So I Keep On Writing

Mary Oliver writes of
flowers and she does it
very well, as I just stare
at words, wishing that
goldenrod could mean

as much to me, stuck in
this urban world, nature
on the fringe, everything
I cannot see, because in
the car I move too fast

to even smell the air,
but excuses will never
win, nor are they really
true, so I keep on writing,
this much I know to do

Making Sense of Time Passing

Usually the plan is to
read and read and read

the poems of others, until
something strikes my imagination.

This often works, sometimes it is
just a word, like pulsating or

scramble, a pathway to completely
forget that my shoelaces are tied or

that these fingers belong to me.
Lost in the moment, obvious and

unpoetic, then again, also true.
That really so much writing is just

abstract painting, adding color,
a swirl, skip a line, then do it again,

and again, until the crickets outside
sound like laptop keys, and nothing

is lost, not these seconds, not the
clear air of night, not my quiet mind

making sense of time passing,
time passing.

He Pretends To Be A Poet

He pretends to be a poet, but does he even like poetry?
Sawgrass shallows, dark forests and trellises, the
language of description, erudition, evoked through so
much longing to be heard, to be read. But what does

it mean? Instead, he writes about what he knows,
which most nights seems like not a lot, sometimes silence
or that most mundane of all arts, parenting, being a dad,
or he reads half pages of zen books while munching on

frozen blueberries, while trying to remember the pickup time
for ballet. No, he doesn’t live in Paris or London, or
New York, although San Francisco is a writerly city, that frigid
foggy place where he was once young, and a real poet

in his studio apartment with Chinese takeout night after night,
the J Church train rumbling, urban soundtrack mixed with
Sonny Rollins, oh yes, he was cool, back in the day, but now
he sits in the kitchen, barefoot, wondering where his socks are.

4 Words In A Line

hard not to smile
when thinking that this
is one of my
favorite things in life

to put four words
on line after line
free to do this
when dishes are done

and the kids are
in bed, and no
one is speaking, not
even the incessant TV

can reach me now
for here it is
just one word, then
the next, neatly placed

like scrabble or a
crossword puzzle, or some
other kind of activity
where concentration is everything

anyway, this is mine
this little moment here
inside my brain’s imagination
where anything is possible

Thomas Edison Prays

I read somewhere
Thomas Edison had
a thinking bench
upstairs alone in
that room he
just sat and
thought and thought
and sat, sometimes
he would find
ideas and sometimes
they found him
because he was
waiting and not
really doing much
of anything, kind
of praying to
silence that something
would arrive and
if he sat
long enough and
was very quiet
something always did

Evening Prayer

I don’t pray every night, but I probably should. After baths, books, conversation with wife, I usually drift into writing, creating, rearranging words on a screen. Mind a whir, could journey depths until dawn, but the clock of calculation, of sanity, of sacred sleep, tells me to stop. I go into my daughter’s room, turn down her light, I love you, I say to her curled up slumber. I meditate in my son’s room, the sound of his breathing, my pew, my stained glass, my sanctuary. Seated, darkness, air in, carbon dioxide out, first minutes filled with brain bouncing from thought to thought, the earlier, the tomorrow, the could happen. Then sometimes the indescribable now, when I’m nowhere, everywhere, witness to all time, and no time at all. Emerge a short life span later, pray for my colleague, that her malignant tumor retreats, allows life, hers to continue. It feels like I could stay forever, talking to God, to no one, to everyone.

Writing in Bed

exhaling visible emotion
ink onto page
alive each night if
only for these moments
toes touch sheets happy

the hours before are done
no more plodding through city
streets in laced up leather
free naked now
words moving across the page

composition notebook
indenting with cursive letters
pressing down, scribbled lines
fragments of thought
searching for truth night after night

sometimes finding things
like an old Hot Wheels car in
the sandbox, pull it out
examine chipped paint
try to recall when it was lost

describe what it looks like
loose front tire, red Camaro
“this is it,” I think
to reclaim, touch memory
unearth myself, the buried parts