#NaPoWriMo

this is not art
this is just me speaking
you, too, in mind/memory
in response, in future?

this is the first poem
I write standing in asana
no-lap-laptop standing desk
freeing my hips from stasis and static

will it free mind/future from
corrosion of decades of sitting
or make, like a mentor once said,
“just prose with line breaks”

this isn’t worth the electrons
that will keep it visible
the rare earth minerals
in data centers I will never see

agree?

#NaPoWriMo ugh

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So light passes through leaf

What is this light that passes through a leaf?

Without my eye eclipsed by the leaf
the light lands where I can see it,
subsumed in other light
(or being more mobile than leaf, perhaps I
am the one with agency to eclipse).

What is this light that passes through leaf?
In the penumbra I can barely see it,
such bright light shuts my pupil:
I shun the glare involuntarily:
it lands in my iris.

What light passes through leaf?
In the umbra I dilate.
I dilate as if on purpose–
purpose–iris–unfallen leaf

From leaf I long to learn
to unimpede,
to look less solid,
as I know I am as much space between atoms
as the space between stars.

#NaPoWriMo

A short history of schools and immigration

America, did you have a soul to lose?

                        Did you have hope for your children?

Did you ever welcome anyone?

                        Did you put them in schools to ready them for jobs?

Did you belong here, from the beginning?

                        Did you round up the children to free up jobs?

This would not be the first time, America.

                        When are you going away?

America, I’m tired of you.

                        You brought them guns.

You kept them out.

                        You put them in pipelines:

                                    school to prison

                                    JROTC to army

                                    residential school to reservation

You forced them here:

                                slave ships

                                bombing their home countries

                                hunger             and           deprivation

Shithole country,

                        your own children are gunning you down.

You gave them no way out.

                        You teach them to shoot.

You entice them with jobs.

                        You train them for jobs.

You make them need jobs

                        that don’t exist.

Let’s get back “[t]o the real work, to

                         ‘what is to be done.’”

 

In Lime Rock Preserve

for Mary Wise Hughes
Originally published in
Poecology V (Aug. 2015) http://poecology.org/issue-5/lutz/

Extra mothers to each others’ kids,
you and I have walked this land
of sweet soil before. Remember: we found
a jack-in-the-pulpit growing here
like an old friend with whom time
collapses to nothing: the joy!

And once we came when the wild dogwoods
floated their white sepals amid
the blooming maples, as if they came
from the same tree.
Though it was named after the calcium
that makes its soil so sweet,
our children had remembered Lime Rock for its clay.
So we brought them back to the streambank,
to where the water carves miniature canyons,
to dig and to play.

Today, as we walk through fall rain without them,
we talk about our aging bones, how acid leaches
the sweetness from them, how the calcium ends up
in the wrong places—bone spur, kidney stones,
deposits. How it might be that all we have to do is
walk tall and upright for the calcium to know
where to go to rebuild our bones,
as it has been doing all our lives,
the tireless heart sending it there.

Tireless, like our friendship, our hearts never rest.
How can our hearts need neither rest nor faith to pump
and pump, just some effortless will and grace?

Maybe they are resting, between each beat—
maybe it is as easy for hearts to keep pumping
as for me to love you, my friend.
You make it so effortless—never failing me, ever,
and always knowing where the deposits are needed,
always seeing, sometimes the obvious
(like I’m moving out after 25 years of marriage
and need a home)
or the invisible (I need someone to reach in
and pull me out of hiding)
or simply to go for a walk,

like when we search this land
for the rare flowers only sweetness grows
(dark crimson lady slippers hidden in leaf mold),
and we mother each other as we wish our mothers had
—that way we do.

And again I will tell you,
again and again until you know it,
how your heart is as sweet as these streams,

as clear to me as these streams,
which carve into the substance of the world,
banking the muddy clay out of which
our children will shape their lives.

“No” –an occasional poem for Martin Luther King Day, 2019

No.

No, our borders are not secure
No, borders cannot be secured
without violence without state without state-sponsored violence
without state as sanctioned violence

No, borders cannot be secure
No, borders are an idea
borders are negotiated
at the end of a war

No border has no openings
no skin without pores, no wall without doors
No borders can be visible but as a line on a map
unless force unless forcible separation unless war
No, our borders are not secure
as war is the opposite of security

Without violence without state without state-sponsored violence,
what we fear is the other violence, the random
the child with a backpack full of guns
the gunman without a motive
the motive without a border
who moves throughout our lands

What is the motive of the border
What is the meaning of a wall
How cozy is it to be sealed off inside
my home my castle my country
How free is it to be untouched by the other

How delusional is it to be separate,
Alexa?

If security is peace why is security wearing a uniform and a gun
What parallel on the map matters
What home does the line transect
What village what habitat who decided
at the end of which war
from a room far away

What languages are spoken along that line
(fifty)
Who still speaks them and why do they divide
themselves from us that way
Why do languages die every year
(four)
Why do species die every day
Why do people die every day to cross the border

Why do children die to cross the border
Why do children cross the line
Why does the line transect the parent and child
transect the community and its water
the butterfly and its sweet nectar

Why is the line one hundred-miles wide
Why is it called the border when it is a zone
Why can anyone be stopped in the borderlands
of the free side of the line

by the state
by state sanctioned violence
by the state as sanctioned violence

How can the free side of the line
call itself free

New kinds of weather

‘Thunder snow’ shocks softly
with lavender lightning.
Silence.……..  …Rumbling,
muffling.….    ……Flashes
from high in the low clouds
curiously hard to distinguish from
the arcing of transformers
where wind strains wires
from poles; but those
light the blizzard
from within
with a pale version of new-maple-leaf-&-flower
(lavender’s chartreuse)—
………………………………………..then all
falls back to grey
……………….            and greyer.

Indoors, lights flicker
as neighborhood after neighborhood
goes dark all over town,
one side of the street, then ours.
We light dusty candles and
remember how to trim
an oil-lamp wick, pile food from fridge
into coolers on the deck.
Overnight two feet of snow
thrown over them like a lumpy comforter:
moguls of the flatlands;
and we are happy to be homebound.

Finally, as we shovel together,
a chance to talk with the Mormon neighbors
who declined the move-in pie.
That and snowshoeing and the glee
of sledders make a short day
with an excuse to visit the widows
and the divorced.

That evening, a single elder carries
his sleeping bag across the street,
miner’s light on his forehead
beaming both ways
—no cars, still white—

and he, a one-time chemist, explains to us
old hippies why he hoped
we might have a hand grinder
for his coffee beans.

 

This poem was previously published by Arachne Press in the anthology Shortest Day, Longest Night and preformed in London as part of the Solstice Shorts festival. Details.