Sunday, September 30, 2018

Postcard 32


You can only appreciate what was
Lost when you look from a great
Distance. At first, you can't
Conceive of how the world
Changed, how the empty space in the sky
Will make your heart stop or how
The pictures from before will
Surprise you when you stumble upon them, unprepared.
In the immediate aftermath
You repeat your old patterns for
That is all you know. It's
Only after time and space
Impose new ways of being
Upon you, new habits which
Seem to have always existed
That you can be reminded by
A photograph or a song or a memory
Of how it used to be and how much
You can't forget

Postcard 31


Each day you hop up on that
Tight rope coated in lass shards
Juggling the expectations never spoken
     smile, but don't be too friendly
       share, just be careful what you reveal
         express yourself, yet think how others feel
Sometimes you may forget how
Precarious your footing is because
That thing line has become so familiar,
Your navigation so expert, and
No one ever mentions your skill,
Though you are rewarded for it while
Those who fail and fall serve as
Cautionary tales. It's easier to blame
The ones like them or those who complain.
Easier to smile and share and express the
You they tell you to be than to ask why
You must perform in this circus or
Who is the audience for whom
You balance and toss the balls

Postcard 30


The eyes are always watching
They now have lids that never close
They can see you when you wear a wig
Or try to hide your nose
Just attempt to live in privacy
To hide your moves and thoughts
Even if you think you're laying low
They track the things you bought
Of course we think it's not too bad
That we have nothing to conceal
But who decides what is and is not
Subversive? We can't stop how we feel
And even if you're squeaky clean
It's awkward to be surveilled
Sometimes you want to keep some secrets
Like your first crush or how much you weigh
That resentment at the eyes' instrusion
Is the beginning of the fight
Against the sheer entitlement expressed by the
Watcher's encroachment upon your rights

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Postcard 29


You know it's always watching
Silently interrogating, finding fault
Yet insisting that it is not there
Demanding you pretend, look away
Don't Stare. It challenges you
If you try to hide, suggests
Perhaps you're guilty of a
Crime or maybe a deadly sin
Wanting privacy is a type of
Pride is it not? Or are you concealing
Lust? Gluttony? Why not
Just give in to sloth and
Let the eye look you over
Collect your flaws, consume
Each detail for its own
Enjoyment or employment at its
Own convenience. Who are you
To question or refuse its gaze?
Don't think about it and you'll be fine. Also
Remember to smile!

Postcard 28


Tea brings out the glutton in me
Many have witness this side effect of
My decades long love affair with
English Breakfast, though I
Dallied for some time with an
Earl named Grey. I like to let it
Steep so dark it stains my
Bones as well as teeth. All
Friendships of note began with
Me shuffling through boxes of
Different varietals and caffeine levels
Waiting to create
Offerings of love in liquid form
Sometimes we poured the water
Over leaves and shared a pot, while
Other times we held our own bags
Sugar and milk could be taken or
Left, but not the boiling infusion
That defined our allegiances to
Flavor and to one another. So
Even after all this time, I taste
Memories in every cup

Postcard 27


One loves a catastrophe when it is
Elsewhere, someone else's, can be
Kept at arm's length, at a distance
Close enough to imagine one can
Feel the pain, but safely
Far away so the details are blurred
Not "love" as we traditionally
Use the word, but how else to
Describe the ghoulish fascination
The performative displays of grief
The overwrought mourning for a
Number of humans whose names
Remain unknown? Once the
Sound bites end and the
Attention goes elsewhere, we are
Left to recover alone, to go on.
Luckily, our city has shoulders
Big enough to carry us forward
We do not need to look to
Mountains for we built
Buildings that can scrape the sky
You can keep your tears, thank you, for they are
As helpful as thoughts and prayers

Friday, September 28, 2018

Postcard 26


Metamorphosis, as Kafka observed
Does not occur without causing
A degree of pain. We are attached
To the bodies we call home and the
Psychic Trauma of change cannot be
Ignored, at least, not without causing
More injury to the transformed. But
Evolution also hurts bystanders, maybe even more
As one has expectations of the
Ones we love, we think we
Know how to interact with the
World around us, we take
Comfort in repetition and sameness
We resent when patterns
Kaleidoscope into something else.
Arachne was industrious, yes, she
Boasted, but she loved her craft
She swiftly grew accustomed to
Her extra legs and self made silk
If only her friends and family were
More accepting, less afraid
They flinched when walking through her
Webs and shrieked when she would give them kisses

Postcard 25


Flat and featureless, promising
Rain, the sky is reflecting
Our collective longing and
Pain. It tells us it can see the
Days are so much shorter and
Soon the light will change
Another summer almost over
Another year flying by so fast
Yet grindingly slow. It feels it
Will last forever, but the next thing we know
We find we can see the end.
The slight chill seems more
Prophetic, a prediction of what
Lurks up ahead, in the future, a mere
Eyeblink away from now. Though we
Complain about the humidity and heat
We never miss the snow, we
Do not travel to the glaciers just to feel the
Snap of frost. But change looms and soon
We'll have eternal heat waves, our summers will be endless, and
Winter will be just a memory, a story we tell our grandchildren
As distant as Norse Gods

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Postcard 24


We sought out patterns in the
Stars and gave each one a name
Inside of them we placed
Our hearts, our dreams, our deepest shames
Stories grew about the exploits of these
Gods that lived above
Each one we used to teach ourselves
About the true nature of love
Or war or sometimes
Feelings we could not articulate
Outside of tales, for we
Lacked the language of the fates
We used the sky to teach us
How to become who we are
It's only right, when you think about it as
We all came from stars.
Each atom of our world
Once lived in a long dead sun
If only we could hear the myths
Told about us by constellations

Postcard 23


We had travelled for so long
Longer than our histories
Could recall, the beginning steps
Rendered into vague ghosts
Swirling in the mists of time past.
We could not tell you why
We journeyed, or why our ancestors had embarked,
Only that they had, that we did,
Our destination expanding ahead
Almost unreachable
Until the day we found it, the
Edge of the Universe, our
Ending of all that came before.
As we stood there looking out
Across the vista of that
Infinite nothingness and
Unknowingness, we felt the
Severing of ourselves from
All we had learned, created, amassed
Fear welled up inside each of us,
Our hearts were overflowing,
We called it love so that we
Could take that next step and
Keep moving forward

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Postcard 22


The autopsy revealed much
About the contents of the body
Everything laid bare for all the
World to see, though it was
Different from the idea we
Carried in our heads about
What lurked inside. We
Searched in vain for a soul,
We found the heart to be a
Disappointment, while the loops of the brain
Failed to grant access to its
Mysteries. Frankly, it was
All too much, too full, too complete.
Where was the chasm of
Longing, the emptiness, the
Infinite space into which we
Poured our religion and acquisitions?
Had we wasted our lives
Looking for experience and objects
Trying to fill a hole that wasn't there?

Postcard 21


We thought we were prepared for
The Chehalid ships we had
Tracked for centuries. From the
First weak message our instruments
Picked up and broadcast to the
World, the satellites were
Fixed to Centralia Alpha and
We watched the blips in the
Space-Time continuum grow
Closer. With each day that
Passed, our anxieties grew
How could we trust their
Intentions would be peaceful?
What if they lied? Many agreed
It is how humans would
Behave, had behaved, when we
Encountered new people on new lands. By the time they
Arrived, the Earth was empty, as we all
Hid in the naval of the Moon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Postcard 20


It started as a party game
"What cocktail are you?"
It soon went viral, achieving fame
Of a sort, though few considered what it might do
Soon people everywhere were hooked
On outdoing all their friends
No one stopped or thought to take a look
To see where this would end
For it was magic and it bound
Each person to the thing they said
The curse was many people found
Their recipe made them dead
Who knows how many people suffered
When the fairies learned the internet?
We've all been forced to grow tougher
Since then, though we haven't found them yet.
We used to worry about hackers
A term we then used euphemistically
But now, we survivors have become trackers
Hunting murderous carnivorous digital pixies.

Postcard 19


The raindrops feel too icy for the
Air, this time of year. They
Freeze me still in place when
I should be running to stay
Dry. They also seem enormous
No mere thimblefuls of clouds,
As if we reached inside and
Grabbed waves out of the
Vapor. "It's magical" though
Magic tends to cut deep
Through to bone, eroding
off the layers which
Protect us from the pain
We call this process cleansing
As if we really have a
Choice. Change is coming
With the rain, we'll be
Drenched in no time flat, so
Let's all learn to swim and, maybe
We will grow to love the wet.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Postcard 18


To be honest, though, "Love" is
Not the word I would use
To describe the feeling
Satisfaction that I interrupted
The surveillance, put a
Brief end to the gaze. And
Irritation that the response to
Being caught red handed
Is not red faced shame
As the eyes are ripped away, but a
Smirking twist of the lips and
That attitude of ownership, of entitlement.
Perhaps I even feel anger that
When I dare to question
This assumed authority by
Acknowledging it is there, the
Response is nothing more than a
Casual break in the stalking
Like it is no big deal, this is
All normal, like I do not deserve
Answers much less
Autonomy or privacy. So, yes, I
Love it when I catch you looking, I
Love it when I make the spying stop
Even if it is only for a moment.

Postcard 17


The canopy is filled with the
Panicked shivering of
Cicadas still searching for
True love. The leaves rustle to the cries-
"Choooooose Meeeee"
"Ieee Aaam the Onnnne"
With each night that passes
Followed by an even shorter
Day than the one before
Their terror grows
"What if I die before
I fulfill my genetic
Destiny?" They ask. "How
Can I face the coming
Winter and Death with the
Knowledge I have failed?" So they rattle
"I know you're out there somewhere, on another branch,
Please Beeeeee Mine!"

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Postcard 16


Every molecule in our bodies is
Older, by many orders of magnitude,
Than the numbers represented by
The candles on our cakes
The distances they've travelled
Exceed those of even our most
Stalwart of Voyagers and
Intrepid of Pioneers. As they
Journeyed from the center of
Stars from a long time ago and galaxies
Far, far away, what did our
Building blocks lean about
The capricious nature of
Time and Space? What
Could we learn from just
The water which we borrow?
If only we could speak the
Language of electrons

Postcard 15


Is there a name for hallucinating
Music in the night? I hear it
Softly, like an echo of all that
Has been absorbed throughout the
Day. Sometimes it sounds like
TV jingles, other times it's
Rock and Roll (maybe it's not music but the buzzing from my soul) It's
Quiet, I often doubt myself. It's just my imagination (once again)
But then a chord breaks through
The fog of sound, the
Cacophony of white noise
We call silence. Perhaps
It's the neighbors, though
It only happens in the night
I never hear them through
Brick walls at other times
Or when other people in my house are
Awake. I probably should not never have
Mentioned it. It's nothing. Except
It makes it hard to fall asleep

Postcard 14


I would gain two years of
Extra life if I moved to
California. Though I am sure the
Added stress of living on a
Fault line, always waiting for the
Big One might subtract away my health.
Two years, though, that's a
Lifetime. So much can change
So quickly as events multiply. We wonder
Who even has time to evolve?
Earthquakes can happen
Anywhere, Sometimes it takes
Catastrophe to see the divide.
We got two years of living now
To watch what happened
After, two years to do the
Math, two years of reckoning
So much more time unfolds ahead
We hope, but...looking back on these two years
Were they worth it?
Should we move?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

August 13


In our defense, we thought
It would last forever
If you had been there you would too
Imagine the sky dark for ours
    as they flew past and seas
Inhabited by so many they
    could be plucked out with your bare hands
Intelligence, maybe, should have
    guided our actions, but our
Instinct was to gorge,
    to feast beyond our capacity
    to burst at our own seams
Impossible was it to
Impress on ourselves
    tomorrow would someday be
    today
Impatience, that is our
    greatest virtue and our fatal
    flaw. We now face death because
    we are so skilled at
Ignoring the lessons of those who came before

August 12


It's in these silent moments
One can begin to see
Feel the subtle drumbeat against the ribs
Or at least imagine it is there
Tell the universe that all is well
One cannot know what one doesn't know
If we don't see it, hear its cries
We will not take it inside
This cocoon of quiet will
Act as shield, but also serve as
Prison. Protecting and Preventing
One from feeling all the pain
So even though it's cozy and
Offers an opportunity for
Reflection and discovery
One must return to the chatter
To the constant flow of noise
To take in the information, let it burn us to the bones
Then join our voices to the cacophony
In the opes we'll make a song

Postcard 11


The loneliness of our present age
Thrums continuously in us all
Like a heartbeat, bum pum bum pum
We only notice it during times of stress
When the pressure gets turned up to eleven
We know it's there, though, all the time
We would miss it if it suddenly
Went away, went silent, stopped
We'd feel for it in our sleep and
Notice and unnameable absence
In our waking hours
Perhaps our dreams would be
Happy, the pastiche world of
Candyland Lisa Frank Glitter
Explosion Kitten Fiestaville, Yeah!
We'd all giggle as we said to
One another, "I had the
Weirdest Dr-" and we wouldn't
Even have to finish the sentence
We'd smile knowingly over tea
Or coffee, if you prefer
We'd grow bored, eventually, but
We wouldn't be alone

Postcard 10


Some days are easy, effortless
The words just pour out
Overflow faster than I can write, but ten
There comes the
Drought
Sometimes I'm plagued by
Big Ideas
Other days, it's rhyme
I lack the discipline and
Consistency and have no
Sense of Time
The judgy internal monologue
Makes me throw so much away
It is surprising, really, that
I make it through each day
To fill each white space feels like
A battle which I wage
So it is a huge accomplishment
To make it to the end of a page
Yet here we are, right here, right now
It's over, is it not?
At some point, we all just accept
We get what we got




Full disclosure: I wrote an entirely different poem and then decided it was crap and trashed it. Then I regretted not even writing it down because maybe it didn't suck? Who knows now? Sometimes writer's block isn't about the act of producing, it's about not listening to your worst critic, or at least, making a copy.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Postcard 9


"I'm not falling for your bullshit,"
I tell the cats, but this has no
Effect on the frequency or
Volume of their meows
They tell me their food bowls are
Empty, that they have always been
Empty, that this whole system of
Kibble delivery has never worked and
Furthermore is a violation of their
Dignity. Who am I to impose this
Regime upon them and why should
Our circumstances not be reversed?
(It's perverse)
Opposable thumbs are just an
Excuse, an absurdity, just like
Going to work or staying awake
Time, they tell me, has no
Meaning. They live in the now.
Now the bowl is empty and
Ten minutes ago never existed.
Why do I persist in consulting a clock?
It's cuckoo, they say.
"Be that as it may
I'm not falling for your bullshit."

Postcard 8


My head is stuffed, it's all
Filled up, packed with thoughts
That feel like worms
They move through my
Cerebral folds, they wriggle and
They squirm
Like parasites, they grow fat
They feed on what I learn
Then slide against themselves,
Exchanging DNA,
Creating new life that in turn
Takes up more space that isn't
There, so some thoughts do
Escape, burst out,
Spew forth, though there are not many
Exits (from my head) besides my mouth.
Some move slower and would prefer
To be in there forever, so I have to
Lure them out, pull gently lest
They break and others
Will never leave, they are mine
Until the end, though I wouldn't
Go so far as calling any of them friend

Postcard 7


It's hard to believe
With clouds like they are now
That there is infinite sky beyond
That it isn't layer after layer of
Sodden water vapor cotton blanket
Weighing down the atmosphere
Extending out to the quasars
On days such as this its
Hard to catch one's breath
To pull these molecules
Into one's airways and lungs
To expand the ribs against
The heavy gas that pushes back
It isn't comforting, though
The soporific nature of it
Masquerades as such. If only
One could go with it. Lie down. Let it take you.
But we must pretend, we must
Ignore that which looms above and
Have faith the sun will return
That it still shines, it still remembers us.

Postcard 6


None of us were as fabulous
As the people who viewed us
Through the prism of their own
Insecurities thought we were
None of us were as awful
As the people we beheld
When we looked in the mirror
Through imperfect filters of our own
But we were all cruel
Inadvertently and on purpose
Ignoring the wounds we opened
Unaware of the pain that belonged
To people who were not ourselves
But we also were something else
Creating islands of safety in the
Midst of all that angst
Oases of solace that we didn't
Recognize at the time
We thought we were so
Fragile and so strong
We were wrong. But
Here we are now.
                                Here we are now.

Postcard 5


No one asked the paper
If it wanted to be a crane
Every bend and fold
Done without its permission
It's relationship with the space
Changed without its consent
But then
The tree was never consulted
When it was changed into
Wood chips then pulp then
A dried layer of colored tissue
Nor was carbon when
Sunlight and chloropyll
Robbed it of its freedom and
Forced out of the air and into a cell
Hydrogen never chose to fuse
In the heart of a star, to be
Transformed then exiled by supernova.
The origami bird has flown far
To get to this place on the table

Postcard 4


Ink stains the cellulose
Bleeds into the cell walls
Reforming and remaking that which
Has already been manipulated
By stars and air and sunshine
Also humans and machines
Nothing started here at this point
Except this, this moment, right now
The molecules have been recycled
To get to this place of rest
Relatively speaking
The electrons still buzz, of course,
The protons still whir (or whatever they do) and
Who really knows what goes on in
Quantum states? It only
Appears to be a pause because
We don't have eyes to see
All of this will be remade
Refolded and reconnected
Once again, and again, and once more
This is just a blip, an oasis
It as changed already, transformed
Flowed forward into what it always
Meant to become even as it metamorphs into its next phase

Postcard 3


"We are all gods," it whispered
Right before it disappeared
Dissolving into the ether
Leaving us alone in the void
Untethered
We huddled together at first, but soon
Went on our own journeys and
Followed different moons
Forgetting all the wisdom
We divided and we turned
Against one another and we burned
Down the bridges between our hearts which
Spanned the darkness, we came apart
But it was smart
It left a spark
A connection to the infinity
Simplified to our small words we called it divinity
It welcomed us back into the continuum
Gravity pulled on us until we became one

Postcard 2


It is no coincidence
Perhaps
That thoughts of the past
Conjure up
A real life ghost from long ago
Not from the history that one
Studies ad nauseum
But a moment just the same
Unlike those parts one
Examines
(and by "one I mean me, though maybe you, too)
This stretch of time gets
Avoided
Eyes have been averted from
Injury
For such a long time, but now
There isn't even a scar to
Show it ever happened
Sometimes exorcisms
Are quicker thank a blink
Sometimes they
Go on forever

Postcard 1


I see you there in my old
world, walking down the
streets I once called mine,
stomping the grounds which
were old when I got there,
which I never felt
belonged to me, and even
though I know you are a
stranger, I am convinced
we have already met, that
we are connected by
place though separated
by time, the ghost I left
behind haunts you when
you pass her by, whispering
secrets of who I might
have become had I
stayed in that place
where you are now. Go
to all the special spaces
and kiss them for me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

It's Been Awhile, Hasn't It?

Two years, in fact.

I haven't touched this blog since the last time I did the August Postcard Poetry Festival.

So, what's been going on with you?

Since we were last here, a lot of stuff as happened.

(Awkward pause as we all think about what an understatement that is. Yeah, stuff has definitely happened since September 2016, hasn't it?)

There have been many moments since 2016 where I have wondered if there was a point to any of this, if my work had any value whatsoever, if I was just wasting energy that should be spent fighting?But then, there have been many moments where I run across something brilliant (like REVENGE by Elisa Chavez) and I am reminded that YES, there absolutely is a point to this, that art is also a medium for protest, a medium for inspiration, a medium for hope. Art can change the world.

So I persist. I write. I glue pieces of paper to other pieces of paper. I stopped my Allure subscription and started getting Vogue because I thought the pictures might inspire me more (I am still undecided as to whether that has been the case). I am not sure that anything I make has value*, but it isn't up to me to decide. I just need to keep doing it and putting it out there.

I also need external motivation because, left to my own devices, I am not going to create as much as I should and I definitely will not submit as much as I should.

Which brings me to the August Postcard Poetry Festival. I really enjoy the challenge of creating postcards, writing a poem, and then mailing it off to a stranger. Every day. I didn't do the festival in 2017 because last August, we went camping in Eastern Oregon to see the eclipse. This year, though, I found my calendar completely empty in August and there was no excuse not to try this again.

So here we are.

Please feel free to give me feedback.


* For example-One of my collages from the August, 2016 festival was accepted for the anthology 56 Days of August. Instead of being happy, I was salty because they did not also accept one of the poems I submitted. The glass is always half empty for me.