I passed a river birch on my walk home today. I pushed the wiry branches out of my way, trying to avoid getting poked in the eye. As I did, a wisp of pollen dusted the air. It caught the sun, little specks of yellow
I thought for a moment a tree spirit had sprinkled me with mind-altering fairy dust;
time felt slow,
so soft
and my vision focused on minute details otherwise glanced over. Like a blue jay chasing a scared bee weaving
erratically through the air buzzing in agonized fear for survival. The jay missed the bee and landed on a fence perturbed. He looked at me as if to say, “Why didn’t you catch him!” He then huffed & puffed his stately plumage, & splayed out his tail feathers like a handheld fan. He flew to the nearest tree.

Nature is so animate.

A few inches off the ground, I watched a spider catch a beetle with her web. She roped him like a calf at a rodeo, and started drawing him up for a feast. But that beetle squirmed for dear life and slipped a leg free, and continued to lash about dangling & spinning in the air. It was a battle of life and death. A dramatic struggle. The fear of the beetle emanated in tiny waves. The spider kept throwing line after line of web to tightly secure her meal, but the beetle went into full freakout mode and his one leg broke completely off setting him free. He limped away disgruntled & hurt yet visibly relieved. The spider cast some last-ditch-effort threads like fishing line thrown at the end of a long day, but it merely slowed the beetle’s pace. As the spider finally settled for the broken leg, the beetle trudged on with a resolve for life.

And people wonder why I don’t have a TV.

White Noise vs. Nature

The birds celebrate loudly as the sun falls toward the horizon. I read poetry on a rippling creek & watch fishermen fish to keep their sanity. It’s a place of rejuvenation for myself & many. Nature. Slow, alive, and peaceful. The past few days I’ve been painting walls and walls and walls. Which is quite meditative, getting into a flow of brushstroke after brushstroke, rolling paint rolling paint rolling paint, and even driving my sister to work in the mornings and picking her up in the afternoons, there is a similar repetition. It’s a strange monotony I haven’t experience since, I don’t know when. Maybe high school. In a weird way, it’s illuminating. Sometimes I forget a daily routine exists and carves a way through so many lives. It’s a flow I readily accept (albeit a temporary one) because I’m pressed to find the uniqueness of a landscape & pattern I revisit over and over again. I like the way the road curves into the sunrise. I like the way the paint spreads and dries and blends, and damn, my life must be in such a period of slow motion if I’m watching the paint dry and enjoying it! Anyhow, the devil is in the details as they say… The past few days I’ve been visiting the creek & watching the lily pads sprout. They look like alien fingers, green & grasping toward the sun light dissipating beyond the horizon replaced by darkness and stars. The colors shift ever so slowly like the clouds or the birds changing forms as they flock through the sky. And the moon rises seemingly out of nowhere. She just appears and creates an illusion of distance and size. One moment she is high in the sky, and the next, she is hidden behind the tree line. And likewise, kids play for lack of care or seriousness or the oddness of rigid boundaries. So often we call it love, the unhindered nature of clouds, or the aroma of spring time trees. And when we take a moment, when we see fit to let go & be leisurely, the aliveness is palpable. And likewise, the absorption is nourishing. 

Little Spiders Crawl Across My Page Of Cursive And Ink

I’ve been sitting in a cemetery for about an hour, contemplating the softness of soil and the nostalgia of times gone past. I nurse a beer, which strikes me as an interesting word (nurse) considering where I’m at – a hospital is right next door. People often think it’s a morbid set up, for a cemetery to neighbor a hospital, but I think it’s fitting. Why shouldn’t we confront our own material mortality? I imagine it’s an abject thought for many because we have the drama of living & breathing & working & politicking to preoccupy our days. Who really has time to think about dying, about bones beneath earth, about the decomposition of skin & cells? Who has time to think about the flight of the soul when there are weekends to plan and bills to pay?

I digress, as I often do. It’s the mark of a wanderer. Or perhaps a free thinker.

I drank a lager earlier, and decided to return to the beer store for one more. I chatted with the clerk who laughed, “You need another?” I told him I’m writing poetry in the graveyard, and sometimes the meditation calls for an extra drink. He smiled. He said he admires people who can write with clarity, and he mentioned Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’ve read a few of his articles as well. He said Coates was just in Philly and he wished he could have gone, which reminded me Cornel West was just in Philly and I had similar sentiments of wishing I had known. From what I heard, Angela Davis made an appearance too, and he smiled broadly, Wow that brings me back to the Black Panther days. He reminisced for a moment before asking, “So how’s writing in the cemetery?” I tell him it’s peaceful, I mean, you can hear the traffic on the outskirts, but not too many people are around, so it feels undisturbed except for the geese and other birds. “Ah, but they don’t bother you, right?” I smiled. I tend to think they add to the poetry.

And another customer jumped in, at which point I headed out.

I sit with my back against a sturdy trunk, & robins flit and skit amidst the grass, & groundhogs scurry hastily to their holes nestled in the sides of burial mounds, & a great blue heron stalks in a not-so-shallow area of the pond, & the geese honk honk HONK, & the crypts reflect in water like portals to the ancestors, & roots always call to mind prehistoric times when the primal instinct of humans wasn’t so convoluted by concrete and wires.

& little spiders crawl across my page of cursive and ink.

As I meander the gravestones & trees, all I want to do is tramp through the fallen pine cones and hear them crunch under my feet. So I do. And the rain trickles ever so lightly creating tiny ripples in the man-made pond. I find a broken wing, a piece of statue smashed to bits and stare at it. I hold it in my hands comparing it to a large pine cone. The feathers of the wing and the wooden petals of the cone so closely resemble one another in their layering & falling, it reminds me of the snow we had a few weeks ago and how the flakes fell to the ground so softly like the flecks of wood fell to the floor as I sanded. There are these separate moments that accumulate and somehow become connected, and now I can’t help but feel like I’m falling too.

maybe it’s just ghosts
stirring in the past
blown open like sails,
or an anchor clanking
hoisted onboard
like skeletons & bones
clonking a hollow tone

it reminds me of a treasure beneath the sea

a blustery day
entangled in wind chimes
the jangle adds a charm to the grey sky,
the house itself creaks & whistles
like a wooden ship rocking to life

I took the whole place apart,
piece by piece
I put her back together

I scraped years and years of paint
always working on windows
& doors
it makes me wonder about vision,
and passage,
and stepping thru

my hands rough & beaten &
callused with so many blisters
accustomed to cuts &
I wear this body
like a glove
like a cloak
for my soul
to travel & work

I fell into this craft
this vehicle
this wooden ship
I landed
in this house

There is a widow’s walk atop the attic.
Its namesake comes from the women who
lost their husbands out to sea,
but still had a glimmer of hope
they might return one day

I go up there to watch the trees
to get a moment of solace
to fall headlong in the sky

before climbing back down to labor
to treat the house like my own
to imbue her with character
I sand
the grain & stain
the wood
like an old record
singing blues

It makes me think about lineage & history

I must have been a sailor in a past life
star-gazing on clear nights
drunk on swill & sea air
floating casually
thru storm & days of calm

Prompt: Why do you feel you must incorporate a feminine line of thinking within your life?

Perhaps it’s not that I must incorporate the feminine within my life. It’s simply that the feminine IS in my life. It’s not something from the outside. The muse is within. It’s a matter of discovering her, unveiling her beauty, creating space for her inspiration. The muse is the breath of life sought out by all creative people. At times we get lost believing the muse is to be found in a woman, or a man, or nature, which is true to an extent; inspiration can be found in others. But to rely on another is a dangerous path.The inner woman, the inner divine, is elusive, she may even scare you to death. 

Look at Medusa, she’ll stone you with her stare. Hear the Sirens, they’ll lure you into oblivion.

As a man, it’s important to establish a balance. It’s necessary to find a solid footing in brotherhood and camaraderie, but also necessary to be open, flowing, and receptive to the woman who sits behind the veil. If we are diligent (and lucky) she will whisper her secrets, she will give us a glimpse of the mystery she holds so dearly.

Once we have a peek at the world borne within, it is our job to take the inspiration and treat it like the breath, delicately, to craft the word, our dreams, with care. We are not brute cave men running around clubbing the garden into existence. We, who hang in the balance, understand the feminine is inherent, and we must walk the line with confidence and patience to express ourselves with fullness.

Most of our lives are spent seeking the answers on the outside. Go within. Tap into the feminine. It’s only natural. Don’t you see? We come from the ocean and return to the sea.