sleeping under an open april sky

it was the noise
of the stars
that woke me
again and again
through the night
and though my mind
comprehends the silence
of those long journeys,
it was the noise
of the stars
shining loud
in the sky
that woke me
from the mothwing quiet
of sleep.

 

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-30 at 20.02.16
With drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman
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talking to the dead

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-29 at 20.38.34
With drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman.

 

he said it is quite simple
but really pay attention
and was speaking very quickly
as the dream was the length of the road
which was only the height of the mountain
and at the speed at which i was driving
was not very much time at all.

and i was just so happy
hadn’t seen him since he’d died
and was content with the small talk
the random bits of life,
but he said it was important
so really really listen –
and i was driving up the mountain
in the old white rattling conquest
and at the speed that i was traveling
there was not very much time at all.

he said the light is like cancer
and i winced
because that was what killed him
but he said no, listen closely
light in the world is like cancer
the way it moves in the body is the same.
it is the same.
if cancer is forgetting
on a deeply cellular level.
deep within the body
a cell forgetting its purpose,
living only to grow.
and as one forgotten cell
touches on another
it too forgets its purpose
until we have a mass of cells
feeding from the body
growing only for themselves
but still the body lives
until other nodes of forgetting
grow into their very own masses
bumping up against each other
until there is no space
for life.

i probably tried to make light of it
because i was afraid of the silence
and our words were casting a net
across the abyss between us
and i could not think
of anything to say,
but there was mist now
on the mountain
low flung bits of cloud
and i could not see the road
or how much time i had to dream
because we knew this time was borrowed
and the mountain only so high.

he said i must tell you about the light
and with that we were above the land
laced with nodes of brightness.
in a darkness darker that night
i saw these hills i am living
saw the nodes of light.
there was an awakening in the world
he said, though this had never been his language,
at a deeply cellular level
in every stone and bone and tree
the earth is remembering
why it ought to live.
we are merely cells
one kind of cell in the body of the earth
one kind of cell in the thrumming
complexity of the juicy aliveness of the earth.
it is our job to grow the light
become earth grown nodes of light
to speak it back into being
to remind the earth of its living
so that we too might live.

at the top of the mountain
the road widened to a view site –
low stone walls built from bits
of where we were
i stopped the car
he got out and closed the door
i have not seen him since.
it was important.

i want to taste the change wind

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-28 at 19.07.18
Drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman

 

some days it’s a long walk
to remembering,
(berg wind breath down my neck),
slow to start the journey
when i’ve forgotten that we forget.

somewhere beyond the desert
a butterfly unfurls her wings
and here at the edge of the ocean
the wind begins to sing.
through the night i hear it calling
wind creaking through sleep and dream.

this morning i wake with new feet
learn to walk with the rising sun.
did not know that i had started
until the walking had already begun.

 

rain dance

there is electric
in the air
i taste it on my tongue
wet my finger to test the wind
breathless – i wait
run cool hands across the sky
calling
under my feet
mycelium
are threading towards
the light
hearing beyond the horizon
waiting for the storm.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-26 at 22.18.47
With drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman

classroom

standard five
toes numb with cold
in school shoes all the same
crossed at the ankles
long pants for boys, gangly
stockinged legs for girls
under rows of desks
metal frames wooden tops
carved with feeble resistance
a shelf underneath for text books
and illicit snacking,
silent apple crunching.

the teacher would hit the boys
shoulder high hand swinging down
with a small bat named stingray –
it was legal then
in our classroom
in our county.
this is where we spent our days
infinitely long days
in the silent hum of fluorescent tubes
blinds half drawn to steal the sky.
we would understand later
how lucky we were
to have classrooms and books
to be the soft clay
in the hands of a government
with a taste for crushing underfoot.

some days we did not yield enough
were not compliant enough
and out teacher, who had no first name,
would begin to pace the floor
lino tiled – grey from childhoods unlived.
he would walk to the door
with its small round window
look out on the silent expanse of corridor
sometimes resting his forehead
on that cool smooth glass
say the sea is rough outside today
think there is a storm coming.

and i so wanted to be the ocean
outside that window
looking in on the rows of children,
uniformed, heads bowed, clutching pencils in
hands too cold to write their names
or fabricated history.
i wanted to be the ocean outside that window –
i wanted to be the approaching storm.

 

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-25 at 20.13.29
Drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman

almost time to plant the seeds

over read and stuffed
fuzz full with headlines
and bylines transferred
and absorbed in
so many megabits of
inconsequential per second
i come to walk the sun-warmed dew.
hoping my feet will remember
where to plant the cauliflower,
where i left the spade,
what being human feels like
in this body and the body
of this earth that i walk on.

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-24 at 21.19.36
Drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman

so we put her back on the bus for the second term of her second year.

i imagine the sky
a little bluer
when you’re here,
hills a little greener
lakes so much more
ablaze in morning light –
and i smile with the house
smug on its spindly legs
sighing at her rooms
full of daughters.
but time shrinks
and rushes
when you walk
in the door
and cramming the days
back to back
full of beauty
does nothing at all
to slow it.
is it possible
that the tide
will not claim
our footprints
sandbound on
the sunlit shore.

at night in sleep
i nibble away
at the moon
watching the sky
turn the seasons.

 

WhatsApp Image 2017-04-23 at 19.45.18
Drawing by Tim Hewitt-Coleman

and today’s bonus poem(napowrimo 21)

remembering again

she said we were bleeding
at our roots.
she said of all the species
sharing this planet – we were
the only ones who had to pay
to live here
and after my silence,
like deep river swallowing stone,
i had to laugh
because that is a special kind of stupid –
and sunday school had taught
that we were the ones
who knew better
so we were the ones
who got to rule the earth –
lord it over everything.
(except those who lived in heaven
who would lord it over us)
and yet somehow here we are
at the tail end of an epoch
opening our eyes for the very first time
and seeing
seeing that way back when
and every day since then
we are choosing
the short end of the stick.
that in our choice
to lord it over everything
we replicate a pattern
to lord over
and be lorded over by
and each level of the hierarchy
pays its due to the lords above
in blood or oil or money or being
until we forget we made this choice.
that we chose
not to accept
we are no more than – that we
along with rock and river
and a billion other
shapes of life
are this earth –
together.
we don’t need
to earn a living.
we are life.