Phillis, A Poet

On There’s A Riot Going On, Sly Stone sings with ancestral depth about his vocation. He declaritively sings that he is a poet. There is the poetry of rhyming words. But there is also the poetry of a life that reinvents itself or endures something which is far more profoundly poetic than the rhyming of words. Verses so lived in, that survival is not even the monument. A Poet who not only survives but thrives before words are accorded to her voice. We may never read her words, yet she existed.

How Long

The double drummer accents the beaten heart. Take a deep breath and inhale. Perspiration crawls out our eyes for what we have dared to see, enduring the years locked in a moment. Not of wonder. How much better to survive even when you cease to be necessary. Father’s words were never mine to keep. She turns the head as he learns the hard way home. Never cease to be necessary in the bullsweat of silence. Enduring love holds you hostage to freedom. A twinkle of an idea that winks at your foolishness. You earned it too. Your coffee is late. 

Up & Down

He was looking up, sky was looking down cast, hunched over the lessons it was teaching the young man who was closer to eternal life than the riches of mortality.

Sky always wanted legs and would trade places to feel what it was like to stand on ground, manly and rooted to core truth, womanly and mother to the men of war. 

Defiance

Only one hand works but two is company. To feel the resistance of a hand that does not obey the head. To reconcile. I wore a cast for years. I drained the fluid. It returned within minutes. It refuses to be compliant. It hurts me all the time. Since I was 8. But it has taught me a lot. It defies me. And I defy it. That is our harmony.

Moon

Once upon many moons ago, I met an elderly Japanese Haiku poet in Borders on Oxford Street. A favourite hang out spot of mine in the olden days. He told me his life story in the little English that he knew. A fast friendship was forged. He didn’t have a place to stay so he would spend his daylight hours in the book store and rely on the kindness of strangers, then at night he would wrestle with the odds and chance at finding somewhere to sleep, with all his earthly belongings in a bag for company.

I’ve been thinking about sleep a lot lately. I think about the line in Act IV of Macbeth. The lady’s inability to sleep without the light around her because of her fear of the dark. I’ve been in a dark place too and I have been awake through much of it. Sleeping with the light on in the dark. What light? Sometimes I watch the moon till my eyes tire enough to turn in. I rarely sleep without some light on inside my head. But getting back to the poet. He said to me “be the moon.” What did he mean? Light a way for yourself or someone in need. Perhaps that’s not what he meant but he wrote those few words in a book of his poems that he gave to me. I still wonder what became of him.

To be the moon. To turn the tide. An idea. Light as possibility. Light as love. Uncovered by night. Unbroken by morning. Even as we mourn through dark days and tread lightly on the minds of those who are dear to us, not wanting to hurt the gentle soul that has been pressed down to the bare bones of indifference in the war of being human. Naked enough to be badly disguised by the masks that silence sees through. And does the light come through when we lie? To each other? To ourselves? And do we die if we do not grasp it? Love. Light. The Moon. Us.

Snow

Snow is as unpure as my thoughts when I doubt that the bigger picture cares for none of us.

Frame the framed motion. All stand.

Earlier it rained. Still the water wasn’t deep enough to drown out the image of blood pouring out of his agony as he unsuccessfully attempted to kill himself again. I hate cleaning up blood. Even when its blood of my blood. My cell count is abnormally low but I’d give my blood to facilitate hope. Impure as the snow that falls on the filth. And settles there before dispersing into nothing.

Come softly to bed the night. Eyes lifted in sleep will greet us in the morning haste.

Healer

Choosers at the begging, offer bread for cake money. Healing hand opens up to reach down into a pocket full of ashes where foundations forgot. Smile is on the honey side of life, but not a dry eye in August to ply with tears. Cheers. They’ll drink to this when they swap places in the next life that catches fire before they choose where the burn marks will reside.

Grown

There I was, sitting in the not knowingness. Not a word of corner comfort. Slow burning away in deep space with a mystery. Unsolved. The reward for my unwilful ignorance was six stringed. The fairer the sex, down stroked, the bar chord is tinged with melancholy. This blackberry was sweet but so was I. All of my honey for burnt toast. The sex of it, long behind the love that held on to an idea we dreamed up. But I was blind of heart and nature is in the killing business of kindness. Venus kind, closing out after clamping up, let’s raise a toast for my burns, I’m growing out of my eyes and years.

Blood

As the world rises down in flames, there is still the possibility that our hearts can remain open. Blood binds us all. A transfusion of possibility. That’s the one drop rule that men born of women did not need to legislate for it to be true.

My empathy rides the crocodile. My tears hold me accountable. Protect my hope. Love is a protest, witnessing in the dark with the delinquents who make a claim for the light. I dare to see you. Not through you. Where you crawl. Where I hide. Marrow of bone. Matter of life. A bridge between aspiration and despair. I’ve climbed your timeless stories that tell of what you saw before you knew. Babies. Your babies. Before you knew them. Before you saw the world through their eyes.

April’s Swingin’

Louder than the pain of a hammer head falling on your thumb. Wounded hands play the ear drums with intent. Don’t let the beat scare you. Swing lightly with April, like your dancing with yo’ daddy.

Though we are not a gentle kiss when pressed together, and swaying hearts may rock the boat that floats on by, when Spring tries to hide her melody from your peripheral vision, you show your true colours when you swing.

No you need not be afraid of your beating heart. The beat is the life you live, and life is worthy of all your hopes and dreams. So swing with April, before the wild wind drifts you away into your last season and an eternal beginning.