A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

26/30: CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL FOR NAPAL, ROOT MEMORIAL SQUARE, WITH A TRUMPET

The breath entering the trumpet
is not the same as the breath
that leaves the trumpet.

The brass body of a trumpet
has the physiology of grief.
Both are an instrument,

Enduring the fractured sickness of breathlessness
until this miraculous sound leaps out, the falling sky
dismembered no more and finally, something broken goes unforgotten.

A black man beneath the green screen paneled gazebo
fills Root Memorial Square Park
with his own-echoed-lung composition.

His breath swam into the trumpet the same way
sadness always enters unexplained, and always, upon exit,
glides through the swamp of ache, finding a way to

Avoid the eulogy of what’s always at stake,
but this week alone, too many of us are losing,
this week together, too many of us have a history of loss.

I speak to a man from Nepal
who gathers with his Nepalese community
to remember too many who have been lost.

He tries to explain the catastrophe
Asks if I know what happened
I want to comfort him with something

More than sympathy, assure him I’ve listened
to NPR, have read the reports but what does
this failed attempt at understanding have to do

With knowledge, with his knowing desecration
of his most beloved, the homeland his heart
occupies outside its own quaking body

The earth dismembered in its
fractured sickness, the toll
of the dead rise but the bodies that remain

Are still trying to sleep
Are not yet done weeping
Are lighting candles for the shadowless.

Here I am, caught in a nation’s weeping
The Spirit of the Hero wants to fill my fingers
but if etymology has taught me anything, it’s this:

All around, flowers, plants, the scene
smiles in green, attests to
the effectiveness of spiting death.

If you listen to the colors of spring speak, they’ll tell you:
Through the history of evolution,
Photosynthesis is the earth asking for forgiveness.

25/30: RIGHT SIDE OF THE DIRT

What’s really unbelievable is that
Chinese alchemists, who in all historical likeliness,
were men,  had to draw a brainstorming map once,
write a to-do list, had breakfast meetings,
together, in a room, and ultimately,
Gave themselves directions
on how find and brew and intermingle
all the elements necessary to create
the elixir for immortality, which they
probably intended to drink, obviously.
Had a plan to outmaneuver death!
To stay on the right side of the dirt!
They say it was supposed to be the great last trick of the alchemist!
Then, the sparks began to flower.
They discovered gunpowder.

24/30: ODE TO SUBRIDENT, SORT OF

I can’t leave my street/ without turning into an Ode/ I want to write beauty disembodied/ then proceed to explain/proceed to blush/ at my deconstruction/ devastated by the simplicity of my lust/ but before me/ A form I recognize/ Breathlessness is what the afternoon brings/ Praise my lungs/ unafraid to bloom/ Praise the colors of spring/ beauty embodied/ unafraid of gloom/ Wouldn’t that be something/ But I have left my street/ The name of my neighborhood is the Shenandoah Valley/ I do fear evil/ I do fear death/ The road before me is callous with wind/ Among this vast expanse/ Darkness goes unrestricted/ among the Storm Systems/ siphoning faith like the wounding of color/ The sweeping exhilaration of thunder/ unloosens the stitch/ in my side/ My toughness collapsed/ My collection of light/ cracked open/ for all to see/ the nucleus of marbles/ each particle pinballs to create a stronger thing/ Have I spoiled the mystery/ Has anyone seen me before the warm heat rises/ before the cool air quiets/ before the sun riots/ before the masquerade of the storm/ has made you forget your own flesh/ but this too shall pass/ but not before the spell is cast/ Look/ up ahead/ the horizon is unhaunted/ Look/ before you/ my heart/ Unhunted