The Difference Between Spilling Coffee and Spilling Tea

You may well be surprised to hear
about the difference between spilling tea
and the parallel but oh so different act
of misplacing your daily cup o’ joe.

Coffee spills are the forte of drowsy
morning hands-
as if it wasn’t already hard enough
to crawl into the on-rushing day.

Perhaps you were distracted, my dear
by a bad dream
or a friend rather far away,
and were hoping to sharpen slowly-
slide by difficult thoughts unnoticed.

Either way, that precise moment
when you spill your hot coffee-
the cup made with the last scoop
in the jar- that is when
you will decide the color of the day.

Of course, tragedies like this are subjective,
and the interpretation of this
mug tumbling will be your own,
whatever shade you light upon
while sipping the drops that survived
that day break fall.

But spilling tea…
well frankly, it’s just not that big
of a deal.

In the evening, or rather the
late afternoon when
the last of the sun leaks in
through the kitchen window-
too soft to disturb
the chill in the air- the window is open.
Only your hands are warm-
cupped around something herbal.

Studies show that ninety-nine percent of the time
the ginger tea spill was a direct result
of the fact that
your eyes were fixed on the friend
sitting rather close by,

and if my facts are straight,
they made you laugh a whole body laugh,
which naturally (as is natural) upset the teacup,
and quite a bit spilled into your lap.

In this case, you were, perhaps,
so preoccupied with this person
that the ginger tea had grown cold.
And so you laughed
and laid your hand on theirs
before rising to quickly whisk away
the mess.


In the low blue lustre

Carl SandburgI have become obsessed recently with the Carl Sandburg poem “Sketch.” I have a brittle, well read edition of Chicago Poems. Besides the brutally insightful poems of Sandburg, the inside cover has a note from my dad, who bought the slim volume for me while stuck in the Chicago airport seven years ago. It is one of my favorite books of poetry, but for some reason, “Sketch” never struck me the way it has in the last few weeks. Perhaps the difference is that now I live only two blocks from a harbor (the one in the photo), and the ocean is omnipresent in this city.

“The shadows of the ships
Rock on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Of the tardy and the soft inrolling tide.

A long brown bar at the dip of the sky
Puts an arm of sand in the span of salt.

The lucid and endless wrinkles
Draw in, lapse and withdraw.
Wavelets crumble and white spent bubbles
Wash on the floor of the beach.

Rocking on the crest
In the low blue lustre
Are the shadows of the ships.”

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Heaven Works Backwards

Though this moment is altogether less than perfect-
though this time is broken,
we have determined to make the better of it
but we have not altogether discarded

our intermittent yearning
for the yet-to-come
light which promises to raze
the gauzy veil perpetual-
for the rush and clarity
of an ice cold wave of future bliss
to bear down on our blurry senses.

All yearnings and all waitings
are one motion
in one direction-
all pining and all wantings
are one future gravity.

the small yearnings
the small waits:
this present past will be illuminated
by an embrace long anticipated

& the long-con, the long wait
(the only one we know)

the droll, dull, plodding
of this series
of pasts and repasts
will color backwards
each bleak day

the warmth of true red
the sweet notes of genuine violet
the glow of undimmed gold
and a blue, a whole blue

a blue beyond what my weak eyes
are for now privileged to behold-

the blue of the peace
of never again seeing a blue
that only gives our wish for blue
a whet.

A brief look at the spinning of the world and some of its side effects.

The incessant
spinning of the world
reliably topples
even the steadiest among us.

And the biggest problem
facing those aspiring
to remain upright
is the fact that
whatever you might cling to,
whomever you instinctively reach for-

they are spinning too,
and so are not
particularly helpful.

It stands to reason then,
(pun intended)
that the only way
to escape this inborn vertigo
is to lean on someone
with perfect balance-

perhaps somethings that sits outside
or above
the ceaseless whirring
of our dizzy, little lives.

Writing Lines

I will not revise history.
I will not revise history.
I will not cross out whole paragraphs of my journal.
I will not edit with twenty-twenty hindsight.
I will not attempt to project infallibility.

I will remember that,
no matter how crafty or well-intentioned,
revisionist historians will always be found out,
picked apart, or worse-
dismissed as mere aesthetics and fiction.

One dark truth is more valuable to the future
than a collection of happy hollow fabricated depictions.
I will not revise my history.


Kansas Is Full of Good Men



There are things not even
a poem of infinite
craft can carve into a cup small enough
that it might fit into hands,
our only-a-few-days hands,
and lift to the mouth, the lips
thirsty for days yet come when, and only when,
only after all days are said and done.

Sure as the sun on the days when we are thirsty
for the quiet assurance of rain on the roof-
sure as the sun reminds us of our duty
to welcome the new seasons and wait for the old,
failure litters the path to Pisgah
and fingers close over my face so that-
how do I say that I can’t bare to see
the smallness of the portion of the vision I’ll behold
all through the wait for all days to be
said, sung, and told.

You know, the faux folks in costume, in character,
watching makers dictate
strange worlds of the same old possibilities
embraced by upside down limits
on how many moves you can make per game-

the petit voices of the poets buried
in ground and above ground buried in novels
the joy of scholars living in the words of ancient worlds-

How do I show that not all recluses and reality deniers
are rejecting “the real.”
Perhaps they/me are instead aching for the ideal,
drowning in the blue longing for a place
where evil beheaded doesn’t grow two,
where love has happy endings not painful
fading out of life and passion lost
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