In The Book of Memories

We are still children
attempting to raise the next generation;
pyramids of hope from the bottom up.

We think we progress like keys
on a piano, up to the faintest
pitch of heaven,
but the truth is we fall down
the scale so many times.

Rock bottom is nowhere and everywhere
at once.
The ending of a song,
the beginning of a life.

Getting up is hearing the pianist say,
“she is in the book of memories”
reaffirming the thought that we are
stories walking on stilts.

Two days later,
you’ll think it was a dream,
remembering he said all of it
was an illusion.

Vincent Van Gogh said,
I dream the painting, then I paint
the dream.

Entering and departing
with the screech of a Greyhound bus;
the chimes of hypnosis.
I’ve got the mosquito bites
from the river
and the notes to prove it.

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My Friend, The Pianist

For Michael Caldwell

 

I want him
to pull out
every song
in his repertoire,
Beethoven, Mozart,
Rachmaninoff, Chopin,
the music nobody
can perfectly pin down,
untwine the notes
from his fingers,
unleash his aging body,
take the fear
and the almost-fear,
and the love,
especially the love,
and then
and then
play them
on his piano
and see how
they sing
and his heart jumps!

 

Inspired by a slightly more solemn poem, My Friend’s Divorce, by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

 

Life is Many Things Hannah Lyles

Lifesource

I am moss clinging onto
pages of books, sucking air:
the wisdom of others is my friend.

Fertile green, slippery rock,
wet with love. Have you ever

loved a book so much
it became your being, and
the stories became yours?

You dream rainstorms
and you wake up twice
as long, full and hungry
for soil.

The Question Box

 

I, distracted

from my own unraveling,

was afraid you’d come undone with me.

I watched my own heart disintegrating

into pixels on the screen of a game.

Two-dimensional play:

You can go back but never past

the beginning where you still had

full health; a life to spare on love.

Or, forward

where there’s always an ending in sight,

the drop-off into the next level.

 

What’s in the in-between?

They say the magic happens here,

in the mess of day two,

when the monsters come out to eat.

With each step, I lost a little more

of me and you.

But, isn’t it funny that with the undoing

comes clarity, while the fabric hangs

looser and looser?

Falling apart and liberation

are two sides of the same coin.

 

 

So, I’m building a new house

with bricks found on the roadside;

the same pieces that nearly killed me

as they fell from the sky.

With my pen, I draw the outlines

of windows, the blueprints for forgiveness.

Inside, you’re a phone call away.

Inside, the blood flows a little easier;

the ink forms symbols of hope in space.

 

——————————————-

Featured image credit: Ray Che (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rayche1989/5203972988)

(Anxiety is) Just a Block Away

Whenever I feel my feet walking in the direction of despair,

I stare at the ground, desperately looking for a dropped coin

in hiding. Some days, it takes longer to find something shiny.

Other days, I look up to see if there is anything

resembling God, like a heron flying,

a servant to the tides and the king of the lakeshore.

It flies with a grace I’ll never have.

My flying is poetry. The words

put together this way and that way, mirroring

the soaring wings moving with the whims of the wind.

 

That’s me on a good day.

 

Sometimes there is nothing but broken glass and empty wrappers

that used to hold something sweet; just grey cement.

But, finally, between the cracks, there’s moving brown:

a small lizard with a throat bigger than mine.

Poetry is my red-throated neck. It saves me

from the tumble, the voice that says “you’re not enough”.

The words sag and stick on the walls of my head;

a big,

choking piece

of food that won’t go down.

 

But somehow, by looking around, gravity is relearned.

I fall but—

the ground of the page catches me again.

Give me a few days and my faith will waver.

Give me a few lie-ins and I’ll never wake up.

But, for now, my feet find a way that’s not a block away.