Dedicated to my mother and to the women around the world who have fought and sacrificed for the acceptance and equality of all life.
I have been listening my entire life.
First to my mother’s heart beat as
I floated in her mixture of embryonic fluids.
What else was there for me to do, but
listen in amazement to the surroundings of my new self.
To witness sound while my closed eyes waited to open.
I listened to the voices of other children from whom
I was an outcast as their scorn and laughter made
their way to my large, ever perceptive ears
because I spoke with a lazy tongue.
I listened to the untamed sounds making their journey
through the breath, beating, and strings of instruments,
coming out as harmonies and melodies even to untrained ears.
I listened to the grief, tears, sorrows and joys of a changing life,
to the voices of others telling me how to live,
to my own, telling me not to follow their advice.
I listened to the sounds of a thousand crickets from a single
source, echoing off the wind in a room above the ocean bluff.
I listened to the bicycle wheels spinning beneath me
while I peddled hundred of miles in all directions.
I listened to the sea lapping and roaring against the shore
To the pelicans flying overhead, flapping and coasting,
diving into and feasting from the sea’s bounty.
I listened to the silent beauty of sunsets, the rising of full moons,
and the shooting of stars across the black night sky.
I listened to the purrs of kittens and the barking of dogs,
to my own ecstatic breathing after we made love.
I listened to the voice comforting me when I felt troubled,
giving aid and guidance when I was lost.
I listened to my own heart beating and missed it only
once on that day, a year ago, when it stopped.
I have been listening my entire life.
Now I wish to speak.
And so I spend my time remembering
that brightness which fills my soul
and tears apart my heart.
The courtship of queen and king,
the journeys shared and taken,
the love which held us together
when no hope could save us.
I open each door hoping you’ll appear
if only as a ghostly wisp of yourself.
Strange thing this swirling of lives,
the yin and yang, separated in union,
united by the one part
of the other each holds onto.
You fill so much of my life,
even, this time alone.
I know a place where time has
no points of reference to hold onto,
no hands sweeps across its well worn face,
no seconds eat away at existence,
no flashing light marks the arrival or passing.
Here, in this infinite space, all dreams live forever.
Everything, is expressed in the moment called now.
Here, each embrace is the only one I desire.
Here, I come whole and leave so much wiser.
I like my coffee black,
my whiskey on the rocks,
my wine chilled in a flat bottom glass—
the way they serve it in Italy.
I like my woman in ecstasy,
moaning my name out loud.
My eggs, scrambled,
moist but not runny.
I like my sheets and towels
made of cotton, sun dried on a line.
I like walking barefoot in the ocean,
the waves lapping at my thighs.
My music, mostly bluesy and hot—
sometimes soft and mellow.
I like the darkness of the new moon,
stars shooting across the black face of god.
I like life coming at me full tilt,
with no time to plan or ponder.
When I wake at three o’clock in the morning,
I like to write poetry—
Just as I am doing right now.
The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
These things I know—
The soft words of love.
The solitary dreams of a poet.
The song of a thousand crickets.
The voice of a crying heart.
The pain and serenity of death.
The foretelling of dreams.
What it means to be free.
I am not one of those poets who can sit down first thing in the morning with pen in hand and write a poem the way I can write an essay. I wait for the poem in the way one waits at a stop sign allowing their mind to drift until they are awakened from their escape by a honking car horn behind them. Sometimes the complete poem comes in a few seconds. Other times, bits and pieces drift in and out without a schedule. I can sit and toil over a poem, put it away, and a few months later take it out again. Often these bits and pieces from what I considered separate poems at some point converge into a single poem. That is why it becomes important to never throwaway a thought or a line of poetry.
Sometimes, the poet must prove his worthiness of the poem. I had the title of a poem on a post-it note for three months glued to my computer screen before the poem flowed into my body. I heard the words and wrote them down on paper. I seldom change more than a word or two when poems come in this manner. This poem is still in my opinion one of my best.
The poems I have to work on and struggle with a good deal may be more technically correct, but they feel more like a creation than a gift. Many of my poems come from dreams and experiences. I often write the words down while still half asleep, while the dream or words are still fresh in my consciousness. When I wake in the morning, I am often surprised to see the poem sitting on my night stand. A gift from the angels.
But above all, the poet, is he who names things… And that’s the poet’s mission, profound and sacred communication. And another word for that is love. – Carlos Fuentes
If I could have but one word to describe you,
it would not be a word like “love” or “God,”
for although both of you—are true.
One carries too much baggage,
the other too many expectations.
This word would be a new word.
One created solely to describe you.
A word not encased by the rules of language
nor previously written with the hand of man.
This word would be a simple word, perhaps only
one syllable long, and yet it would embrace all
the known and forgotten languages of life.
A breath whispering in the blackness of space,
not audible to the expanding galaxies,
not conceivable to the floating nebula.
The power of this word lies not upon it’s surface
but in qualities hidden from view, like invisible stars—
It unfolds with knowledge, wisdom, magic and intent.
This word would encompass your radiance,
extol the benevolence of your heart,
be made whole by your acceptance.
Humbled, only from your eyes’ light,
This word would be a new word,
one never spoken or even thought.
This word would be the one word to describe you,
but one in which I will not live, confined.
This word, this one word, will live inside of me.