Friday, May 18, 2007

saying grace

Grace comes from the latin Gratia, or Gratus, “pleasing.” If you please or are pleased, something graceful is going on, hopefully, on the other end. Perhaps grace is a mirror for good deeds. Maybe you are witnessing grace in someone, but they do not know it- clandestine grace? This is tricky. Some puritanical notion dictates that it’s more worthwhile somehow if it is not celebrated, or even acknowledged. Throw out the religious connotation for the sake of finding grace without prejudice, and it conjures images of dancers, perhaps, and certainly the assumption that with it along comes that scene-stealer, beauty. So quickly the mind wanders to physical grace, and then down the slippery slope to vanity. But there is something about being thankful that goes beyond the dogmatic or the divine.
I think entire communities search for it but end up confused, and just tie hymnal ribbons on various things, in effect removing the grace from the place, or the memory in mind. Grace can be identified, perhaps, where it is absent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

burning in a stream bed

that blood-drum that might be a spector train
out of habit, swishing til sunrise in the hall
(for nothing to do with eternity)
loco-motive and calculated so you think

it's just your own pulse silly
or a mill or a waterfall or an errant drunken bee
(and love will do this to you anyway why the hell are you even asking me?)

foot cracking a branch and my voice startled me
I laughed out loud, one ha! that every bough is a mercy seat
every cardinal a sentinel and my palm even looks at me with great instruction
it-will-do-this-to-you so please walk in the mud if you can

the pleats of a skirt that take every bit of grimace to un-pleat
regrettable verses, and well worked hands
tearing down each pastry thin promise
in order to be more real than the wrinkles

it is no matter in the folds of a good bed
or so she said-
it is so different walking this way with you.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

sweet demon north carolina

Any decent bluegrass tune will profess that the Blue Ridge is lovely and sinister, a sinewy spine of mist and prehistorically proportioned rhododendron, little whitewashed cottages perched lonely and dark on hillsides that seem otherwise empty save a path of bruised grass - perhaps the owners are long gone, or standing sentinel in a trout stream.

This is a lonely place, a soul-and-soil rich place. If you are in it, you are on train tracks, purposeful steps and a worried brow facing away from the hoot-hoot that you think you might hear, a rumble and a slow, slow tobacco burn in your chest. You are drenched, you are lost, you are going in circles and out of your mind. So far away from the spoon playing and foot stomping caricature you thought you knew. Easy orphan.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

fortunate fruit related incident caught on film

the borrowed stitch

I met a man struggling with an addiction, though I did not know it at the time
he was so astute at keeping it dear to him.
I meant no harm in my ignorance, but
I felt harmful in my un-knowing.
I felt, in a word, responsible.
I think perhaps to
know even for an instant someone's plight is perhaps
more intimate than knowing
delight with them.
I could have kissed him having just met
with less shame than when I looked away
the instant he said, "because."

We are all peculiar, too.

We are suddenly stitched to each other's sleeves,
staring at our elbows and wondering
how we will give back our very personal spaces,
how did his glance not know my glance
was radiant black and no more than feather fine
somewhere I searched my thoughts
to make sense of the senseless
and went on my way, some excuse or bill to pay.
so nice to make your acquaintance