the girl in the swing having accomplished

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the girl in the swing having accomplished
prodigies of momentum
no longer needs her father
her friends too are out of alignment

she rushes and rushes
into a future
away from the present
into a future again

and ever
at the farthest edge of now
her forward rush commences again

just once when she was leaning back
so far back
she saw the departing world
quite clearly

the earth balanced perfectly atop
the tree that clung to the bird
that stood on its head
on the sky

 

then suddenly she knew the roots of the sky
were infinite
and that the rush of time itself
could not unseat it

 

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Your bird does not fit our needs at this time (poem written with a found pen)

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We’re sorry but your bird
Does not fit our needs at this time

Due not to its filthy plumage
Or the fact it’s excessively common

We simply receive too many birds for us
To comment on any single Bird

And even though we wish you luck
And success in all your future endeavors

This bird simply will not do.

 

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As an example

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As an example
of ingenuity,
you told me:
“but you can survive
on unseen lives;

Modern science can simulate
many effects
by using
culture.

Humans
are the key:
they help to  seed
the future

But can also be
tricked
into work.”

 

 

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A poem is a machine for making

sense, the way a dog
is a machine for barking.
And just so, there are side effects:
the mess that takes you by surprise
(the wondering when did that happen?)
the licking your face
when you’re trying to sleep
and unless you take precautions
always more poems.

The rest of the family - 146828640_463b12e9af_z

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There you were

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There you were
helping your friends
who were not yet married
before their reception
by cutting something small
smaller,
carrots or cucumbers,
something.

You were being mindful
of the knifeness of the knife
and how strange it was
not because it cut
but because of the way
it cut

and in consequence
you were working
slowly,
holding up
everything and everyone
that depended on you.

I loved you for
your mindful sluggishness,
and how you were unconscious
of your beauty
in the beautiful moment

so now
I think sometimes
how if that beautiful moment had lasted
I might have married you
and you me
and how eventually
someone else would have had to take over
for both of us.

And I think:
how lucky
one moment
doesn’t lead to the next.

 

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Now it occurs to me

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Now it occurs to me that some day
our son who is about to be born
will wear this knit cap
that was given to me
quite some time ago
by someone I was in love with
quite some time ago
and I’ve never told you this.

There’s keeping and then again
there’s keeping it to oneself
but sometimes I think about her
and what it was like to be in love then
and how it was different
from what it’s like to be in love now

and that some day our son
who is about to be born
will wear this knit cap
and he will not know a thing
and you will not know a thing
and she will not know a thing

about it, the way the yarn
follows the yarn.

Won’t that be something?

 

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The Joiner Had a Vision of God’s Glory

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Tell how you came to drudge in my kitchen
you child of the sheltering sky.
Who were your people?
Where did you get that hair, those blue eyes?
And that we’ll all of us be worms’-meat one day—
is that why you scoff at us?

The wildflowers were abashed
when the fountain burst from frozen ground
and the ice formed complicated branches
as if to demonstrate how much remained to be done.
They have scattered to the far fields,
and now must be counted again.

The roofer practices his trade,
he grows strong off his need for others.
The reseller of goods heard the drone of the chanting,
and the night grew pale.
The conference of geologists has been disbanded:
the earth is strong enough without them.

 

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No magic, child

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There is no magic, child.
No mysterious stranger
awaiting the proper stormswept night
on which to introduce you to your destiny.
Your mother and father
are really your mother and father.
There are words for everything.
Behind every bookcase is only a wall,
and the walls are solid walls
and behind them only two by fours
plaster and pink insulation and thick wires
through which ordinary currents pulse invisibly.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely usual
to have been born to people
about whom you know nothing
and who have secrets they themselves will never fathom.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely mundane
to live side by side
with the passionate electricity
that lurks behind your bedroom walls.

There is no magic, child,
since the world is just the world
and there are words for everything
even if the ones you will someday require
may be in a language no one living speaks.

There is no magic, child,
because it is entirely ordinary
for entire peoples to spring up
and sing for a hundred years
only to vanish with their only traces
to be found in a bookcase
with a solid wall behind it
while within the wall seethes
the invisible electricity
that powers the screens and machines
that belong to the parents
who are really your parents.

There is no magic, child.
The stranger who will appear
some unexceptional day
and make truths of wishes
you never even knew you were capable of

is no more mysterious than you.

 

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I dreamed the streets of Katmandu were full of flowers

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I dreamed the streets of Katmandu
Were full of flowers
As the earth-mother mountains
Were shrugging off their glaciers
While a sea rose up somewhere
And vultures dreamed of feasts
But a young woman smiled and said
Nothing’s too much to bear
And sure enough she had sung
Her child to sleep
And the streets of Katmandu
Were full of flowers.

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