Dirty Dishes Day

Getting set in our ways is set in our way. We don’t pick a calendar date for change. Numbering each day indefinitely as if they’ll stay the same. Then. That sunny one we needed. We wake up to rain. Wind. We wake up to cheddar cheese lightning staining the wet earth orange. Didn’t make a plan for that. When the truth is, we really didn’t make any real plans at all.

Hoping and wishing is not the same as planning.

Crossing fingers doesn’t cross that little box on each monthly chart. That ancient graph.
Showing us all the possible outcomes of the imaginary equation that is tomorrow.

Best case scenario. I’m talking world peace. An end to hunger. Homelessness becomes nothing more than a joke, just something college kids take a semester off to try out. There are still storms. Hurricanes and earthquakes and floods. There is cancer. Sickness of all manner. There’s still the matter of dinner. And then afterward, best case scenario ever, we still have to do dishes.

Revolutions. Are not just something we do to get around the sun. Of all the best laid plans of mice and of men not one, not a single person, put dirty dishes on the calendar. Even though it was more vitally predetermined than Christmas even. Life is messy. If the standard of building a perfect system is to have no extra remainder of necessary effort or labor unforeseen at the initiation, then settle in folks, this is going to continue being a bumpy ride.

But what if, oh the irony, what if we stop dreaming. What if we wake up right now and admit, fully admit, what we already know. The human being is not a thing. It is a process. The systems we establish to protect, enable, provide for humans, will not function in a fixed state. As we grow along, our societal solutions to individual problems will have to prorate. Will have to change. Not to speed up. But just to keep pace. We’ll get smarter, leaner, wilder, wiser, every successive year. You fight that. You set up roadblocks in front of progress, you’ll have a revolution every twenty years. You plan on it. Allow. Foster. Even enable it. Put change on the calendar. You’ll get a little bit of revolution every day.

An internal upheaval for every human being to remind them if all of this goes correctly there will be another day after this one. Definitely. It is a big if, but as far as we know, every if of its kind that ever came before has come true. Until now, there has always been a tomorrow. Maybe we could make a plan for something to happen that isn’t a birthday, or Christmas, or some kind of sugar-glazed, paper wrapped holiday.

Perhaps we wouldn’t need a big hairy revolution every other decade.
If we went ahead and made a plan to picnic in the rain.

Minutes and Money

Time clock.
How is that for redundant.
In more ways than twelve.
Which is actually twenty four.
Which is truly, speaking truthfully now,
innumerable.

Sore wrist. Right hand dominant.
Upper extremities bilaterally powerful.
That time teller. Like in line at the bank.
Looking directly into my face.
‘I can help whoever is next.’
Eyes locked tight like that safe.
Beholding all of someone else’s equity. Pity.
The numbers don’t trail like I do. Hiking boots.

Mountains behind me like the mountains in front of me.
Many.

Turns my stomach wrung like a dishrag in the hands of time.
The imbalanced arms on the whiskered face of a clock.
Tell me how much time I’ve got.
Assure me I’ve used up all my credit.
And now it is time to go to work.
Trading minutes for money.

How is that for redundant?

Time doesn’t write in pencil

Those featherweight wrinkles that frame your words like quotation marks
will start to linger. So much so people will think you stole someone else’s words.
Liver spots will dot your cheeks. Cross little tee’s from that face you make
like you’re about to sneeze. And all of these lines will be written in ink.
Your forehead is journal paper for time.
The color around your pupils will remain bright.
But teeth will turn taupe. Hair grows thick gray and grainy.
Like an old black and white movie.
The audio will not always line up with their lips.
Falls will fall harder against hips.
Eyes will lose their taste for your skin.

And yours.

Yours will grow hungrier
than they’ve ever been.

To Pieces

There is more to the present than a gift.
Wrapped in red gold green paper.
It sits.
Everything.
The whole universe.
As long so you don’t know what is in it. It is everything.
The greatest gift there ever was.
Only as long as you don’t know what it is.
What’s under the tree isn’t Christmas.
There isn’t a tree alive big enough.
They were all cut to the ground years ago.
No one ever leaves a present wrapped too long.
Which is why all the great gifts are gone.

It’s hard to wrap a song.
Or a poem. Or a thought.
Or both of them. They’re odd.
Loose in the corners and dense in the center
and the tape just won’t stay on.
I appreciate the thought.
But was hoping for something to tear open.
Or even at least a pressed paper box.
I know that’s asking a lot.
But this is a particular season.
When no one needs a reason.
To ask for more than you’ve got.
Not just any present moment.
Something store-bought.
Wrapped tight.
Ready to be torn.

For on this day maybe two thousand years ago a child was born.
Torn up wrapping paper on the floor.

And soon, that baby grew.

And said we will have earned the kingdom
eternal life
redemption
the very hereafter
everything
the very moment
we can discern a gift
without having to see
it torn open.

Timing is Everything

If I could write one sentence to act like a key and unlock all others I would.
But words don’t work that way anymore. They’re like us. They caught our curse.
And have started breeding new forms all on their own. But I can glimpse its outline.
The spiny silhouette it leaves on the blank backdrop of ignorance. My own not knowing. Is known. I know it. Every challenge. Every mountain. Admitting my own inability
is the first step. Where did they teach you strength came from?
The only place I’ve ever found it is when I was too tired to look.

My sentence.
The key that disbolts the cell that holds me. All of us. Set free.

Delineation between equal parts is asinine. It is a waste of time. One side could tower miles above the other, but if one little shredded up piece of another being is needed to procreate another mile high colossal tower, they are the same size.

A poet has no problem knowing this.
A poet holds a whole oak tree in the palm of their hand.
Only others call it an acorn and move on unmoved.

That is something the poet can not do.

A certain sort of soil. Words. Ideas. Congealed into ideals and composted mantras
throwing up little green fuzzy leaved tomato sprouts this spring.

If you value grapes too high you’ll never let them spoil. And you’ll never taste wine.
If you value grain too much, you’ll never thrash it and mash it into flour.
And you won’t know bread.

Follow your principles out on your own before you inflict their conclusions onto others.
Shake the damn tree. Do not wait for storms or swarms of pests to test them.
Imagine. Consider all things.

Patience is like this amazing mayonnaise that can be put on just about anything and make it a little bit better. Or worse. There’s more time in this stuff we call life than I trust any one of us to admit. But yet, there is. By all means we may have a God who had a hand in every corner of existence except for the clock. Our sense of time seems off.
We could have a God who looks at life and death
and doesn’t see such a gulf.

Better than a calendar #oldjournals

These longer days during summer somehow feel shorter,
yet weigh the same. Heavy bags beneath eyes.
Those lines formed on the sides of smiles or from frowning,
now drawn permanently arching parenthesis
like a frame around a painted mouth. Red,
or soft pink and sleek wormlike rippled skin of lips. Chapped,
licked seductively to find the salt of beaded sweat. Clamped,
beneath teeth in the grinding tense frictional symptom of concentration.
The weight of all these days to date, here, today,
born in the indented pool of an unseen lower back,
bone locked like knuckles wrapped in cartilage against knotted bone.
The bolt built of twisting nuts touches the big eared clown face
of that giant rattling calcium hip structure
to record the strenuous passing of time
more honestly than any calendar.

Years break down

Forty five minutes on a sixty five year stump. Hands hurt.
Everything passes through them. Curled fingers on folded palms
grown out of vein wrapped wrists on click elbows. A stump like that,
that old, the very base of the very tall, will not part for a five pound splitter.

Barely dented. No splinter. The full abrasive weight felt sharp hard
vibrated in your hands. The stump takes none. It all falls on you.
That is five minutes in. Only you don’t know there’s forty to go
and you hurt clean up through your shoulders already.

But there is always a better tool. A heavier hammer. An independent wedge.

And a clearer head now knows the time and height and density
and fibrous energy and twisted splinter chorded towers. A mind
that now knows every one of sixty five years breaks down into hours,
and hours to minutes, and seconds begging roots dig deeper
in the earth to find good water, stumped trunk run up higher
above the heads of others in seek of weather
with lightning dentures that roll like thunder
and bring Prometheus’ fire to the forest
and burns us to make us stronger.

Never been anywhere other than the front yard of the lady
who just lost her husband, in the house up the road. Until
carried piece by piece in the back of a jeep
by the boy from down the street. Me.
Three iron wedges in and hitting it still not splitting it,
still, from the opposite side. Feeling each hit in his fingers.
Every one of sixty five years.
Each individual second within the whole of forty five minutes.

By the time you feel the full weight of time,
you’ll know, because your hands will hurt.

this thought costs

Days are really piled minutes, mortared by seconds,
just like how houses are really brick and concrete.
The one who drew the diagramed design,
sharpcornered, straight, ruled lined,
knew the foundation like the body knows feet.
Aching, constantly, reminding, this thought costs.
Time, money, enough weight piled, fixed, built right,
the world, still light enough to twirl, and float,
a demanding black ocean, earth a spinning boat,
caught up in its current.
Days break down into minutes.
Seconds. Like dollars into cents.
It matters how each one is spent.

Time is our favorite way of putting the world on the spot.

Time is about to pick up pace and not slow down.
Until autumn starts to settle its yellow orange red brown crown,
this is the realm of the sun. And long lines of cracked dust
gold arch counting isolated clouds wilting shade from above
days have only just begun. Raining almost every sort of thing but water.

Yellow ejaculate off shamefully quiet, rouged leaved oak trees,
wood ash off brushfires, the voices off birds and little fluff balls
off wood ducks crash thirty odd smooth feet onto leaves,
day light and bright stars fighting for positions in forgotten constellations,
dead quiet, almost everlasting, off of the mind’s horizon.

Time is straightening out to dive in, kick legs like frightened fins
so deep the water pressure pops somewhere,
inside the ears of time, deaf, short of breath,
buried beneath the weight of chock blue salt bearing water.
Time dies, and is about to return to life, again,
just as the studious, slow illusion of progression
has done before, and before, and before.

Returned. Resurrected. Risen.
To break face above the surface.
And once time starts to pick up pace,
it doesn’t slow down for any of us.

to let go

Time rises like the sun
hard to miss
high above
apparent and inspiring

to work more
quick
finish each day like the last
and time sets just as fast.

Falls
shrinks to halves
into quarters
to slivers and gone.

Time is plenty
and time is none
like the sun
defined by light
but also shadow.

Time
that challenges us to take hold
also asks
begs
to be let go.