Category Archives: journal

journal

Neruda on the Poet’s Pact

“Poetry is a deep inner calling in man; from it came liturgy, the psalms, and also the content of religions. The poet confronted nature’s phenomena and in the early ages called himself a priest, to safeguard his vocation. . . . Today’s social poet is still a member of the earliest order of priests. In the old days he made his pact with the darkness, and now he must interpret the light.”

–Pablo Neruda

Words Lead to Deeds

“Words lead to deeds…they prepare the soul, make it ready and move it to tenderness.”

–Anton Chekhov

The Eclipses of Poets

“The eclipses of
poets are not foretold in the calendar”

–Marina Tsvetaeva

The Pleiades Below

A human heart pumps enough blood
over the course of a lifetime to fill a super tanker.

Say this heaving ship full of blood
hits a shoal and spills its precious cargo into the sea.

All the proud, anxious, willful hours
infused in an entire liquid lifetime
mix with the dreams of sea urchins
and manta rays become blinded by love incarnadine.

Above the waves a lighthouse casts it’s watery beam
on a little white clapboard Catholic church near the bay.

A priest bends over with an aching back to tie his shoes,
wondering–out of nowhere– if God gave sea creatures
a mining claim on the un-lived fossil bed lives of his believers.

A Note to My Children About Money

Scratch, jack, bones,
skins, buckage, bank.

The nicknames change over time.

Did you know your distant ancestors worked no more
than four hours a day to earn their living?

They did not have a twenty four hour fire hose
of distractions, though.
Living was distraction enough.

If you find yourself addicted to electronic distractions
in the interstitial time between work and sleep, try saving a third of your income.
Your income is the congealed energy you traded your time for.
This practice will help wake you up.

And don’t forget to write.

An Ahab in Blood

“Captain Ahab stood upon his quarter-deck. There seemed no sign of common bodily illness about him, nor of the recovery from any. He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has over-runningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them…you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish, like a lightening strike in a tree.”  — Moby Dick

No thing in the flesh
burns more searingly
than this hatred.

It is a hotter fire,
a pain more cutting,
a sorrow more eviscerating–
this diamond pure
rancor and loathing.

And yet –and yet–
it can bring a Fletcher Christian
and his crew out of the maw
o Pitcairn island.

It seems nothing good
in this world
comes without alloy.

The Seance

Once there was a seance that left everyone with a shimmering feeling of being inside on a snowy day.

Even the TV sat up and took notice, stopping its own snowing.

One can be in two places at the same time if you don’t mind being both substance and shadow.

Now the winter won’t let go.
The birds still call each other by their winter names.

They resemble maracas that can’t stop clacking when they are left on the table. Music swallowed by frozen water.

It is still beautiful to see a newborn in the womb, feet askew on the glass skin.

An aquarium fish looks out at you
and asks if we are related.