Sunday, July 31, 2016

Canvas 727

Canvas 727

July 31, 2016

Say yes, say light

When night is a lamp that has to be lit, and your heart and your mind are part of it, what do you think, passing nearby, when you see how my window reflects your bold flight? Is it what you see now, here in my eyes? Are you free? Is it good? Is it bright? Is it, like truth, both sad and both right? Say yes! Say yes! Say light!

(Like the drawings, these hastily written passages are best seen as impressions in and of the moment. No bird or bee or butterfly will work or rest forever on a single flower. It is all the flowers that we seek and need. It is all a flower, in flower, and we are flowering.)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Canvas 726

Canvas 726

July 29, 2016


This is how this is why this is what this is where

and all through the night alone

a bumblebee rests in the cool of a flower

Monday, July 25, 2016

Some prefer

Some prefer answers, others, questions.

I think of water falling,
and the sound
it makes

before it lands.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dry days, funny fingers

Dry days, funny fingers on a face,
dust in expressive crevices, each one last trace
of thought, a wish you caught the very moment it caught you,
now brace yourself, for the first drop, is the best drop,
a very blessed drop,
of dew.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Canvas 722

Canvas 722

July 23, 2016

water, clear and cold

water, clear and cold
upon the stones,

and you, abrasive,
angry, and alone,

proud of what you’ve done,

your time come,

and gone,

the water, moving on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Canvas 717

Canvas 717

July 18, 2016

A brush all your life

Loving the absence of each word,
until the painting is revealed.

What the waterfall does to your hair.

Then the storm begins,
and the forest is a hand.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

William Archila: The Gravedigger’s Archaeology

The Gravedigger’s Archaeology
Poems by William Archila

Pasadena, California


ISBN: 978-1-59709-371-2
Paper. 104 pp.

In closing my short review of William Archila’s first book back in 2009, I said, “In poem after poem, Archila makes something beautiful out of tragedy and suffering. He writes to clarify and to survive. He speaks as if the sun were a lemon and its juice is running down his arms, cleansing wounds he knows might never fully heal. Memory is dirt in his pockets, a native feather, a corpse without its shoes. Language is a song in his mouth.” Today, after having finished reading his second book, which also treats painfully, truthfully, and eloquently of living through and beyond the trial and tragedy of El Salvador, the first thought that springs to mind is,

There are words in the ground, and the ground is memory,
and memory is a ghost, making its rounds.

This reader wants peace for Archila. He also wants peace for the ghost. It’s beautiful how they have learned to live together, and to aid one another in their quest for expression. But the day will come when the poet will set aside his shovel, wipe his brow, and seek the clouds. What, then, will become of the ghost? Is freedom for one, freedom for both? I think so. I think so.

early-morning sunflowers

early-morning sunflowers before the bees arrive,
and how all the things you’ve tried,
and kept, and set aside,
are honey

Thursday, July 14, 2016

how I love those days

how I love those days when there is nothing more to say,
than the day is the saying, as the saying fades away.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Life? A funny

Life? A funny kind of bark, on a funny kind of tree,
and a funny kind of knife, that whittles me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

white clover, pink clover

white clover, pink clover, sweet clover, bees.
night over, wing over, sing over, trees.
white clover, pink clover, wink over, bees.
flight over, bright over, right over, sees.

Monday, July 11, 2016

two pansy faces

two pansy faces looking in

last night I crossed the ocean in a dream

blessed by rain

fog upon my skin

the shaded bench

and then the shore

exactly where they are

Saturday, July 9, 2016

And if the sky

And if the sky were the ocean, the birds her fish,
the earth our boat — what better wish than this kiss
of the gray breeze, ’cross the bough,
through the mist?

O cloud sails! Confess! It is love that fills thee,
and a child that knows thee best!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

About the purple sky

The thing is, I remember those edible crayons, broad, flat, aromatic, and the rough paper we were given on which to make our marks, a kind of cross between sewing remnants and my mother’s dish towels. But even more clearly than this, I remember the first time I made a purple sky, not knowing it was purple, until its purplicity was pointed out to me by my drawing partner, a cheerful little boy whose name escapes me at the moment. I thought the sky was blue, but the truth is, I was less concerned with the so-called proper naming of colors, than with their temperature, sound, and other miraculous properties. For instance, if I were to say the little boy’s skin was brown, and leave it at that, I would be committing a crime against its sweaty-cumin scent, which somehow told stories about the sun. And so it goes. And so the purple sky lives on.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Canvas 715

Canvas 715

July 6, 2016

My childhood? Certainly I remember.
It was brightly colored, and the crayons were good enough to eat.

for what is

for what is a sweet, ripe plum,
but juice and god and sun,
and proof of reason

Monday, July 4, 2016

Canvas 713

Canvas 713

July 4, 2016

We are sailing

Today is my mother’s birthday, and her grandmother’s as well. Mom was born in 1922, Amanda in 1859. Amanda’s old Seth Thomas clock, the one Mom knew from her childhood, is still ticking away on our wall. I wind it every two or three days. And for the smoke, and the roar, and the clatter that will keep me awake tonight, I don’t care a fig. We are sailing through space, among the stars. How embarrassing the need for borders and flags, holsters and guns. One uncle in a military graveyard in Italy. Another who did not speak for six months after his lucky return home. Happy Birthday, Mom. Your love to everyone.