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We Are So Lightly Here

“So come, my friends, be not afraid, we are so lightly here
It is in love that we are made, in love we disappear
Though all the maps of blood and flesh are posted on the door
There’s no one who has told us yet what Boogie Street is for”
Leonard Cohen “Boogie Street”


                                                     <~>

my body, my eyes, my entirety, tattooed, with a city map,
here, at this exact place, our eyes glanced, our eyes closed,
who among us does not possess such a living guide,
memories presented in a 3-D versions, constantly edited.

placed your hand on my privacy, bid you enter, not a dare,
more an invitation to risk, become a true love of mine,
share exhilaration, desert valleys that pockmark unexpectedly,
changes us to we, regresses, you and me, post-survivalists cut.

2 gather, modify highs/lows, meet & peaking@peculiar tunes,
ever embraces residuals a sour film upon our lips, a puzzling,
what excites, pacifies, returns us street corner, X’d our map,
glances exchanged across an empty street, seeing each, not.
a thousand years ago, wrote a poem called
“why I always carry tissues”  -
a labor of love to
mine own toddlers misadventures,
requiring love covered in tissues so soft,
yet an ironclad coating
of natural substantive parenting
useful for tearing eyes, running noses,
and the cuts of living outdoors joyously

children grow older and oft that means,
they seek not your counsel,
and if offered, politely ignored,
for so it goes tween fathers and sons

then one summer days you receive an
observation, a datapoint that irradiates,
a quiet confirmation that not everything
you’ve said and done has gone astray

a young’un of “almost ten,” informs her father,
around the luncheon table of three generations,
that her foot is hurting; the son, now the father,
diagnosis renders, a blister, which will require
a protective custody that will protect the child’s
feet from the ravages of furious Shell Beach fun,
or the rough of a Manhattan sidewalk

I watch with a joy so quiet and so overwhelming,
as the son-father reaches into a cargo pocket,
producing not one but two bandaids, for life
requires backups for there are other babes about,
who at moments notice, produce scrapes and cuts
of ever greater consequence for each year they age

his wife renders me overjoyed, when she dryly
observe how certain children are lucky that
their father always carries bandaids, a new factoid,
for me, an unknown that glistens like a wet shell

now my eyes tearing, for a message in a bandaid,
or a tissue no matter which, is a certified proof,
somehow a message got through the clutter,
marked “well received,” that loving well requires
an oh so very hard attention to details, and that deep pockets
are repositories of good notions, handed down generations

June 24, 2021

Shell Beach
the body is atrophying,
rising from the bed is an
exercise in handholds, comedy physical
wall-grabbing, flail to fall, laughing at myself, still

my super quiet whispers in the bed
of imminent death go unheard,
as somewhat desired, but not entirely,
3/4 tween unsure and surely and surly.

the blood don’t circulate fast enough,
streams slow, sad songs Pandora accumulates,
and Spotify artificial intelligence finds more,
certifying a usual unusual, feel dust mites breaking off of me

<>

mind running in rivulets, fear floes,
courage-drowned, easy stuff
impossible, hard, beyond pale, summer melt,
drowning in self-disgust, hapless hopeless harmonic wastage

every deadline passes, dying,
easygoing no screaming, the
minimal, hard, past the behind, the pale,
the poetry is untraceable, untranslatable and never-good-enough


the easy out is steps away,
illusions are illusory, delusions offer no comfort,
stories you tell for amusement, leaving whimsical
dreams are practice runs, for the longer run, will shortly come do-due

the poem words die on the vine,
scorned silence, best is past,
appropriate ignominy is red-****** iced,
so it goes, no minyan for the funeral, no ten friends


the query repeatedly reappears,
how did I mess up so bad, some part
lazy, part afraid, humans, so much effort,
the voices-in-head saying, we’re plenty good enough

shelter can become a prison, an island,
fortress or prison, a salvation pretense,
osprey overhead, preying, feeding next gen,
hear-’em discussing options when “sleeping,”
his affairs in order?, which smile provokes the provocateur


my affairs long dustbin guests,
sand and atmospheric disbursed,
your next poem probably, granules contained,
for this is how all life is transferred, I’m in a tiny minute, in you…
July 2021
Though she once,
At the moment of her birth,
Shone with immeasurable light, 
Unadulterated, unremitting, unashamed
Breaking the barriers of time and space
Wide-eyed emerging into that very first day
Unwrapping the shadowed arms of the other side

Though she proclaimed
I am here!
Like the brightest star,
Speaking with her spirit alone

Having not yet lost
The language of God

Though she was at that moment
Lifted into her place
Embraced by vast, light-laden arcs
Cast just right
A speck of hope within the wide
Galaxy of life

Though she emerged bright
And sure,

She fell

She plunged through a darkness that stole it all
Light years of cold
Voices that battered the
Stardust core
Of her soul

Until one day
At the edge of some endless abyss
She turned and tried to find her own star amongst the farthest
Reaches of the night sky,
Eyes seeking in the black,
And at last perceived the faintest glow,
A tiny spark from so many, many years ago,
A remnant of a little girl she once knew.

But the pain is just too far
And the cruel wind slaps at her reaching arms
And so she just steps back and lets herself fall
Away

Away from the light.

Away from it all.
For my mom, for me, for all. How the darkness can carry us so far. Away. I still believe we were born of light, once.
I live on a small (25 sq. mile) island, accessible only by ferry.

                                                  <>

“For we are dear to the immortal gods,
Living here, in the sea that rolls forever,
Distant from other lands and other men”

—Homer, the Odyssey (translated by Robert Fitzgerald)

                                                    ­  <>

sea air inoculates the slowing breath-taking ferried voyager,
our landed cares felled, fall into a wake, trailing, sunk & submerged,
a ferry’s ramp contact-clangs, belling a “Here, Here!” alters our mien,
the softening airy enveloping, fragrantly, a greeting of immortal gods


no matter that we can vision-easy the neighboring isles, with
their trafficked-light busyness, the to and fro of mainland life,
bustle necessity of hustle, our riveted river moat cancels out
imposing surround sounds, our untucked flavor, floating free


wafting perfume of quiet inlet, creek and harbour, touch us safely,
alternating currents of gentle breeze, stiffer sailing winds, gusts,
bending us, these reminders, we humans too, creatures of elementals,
water, sun, forest, sand, animals, singular upon co-hosted menagerie


the brackish water, where fresh + marine waters mix, live + die,
reflecting our pooling diversity, so few of us born here, yet so many,
adopt and adapt the isle’s peculiarities, endearing all without any
distinction, we blessed together by Immortal Gods to shelter together,

by, from, the seas that roll us into one peaceful island, nearly, dearly,

and now departed


                                                      ­ <>


Shell Beach,
Shelter Island
August 2021
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