we guide the form, in naming

I could not be solid
being hard in thinking instead
far in seeing past
the stories I was told

were the way things were,
and holding this truth
felt dangerous at times.

I could not be solid,
yet more an amorphous
shape shifting with every
change in the wind

like a ghost I thought at first
like the chaos before the fiery
center of a new star that

is warm whether the sun shines
somewhere near or is one day gone,
I realized eventually.

But, it’s just truth, and I really
have wanted to hide in my room
many times or to walk into a forest
and be gone awhile, and instead

of getting angry, I tried wrapping
myself in petals and song
like Billy or Leonard sinking into
my heart and forming or

opened the window and let the wind
gather in my mouth until
I could laugh

and maybe it was good to learn this/

where what is real and natural and beautiful
is dangerous to people too damaged
and still in hiding, maybe

for the rest of their lives because
they are still afraid-

and children who cannot tell
because they must protect others first
to survive, feel it like a scream
they wouldn’t dare and

the feelings in that hypocrisy-
when you should cry
if it is time and rage if it is
required

because to not, makes
better understandable why
someone cannot love.

But, children learn to live
with a feeling they cannot speak
the name of except, I am sad
or crawling into bed one night terrified
of dying when the house is

so quiet and so safe,

it will take work to learn to speak;
and yes, I am serious inside
and thoughtful or maybe

I became this way and was someone
before, but I only know what I was
by what I survived then like

a starfish only looks up
from the ocean floor.

And now, I sometimes need to
stand in the cold somewhere vast
and empty or sit in the sun
as it almost burns midsummer

wanting to stay just there
looking and feeling for something
like a clock knows it was made
to tell the time and will

suddenly stop moving/ hands
pointing at whatever, maybe
it is one in the morning when no one
is looking and thinking, ‘that

is a clock’- how it notices
in this moment the shape of the moon
in its own inspiration and says,
I am not ‘a clock/’

becomes what can be believed
somehow and with little guidance
except stories and what we have
known of love and the songs we hear-

people like stars orbit an unseen force

and call the name and
tell the story of each
named thing like

this is my heart in
every name given.

habitants

When broken, rebuilt
are entirely new children-

the people we play
              the ones we remember from a story or memory
in their shiny, forming hearts

like ghosts beneath the fingernails
we scratch at when there is an itch
on the brow, of fathers       

tender        of mothers and their dreams
even when      splintered from unkindness/

it is the mantle of yesterday, of those
we have loved and not our own

dreams and hope. And see,
when broken and like a child
again, so spectacularly

a life kinder than once known-now

we could be   brave
flowers are on
                      the table because we remembered

to walk to the garden every weekend/coffee
brews on Saturday morning
                          little feet already rushing under the sun.

My heart,

does a war rage outside
              the bedroom window? Are the people

who wage it                 Kind Folk?

I want to ask for a reprieve     tell the ants
making their way up the picnic basket, I

will be back tomorrow, cross
my heart.

When I blow upon my own hand
dust in the dim light is like
starshine/and so,

I look to no other. The children
receive our debt/ and the
debt we have paid

like lit paths we must have left
forging through the longer
nights, even when we,
like children

again.

the crash

Truth is to forget underwater
how the waves crash
beneath the seam

how the waves crash
truth in seconds
how under

the shower I crash
how in dreams I
collide with colossus

and tragedy and conquer/
uninhibited, un-able to
drive seed to

stem. Truth: I forget
to crash beneath
and end up above

the waves in holy
love thinking this
is who I become now

like summers I swam
between mangroves and hot
sea surging, that perfect

storm on the horizon – I love
so deeply in truth
underwater in the crash
of waves/ how the seam

defines if we will live or die/

the crash beneath
stormy skies
and showers:

and how wide
is the breadth of
a wilderness

that came before the place
we can not reside.

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