Dead goats into clay. Write the very ground into ripe gardens.

Folded and unfolded and massaging keyboards and gripping pens.
And when the write hand has been found not writing, then what then?

How often should a writer have shake out his or her hand,
just to finish a poem?

Like my father says

I can not give up making sense.
Or achieving meaning.
Writing words like creating paths.
That lead somewhere.
Not always clear.
Not hardly simple.

But driven. Direct. Aimed.
I am not carelessly launching literary missiles.
Sharp piercing life plucking arrows off into distance.
Hopeful. For a kill, a mark, never laid eyes or aimed on.
Probably never found.

I am hunting bare hands loose emptied and ready.
Scent burns nostrils flared. Prepared. Eyes trucking.
Roaming, perceptive and quick.

Like my father says, searching out anomaly.

Anomaly: a strange twitch, click, crack, a short ways off.

Headlong plunged racing sprinting
motivation leaves frightened tracks in front of me.
Easily seen. I know always what it is I am after.
And more, I know what for. Why.

A hunt should start in hunger. Need. And never before.
A sword which I have already slid in sheaths.
Rattled bundle of arrows and a bent bow.

I want to know if there is another creature in the woods like me.
Even if I have to see it bleed.

Broken

Sunday morning is my Sabbath.
Kept.
Maintained.
Closed in like chickens in the pen.
Close together.
Loud calling.
Reminding.
Lowing like goats on curled leaders winding wrapped around trees.

Sunday morning is my sabbath.
And when I wake, it is to thoughts of breaking.
Destroying.
Tilling today so that it is not the same as others.

By the time I am through the earth is all the way turned over.
From flexing dented shovels.
Cranking loud stinky machines to oppressive-grind hard dry clay
and moist black dirt into dust risen in plumes fast-ascended.

After all, it is sunday.
And morning, still.
My own little
sabbath to offend,
even hurt.
A holy day,
laced by grace,
buried, hidden,
secret seeded revelation.

Broken.
Disrespected.
Thoroughly.
Like dirt.
Like dirt in a garden.

Winter Stock

Nailing up fourth walls for actors who won’t obey them.
Instincts speak ‘betray them’. Blue tarp barriers
and cold breathy chicken wire stapled over gaps.
Trying to trap heat in is as hard as keeping them.

Sharp-bearded performers with brown alpine stripes along spines.
Thick cotton fur white at the roots, or feathers stiff and bowing
against thick slow moving winter air.

Going over lines.
Talking to the world like you would chatter to yourself.
Actors enamored at no longer just hearing,
but to see the vapor of their very own breath.

Farm or be farmed.

The farmer kills chickens when he or she is hungry.
And Japanese beetles when they are too. Killing the corn.

The farmer still does it.
Crushes reflective bodies between finger and thumb.
Red guts wiped on long wagging green tongues.

The beetles keep on also.
Out around eleven and on toward dusk.

Man has a husk. Armor. Which can be pierced. Eaten into. Through.
And chickens, beetles, these things do too.

I suppose all farmers feel a little bit bitten. Harmed.
And maybe this is why they kill them all. Big or small.

Farm or be farmed.

One unsuspecting morning

Relationships are hard. Dense. Difficult to understand well enough to apply to purpose. Like a finely made, ornate, intricately sharpened tool, too heavy to pick up.

The struggle is focused on shaping. Changing. Cutting away extraneous pieces. Hammering a blade thinner, asleep in coals until red hot, then whole steel chunks are removed.

These are aspects of ourselves. The sacrifices we make constantly in order to cohabitate. These concessions are not restricted to human interactions. They are necessary for sustainable communication with livestock like chickens, goats, pets like cats, dogs, down to their pests, fleas and ticks. Whether we like it or not, they must be considered.

The relationship could be the bloodsucking parasite attached to the host.
A story that reads lustful, consumptive love, and inevitable discovery.

In most situations, it entails me holding fire to the creature and watching it cringe and swell and pop. It is not easy to think this way all the time. But I have found it to be necessary. And rewarding.

Consider that it is still relationship when one party attacks, damages or ends the other one. Sometimes it can be easy to slip into the assumption humans hold the patent on choices, but symbiosis, parasitism, neighborliness, taking advantage, are inherited concepts. They belonged first and far most to the world.

I kill what sought to drain me. I do not feel good or bad about it. I just consider it.
Like the flock of birds I care for daily, weekly, at this point yearly, spilled pails into trays and automatic waterers, feeding bags and bags of feed my money buys, trade my time to fill these bird’s stomachs. Then we go there.

One unsuspecting morning, the towers who care for chickens come and isolate one or two in a box. Ending lives. Taking a look into their craws, opening up their stomachs.
I don’t imagine or assume where my time went. I know.

That is a relationship. A bastard child of predator and prey. We call it farming.
And it can be disturbing, like most things, hard to understand.
But it may provide a starting point for tilling the dense mindset of Man.
This tool we find grasped in our species hands. Yet are unable to use.

And the more individuality we have to sacrifice, compromise,
in order to interact fruitfully with others,
the duller the blade becomes.

Peace Reigns

Peace please give us a piece cut out from the heart of war.
Fair. Dark. Slice a center line and give pale peace to the world.
Amputated. The shadow possessing truth. Gradual.
Procession of armies toward a center that starts in the clouds,
while gray and full of storms, majesty thick enough to choke the world.
Grace grace expanding plumes of vapor. Peace and war.
Downed. Low. Hidden in shadow. Patriotism is like a torch,
it shines impressively more alluring seductive in the dark.

Deeply planted amidst fear, confusion, ignorance.
Eyes turn to the patriot, but with ease, when it is light,
eyes yield to peace. Pieced storm clouds looming,
lingered overhead, overheard mongering, malice beneath.
Voices talk of preparation for battle. Killing embraced. Strangled.
Too well by the shadow cast off of peace.
That good, light, utopian years increase a people’s fears. And stupidity.
That a piece of peace can be begged for, fought over, many wars,
in peace name.

This prayer, for peace and not much else, brings pain.
Like a storm carries lighting and wide-mouth thunder.
Strong roof rustling wind and of course, that shadow. Darkness.
Spread over the land like a stain.
Then, and only then, peace rains.

Wisdom teething

Feeling of small.
Of ignored.
Of no help.

To no one at all.

Of hiding from none seeking.
Of not talking to God.

But singing.

Of pressure mounting against bleeding molars.
Of snipping red skin off the white sides of a torn tongue.
Of being young but not young, not grown.

But growing.

Of being too close to some impossible place.

To reach to quit. To need to quit.

Of wanting to.
Of knowing quitting is better than all options staring in your face.
Of only ever feeling home alone.

But even then, there,
feeling out of place.

little black rubber faucet washers

And how exactly did taking the skin off your knuckles help?
Yeah. You remembered. At Lowes.
And bought the right sized little black rubber faucet washers.
But now you can not find them.

How is knocking dents in the wall helpful?
I’d like to know. Curious. Concerned. Impressed,
even, at how much childishness you kept
up with over the years, and yet
can not find a simple thing
you need to stop
a dripping
shower.

How did you refind the frame of mind
that beats a world into curled submission
over the infinitely personal matter
of your own frustration?

How is a man who for no decent reason
throws punches at a wall,
any use, to any of us, at all?

Spaces in between

I like changing seasons. Any transition. Humid and stifling hot to cold dry wet. Finally, too cold to enjoy it, just the way I like it. It’s feeling trapped in long drawn out seasons that taxes too far.
The spring following winter thaws a heart same as land, and the cooler breeze and falling leaves of autumn is a fan against a sweating cheek. See how quickly it changes. The same heat we evaded, hated over summer, burning in a brushfire. In the midst of transition, I find it hard to not imagine, think deeply on, how transitory and easily adaptable my sense of value is. Not one day after the colder air arrives at the end of summer, and my mind is on fire.
All my energy for farming, gardening, turns rapidly to sawing, splitting, sawing and more splitting, until several piles form, covered, weeks of warmth, and a constant hobby of feeding flame and tending to coals in order to occupy myself. The inescapable heat, left behind by weeks, leaves a stinking sweat soaked memory still rank, dripping in my mind. Turned cold by the seasonal shift so easily the heat is sought after soon again, but this time, at last, under my control.
Summer heat can’t be escaped. Even if the air conditioner runs twenty four hour days, all the air in the house chilled, cold as a refrigerator, the season burns power bills. Shining far too brightly, singeing finances red instead of skin, harshly just the same. But just now, the world provides the chill so desperately exhausting the dying metal box in the window.
Heat reintroduced at leisure. A little dry tender in a fire for comfort. A cat laid in a windowsill, basked in the warmth of it. Finally at the end of a long season on the run chasing shade. Inspired by the cold to once again seek out the sun.