Seven Hundred Moons

Now I am sixty in less than a month.
I’ve seen seven hundred twenty moons
blaze up and light the orchards
and the sea then fade away.
It’s time to deconstruct my life;
no time to rest, to elegize the years.
What’s past was wasted or was spent.
But how to dismantle and renew?
Does anyone remember where
we stored the paint?
Yes, I know I shouldn’t joke
but sometimes either you laugh
or cry, can’t sleep, or sleep through
half the morning, burning days.

Seven hundred moons or more
or less in sixty years, though most
of them rose and shone unseen
on the roof of the house.
And I will tell you a secret:
the mind does not remember pain.
It might recall the lurid shadows
where pain rose and the light
that drove it away. So we should
go out when the moon is full
and pray for the sun to rise.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Draft 4, 5.07.2021
Creative Commons Licensed

Ides of March

After a year everything seems the same
except the light in this room keeps changing.
On sunny days it reflects from the neighbor’s
garage, so people and cars cast shadows
on the ceiling and the walls.
I live in Plato’s Cave.

Now there must be clouds moving in
to block the sun. Yes, but here it comes
again, the light on this page, and then
it’s gone. The bands of brightness
on the ceiling flash and my pencil
moves across the paper,
signifying time.

In the room the shadows come and go
and are your people still alright?
And have you had your shots?
Then here comes spring with plans
to travel, feel the world go warm again,
which in our case we have not got.

I have been indoors too long, alone.
But that will be my story; it has always
been my story: How I outlived the year
to see today amidst
the boredom and the horror and the glory.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

First Covid Elegy

Half a million are dead in America
and what is a poet supposed to say?

We have only words,
only the icons of grief.

I have this pencil and paper,
so small in a world which I thought

was benign, beautiful and interlaced with light.
I have never felt more useless

except that I can offer what’s holy.
I can utter the word Love and hope

that somewhere on the Earth
a bell happens to ring

or a meadowlark cries out in wonder.
I’m sorry I don’t have more to give

except maybe to say
May they rest in peace.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

February Moon

I feel sad. How can they say that love
exists only now, only today,
when I know I need to love you
tomorrow, as I have since we met?
And I know it’s been years.
If nothing else, the turning planet
proves it: Time is created by motion
and by the rhythm of a beating heart.
Some days, everything is reduced
to this, and to expectations – the
process of diagnostics. Hope exists
just in the future, whether the future
is real or not. The Now isn’t always
a place to call home.


I feel sad. Stuck in the future again.
And don’t even mention the crows
or the ocean this time.
Nothing is rising and falling all night
under a February moon or alighting
on some trembling branch of faith.
It just is what it is and I’m tired
of Fear stopping by to spoil the music
and the softened light of winter days.
I’m just sad because everything
worth loving and holding tight
with joy and gratitude is fragile,
and mortal and precious, like you.

Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving
that transcends dimensions of time and space.
Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it
.
– Interstellar

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Breathing

Breathe in and whisper God.
Breathe out and cry Oh World.
Then sigh oh short winter grass.
There is nothing we ought to do
so be still, be a creature believed
by God, before He set the Earth
to spin and Time to walk.
And what might walk the other way?
Death is too easy to write – on a page
we see it circling overhead, a flock
of dark wings. The winter sky is bright
but pale and we see the walker
coming straight ahead,  
never tiring, never sleeping, day and night.
It only slows to listen if we sing.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

The Last Day of the Circus

It’s 1am in Washington, January 19, 2021. The last day of Donald Trump’s time occupying the White House is underway. I say occupancy, not presidency, because the man never showed up for work. He didn’t just give us bad leadership; it was no leadership at all.

On January 21 2017, the day after he took the oath, Trump had a campaign rally for the 2020 election. He spent 4 years lying, whining, complaining, and tweeting about whatever was pissing him off. He was incompetent, arrogant, racist, narcissistic, and obsessed with trivialities.

When the pandemic hit, he was the only world leader who did literally nothing but blather and let people die. His only goals in 4 years were to use his office to get richer and stay in office to stay out of jail.

Trump is an adnomination before Almighty God, a shameful, selfish, pitiful excuse for a man, and an abject waste of carbon in the universe. And by all accounts he sucks and cheats at golf. It’s ironic that his business empire and personal brand are rusting and crumbling before his eyes.

If there’s any justice in this right and godmade world, Trump will go to prison. The people of America deserve nothing less than – just for once – to see some accountability for avarice, treachery, and failure at the top. So help us God.

“The writer’s job is the job of a clown …
the clown who also talks about sorrow.”
– Kenzaburo Oe

How to Make a Ghost

“In life, only the small details
are worth weeping over.”
— Phaedrus

Here comes that old ghost again.
up from the backyard grass
like a whisp of sandalwood
also orange blossom drifting
from the corner of the yard.

The ghost shimmers back and forth
to get my attention.

It is the time I killed a sparrow
with my BB gun. Fifty years
and I don’t still know why
except I thought that’s what you do
with such a thing.

I didn’t know what death is,
that it’s always personal.
Only two events are in the world,
without exception.

The bird wasn’t finished with living
and very confused, frightened.
So was I. We met in the sunlight
and made a ghost.

There is no such thing as an unloaded
gun or a small cruelty. So we are still there,
still terrified on the razor of time because
this is what plagues and haunts us.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

that creaking sound

A friend reminded me today of this great quote from the Watergate days:

“Well, I think we ought to let him hang there,” Ehrlichman told Dean. “Let him twist slowly, twist slowly in the wind.”

https://dictionaryblog.cambridge.org/2013/01/28/words-of-watergate-part-2/

It amuses me because, ironically, it’s now Trump who’s leaving himself twisting in the wind. History will record his stupidity and lies. Over 20,000 [Twenty Thousand!] lies had been documented as of the 4th of July 2020. By the time he’s dragged kicking and screaming from our White House on January 20, I’m confident he’ll hit 25K.

But the truth is that Trump has never been the main character in this drama of corruption, capitulation, and mass death. He has always been the sideshow – Covfefe the Clown, who juggles, tweets, and twists – while the main act plays out in the center ring of the U.S. Congress. There are 535 voting members there, whose sworn duty it is to uphold the Constitution; a duty in which they – collectively – failed miserably.

I include the Democrats in the House, whose attempt at impeachment was effette and weird, leaving behind many valid causes of action.

Mitch McConnell has always been the real Ringmaster in this debacle. Trump is a small man, a little pucker and poot in the long and terrible history of mankind’s worst failures. But McConnell is an asshole of monumental proportions, an anus so vast you could drive a Peterbilt and 2 trailers south to north up his alimentary canal and make a u-turn below the bile duct that does his thinking, without slowing down or risking a jackknife.

So let’s be entertained, if we must watch at all, by Trump’s final twisting and turnings. His efforts to retain immunity from prosecution are entertaining. Although we can do better by simply reading a book. But if we don’t do something to flush out the coiled diverticuli of our legislature, and remove McConnell from majority power, we are well and truly trucked. Sideways.

Sunbright

I’ve decided to post this even though, as a poem, I think it lacks cohesion. I just feel like sharing this facet of my emotional life these days. On the night I wrote this, I felt like being experimental, whatever that means. The Wasteland was rumbling around in my brain. Also Kierkegaard. And I was thinking that we can be aware of events happening to other people, but ultimately every event in life happens to me. All experience is subjective.

Sunbright

1 Fear and Trembling

Hurry up, please. It’s time.
The governor has set a curfew now.

I had not thought Death had undone so many.
I mean Old Mr. Death, the Old Man.
The proprieties must be observed.

He stands on a hill outside town –
the insatiable wind.

He stands at the end of the street –
dogs barking.

He stands in the door of your kitchen –
the oven goes cold.

2 The Sickness

We who were living are now becalmed
in the currents of time.

We who are dying are impatient to escape
this vessel on the wind.

Why is there nowhere dark enough for rest?
The sun is vulgar to a man who would be free.

Pray for us sinners, now and until
the Old Man comes.

3 Unto Death

Pale hands at absolute zero
then whispers in the empty rooms.

May the judgment not be too heavy
upon us.

Hoarfrost – all of the flowers in your garden
are sleeping in a mist of tears.

A million dead? Oh no, far more. So count
the bodies all night long

then in the morning, sunbright gulls
on the peak of the roof.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

How Much Love

I would like to give you a gift.
Here’s everything I can remember,
if I can find a vessel to hold it.
I imagine a mason jar
that once held Grandma’s jelly,
or the wooden bowl my brother
made in shop class,
almost 40 years ago.
How many thoughts can fit in such a space?

I ought to remember a lot of my life
but it seems that everything collapses
as it dries, becoming smaller
before it blows away.
So you should be able to carry this home.
Leave it in a place where there is light
in the afternoon, where birds can be heard
in the morning. Sometimes it will bring
shadows and rain, but often it will shine.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed