Behind the Scenes

Novus ordo seclorum

Behind the scenes. Behind the perceptible.
Behind perhaps reality.
How sadly the conspiracy unravels.
After the whirlwind and the fall,
How inadequate the truth that’s revealed.
Is the veil of Isis ever lifted?
Don’t statues wear a mask of stone?
Aren’t photographs sealed by time?
Isn’t that movie obscuring the light?
Because the scene lacks depth
The drama must be in the back.
The “Behind the Scenes” Corporation.
The Eye of Providence, anonymous.
The ruse is clearly visible.
The surface is the storefront.
The mask is its own mask.
A façade is a lasting impression.
The disguised wear disguises.
The undisclosed is uninspired.
The covert appears cabalistic.
Behind the scenes. Behind the perceptible.
Behind perhaps reality.
How repugnant the details of revelation,
Our own failings in the creation.

The Shadow Plant

The rain kept me up all night last night,
Probing me with vaccinations
And syringes of endless worry.
Bad enough this pandemic lockdown,
April’s suffered from a virus,
With chills, fever and persistent cough,
Overcast from start to finish.
At least there’s a chance for freedom
In our own small portions of the sun.
I’m holding out for summer
And the healing of its shadow plant.

Easter Prayer

Maybe this stillness won’t precede a storm
But open like a door to a wider blue.
Maybe these winds will flatten the curve
And rain sanitize the land.
For all my friends, this hopeful prayer,
From the heart of one to the heart of all and back again.

Coronavirus Conurbations

The cities of the world are dying,
History rots their foundations from the start,
Animals rush into the city for carrion.
Where humans have died, they take up shelter.
The age of the cities is over.

Men and women live there sick,
Even in rooms, afraid of any human gesture,
More afraid everyday from the news.
Nature is everywhere all around them
But they can never find it.

An old woman with mask at a window
Watches the sunset every night
And thinks somewhere the light is waking
But I will not survive the infected city.

And those who try to leave
Find themselves trapped, detained,
Their temperatures measured, saliva taken,
Part now of the sick masses,
Institutionalized in one of the cells of the city,
Bombarded by a matrix
From which escape is impossible,
Wait for medicines, compliant now, like supplicants.

Cardinal Coloring Book

Though it prefers the tallest branch from which to sing and be seen, and where it is truly cardinal red, these birds can paint the air anywhere. They’re O’Keeffe red, Gorky red, Chagall red… their beaks are dipped in paint. The magic feathers of the cardinal change tone from tree to tree, depending on foliage and light. In flight, they’re flashing red. In shadow, they’re shadow red or cosmos red. Among red leaves or berries, they dye themselves with the light around them. Even their song is red, and so bright you can easily follow the sound to the source. Now that you know you can paint with a bird, open your canvas and fly.

Unfinished River Walk

When the water was low
I walked the riverbed
Down the spine of a fish
Cool airflow guiding me
Over river rock islands
King of a summer river
With crown of sunlight
My thoughts drifting
Into rivers of other days
The faces of people I love
Swam through my mind
Like reflections in fluidity
Born of the river now
Confluent with the current
The scales of my eyes dropped
My childhood returned
Flowed out beyond me
Steeping me in wonder
Laying my feet upon the water
Fish drifted above sandbars
Towing their shadows
Water snakes like wavelets
Were seamlessly absorbed
Mirages of inverted gardens
Whose leaves I touched
In the web of two realms
From the grade of the land
I was sunset bound
Around a deep-banked eddy
Death swirled like branches
And I thought of giving up
Until the river widened
Into meadowland without margins
River grasses swaying
With my own thoughts
In some idyllic weightless
Wetland of buoyancy
And stillness all around
Before a kingfisher pierced
The surface of silence
And the current quickened
Picked up its shallow river
Between steeper banks
And spilled down heavenward
I tracked the river forest
And the sunset took me in
As though I’d reached the end
Of the river in myself
And from where I’d begun
The river was returning

The Day All the Grownups Cried

After my grandparents died their house was rented to people who skipped on the rent and soiled the house in every way possible. That day, when my mom and dad and uncles and aunts opened the door, they were all crying. Even then, a boy, I understood somehow all our memories had been desecrated, and I cried, seeing them cry. We burned everything that day. The fire blazed into the night. The house was stripped. My grandparents had a small, well kept, farmhouse with a lush piece of property complete with gardens, grape arbors and fruit trees. Sometimes late at night a plum would drop from a plum tree and plop into a rain barrel, like a clock that measured endless time, for me now, in teardrops.

On the Road to Poetry

An hour lost is three in subconscious evolving.
Therefore, be on the road to poetry.
It’s a green road that seeds the shadows.
It’s woodlots and meadows
Pronounce the first syllables of music.
It’s abandoned farmhouses
That enter the house of your mind,
The crossroads that make you an artist.
Therefore, be on the road to poetry.
Drive the river road, flooding time.
Eventually the fences break down.
A landscape become its own poem.
Having memorized everything you saw,
A line writes itself, and lives on the wind.