Doubling the Madness
Which is, of course, no madness at all. Let’s face facts:
it’s a fish we’ll never catch, an Odin song.
It’s the we, the end we so desperately want to be.
We dabble where we never live. Sing our tree bevers,
our comings and goings––stories for an Irish pub.
There’s a reason why Tolkien invented hobbit holes.
Bly’s songs give rise to our own as we take to our hills
and rills, our halfling burdens, cutting everything
down to size. Lift a glass to a smaller world.
The great is for the great, after all. We get the rest.
We carry our stones, lift what we still can.
If we make it to second breakfast that will be a success.
In another life we could have been a dentist.
Nice little home, berries and many children.
We could have joined the Rotary, played golf drunk.
It’s better to lie down with failure, to know what you can’t.
Besides, there’s a lot more burrow room this way:
we live for our lives, for what is achingly familiar.
If You Can’t Find Heaven
It will adjust its address. How do you think this poem
found you? Do you think they just appear on the page?
No, they are a holy rain, releasing the green.
You have come here for a reason. So you can bless,
give some life to all that could happen. The invented
continues to create what has given rise to it!
The whole town sits around the fires at night.
A world repaired is coming, people we could favor.
We are not fools, have come to make that so.
Ah, it’s a beautiful orange pencil that draws us here.
It’s a sky that has long been opened for its business.
We put our coins down, near the crowded fountain.
Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Rome, the ceiling, beaded,
in Keats’s death room? We’re where we’re at when heaven
comes. We open a door, give up who we are.
This is how we go through what passes for our lives, isn’t it?
“See what I am not. I’m already somewhere else!
I can love you from there; we can build what has no future!”
Every Sitar Invents
an us we want and the person who won’t help us get
there today. Each road we build travels alone,
just wide enough for an Eastern cowboy’s sway.
We live in that place, within our beautiful shell,
a place no other can touch, though we each must try,
with a God who can feel like sunlight, a soft green moss.
This is why we delight in walking along the beach.
This is why we have so few friends. The talking world
fills itself up with a grain it refuses to share.
The only music that matters has taken the walls
of our hearts. What else matters? Something larger
has measured us for a fitting. We wait here for it.
How does one give back? Our hands are small, limited––
our span. It’s over before we learn to think,
before the rest of us can fan or begin to wane.
The student waits, sitting on the pile of his life.
The next move is never his. Happy idiot,
what could he give for one day in Your heavenly court?
The Pope’s Longing
He longs for dogs, having the run of the place.
He longs for the white mountains of his childhood, his nurse
who used to call him by a thousand other names.
Sometimes when he sips his coffee, he longs for the stark,
pocked and ravaged moon high above the pampas,
for the woman at the newsstand, her gritty takes on the neighborhood.
The darkness falling over Rome cannot save him.
John the Twenty-Third still walks night halls.
A Titian cries with eleven Apostles in the basement.
The lightbulb clicks on, and he washes his hands yet again.
The echo of a door knob turning is only that.
Jesus will have to save this day as well.
Flamingoes rise up as one in some tropical place.
In another, a bomb explodes, even as a fine
briefcase snap shut, someone whispers on his right.
He struggles to be small enough, to get out of the way,
as pigeons flutter, the circle that’s Peter’s Square.
He will never understand the ways of God.