remains

my brother is gone

that well of moments shared
from the earliest of our days
tracing the paths of life 
we traveled together
but oh so alone
remains
remains

i knew you all of my life
until today
and knew you
not at all
a spinning planet
eclipsed by the unspeakable mysteries
that tear lives asunder

still you will be there in those photos
with your tender gifts
your laughter and pride
that boy
the almost frail one
the genius that would not find a home
the husband the father

unseen among them are
those closed doors
the terrible sorrows
the infinitely unanswered questions
making another epistle in the scripture
i pore over the verses
clearly written for a reason

the stilted scribble of your hand
lingers among my papers
while the passing of your life
is somehow
reduced to a text
my heart is full with you
but empty

the boy i thought i knew
the man of whom i knew only the periphery
go, strew yourself across the darkness
a constellation
there always on a clear night
for anyone who might look up
and wonder

my brother is gone

###

dreamless

I walk out to the middle of the field. Like a little kid, I plop down into the cool grass and sprawl out on my back. I just lie there, looking up at the sky. 

It’s one of those super-blue days, and there’s these lines of happy clouds coming across, ensemble, like a choreographed dance troupe. I lazily watch the travel of the clouds, blown along by an insistent wind.

The longer I lie there, the more I feel and hear the wind. It whips wisps of my hair across my face. I can hear the crinkle of the occasional tumbling leaf, remnant of winter, blowing past. 

I glance sideways through the grass and notice the dandelions. I feel kind of sneaky looking through the blades of grass, as if I’m somehow hidden.

But, no, there I am, grown adult, lolling in the grass, just watching the clouds, you know.

I close my eyes for awhile and roll my head back and forth, noticing the strange rainbow I see pass underneath my eyelids. Then I put my palms over my eyes, and I see the most psychedelic blue.

I open my eyes again, and just lie there, sinking down into the grass as my muscles slowly loosen. 

I am in the clouds, dreamless.

How many years has it been since I let myself do this simple, amazing thing?

###

air to breathe

Somedays I get a little frantic because it’s like I can’t breathe, there’s just no air to breathe. I want to see the sky, the whole big sky from end to end and no end at all.

Buildings and shadows and numbers, numbers ticking, always ticking, swallowing up all the air until there’s just not enough. Numbers ticking, always ticking. We all play this game of suffocation. There’s not enough air left for me.

I want to run. Somewhere there’s air to breathe. I have to run, run, run, to go where the sky gets big.

###

the well-read cat

There is nothing my wonderful best friend cat likes better than to curl up with me and a good book, or even a mediocre book. As long as he can comfortably situate himself, Tippy’s reading appetite is nothing short of voracious. Together, Tippy and I have delved into a fantastic array of places, people, and ideas as we turned the pages and allowed ourselves to be transported.

My tabby friend and I have had wondrous escapades like flying over Africa or sailing the North Sea or exploring beyond the planet. We’ve studied maps and pictures. We’ve figured out how to do things. We’ve pondered philosophical issues and romantic ones. 

Tippy has purred his way through many delightful pages, and sometimes sat on them. He has also patiently listened when I’ve tested the words on the page, reading aloud. We’ve explored rhythm and imagery. We’ve counted syllables.

True, with such a diverse catalog of reading, we have on occasion disliked a book, even found ourselves scoffing. We have, however, never found ourselves in disagreement.

Unlike my beloved Biddo, Tippy is not a book biter (a little bit on that here). No, although he does enjoy exploring the physical depths of a book shelf from time to time, he respectfully leaves the books intact. He is not, however, above taking a swipe at a bookmark.

Tippy’s joy in books seems to lie in the shared reading experience and, most important, the cuddling. In fact, from his nestled perch in my lap, he often insists that other tasks be put off, while we enjoy yet one more chapter. 

Yes, a well-read cat is a true treasure. Beyond words, really.

###

this day

as the birds warble me awake
into the yet dark birth of a new day
i slowly pull away from already forgotten dreams
and the mantle of anxieties begins to weave around me

i watch as the light comes
and the birds cease their song, they fly,
as if they, too, know this world’s troubles
but the birds, they know who they are

a decision drifts like haze in the air
then takes form, a rock, left unpainted, in my hand
this day, no,
i will not wear this cloak of human constructs

i loose the creeping fingers
i can remember who i am, i can,
i do remember the air and the blue of the sky
i know the arms of the ever-giving trees

this day, i fly with the birds
this day, i am home, child of earth and stars 

###

dreams must be

The early morning, still dark and star-strewn, makes the space for dreams — the wisps of the inscrutable ones begging to be deciphered, and, too, the waking dreams of substance, dreams of the heart, the aphrodisiac of aliveness. 

These are the dreams that make us more of who we are, who we must become, as surely as a tender sprout must one day flourish with extravagant blossoms whether seen or unseen by human eyes.

Some of us are happily, if not easily, driven by those dreams. For others, we must allow ourselves to notice them— these dreamy sprouts — then nurture them.

Our dreams prescribe wholeness, not careers or salaries. Especially in a time when we are more and more reduced to and perceived in our roles as commodities, we must dream, and go there, even if in bits and pieces. There is nothing inconsequential about it. Do not look to the status quo to place a value on your dreams.

Dreams, big and small and in between, are crucial to our own lives, our social underpinnings, and to the globe we trod. They are not defined by the marketplace. The shapes and colors and sounds of our dreams make our world shine with love and creativity and freedom, irrespective of what can be bought and sold. They assert our very existence. Dreams are revolutionary.

If dreams die, if we forget how to dream, we must see it for the existential crisis it is. We must find our way back to dreams any which way we can. 

It may mean finding a guide or a friend to help, or it may mean revisiting childhood dreams and experimenting there, or it could mean learning something entirely new to break the hold of the entrenched thought patterns that trap us in our dreamless state. It could be a new language, or a craft, or a place, a history, a skill, that turns out to be the trigger that allows our dreams back into our lives. 

We must try, because dreams must be. Dreams are fundamental to life. And when we fan the flames of our dreams back into existence, we must tend the fire. Dreams hold our gift, to be cherished and honored in love by all. The world needs the revolution of our dreams more than ever.