Sacred Contracts XX: Elemental

    
I. Water   
    
It doesn't matter   
    
I have seen already   
the pitch of purple dye   
so wild my lips taste   
like something sweet   
berries turning to vinegar   
a fleshy Moon wincing   
at the sight of something   
other than creature   
other than man-made   
something only your mind   
can wink at when no one   
else is looking, even   
while the gods sleep   
I have always felt safe   
    
I have lived what it is like   
to feel you're just going   
through the motions   
It's never until you walk   
away from something   
that the very thing   
even existed   
    
By then it doesn't matter   
    
II. Fire   
    
Who's to say one love   
is different than another     
I know no different ways to love     
    
I don't want to be doused in flames     
I've been doused before     
I've had to stop, drop, and roll     
I've had to call ambulances   
I've had to lick the red   
to find out it was ketchup     
I have had to jump on top   
of him while his fishing pole   
dove into the wild current     
and we began to think love   
had something to do     
with drowning each other in cold   
rivers like deliberate murders   
    
Whatever burns, burns itself out   
eventually   
so it doesn't matter   
    
III. Air   
    
I want constant flow   
And though I know     
we cannot choose     
I don't want to have to fight   
for Air all of the time     
    
Sometimes it's about   
the distant constellations   
I learned when the stars     
are in a particular formation   
and the hunter's moon     
puts down her bayonet   
and the deep heavy woods   
of her eyes are full of your   
sweat and everyone's sweat   
the rain smells like canisters   
of levy wearing her poems   
like Sunday wears her widows   
that you are a piece of the     
arrangement, all your colors     
make the sound of god sighing   
while he does his laundry   
beating his head dress   
against the rocks.     
    
I know I didn't tell you   
when I should have     
But, poems are about that state   
trying to reach for the accuracy   
desired by the knight in you     
Words within words   
    
The language is often wrong   
and the skin in which it's read   
is often miscalculating   
what you've said, over-thinking   
    
Yet, when you step out of the room   
oh the things you begin to so easily     
communicate and understand     
    
But it doesn't matter now   
    
IV. Earth   
    
I learned when the earth tilts   
in just a certain way   
you find yourself in love     
until the upright position reveals   
his claws are too deep in your neck   
and the poems smell like aftershave     
    
If I could just close my eyes   
tight enough and wring   
out my occasional   
okay, my frequent distrust   
I might see how it didn't   
matter that the gods   
set another place at my table   
that the event was ribbons and future     
and I was a no show   
It doesn't matter now   
    
It doesn't matter now   
    
That is a poor line in a poem     
It does not matter now   
the unimportance of subject   
a narrator chooses   
all your life     
every door that creaked   
every man or woman you unhinged   
every boulder colliding with your god   
you are this moment   
up to your knees   
in the thick of reading this   
    
Every second has led to this   
So how dare I say     
it does not matter   
and waste your time   
with my plea   
    
V. Life   
    
Don't look at me like that   
like I've broken your heart   
Look at me like you   
would the strays you   
profess to love despite   
their circumstantial   
distrust of humans   
    
Look at me as you would   
look at their hesitance     
to believe your hand-out     
is all good without an ounce     
of slap in your wrist toward   
their one good eye   
or lie between your teeth   
after the winters they've   
been forced to freeze   
in the morgues of alleys   
    
You can't reason instinct   
you can only gain its trust   
and willing vulnerability   
through time and presence   
consistency       
    
You, who claim to understand   
the nature of global outcasts   
cannot dare claim to not     
understand the nature     
of patience amid a history   
of abandonment     
You cannot dare claim     
to not understand     
street vulnerability born     
of discarded belief.     
    
You cannot dare claim     
to not understand the nature     
of reality's relapse   
a sudden bite to your hand   
a painful memory against   
the cruel spurs of a street curb     
for being different   
for being hungry   
for existing     
    
You cannot claim to not   
understand the heart of   
a stray child, or woman   
for the same reason   
I cannot say anymore   
that it does not matter   
when it does     
    
VI. Death   
    
Crazy and free; trapped in   
melodramatic misery   
Yet, let it not be said   
I never listened to that   
which I so easily preached     
    
The manuscript is ready   
does this make you happy   
Celebrate for me, the slamming   
doors that aren't good enough   
the ones I never had to learn   
about in this life, or wear   
as mangy disappointment   
when all I ever wanted   
from the streets was love   
and water for a bath   
    
You are the beautiful man     
singing Seraphic hymns     
the deaf can't hear   
You are the solitary sage   
writing the ages of poetry     
that others turn away or ignore     
in their own ignorance   
    
You are the manifestation of     
a multifaceted orb in sun light     
and dark light despite your own     
human dishonesty from fear     
of loss in a momentary choice   
you will never admit to.     
    
This,   
this I remember of you   
of us   
    
VII. Resurrection     
    
I am just an observer resting     
on the street corner     
I watch each fellow stray lick their wounds     
each tourist take their photos   
sometimes I even pose for food   
and act like I trust for survival   
I watch each wine steward     
who thinks he knows me   
through his own sojourning   
with a wife or mistress 
I carefully watch each pass     
through and then back     
to their own life again   
as carefully as I watch God     
ascend again and again     
through death     
    
I record the data to take with me     
back into the dust that recycles   
its own breath through birth   
    
There's never a goodbye for us   
only a next lifetime in various forms   
and I will always find you     
watching from beneath the trees   
tugging with your eyes   
that southern point of paradise     
longing for eternal peace     
    
In all that brief wind and sky     
under the condor's wings     
~   

January 2017

​

Sacred Contracts XXXII: 'The (Extra)Ordinary Life'
 

Routine is clockwork         
with very few exceptions         
Evening fandangoes         
forty-eight hour soirees         
with maybe a holiday         
extending it along the way           
        
Our existence is simple here         
natural and picturesque         
something many envy and dream about         
We have a love for all things –         
alive and gone before us           
across the bridge         
        
We respect the land         
tend it with diligence         
take only what we need         
always honoring the kill         
that surrendered its life unto us         
        
We live in the moment instinctively         
without oath or promises         
a world of silent gratitude         
void of expectations or         
taken-for-granted moments         
        
“What is not forever         
is a gift – a bridge between         
absence and presence”         
that can seem circular         
throughout lifetimes           
        
But, tonight, over dinner         
when the light brushed         
the black of his irises         
blue as a crow’s feather         
I remembered    
      
I remembered how much you         
loved potatoes too         
I realized that choosing         
‘the ordinary life’ doesn’t mean         
we forget, just that we accept what is         
and thus discover peace         
        
And somewhere        
Somewhere beyond his joy         
his throated-laugher         
I remembered (y)ours     
        
I allowed myself that much         
in this (extra)’ordinary life’         
~
January 2017

Venus

​

Beyond cold panes of glass       
Ursa Minor ladles darkness       
as if to scoop me into a parallel       
dimension within the Universe       
      
Come morning it's replaced     
by Venus, a beacon atop     
an Autumnal Bradford Pear       
like some holiday ornament       
      
It’s not the Christmas Star       
but an Eastern orb of planet -     
Love so often mistaken       
for something it truly isn't     
      
I don't watch it disappear       
as a reticent sun emerges     
I witness a slow absorption         
      
I think ‘humans’ are the same,     
fragments of average intelligence       
entities on a gravitational leash       
amid a diminishing Eco system -       
      
Soul-threads of being who’ll never 
dissolve in death, but merge with 
a greater Source of our selves instead 
    
~

March, 2017

The Expansion of Experience
 

My house overlooks a park           
that fills my windows           
with children's laughter   
  
This morning an elderly couple   
sat quietly on the bench   
before birds woke   
  
their weight palpable   
  
She leaned into his shoulder   
as he pulled her close   
his head atop hers   
  
The Death Angel leaned   
against a tree enjoying a cigarette   
in no hurry to start the day   
  
or perhaps end the evening   
  
He Glanced up at me briefly   
tipped his Fedora, morning mist   
spilling from his exhale   
  
Why not this time, I thought   
I'm ready . . .   
  
At least take them together   
  
He smiled   
knowing I'm fully aware   
it's not the way of things   
  
I've never pretended to agreed   
with the way of things   
only accepted them as they are:   
  
The Expansion of Experience   
born of our own Choice   
  
This thought process ensures   
peace and happiness   
without attachment   
  
Which isn't to be confused   
with sorrow accompanying wisdom   
  
All these before-birth blueprints   
interlocking with everyone else's   
Creating Momentary Realities   
and Alternate Universes   
  
We observe awestruck   
sometimes painfully the   
meteor shower of circumstance   
  
Like now,   
  
the old man standing   
leading the woman into   
the wide-open mouth of sunrise   
  
It was like watching   
ending credits of a movie   
  
As they passed the swing set   
I thought about 'The Wish Mind'*   
attempting to define Eternity:   
  
Or maybe it’s the dominating   
see-saw in the center   
of the playground,   
whose rusty fulcrum squeals   
to the children:   
Life is long, William.   
Life is short, Kate.   
  
To Live without waste   
is to wish for nothing   
outside of what Is   
  
Yet, sometimes it's difficult   
to figure out what Is is   
without the Loyalty of a Friend   
  
We close doors to Self   
embrace Solitude   
Live our Lives alone   
in the presence of the Universe   
  
As I'd always done   
for lack of Trust   
  
As fractals of light confettied   
the room via multicolored crystals   
what was seemingly enormous   
became suddenly comforting   
  
Right about the moment Death   
shadowing the couple   
turned back and winked   
  
In that second, I understood   
beyond my own shadow of doubt 
exactly why I'd been left           
          
~           
 *'The Wish Mind'           
 ~ John Skoyles           
          
https://johnskoyles.org/poems/the-wish-mind/  

 

June 2017        

Sacred Contracts XXXIV: Enemy
 

When I was young(er)           
I despised my 'enemy'                 
crushed them with gossip         
        
gloated over failed attempts         
to despoil my happiness         
with their jealous tactics         
        
But, having aged, I realized         
their actions weren't about me         
but themselves         
        
Really; they were never adversaries       
just great teachers instead         
because I've been there;         
        
I've plowed bitter curriculum         
of experience until calcified classrooms         
curled arthritic in resentment         
        
lashed out in blame, sown         
putrid revenge to douse the Light         
emanating from a festive smile         
        
spewed vitriol into gale forces         
of Time, whose asymmetrical hands   
rounded the face of my own demise   
  
Decades of swallowing dust   
from failed crops weakened my resolve   
enough to submit and accept;   
  
to listen and recognize Love   
in each hopeless situation   
I'd brought upon myself   
  
to acknowledge responsibility   
for my own choices leading   
to heartache and loss   
  
to stop blaming everyone else   
for misguided steps   
I alone chose to take   
  
to heed Love's voice and follow   
despite Its pinioned sword   
drawing blood from mistakes   
  
For how can any of us discern   
delicious depth of ripened juice   
without first tasting sour fruit   
  
This is the Holy Grail of Truth:   
We stunt our growth worshipping   
a past that's long forgotten us             
. . .   
  
From the fibers of gnarled carpet   
I prayed and begged for Love;   
It heard and called me forth   
  
Someday, when you're old(er)   
you'll learn ( as I did, the hard way. . .);   
it will also call yours   
  
You'll discern ( as I did )   
you've sabbotaged yourself enough   
and are worthy of so much more   
  
My earnest prayer for you   
is to realize you're not a victim   
to point blame at anyone   
  
But, the Creator of your own reality   
emitting a mirrored back frequency   
whether gratitude or misery   
  
Because you, and only you   
have ever been   
your own worst enemy                 
                
~

October 2017

One Way ( or another )

​

Upon the Trail of Tears     
a Buffalo Spirit retracts     
forgotten steps       
      
Its solitary shadow     
a historical reminder     
of native annihilation;     
      
a pale-faced slaughter     
not to appease hunger     
nor pelts for warmth     
      
But hopes of eradicating    
( via relocation )     
an indigenous population     
      
The Cherokee Nation       
 ~  

December, 2017    

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by TamArtsy