Laughing at Death and After

Over dinner with friends, somehow
how we’ll dispose of you after your death
becomes the conversation.

You painted into a wall
or onto individual canvases by all our friends
at a backyard gathering

is most memorable,
and awful. You throw down the gauntlet,
animated, upping the ante

with add-ons that I instantly block
from memory. Yet I get how this pleases you,
laughing at death with good people,

a hedge against times
when things may not be funny.
So I’ll tell you this in the spirit of the evening,

paint party man:
I’ll never leave you, unless
I laugh after death before you do.

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017

Image by John Livzey

Something About a Flower

Out walking again
despite self-driven deadlines,
I discover another
and another
and another small sample
of simple
meets sensual,
of beautiful meets primal. Look.
So much of the natural world calls us
to what’s most
luscious
in us.

I’m working at simply seeing,
at just living
rather than curating night and day
like some interior designer
intent on what’s in the view finder
conforming to… what?
I’m learning to neglect
all my questions
and answers,
sensing
some new
flowering
there.

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017

Image by John Livzey

Beautiful People

Old man watches us all over coffee
on the patio. Cragged face,
dapper hat, long gray hair
escaping its past,
dress shirt and pants,
phone on the table.
Scanning left and right,
he’s relishing everything.
I want what he knows.

Savvy young one stands
at that fraught juncture
between childhood and her exodus
outa there. So much life,
big dreams, ready anger as old rituals
and rules of family life chafe.
Change is coming.
Sky’s the limit.

Retail woman is impeccably
put together. Spring fashion model
whether she’s paid to be or not,
public artist, beautifier,
inspiritrix to some of us.
She shows no emotion at all
and that’s her call.
More power to her.

Immigrant master shoe and leather
designer’s shop is still named
for his brother who walked away
twenty years ago.
He speaks of old ills,
asks my heritage, tells stories
I don’t have time for.
I stay. What stories
will I tell someday?

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017

This Minor Voice

Birds warble like never before as I walk
and ponder my new conceptus interruptus:
sensing my way instead of playing
my strong suit, intuiting my every move.
It’s odd country, and here comes this hitherto
completely mute intelligence

in me. As I meet its pace and greet it,
I hear my own voice and thus learn
and can then relay a very different song and dance.
The part of me that always ran this show
is still grand master, but here, limbs engaged
in whatever tongue they’re bringing,

receptors firing, what arises may only be translated
on these unmapped routes I’m traveling.
Now, this season, past fantasizing
and romanticizing, even if just for milliseconds,
this minor voice is in fact a new force,
big wind blowing through this valley tonight.

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017

24.

Since I can remember, 24, I’ve adored you.
You know. And I’ve felt known and loved
in return. Big decisions, critical junctures,
special moments, there you are. I’ve tried
to explain this thing between us. Some people—
kind of like dog people or cat people—
get that a number can have a personality,
turn you on, make you happy.

They get that something mystical exists,
a quantum dynamic in which we’re linked
by mutual need for something beyond
the totally random, for a certain rational/
irrational beauty. Your beauty—
round and whole and mysterious—
meets me like a friend of many lifetimes.

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017

Sensing Sunday

Back at the beach
I’m relaxing, phone off,
alone. Amazing.
Water in a thermos,
pack of almonds,

two volumes of poems,
cotton blanket, big hat,
virgin journal.
Ah, a rookie error.
No pen. And another

I’m not in the mood
to mention. Swimming as ever
in oceans of emotion,
chin above deep water
at the moment,

three hours on the meter
on Main Street. Anxiety rolls in
as I read the great ones.
Back to the sensory.
I’m not hungry.

I’m not thirsty.
Little girl races by laughing.
Daddy scoops her up.
Belly kisses.
Time for sunscreen.

 

For my emerging Celebrating the Sensate, National Poetry Writing Month 2017