Tell nature that she can’t fit
all seasons into one week.
She’ll laugh so hard that
she’ll make the sun shine on Monday
that she’ll rain tears on Tuesday
that turns into snow on Wednesday
and she’ll start all over again on Thursday
while kids sled on melting snow on green grass
down the hill on Lincoln Drive--
an act of joyous surrender
and you unzip yourself like
the parka you wore for one day
but keep for all seasons.
We talk about beginnings and endings
like we know what they are and can spot them
coming around the corner or predict
them like a green light turning red in traffic.
But really, we're just stuck in the middle
of a book without titles or chapters-
a movie without rewinds or pauses
or dramatic music in the brackground.
Instead you'll hear your steady inhales and
your exhales, your heartbeats,your thoughts echo.
Picture a room with white walls, small-windowed.
Through the window, no moon shines like it should.
This view knows streetlights better than starlight,
in the tender dark of this April night,
but someone's still writing about their glow.
And I know her eyes are heavy with sleep.
Still she watches the silver twilight seep
toward the tall lamps-posts, like spilled earl gray.
She wishes like a dream that it would stay,
that she could stave twilight from its lilac fade.
Your friends' new place is by the Red River;
You notice the wood signs hung on their wall:
Stencils with the first letters of their names
comprised of corks from bottles they emptied
and another--"Pasta and wine, good times".
When they talk, it’s about
parties with beer, wine, and vodka spilling
out of cups, down dresses onto the floor;
recalls of day-drinking
and smoking cigars on the balcony
in college and oh, just last-night’s partying
yes, at Jason’s wedding
reception in the Ramada ballroom.
Don’t forget the leprechaun loop of bars
downtown on St. Patrick’s.
or the party buses that bring you there;
the first stop will have a schooner waiting
with Long Island iced tea.
This talk of drinking makes you all hungry,
at Barbacoa you order tacos
and think of ordering another round.
Another day, you drink pink lemonade
at Olive Garden and ask, How would it
taste in a cocktail?
At work, coworkers laugh off a hard day
and someone says, “I need a drink.”
And someone adds, “We all need drinks.”
At the bonfire on Saturday night,
someone laughs about the campus’s bikes
being thrown and found in the Elm Coulee
and another adds, “We like to drink here.”
Someone says, “That’s why I have a big cup.”
Who needs a bike anyway? They have cars.
Some of your friends drinking are driving home.
When the cup passes to you, you sip some.
The fire flickers and blows smoke that flies
into the wind over the rest of town,
over a river that can’t quench its thirst.
Starlight is just a crack in the night sky.
The night is just a cape for the daylight,
a shadow spanning the earth's blue surface.
The earth is just a blue marble spinning
around the sun, catching a flash of light.
The sun is just a yellow bonfire
roaring in a space without sound or air,
like in your head when you read these lines.
This is just a poem trying to describe
the magic to be glimpsed in the night sky.
So well, honest people make poor poets,
since they want dockyard receipts from Sparta
for how many ships Helen’s face launched there.
Honest details make the best poetry.
Poets plant made-up gardens with real toads,
where clothing and china patterns are art.
Poets write because they have things to say.
They write because they have things they can’t say,
and so, start with the sobs they can’t swallow.
Poetry is like life, being one big question
that you live until the answers arrive,
And emotion finds thought and thought find words.
In early morning, see your shadow now
borne from gold light from the window and here
it looks something silver on the desk and
bends over the chair, an arc of bird flight.
The morning light lingers like a halo.
Look further now, the richness at your feet.
For a moment, even your darkness shines.
Next morning, it will be here as usual
with the familiarity of a friend.
Not too long ago, life was all shadows
and not once did daylight shine on your own.
That time will come again, of course, but recall
that today stands alone and beautiful.
On the first day of spring, I see bare earth
and feel the cold in my fingers and toes.
So, I ask again when winter will end.
But the birds sing early in the morning
and remind me with the promise of the sun.
Wait, they tell me, for all good things take time.
So, I wait for sun shining on the rain
and for the rain falling in the sunshine.
Here, melted snow mixes with dust and dirt.
But remember, this is where flowers grow.