The swingset

Unable to resist
the crunch of the mulch
the slinky whisper of stones
or the coughing of sand
beneath my feet.

Unable to resist
the chapped lips and chafed hands
the rusted stink and slivers of wear
the chain link of swing and rubberband seat

Unable to resist
the reach of shoes to sun
the ignorance of gravity and gloat
watching the uncemented posts of the swingset float

Unable to resist
the back and forth
the universe showing me off like a yo-yo
practicing me to go “around the world”
but stuck on “walk the dog”
and “you are getting very sleepy”

When I was swinging at 7
I used to wonder about someone else
swinging just like me
at just this moment
at just this point in the world reversed

I now walk to each pair of swings
and look for the holes in the mulch where the set would come apart
and wake the world to my knowledge
that it was me I was wondering
me who would be swinging just like me
at just this moment

unable to resist
that the world reversed
was just a reflection
of time.

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Construction Zone

jackhammer
soothing the sound barrier
like a screaming robot.

shovels dig and splay the broken street
right in front of others
the loaded cars breathing ragged
on all sides.

road signs
threaten with the menace of a mouse
in a lion’s mouth.

orange orange
black messages
slow, be prepared to stop,
rough road ahead.

Pre-Murmuration

I wrote once about the flutter of the birds.

The uncanny itching at the back of my neck
when I see them amassed on the power lines
or spread out like fallen leaves on the pavement

just before they go.

I wonder when they leap in unison
silent but for the flap of freedom

whether they were spooked
sentient of what’s to come
and jumping ship before
the pulling of our world apart

or merciful
easing their flock into flux
their combined weight lifting the world

at once

and showing the safety in brethren.

To the Wind

The moment I arrived here
your movement was inevitable
your insistence to know me palpable
your crash into me sound.

There are some
who find the music of our conversation
grating

our tinker and tanker loud
uninviting
pushing matter around, shrill and
incessant.

There are some who surrender
who hear our adventure
who marvel the volumes between our song.

The evening sends you faster
brings more of my laughter
but I prefer the morning.

The brisk of you early
quiet murmurs, careful swinging
I am knowing your patterns by knowing.

They could watch us every day
but instead we fade
into their landscape background.

I am fine without lines
without center of eyes
I am alive when you are around me.

The Silent Fly

I tap the keys,
brush a few crumbs from the desk and smack my lips
in anticipation of eating
the snack of my people.

No air circulating or swimming around my ears
nothing but city pouring in from the night.
This millpond of stagnant refusing to drip

so much so I don’t at first notice the silent fly.

The silent fly is attached to my wall,
no amount of closeness or flapping hands can disturb
I watch him refuse to move for a minute

and return to my snack
and my work.

An hour later, I look up and he’s gone,
no more silent fly.
Until I turn to pull open my door

and he is there again, frozen halfway to the knob.
I reach for the door, palm up to swat him
and he doesn’t budge, not even a buzz.

I pinch my teeth and pucker my lips
ready to admit defeat.
But the silent fly doesn’t watch me move,
doesn’t crawl or zoom or careen.

The snack long gone and the keys at rest,
I scrub my face and cast off to bed.
The window still open, still waiting for breath,
I am alone without my fly once again.

Once my light is off, and I am finally feeling the breeze
washing away the last of my insomnia

I pull the sheet close, squeeze the pillow
and hear the fly finally unfreeze.

I Can Hear My Sleep

Twitching in the legs of the bug outside
fluttering in the fluorescent-drenched moth
tickling in the wind on my cheek

I can hear my sleep.

Soft breaths pulled in like the evening tide
counting the blackness and make-believe stars
washing your face off my cooling mind

I can hear my sleep.

Picturing the clothes I’ve torn off the night
putting to bed the id and her playmate
walking the dog who barks in my head

I can hear my sleep.

A Thank You Note to Bartolomeo Cristofori

I used to be another instrument,
pinched and plucked, full of one voice
one dynamic, no matter how hard or soft I was played
waiting for the movement.

Until you came along
and added one piece to my purpose
and set me free.

I became a rainbow of sound
sensations offered to the fingers of my fellow man
those who touched me poorly or soundly could finally hear my song

and theirs.

Rainbow Shirt

The faded blue shirt
stuck in the corner of my closet
goes through periods where it doesn’t move.

Discovering it underneath woolen socks
or a pile of seldom worn jeans
is like opening the door and finding an old friend
ready to embrace you after it rains.

Long ago I stopped wearing it outside
but now I walk it around the house
wearing blue threads from the shoulder
wearing the staunch into slouch.

The back has a phrase in spotted white
a mantra of sorts, from the concert
“Have you ever heard a rainbow sing?”
Nonsense unless you were there.

The ethereal blend of children’s voices
falls in line with cold lazy mornings.
When I recall the last year I was part of the cheer
the shirt invokes tears and good choices.

I will not keep the shirt out of sight
I will tug it over my head
I will close my eyes and remember the night
before singing that promise to sleep.