Words to live and dream by
Tyranny (It’s Generational) (original poem, published by Coffin Bell, volume 1, issue 2) “I see a bunny in the moon,” the child says “white and fluffy, like the kind you pull out of a magician’s hat.” I keep staring at its mooniness. white, blotchy, textures of light I’ll never understand. there has to be a glimmer somewhere in all that elusiveness but I see him for what he is— ubiquitous dictator with his big O mockery mouth, cheeks aflame with colorless laughter, taunting us with unstoppable, bloodless rogue face, feral as the tides and reflections of nothing salvaged, lying to us all about his magnitude a deceptive entity with only a head and sunken eyes, he looks upon us with disdain at the splendid annihilation we’ve engineered with our machine hands and our voices smeared with hate and misinformation hearts blackened by three billion disparate rages— desperation rages so I know not even magic not even the stealthiest legerdemain can save us the despot does not fall, nor does the curse of ruin upon humanity break, nor do simple, insurmountable humor and innocence resist no because it must be quite a cruel trick to reform minds that only follow patterns others have made. Old as You (original poem, published by Coffin Bell, volume 1, issue 2) I see you in my mirror the pores in my skin and the high bones in my cheeks we are wine glass lipstick smooth, cool map of freckles and how, when I lay my cheek against your legs, I smell a campfire the fire burning down the tip of your cigarette hanging from your lips you heaved the television out the window I didn’t see you do it but the television landed on the grass and it had to be you you came outside quivering lips mouthed something, cigarette fell held your hands out, palms up, to catch a falling sky. I stopped fearing you might kill us with your bare hands as we slept you: forty-one me: ten forty-one: the age I am now and you are dead and I never smelled the smoke again in your hair on your fingers your face my guilt my absence my need for redemption no longer catches in my throat like a splintered fragile bone but I feel it there wearing smooth as stone worn smaller and shiny with trying. Sweet Tick-Tock (original poem) I wish I were the sweet tick-tock stepping stepping stepping from one number to the next on a red hand. Instead I am the number waiting waiting waiting for each tick to tock, a numb black vibrated into stillness, a silent scream calling calling calling out my wish into wall and glass; muted voice emptied throat straining forcing resigning, tongueless in the body of a clock.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting, over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
“Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met—obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.”John F. Kennedy
______________________________________ Float by Leslie Ferguson don’t go the sky is rainbow a confetti world beyond the clouds there is a skiff that can take us oars to steer us flickers of light wanderlust speed I’ve needed you but I must be only a faint misty memory passing through you stay and we can lie together as the hull takes on water we can put eyes to heaven, dream a floaty future in each other’s arms flecked with paper and hope because if you leave I collapse I promise to hold on rescue you from drowning I’ll do better this time I’ve learned over the years how to survive it’s almost the same as learning how to love.