Month: August 2012

Space-time

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Only a few weeks later and already we can’t agree about how it happened. How to tell the story. Who should take responsibility. Who should claim credit. What happened first. What happened next. What’s even possible. He says he’ll investigate and figure out the truth, but I have a feeling it isn’t that kind of universe any more. I’m half expecting the cat lying next to us to fade away, leaving nothing but a smile.

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first light too far from the moon to believe it

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Enough

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I realized this evening at about the time I would normally leave work that I actually had about four more hours of work to do. So, naturally, I left my office in my bare feet and wandered outside in the rain. The landscaping at the place where I work is not normal office-park landscaping. It’s more like botanical-garden landscaping. The grass is about four inches thick. There are flowering bushes and stone paths and bridges over flowing water and hidden corners you can turn to find yourself. I padded around in the growing darkness, trying to pay attention to reality. Then I went back to my office building and realized that the doors must have automatically locked at the close of the working day and I hadn’t brought my key card outside with me. The only thing that saved me was the group of people that had stayed on after work to sing together. I was sorry to interrupt them. But they were too happy to mind.

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a face at the window about to be unlocked

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still looking at the hill as it rises it rises again

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a question of dinosaurs whether reality is enough

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Patient Safety

The topic is Patient Safety. If you think that something isn’t safe, you should alert someone. It should be one of the following people, because they are the ones who decide whether or not things are safe. Don’t admit to anyone that something isn’t safe unless one of these people confirm it isn’t safe. If they don’t seem to be listening to you, tell them louder. Accost them in the hallway. Stand in the doorway of their office prophesying doom. Even if we get virtually everything right, we will probably still get something wrong, and someone will die. This person will probably not be you. But what if it is?

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in a room
with a dragon
a red dress

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(half moon)

half moon
I take my shoes off
to feel how hard the road is

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all the pollen in the world the weight of him

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the smell
of rotting rosehips…
the decision is final

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It’s been a long week, and my brain’s full of stuff. Bad stuff, good stuff…the operative word is “full.” All the stuff is churning around in my brain as if my brain were one of those slightly insane overactive washing machines that you’re always a little afraid will actually walk out of the basement during the spin cycle. I sit down and try to let poetry settle out of my mind, work its way through the filters and the silt of my subconscious and gather in a clear quiet pool somewhere I can get to it, and–there my brain goes, shaking again, everything in a big muddy mess.

I might just need to sit down everyday and write to you guys. You’re remarkably calming. You won’t mind if I get all journal-y on you, will you? I mean, journal-y in a “yeah, there’s some poetry here, but I make no guarantee about its quality” kind of way? Thanks, I knew you’d understand.

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(Palm Sunday)

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Palm Sunday
I prepare
to deny everything

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bottle rockets 28

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Let’s just go with hopelessly unseasonal then, shall we? I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel here. I need to write more. Don’t we all.

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The Shape of Water

The new geometry mirrors a universe that is rough, not rounded, scabrous, not smooth. It is a geometry of the pitted, pocked and broken up, the twisted, tangled and intertwined…. [S]uch odd shapes carry meaning.… They are often the keys to the essence of a thing.
                                                                    ~ James Gleick, Chaos

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange
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~ Shakespeare, The Tempest

We say things are shapeless when they have a shape we don’t like, that is to say an irregular shape, a lack of symmetry, a pointlessness, a want of recognizable organizing principle, an unanalyzable form, an outline that fails to substantially map to any other outline we’ve ever seen, an unfamiliarity, a strangeness, a monstrosity. We are afraid the shapeless thing will take us over, erase our edges, unbalance us, take away our sense of purpose. We are afraid we will be eaten.

you’re water step into the water

A woman is often referred to as shapeless, especially after she has borne children. She is no longer a tidy package, she has been stretched, distorted, colonized; she leaks, her boundaries are not clear. Her infant seems at times like a removable appendage, a strange growth on the body that appears and disappears, both unpredictable and grotesque. Her flesh ebbs and flows, like the sea, to accommodate the child’s appetite.

in a shadow in the pond eggs being laid

The sea, too, strikes us as shapeless, vast and mutable, mutating, mute. Its edges are untraceable and its depths unknowable, and it contains an uncountable number of other forms. Many of these we also call shapeless, because we can’t clearly perceive or define their shape. Sponges, coral, jellyfish: we say they are lumpy, blobby, bumpy—words sound like mumbling; inarticulate and undefined speech. The sea silences us and imposes its will on us, and sometimes, in fact, it does eat us, and if we are ever seen again we are unrecognizable.

in the aquarium all the things we used to be

There, on the shore, amid the wrack and ruin, the flotsam and jetsam: that’s you, a shape I can recognize and name, if not fully comprehend. You were once part of my body but now you’re part of the air. You’re moving from shell to shell, from driftwood to driftwood, touching, lifting, examining, choosing, collecting. Like everyone else, you toss aside far more than you collect. Every once in a while you look back inland, every once in a while you look out to sea. The sun is setting and your figure is melding with the darkness; I’m watching you and then I’m failing to watch. What happens to you at last? I try to draw my suspicions in the sand, but the sea rises up and reproaches me.

ocean vents the life we don’t remember

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Contemporary Haibun Online 8.2, July 2012

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