If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Black Dog and the Green Umbrella

My brain makes up poetry in a river from the dome
of its pink cave, and I hear it as undercurrent of singing.
In the undertow my heart gets pulled along.
Sometimes I believe that poems are a liquid grief.
I shape the linen of words, pin them to clotheslines,
watch as they dry.

The small black dog sleeps soundly beside me.
We watch the movie of the playwright Oakley Hall III,
who falls from a bridge to the stones below. Someone
from Seattle may have pushed him, or he fell in drunken
anger. And his boundless life of words, rising from a farm in the
Catskill Mountains, begins to go away.

This poem is not about the bridge, or the river,
nor even the stones who count the rain, arranging themselves
into a sort of pattern and harmony, never once considering
they would catch such a heavy, miserable soul.

This poem is not about the brilliant part of Oakley's brain,
his forgotten life, floating up into the gray and suspended air.
Later he pretends to know, like me, when he really can't remember.
Someone finds him, who knows how to love him as he is.

This poem is about the new Oakley, who like Lewis and Clark,
begins to name the unnamed. It is about the slowly discovered,
remaining parts of him, though lopsided, which are finally peaceful.
It's about what comes after the genius of what he lost in the damp
light of the river. It's about his new words from the cabin and his
untethered soul, more than the bright bridge and the stones,
still inscribing small plays into the sand.

The band practices in the living room. I watch the movie
on the bed with a headphone, a warm thigh along the
dog's curved back. Out on the patio under the green umbrella
the boys smoke and talk and drink beer.The harvest moon
is so full I almost thought it would burst, perched
perfectly rounded and silent
behind the power lines.

No comments:

Post a Comment