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Poetry

Inspiration and Influence

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I live my life in widening circles

that reach out across the world.

I may not complete this last one

but I will give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.

I've been circling for thousands of years

and I still don't know: am I a falcon,

a storm, or a great song?

Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s the skin’s ashes begging for revival
that I can hear, every day
calling me in waves of familiarity.
My choice: do I perpetuate their longings? Or do I choose
to close the door
temporarily.
I see their flecks around every avenue
my mind seeking to make bonds
tie knots, make a muse of melancholy.
It’s easy to ignore their whispers
momentarily.
Yet encased within those loudest minutes
spirals descend:

pushing me to become louder -
perhaps then, I can rise with those ashes
that have peeled themselves away from my flesh
imploring me

to make them spin
once more.

I’ve chosen to dance again
my inhibition cut open
by the knife in my own hand. I’ll pierce my own skin
paint words with this blood
replaying their stories
execution of grace:
their skin
having become
my ashes.
Wind breathes through in meanders

as blood drips through new openings

awakened 

by the dusk that infiltrated its way into those days

where all I did was wait.

 

Solitude took me for four days

as I lay stranded opposite a bronze age burial ground

reminding me, continuously,

this breath will end.

 

Traffic began to commence once more even when

I didn’t feel ready;

 

I wished to stay by the stream

reflecting tears not ready to fall from my eyes

just yet

 

and yet

 

morphing time saw an exposure back

into a concrete world where it was hard to spot the jungle,

more difficult to ascertain where our roots were buried.

 

Amongst dirt saw freckles reflected back to the earth

remaining hidden underneath cracks

about to break open;

 

a recentring formation

breathes in cold winds to keep me from falling,

holding in air to keep me afloat in a world

forsaken in darkness,

in a light not fully penetrating through

as we forget mortality’s limits.

There is a city where we walk

misplacing grandeur for iron,

cementing bones in amnesia

eyes closed, remaining hidden

from continual unveiling.

 

There is a city where I walk,

attempting to scrape surfaces

paved before I was sent through my mother’s canal,

awaiting my eyes to notice their gleam

whilst I rip through tarmac

in an attempt to allow soil to breathe;

 

once again

acknowledging those that brought me here.

 

There is a city where I walk

in an ongoing quest to locate the ruins and bones

of lives held in a different atmosphere;

lives held,

under guidance from those that take our exhale,

give us breath

 

and in my yearning

I bow

in reverence

to the beats that come from a pulse

which remain consistent,

and insistent reminder

 

to make an attempt

 

to remember

 

scents that were carefully picked

for their fragrances

to awaken senses

out of lingering ashes,

chosen 

to remind us

of who

we came from

and who

we return to

when we exit this city.

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

William E. Stafford

If you don't know the kind of person I am

and I don't know the kind of person you are

a pattern that others made may prevail in the world

and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

 

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,

a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break

sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood

storming out to play through the broken dike.

 

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,

but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,

I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty

to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

 

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,

a remote important region in all who talk:

though we could fool each other, we should consider—

lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

 

For it is important that awake people be awake,

or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;

the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

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