the long road to the angels


My dad used to say it’s a long road
that has no turning

some nights I dream I am still
in a dark city
hunting for a job or a squat
in a dark building
where floors with rotting timbers
invite me to fall into depths
of dead darkness
once sitting in a park I heard kids shouting
with budding summer joy
and thought when I am about to die
I would come to a place like this
where I could hear the voices
of new humans
who never guess when they sing and call
who sings and calls with them
as I never guessed I would end up
working around my sister poet
in a house where small ones come
to sometimes wonder at and tangle
the white moss on my chin
no poet or prophet has ever known
more potent angels of light and hope
than these I meet every day

a window of time

A window of time should never be ignored
because sometimes it’s a door
to the hard road that waits
for those who are hungry to climb
in the high wild country of awake.
Old dog zen says
death often comes without warning
you may never find this road again.
Will you gnaw that same old bone
or will you now attend
to the great matter?


Begin at the very beginning which
as Walt said was never more an inception
than this local now which
extrapolating from Albert’s amazing theory
begins and is begun by
an infinity of other local nows
one of which was ye olde big bang
which was actually tinier than anything
i can think of
almost as tiny as zero
which i can only think of as
that which comes just before
the b
in bee butterfly and become.
Fittingly zero is marked by a circle
like a poem that ends
at the end of all things
which is also where all things begin.

inconceivable fire

Back in my ink and paper days
while waiting for the first or next black word
the white page sometimes seemed
a seething texture of possible forms.
Now i think this light is the womb of all poems
dreams, gods and the notions we attach
to nouns and names we use to
divide the Inconceivable
into seemingly separate things.
In June the kids run round the play room
shaking tambourines and singing Jingle Bells
not yet knowing
what all the word sounds mean.
We learn the names that name the parts and learn
that they are parts of larger parts
from hand to body to humanity to biosphere to universe
to wondering
what is the ultimate part and
what it might be part of.
At that point adrift in emptiness
most draw a circle around the parts that matter
and seldom trouble their sleep with the thought
that what is everywhere is also right here
in each local and supposedly ordinary thing.
Like a yellow snail on the stem of a dandelion clock
bristling with parachutes awaiting the breeze
that will send them sailing thru blue light
bearing their seeds of inconceivable fire.


I consider a photo in The Guardian of
a migrant father and his tiny daughter
Angie Valeria Ramirez
bound by a shared black T shirt
floating at the edge of the shore their
bodies successfully reached
after they drowned
thank you Mr Trump
you have succeeded in reaching us all
with wave after wave of ugly images and words
and your luminous example of how easy it is to succeed
if one is born in a mansion of gilded shit
made with the blood of the prostitutes
your grandpa employed in muddy shack towns
where the gobs moiled for gold of which
profiteers like Herr Trump relieved them
for picks, hardtack and copulation

brutish and desolate
like your success

Sometimes I have to say


Sometimes i have to say
to answer the terrible news
i feel compelled to read
perhaps hoping that this morning
something will have changed
I missed the Green New Deal town hall
because the kids wanted to watch
beautiful young millionaires toss
spheres of absorbent polyurethane
into distant hoops
the shot begins at the balls of the feet
arcs thru the body and escapes
from the fingertips
like the arc that sends an axe head
thru a round of pine
yesterday I heard a rusty saw say
I can’t I can’t I can’t
fuck that I said and heard it change to
I can I can I can
then the shed door opened with a sigh
or was it a hi!
matter often speaks to me
tho more and more inaudibly
as age steals my ears
there is no medicare for hearing aids
since only people with money need to hear
what people with money are saying
so I can only hear what you have to say
when you are within arms length
in groups I am in a sphere of silence
lapped by mysterious vowels
thus I’ve come to the habit of deciphering
even the voices of saws and doors