Permission to fail has been granted…

permissionPermission or Forgiveness

If only, if, “If I knew then
what I know now” I know I’m not
smart (or good) enough to do
anything differently; I know that I
don’t know how to know
differently, I know that even
with perfectly clear hindsight,
sharply focused and contrasted
lines diagramming right and wrong,
touch and don’t touch, walk
and don’t walk, buy and sell,
I would still act stupidly
and need forgiveness
instead of permission;
because it’s only later and
not at the time that I know
what I should have known,
and I’m fine with that because
I’m enjoying forgiveness.

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When she leaves to change the world…

leavingShe Will Not Always Come Home

From the very first there were clues
that she saw the world as her own,
her realm, home, hers to rule
with benevolent whimsy alone.

Off she’d go to play, learn, fly
charming allies, everyone’s queen;
every hello with an attending good bye,
assembling delight in her daily routine.

More she wandered, more she went,
the more she loved as she explored,
new and old with equal content;
a gypsy girl for journey’s reward.

Proud and pleased, by her she swirled,
unapologetically she’s set to roam;
off to change this amusing world
and she will not always come home.

There’s always a comparison…

handHis Arm

The skin thinned as I grew older
and veins were easy to trace
my small finger along as if following
the invisible stream of blood
that must be coursing through them,
bruises and scrapes from
his weekend gardening lingered in
earthy hues of purple fading
into tanned greens into the sun
baked crust remembering
burns and deep cuts from times
before I was me and sitting
close to him mesmerized by the way
something so strong could
become so frail and languid, and I
wondered at the perfect
plumpness and muscle of my own
so ready to remain young.

Remembering the smell of burning leaves…

We Can’t Burn Leaves Anymore

Just last week the leaves clung
to their boughs
though heavy and sweetening,

glowing in October’s
blinding noonday sun
with its
hint of warmth still;
dancing in the stir of a breeze
still mild begging us to inhale deeply,
soon to be bitter,

a final, seasonal mindfulness
of fleeting comfort;
because November brought a change
of heavy rain
and the verdures no longer clung,
but yielded
and fell underfoot, waterlogged,
soon to rot,

staining the sidewalks if not
raked and swept
to be discarded in bags for burial,

no longer afforded
their final triumph of
autumnal cremation
stinging the eyes of dancing children
as rake-braced adults
gathered round in funereal muse.

Through the valley of the shadow of death…

GraveA Psalm 23

When my mother died
I said nothing, I had
no words – me, her boy
who didn’t shut up,
couldn’t, it seemed,
and would talk her ear
off, or so she claimed,
but I don’t recall her
ever telling me to
stop, unless I missed it,
quieter but not silent;
so where were the words
now – they’re not in
the dictionary she
said she wasn’t when
asked how to spell;
so I had to borrow the
lyrics she taught me
by her own mother’s grave,
about how to see the
valley of the shadow,
and fear no evil,
trusting the Lord
was her shepherd also.

Nietzsche’s pockets…

NietzschePockets

If a man has a great deal
to put in them,
as Friedrich would say,
a day will have a hundred pockets;
and that’s another way
of saying it’s up to you,
the day, that is,
life, that is,
to acquire what may be
known, what may
be enjoyed,
with an appetite insatiable,
voracious,
covetous to possess but not deny,
for knowing is not
a zero sum game of have
and have not,
but an unending feast for the starving,
and we are all, always,
starving.

Tribulation’s luck…

Left Behind

Enough will be enough,
finally,
when it is what it is;
no doubt about it
this time,
no Great Disappointment
or Julian recalculation,
no more merciful delay,
only tribulation
for those left behind
having ignored
the apocalyptic signs;
I will probably not
be ready,
maybe sleeping
or even worse, napping,
or indisposed
or picking my nose
when the trump
shall sound like
a jazz tone,
an archangel squeal,
laughing
while the clouds will
have that look
of sharp, bright rays
beaming through,
opening up heaven
at the end of days;
and one
date-setting schmuck
will finally be right
by sheer,
dumb luck.

For the one born blind…

Grace in Mud

They sing,
we sing,
all sinners sing
of grace
that’s amazing,
of grace
that makes
the blind see,
grace that
does what can’t
be done.

Never, they
say, It’s never
happened
ever,
to anyone,
so don’t think,
don’t dream
it can happen
to you,
sinner;
punished,
deservedly, en
utero (what
terrible thing
did your parents
do anyway
that you should
be born…you?)

Grace in this
spit and dirt,
grace in mud
that must be
washed away,
washed to
see what you’ve
never seen;
you’ve never seen,
ever; grace
in mud made
you see.