The Discovery of Grass

Grass. Photo by Nevit Dilmen

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. ~ William Blake

I saw grass for the first time today.
Oh, I’ve seen, sown and sawn Suburbia’s
mostly-green undergarment all my life.
But today it glowed upon my mind’s eyes like
a child’s first birthday present inside a shiny box.
I enjoy that infant-like discovery
of something I know I’ve held in my senses
since first I sensed. Maybe it’s
the light’s different angle reflected to this
ever-shrinking man, or this shallower air
I breathe that, say, a pumpkin pie baking
can infuse with the aroma of earthy heaven
upon heavenly earth.

Or perhaps it’s just me, searching for
something new in a life of so much now old.
Like today, the cords in the blinds
in front of me never had that figure-eight
infinity-upon-infinity existence before
my vision’s finite reach captured them here
in I’s, Y’s and F’s like this.
Such observations make me wish
for a few infinities so that I
might try discovering
the Whats and Whys of your world,
which I’ll never see, and those of mine,
which you’ll never understand.
Nor, apparently, will I.

The Search


The search begins and ends
in this same spot every day,
where the concrete beneath me
is as hard as a cold-blooded heart
but as giving of daylong warmth
as a full bottle.

The seeking is much better at night,
when you can’t see the memories
in the face of the sun.
Those are the ones that hurt
if you stare too long at them.
And faces are meant to be ignored.

Illumination and clarity
are overrated anyway when
what you’re trying to remember
is how to forget, and the memory
is as rough as this concrete upon
which the search begins and ends.

I prefer the hard and warm
of this perch, and the comfort
of that bottle, to the soft
and cold arms that won’t let me
go, chill and flaccid as
the lips they drew to mine.

A raw free write for Kellie Elmore’s photo prompt below the title. The arresting photo is by Kellie, as well.


invisible man

invisible man (Photo credit: flickrPrince)

Trying to write a poem without using
that word, that concept around which
most of them are built, is harder than it looks.
It can be done, some say,
because all you really want
to know about is YOU, but it still
feels awfully distant and sterile.

Have you ever tried painting
a landscape without using green?
What does a symphony composed
to be played on Jello mounds sound like?
It’s possible to enter a confessional box
and recite everyone else’s transgressions,
but then where’s the sweat-beaded contrition?

It would be a sauceless, unseasoned,
unsweetened bit of verse concocted
and best consumed alone in a cave,
that, thankfully, is almost done. One in which
that whiney 1st Person thingy wasn’t used.
Not even once. Wasn’t so hard after all.
So how do YOU think I did?


Carry On

"Please report any unattended luggage."

“Please report any unattended luggage.” (Photo credit: ToastyKen)

As the traveler sat waiting and waiting for his flight out of there,
he heard over and over that recorded statement
from the Feds by the guy whose authoritative voice
they want to sound like God. You know,
to scare you straight. He thought by the tenth time,
the voice actually sounded like a game show announcer.
Everyone knows God sounds like Johnny Cash, he mused.
He must have heard that stentorian spiel
twenty or thirty times more telling him
to leave untouched any baggage he might come across.
And never, ever carry anything for another person.
No problem, he thought. He already left behind
so much of everyone else’s baggage, even his own,
months ago. It all just became too heavy to carry.
Now he traveled light and kept everything he really needed
in that small bag against his chest. Inside his chest.
He was only too happy to declare that with a smile
when he finally arrived at his destination.

Peace in the Desert

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peace reigns in this treeless desert of quiet.
Here I don’t worry about the philosophical
or metaphysical question of a falling oak,
redwood, or even a palm if I don’t wish to.
Many will never understand my affinity
for the neatness of the seemingly
dust-cursed and barren wastes of alone.
I don’t mind. The desert protects its own.
Always shifting, always the winds of time
giving me new geography to chronicle
and erasing the needless old steps,
always the sound of my own voice
when I wish to listen to it.

And there are plenty of others here.
Just very, very far apart.

My wanderings have crossed paths
with some of these nomads
and I have fallen in with another.
Sometimes we go off, each of us alone,
to listen to the desert,
take comfort in its cleanliness
of thought and deed and spirit.
We always seem to come back
to share our discoveries
and keep one another warm on cold nights
of what once was just one voice,
one heartbeat wandering
in that wind and the blessed quiet.