Who were you?
A foreigner
a mere woman?

Perhaps I valued you
beyond the common measure

I think of the possibility
of lives we have lived
in some past time
some other world

I guess I am a Buddhist
after all.

Because
this fascination
this love
goes beyond my experience

What can I compare it to?

I believe in the potency of desire
that it can manifest itself
across a span of years

a span of lifetimes

I can imagine
that we were
then as now
different in appearance
from cultures widely separated

Let's say that I wanted you
that you wanted me
for so it is today

Let's say that circumstances
kept us apart
or prevented us from meeting
as equals

Let us say, finally,
that this world
in which anything seems to be permitted
was created for us
that we might meet again.

What an absurd
romantic notion!

Tonight the lights are all on.
Other beings surround me.
This world is a different world
for each one of them,
though strangely the same.

Surely this world is ours.
The lights
are brightly lit.

Thousands of insects
cover the glass
dazzled by this light.

We must be dazzled, as well.
For none of us can see.

Not a one of us
can touch the heart
of another.

So since all is permitted
let us permit ourselves this

that we can touch one another
each into each.
A poem I wrote in 1979 speaking to Rachel.
Jeff Stier Sep 2
In this life
we are sculpted down
to bone
burned to cinders
and our ash
tossed without regret
into the four winds

I wish I could live.
Be a man.
Find comfort in the sun.

But every cell in my body
revolts against time
cries out against the sun
speaks in tongues
for the sole purpose
of creating an outrage
against ***.

Oh Lord!
How did you make us thus?
And why?
Above all
why?

We are made metal
and in the end
alloy with the sun.

Our breath is drawn
to fuel that fire
bring life to a boil
and
if luck prevails
to wake each morning
in comfort
and with a smile.

Perhaps the last sweet smile.
  Aug 20 Jeff Stier
Akira Chinen
My heart could not beat without his
so small
so delicate
in a world of its own

I have known grief and tragedy
heartache and lost
the blue loneliness of depression
as cold and dark as an empty sea

I have known love
in many different faces
in many different ways
I have walked through
its endless fields
of flowers burning
in the palms of eternity

but this love
in his heart

it is born from legends
of fairy tales forgotten
prayers from old gods
whose name we never knew
the magic and wonder
that is only found
in the heart of children

all children

and how blessed are we
to know their smiles
and to hear their laughter
to be touched by
their infinite wisdom

so simple
so true
so beautiful

how is it that we have forgotten
we too were once children
how did we lose our way
where in our education
were we taught the things
that stripped us
of our own magic and wonder

and will we be foolish enough
to hand this same education
down to our children too

hope

at times is a heavy burden
a burden we must not drop
a burden we must carry
for our children sit atop this hope
they play and laugh
and imagine
within this hope
they carry and protect
the love of wonder and magic

here in this hope
is their better tomorrow
their better world

I squeeze him a little tighter
and a little longer
hoping he will manage
to hold onto his childish wisdom
despite his education

and I feel his little heart
echo against mine

so small
so delicate
building a world of its own
  Aug 17 Jeff Stier
Akira Chinen
She came to me in a dream
of bones
floating on top of the waters
of a riverbed of death
her cold lips
offered a warm smile
and the promise
of a place better than this
I heard my heartbeat slow
and fade
as I gave into the hope
of drowning
and dropped my bones
one by one
into the peaceful current
of her limbs
and now I can’t remember
my name or my sins
and I am no longer
here or there
but if this dream isn’t lying
I have finally found my home
#dreamweavers
Jeff Stier Aug 16
One day bleeds
into the next

Leaves wounds
that won’t heal
measures our moments
into finite statements
that knit the hours
into a tapestry of tedium

Where is the joy
I was promised?
Where
the lively waltz?

I grieve before every hour
and bend before fate’s great weight
tremble incessantly
and starve in the midst of plenty

Yet I hold my head up
march on
determined to reach that far shore
where fate will take us
and luck will leave us.
Jeff Stier Aug 6
I’m up early
as always
swimming in the currents of
a sweet morning
in summer
in Oregon
as if for the first time

Much like the morning
years past
when I woke
with a new girl
in a cemetery in Eugene

We went there to escape the heat
slept on a blanket
***** in the night

So alive were we
and in love

Practicing, perhaps,
for the day when sleep
and death
converge.
Walking the steep narrow street,
My lurching steps thrown off by cobblestones,
My shoulder suddenly brushing
the sweating walls
Of the stone row houses —
I see my reflection like a visiting spirit
distorted in wavy glass windows
Half-shuttered, and framed
By flaking trim, slivers of soft
blue paint drifting to the paving stones;
above my head, filigreed balconies jut out
Filled with clay pots of Spanish lavender
And trailing succulents,
As the breeze *****
the blinding white lace curtains
to flap among the medieval simplicity
Of the worn walled town.

The church bell clangs its hollow ancient call,
And I hear a sweet song,
reverberating among the stone.
I look up to see
a delicate caged canary,
its forked tail and soft belly just visible,
its beak open and throat throbbing
with the passion only
a caged bird knows.

I think of the goldfinches—
The wild canaries—
As yellow as dandelions,
that fly to my thistle sock
At the edge of the forest,
their wild song piercing
the still summer air,
Their wildness quivering in their
Very flight, undulating from branch
To feeder, to take the thistle as a gift
and give their song,
freely,
in return.
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