The Clouds, Like Us

The clouds, like us, seem made of naught but dust:
We travel over hard and rocky ground,
Through countless miles agitated strife,
Then pour our dirty selves back down to earth,
As ash to ash, and dust to dust, indeed.

The clouds, like us, chaotic and obscure:
We tangle in each other, slipping out,
And heaving back into confusing mist.
The past, the future, both – so much to know
That we can never fathom, though we try,
To find some shape or order in it all.

The clouds, like us, whose days are hard and brief:
But in whose tears are growth, and life, and hope.


Social realities
Common dualities
Made from societal modern modalities

Hoping for Socrates
Stuck with banalities
Tortured by habit and anger and lyme disease

    Cherries we pick and then stack into piles
    Hidden by marketing image and smiles

Alibis heightening
Chains are all tightening
People who jump at the first sign of ripening

Burdens delightening
Fear of de-whitening
All who can listen are due for enlightening

    Cherries we pick and then bushel away
    Fruit that must come, and the price
    We must pay

Of Paradise

There is a history, untold,
Of paradise and passions bred;
And so we spend our living days
Among the houses of the dead

Beneath the selfsame sky they knew,
We walk their paths, and feel their souls:
For all that was, is yet to be,
And written on our own hearts’ scrolls

There was a story, long ago,
Of paradise and brilliance shed,
And so, these hours in the sun,
Where blue desires led to red

As time goes to infinity,
So we must go as humankind;
For all that was, is yet to be,
Our past and future, intertwined

Of paradise, there’s much to learn —
Like knowledge, softly shaken, in its turn

The Price The Tribe Demands

In thought and look and feeling

In action and in word

That’s overlooked, or sanctioned

To swallow the absurd

In reasons for our reasons

To hide what’s true or real

Complicity –
Acceptance of what’s evil

And paucity
In truth to what we feel

Why Do We Dream of Dragons? (2)

the restaurant slow,
my food to go,
and she, behind the counter
so tall, so young,
so sad, it seemed.
i asked her how she’d been.

she smiled as she spoke, but then –

trailed off.

i asked her,
do you need to talk?
and she said
and so we walked around the way.

i don’t know why i trust you, sir.
it’s kind of weird.

i know it is.
it happens, though.
so what’s been wrong?

she looked across the parking lot;
a man was smoking, furtively.
she said

i made a plan
while still in high school.
what i’d learn
and who i’d be.
and i have followed it.
i graduate next may
from university;
and everything has fallen
into line.

but it’s not what you thought?

it’s not.
i feel an emptiness
not tied to anyone or thing.
it’s made me kind of angry.
and people my own age
infuriate me.
at least,
the ones at school.

what do you think you want?

to be in love.
to be admired.
to live a life worth living.

and how’s that going?

not too well.
finding people
who are interested in me
is not that hard.
i can’t seem to avoid them.

have you ever been in love?
if you don’t mind my asking?

oh, yes.
love involves a lot of pain.

yep, that sounds like love alright.
so, what do you do?

the man smoking threw down
his cigarette and
returned to the pizza place
across the parking lot

i don’t know what to do.
that’s the problem.
i don’t like feeling this way.
i had a plan.
i followed it.
i’m supposed to have it all together.

and you feel like having doubt
makes you different from
everyone else you know?

that’s it exactly.
how did i know you’d know?

i’m sort of a
“spirit father”
for you,
i think.

or i’m a spirit daughter for you.
i’ve never actually met
my own father.

well, spirit daughter:
i don’t have answers, or advice.
many of us doubt:
and many of those hide their doubt.
love is indeed painful,
and life is messy and
refuses often to conform to our plans.
do you plan to work as an artist?

but as you said, “plans”.
i will still work here
through school.

well, for what it’s worth,
i’ve seen your work, and
i believe in you.

she looked at me,
her eyes shining,
then stood up, saying
her break was over.
i picked up my to-go order
from the steps where
we’d been sitting.
she said

thank you
spirit father.
i think that helped.