wondering a summer day

June 11, 2009

The land took a steep turn downward through the woods. “We’re going down,” I said over my shoulder to a friend who was clearly hesitant about the truth of this statement.

“I’m dizzy just looking down there,” she said.

We went anyways.

We half-walked-half-slid-down through the non-path in the woods that wasen’t quite tamed for traveling, through the tree-sheilded land of lost kickballs, overunderaround fallen trees and piles of dead leaves and a trickle of stream. My unconfident friend in tow, I tried to feel some kind of certain that the nonexistent path I was creating would carry us somewhere worth going.

Such unassuming walks usually do.

Finally, after pushing through bushes, coming face to face with a clearing who acquainted me with knowing the vastness of sky which life’s movements had recently concealed, and climbing up tree-root-ladders, we spotted a picnic table in the midst of the trees: a signal of abandoned once-life.tree-filtered life

As we sat on the table to recover from the journey with unknown purpose, a through-the-trees gaze taught us the nearness of the river.

We sat with the trees and the sight of water so surprisingly ours and said simultaneous phrases to make poetry, wrote the words on rocks, and left them to mark the place where everything had led.


soundless words

May 19, 2009

Saturday granted me a mandatory task: spend 5 hours in alone silence.

Saturday granted me the perfect placement for such a task: a strange, new spot on a lake surrounded by trees

dandelion sky

I set out to explore silently 5 hours.

Wondering through a cracked-open gate, I moved into an opening where brightly colored shapes sprouted to towering from the ground: an empty carnival. Rides stood eerily still as laughing kids and bustling crowds who once filled the space floated down ghosts in the beginning rain.

I entered the ancient tilt-a-whirl ride, pulled up the metal bar and sat in the car untilting, unwhirling, but curving to protect me from the rain. And me, giddy and giggling at the stillness of a ride most people move through quickly as rain tapped my feet.

I ran barefoot across a nearby field of white dandelions and collapsed in the middle so my sight contained only knee-high dandelions and sky.

I wondered into the woods and found a clearing furnished with carpet, chairs, lamps, a toaster oven, an old merry-go-round horse named Mike. And on the outskirts, an ironing board.

I climbed on a fallen tree dangling over a stream and wrote about everything. About my memory of years ago discovering an impressive treehouse in the woods behind my sister’s house and about my comrade during that exploration which contrasted my current aloneness.

I stepped into the cold stream and splashed all the way along its current to where it found the wide open lake. I was crazy-laughing as I and my clothes grew increasingly drenched and the stream restored became pure lake.

I sat by the lake on a log and read poetry out loud to the waves hitting the carcass of an enormously decaying fish.

After the 5 hours of silence ended, I re-met eight people who had similarly spent the same time in silence. I discovered that other people had stumbled across the same scenery I had; one had traveled almost exactly the same path as me.

And then I knew.

That we’re never as alone as we think we are. That things happen always with the power to change everything if only we were aware. That life at its most right involves a balancing between climbing inward and stretching out.

That the bare-bones potential of any day is that there’s always something new to explore and contemplate and say and create.

five hours

i floated in those words

January 13, 2009


I found it dwelling in the response I received when I needed someone to assure me that my poetry would be an acceptable gift to give someone:

“But what can you do with poetry? Maybe if you write it on something useful…”

There it was. The uninvestigated truth that poetry is too impractical, too tossed aside, too improperly separated from the practicality of life and even from other forms of art.

But poetry is so valuable within itself.

You can know poetry like you know your daily breakfast, the familiar taste of soggy cheerios as you read the morning paper while still shaking off the sensation of nesting inside darkness and sleep.

You can walk through poetry like a walk through the woods on a sunny day with endless questions breathing in the branches and strips of sun painting strokes across your skin that disappear as you move.

You can feel poetry like a child feels a summer afternoon, hearing inaudible delight in a lazy day without having yet discovered what work is, without finding any need for concern with overbearing details of life.

Poetry houses something. It’s something you might find elsewhere like in a circumstance that naturally offers accidental sweetness, or in a perfectly taken photo, or in a just-rightly created piece of art, or resounding from the voice of a favorite person, or within the frame of an ideal moment.

It resides in poetry to alert you that life and everything in it has the perfect potential to be right and unspoken silences might be said.

for a moment, all bells ring true.