White Space Samadhi

I stare down into the blank screen
Blinding bright and filled with empty

Anything could happen now
Anything could happen

My wife flew from the earth
And coming out of the grocery store 
I was the only one
And the sky hung like a sword 

Anything could happen now
Anything could happen

I didn’t want new possibilities
I didn’t want unlimited options
I didn’t want not to know what happens

Anything could happen now
Anything could happen

Peering now into this empty page
Standing like an exclamation point

Anything could happen now
Anything could happen

Be the one who doesn’t know
Fall into that white space
Like a fool on fire



revised

The Necessity of Jessie Spangler

He would follow a truthful sentence with a lie, or half of one, tell the truth all afternoon and lie at night. Lie about the truth, tell the truth about the lies. When you found yourself with him there was a certain comfort in knowing he would arrange things to his liking and you had nothing to worry about, that he would never tell the truth about uncomfortable things or lie about comfortable ones, and yet even when he did – which he certainly did as often as he didn’t, never mind what I just said – you couldn’t tell the difference, so it didn’t matter. It cheered a body up just to know this. He had more friends than anyone in town, for the simple reason you could never take him at his word. And so he became known all over town as a sanctuary from the idea of the truth, something people hadn’t been aware they were seeking, but, once they had found it, could not bear to let it go.

Hometown Talk

No one can say how our town picked up our vocabulary. Certainly we have spoken it for as long as people have lived here. It presses lightly against the teeth, slips free of our eager tongues, our babies can babble and we know what they mean. But there is a slurring thickness in the wake of our truths and lies. A hundred thousand words, each with a different meaning about shoes. This opens worlds no one wanted opened. That old game of Telephone, the same sentence whispered from one ear to the next, an altered reality with each giggled breath. Now many are confused or wounded by this reckless lexicon, and real tragedies happen: a train wreck, the fall of a person from a window, someone gasping for breath in the wrong hospital. We have attempted to translate, to organize, to, in general, diagram our sentences.  But this language of ours has found its own purpose: to slowly crowd us out, leaving only the dangerous buildings, the impossible traffic signs. We hoped once the elders had died, the ones who spent entire days of their lives formulating how to say even the most trivial banalities, we would slowly forget. But no one forgets anything. A storage shed, stacked with a few half-completed volumes of our Community Dictionary: massive, doomed, the depressing smell of old paper. Was there ever going to be a way to compile and explain all of this, to agree on how to say what needs to be said and when? And our mouths run on without ceasing.


revised

Big Storm

The dark in the west is deep - 
A rogue chunk of night 
Drifting like an iceberg.
.
The breeze, spiced with damp earth.
Wind chimes blunder into each other.
Thunder roots in the edges.

Close behind this Gotterdammerung
The sky turns a page of blue -
Like reading a disappointing novel
In a single glance.



revised

Citronella! (Ode)

Nice day today, with the sun and all,
So I bought a new plant. A Citronella plant.
What a word, Citronella!
You smell like lemons (wasn't expecting that).
They say you keep mosquitos away, too,
So I'm thinking "bonus."
And such a surprising thick trunk,
Like a miniature tree, strong and straight, 
Spicy scalloped leaves,
All green and starched at attention,
Such a healthy Citronella!
I bought a new pot for you, too -
None of those plastic throwaways
On a day like today.
No, this is pastel orange porcelain,
With fancy swirls. And I laid you in that pot
As tenderly as a babe,
Gave you fresh stinky soil to dine on,
Tucked you in with cedar mulch -
But even in an ode to you, Citronella,
It seems I can't help but mention
That everyone's yelling about the government,
Losing friends over the government,
Can't think straight for the government,
But the government doesn't even know you're here!
So now I'm thinking "bonus times two,"
Something new for these new days we're having.
I'm going outside to smell you one last time
Before I wake up to smell you again, Citronella,
Please don't leave me soon this summer,
Stay young, stay green, stay lemon-fresh forever.



revised