Open Casket

death should be closed especially when it is young
and his legs of the body are straight and the space is open below
his tight lipped curls they said would relax when he grew into a man
years tightened them around his words
until we could no longer hear the sound of his voice.
open death         silent, the living         cosmetic,
paint our bodies we will never stand upright
for fleeting pleasures
for lies told not to see
that the color left the cheeks of that boy years before
door shut tight, black and white
he lay in bed that night in the same exact position,
stationary
unable to save his own life
even when his mother said his name,
again and again.

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For My Brother (The Only One Who Doesn’t Know Them Too)

parentless
movement
bed of thought
I protest, you’re done
here too
sheets small, the sin of the father
the innocent man
only takes women without a ring.

we can never forgive
love helps
only if we’ve been introduced
I met you lonely
take comfort in the friends with pretty names.

no crazy medusa
no headless shark
no bodies to wrap and bury
say goodbye with a heart
it’s too hard to choose which one—the mother or the father.

Old Westbury Gardens

clouds of rhododendron, close to our Earthly surface
distant enough to consume oneself in visionary pleasure
close enough to invite each visitor for a fleeting, delicate touch
we feel today colorful hope, these gardens
lined with planned pathways of artistic design
the moments a performance of colorful surprises
this visage an open door to hypnotic scents.

imagine these fields in their infancy, divided for an entitled few
the fruits of labor from numerous, unrecognized hands
oh lonely garden—now open to the eyes of the world
to those who continue to grant us these gifts of uncompromising beauty
you are the clearest mirror of majesty and bloom.

my son at the end of a love story

he weeps
solitary, dark
without knowing what
others will think
when he comes into his body.

he watches
the lovers embrace,
separate and then imagine what life
would have been like
had they not been torn apart.

I tell him
be a man focus on strength
continue dropping those heavy tears.
the women who will know you
will thirst at the thought of your love.

it rains again and again in my mind
at the thought of his tears
moistening the ground
of our dry, neglected Earth.

here he is trying to play the song from the end of this film.
can you guess the movie?

Poetry for Everyone!

In approximately a week, I will be wrapping up a unit on poetry I have been teaching to some of the important little people in my work life. The last month, exploring poetry as an educator, has been one of the most enjoyable times in my career. Having reawakened my love for poetry over the last few years and now living that love in the classroom has been surreal and magical. Watching young people express themselves through poetry has reaffirmed my belief that poetry is one of the most accessible and meaningful forms of expression.

Simultaneously, I saw playfulness, learning and confidence emerge…one eight year old who is so in love with potato chips, he had to make mention of them in every poem (and he made this work!)…another kind-hearted charmer who used his poems to bring a fresher, sassier side of himself to life…and a young, brilliant musician humming after each poem in an attempt to match her words to music.

There are so many places to go with poetry, so many spaces to occupy, so many people to be and become. Write on friends of all ages and share that love with everyone you know who will listen 🙂

IMG_2762

The Horse Saint

This is an old Turkish folktale. It is the story of a pious and humble saint of his time. The thing this saint loved most in life was his beautiful, white horse. All knew him with this horse as he rode through the towns surrounding his home. One afternoon on his travels, he was riding with his horse through the desert. He came upon a man desperately calling out from the ground for water. The saint dismounted his horse to offer the man water. All of a sudden the man mounted the horse and started away. The saint fell to the ground crying. When the man turned and noticed, he yelled towards him, “What kind of pious man are you crying over a horse?” The saint replied, “I am not crying because you have taken my horse. I am crying because when others hear this story they will not get off their horses to give a thirsty man water.”

so much we want, so much we have
so much we play, so little we love
we yearn to possess false pleasures
we climax from transitory highs, struggle with pain
but don’t know how to ask why.
ask yourself what your place in the world is meant to be
for the sake of thoughts consuming? for the sake of pleasing “me”?
one person born among millions can do so much to change the world
how hard it remains for our generation to realize the mission of their souls.