Look for new poems (and more) at the start of each month.
Written to poet and extraordinary woman Mimi Gonzalez upon her departure from the Bay Area for Michiganer climes.
from Richard – 5/18/18
Yo whippoorwill, how’d you get so
shiny in the night, how’d you drop that
camouflage for wild dark panache, how’d
you spin that plaintive song to glee?
Yo whirling whippet, how’d you flip that
spine, how’d you perk that eye, how’d
you snap that tail to playground’s end?
Yo whipwind, where’s your wend
a-gonna lead ya? Yo wiler, yo way,
how you gonna snapdragon your day
into a true-bit two-beat rhyme
signifying so much more than fine?
Yo whiplash mistress, yo signer,
how you gonna find your mind, how you
gonna mind your kind, how you gonna
kind your way through time? Yo mind.
Yo kind. Yo finder, how about some
pretzels in the park, how about stark truth,
how about a swim? How about a minimum
balance? How about scrim and scree?
Yo glee-maven, yo deep diver, yo spree,
glade that glad, yo, farm that charm,
slip that mane into Aeolus’ sheen and
shine, sister, shine, mind, shine, you,
be. Carve a trail from here to ye.
Be a trail from larva to the sea.
See a grail and give it, give it,
give it back to the wide, wide breeze.
Yo heart beating in a bank,
clay this day and shape us, shape us
please to a stance, to a stand, to a key.
Your hand a wing beating in the dark,
stirring air that brings life back to a cry.
Yo whippoorwill, yo sky, bring us to
the city by the narrow way, pouring
past and future into day, gleaming eye-light
from your handsome brow, and seething with
a knowledge wanted, knowledge had, and
knowledge yet to be. Your time has come,
yo clock, so chime, whippet, chime, will,
chime your heart back into us, charm us
back to the winsome land, till that song
from the fall-strong reeds, and spread
your walnut arms to greet the next full trill.
This piece was written during a talk about a series of photo portraits by Rohan DeCosta at his exhibit “Ordinary People” at Flight Deck Gallery in Oakland. The exhibit comprised a set of five portraits of Oaklanders taken by Rohan while spending a day with each, and for this talk several of them discussed the experience, which giving verbal portraits of their lives. The poem does not necessarily represent what the participants were saying, or their lives; rather the experience got me to thinking about the subjective nature of portraits and of how we see each other and ourselves.
Lives seep, flash, pouring
ancestry and breath, bodily
trauma, fluid care, steel
and glass claimed as flesh
day, into sky, into street
and smoke, steam and light, the thrash
of life against life, with life,
through life, precipicing
into bloom, into mad mauling,
into new faces, into rain.
What we let others see,
what others see whether we like it or not,
what everyone sees that we try our best
to deny, to erase, to smudge, to soft focus
are the sharp shards that place us,
base us, give us shape, that
let us see, let us all see.
Love your darkness. Love your flaws.
Love your violence like you love
your great healing arms.
I spent the second half of January and the beginning of February with my right (and dominant) arm/hand in a cast, so I concocted a few visual pieces using my left hand only, with markers on large pieces of paper. There were a few interesting results. Here’s one called “( )”. The title is actually the empty space in the middle. I’m considering making a second version that’s more readable, but not sure if I should. Open to opinions on that.
Another left-handed poem, this one titled “your face”.
Here’s one called “Horses”.
Another left-handed poem, this one called “Darking”.