Credo.

I believe in the soft, distracted smile
turning my way and the girl who
draws vines on her white Keds
in permanent marker.
I believe in stately trees and turning
pages beneath their boughs
with searching hands.
The adept hand signing, “hello”
when there are no words to be heard
or knitting colorful yarns on
telephone poles. I believe
in gardenias that bloom between
the alley and the sun, the sounds
of Cohen from someone’s kitchen.
I believe god
is held in the mouths
of philosophers and children:
that beliefs are dangerous without
love and art is an act of goodwill.
I believe in ethics and the
responsibility of leadership but even more
in the resiliency of the human spirit
like a ghostly pounding heart
as we sleep.
I believe in the spaces between:
in pauses and think-backs and could be’s,
especially in “perhaps” and
I believe in the dog’s paw
that smells like sugar cookies
now that we are family.
I believe we should be careful
of words like, “inconvenience.”
I believe in the storytellers and song-
makers and especially in grandmothers
watching mothers turn the page.
I believe in simplicity of
needs: the hand that must be
held and the mouth that
must be fed. And, the
needs that go untended,
the boy clutching his teddy
as he dreams.
I believe in the untenable
breadth of the universe
and the starlit dust
inbetween it all. I believe
‘god’ is in the trees
and the wave tumbling
towards the shore and
the eyes of strangers.

us, mirror

The way of a mind like a seed
on the wind floats up

instead of with the wind
somehow, or people born
wedged in sidewalk cracks

deep away from the sun
know where happiness
resides tumbling

upon its arrival:
in this I feel almost
a lucky misfit.

Even a self divided is
scattered like pages
lost within the house

with no binding.

I see windows in every room
that inform nothing except
where I have arrived from,

and, I, in every room
stitch a binding, day-
in and out, am

surrounded by a puzzle
of words on paper.

But aren’t us the
song? Aren’t us the
dream and

attuned to truth:
the paradox of remaining
genuine when a melody

unfolding.

when the war ended

It’s a sad story,
the drowning man
in a cloud of fists

the first thing in morning
woken thinking of yesterday
and swinging wide like a boxer

finds the finish when he
splays on the mat, hair
absurd and wet for

just a fight in his memories
of fire and rush
of the way the sun

shocked when he woke seeking
like missiles seek below waters
a mid-night butterfly to take,

hunts

way of shore: soft
sand and dawn,
the cellar

where Geppetto carves a heart/
and how still is absence
of war. stillness

pulsing like a star grown
old or the shock of gardenias
in a scorching heat,

not a violin struck with flint
or the way a man can wail,

through city streets across
smelly kitchens and
mothballs clung to old coats

dark roads and alleys
in living of dying-
the flower unfolds

its self.

I think the man
questions if he can
swim in dark waters

and how will he meet
the sun, swinging
with those

wildcat fists? how
he could, like a shock
of gardenias, breathe

life of so-called dying;
make a home with
an artist in the cellar

where he is waiting
on the shore.

~how to grace

I have lived surrendered in hope
tied loose like the truth
in my mouth is loose

or a startled face is composed
loosely as a cloud sifts
the light of the day/

it was Mary’s sorrow upon
the backs of ladybugs; that
is a story people told

to explain the mar
of black. to become
echoes

painting poppies on dark
space of nowhere and
nobody, just

the brightest poppy with black
stamen sunk as beautiful
things are sunk in feeling

composed of all colors. How
delight is only found in
in the middle of a

crashing wave-

to live between the surety
and the unknown unfolding

Become a mouth-breaking
exclamation, a sigh sorting
memories into the box
of photographs

the turn
of a projector or
maybe a suspicion
of beauty

in others, like a freckle
tucked away beneath
makeup:

how suffering so often
is a lone subject/ a
whale song caught

in caves of ice
or upon the lips of sleepy bears
filling with weary resolve

threatening avalanches:
do not disturb.

To draw lines and swallow
lyrics like whiskey is hot,
the finger bones

grasping in resolve.