Litany

If I tell you the mums
by the driveway are blooming
that is holy.

If you tell me the crow
in the tall palm sounds like a dog
that’s holy.

If I remind you there are children
in this town who went to bed hungry
that is holy.

If you say the rain is light, the sea is calm
and this town can change
that’s holy.

When I tell you our love will die
but first these things matter
we become holy.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

“To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet, in the time of the world’s night, utters the holy.”

~ Heidegger

Advertisements

Bear Mind

Poem, 1.4.18

Let there be a poem now.
Let one appear in the center
of the room, in the air
above the desk, and hang
like a cloud, like a spirit
conjured out of absurdity
and desire. Like a pear
without a tree.
And I will bear
it down and slice and serve
it up, pretending
that it came from me.

As I was working that little poem out of my notebook, I noticed the single unintentional rhyme of pear and bear. I thought about Bear Mind. Not like bear this in mind. Bear Mind. I don’t know where it comes from, if I made it up or heard it somewhere in a poetry reading or a retreat, but it goes something like this:

Imagine you’re sitting in a chair and you have a slice of baloney in your hand. There’s a dog in front of you, watching, and you waive the baloney back and forth. The dog watches the baloney and when you throw it across the room, the dog runs after it. The dog will do this every time. No matter what else the dog might have to look at, listen to, or think about, it’s going after that baloney.

Now imagine it’s not a dog but a bear. You waive the baloney back and forth but the bear is not watching the lunch meat. The bear is watching you, a much larger piece of lunch meat. So when you throw the baloney across the room, the bear doesn’t even blink; he’s not distracted, not even a little. In fact, you may have tossed your last baloney in this world.

I want a mind like that bear. One that stays centered, focused, and doesn’t go chasing after every distracting slice of baloney that gets thrown past his nose. So my goal is to dial back on the inputs of storm and stress, drama and covfefe, that plague my daily existence, and focus on being more mindful, calm, and clear. Building the Bear Mind.

Hold Fast

The evening light is soft and kind.
If the night comes suddenly,
if darkness falls as a crisis,
unexpected despite the long twilight,
we will lie down against the cold earth
and hold fast, sheltering in its vague
contours against the wind,
and hope for morning.

I believe the sun, godly and indifferent,
will rise again behind the ruined trees,
silent when the birds are fled
to a brighter land. Then we will stand
and keep moving west, steps quickening,
dislodged from Time and joining
the everlasting sundown.
The evening light is soft and kind.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Ivory

I dream that I think about taking
a shower. I should, because
it would help me relax and sleep.
I dream that I have not slept
in three nights, that I should take a pill
or drink a glass of wine
and find a book with ivory pages,
easy on the eyes. I should climb
into bed then decide what the book
will be about and what is on
the pages, besides ivory.

Now I’m holding the book
in the shower. The pages dissolve
and flow down the drain.
There are elephants outside
in the dark, trampling the flowerbeds
and breaking the sprinklers, looking
for my address. The line of them
reaches back to the overpass.
They are taking the northbound exit.
A vast herd is thumping up the 101
because they heard I have pages
of ivory. But the book about time
is flowing out to sea. And if I don’t
wake up, I’ll never get to sleep.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

Dog’s Birthday

Today is Brookie’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Brookie! She is a best friend and she is 6 years old. She is a wonderful dog. In honor of her day, here are two poems.

First is the Dog section from my longer poem A Terrible Thing.

The Dog

My life is a dance of ten or fifteen years, and I love
to hear my voice ring out into the all-too-silent world.
You can say so much with your silence, like the wind,
but a dog is a turning leaf and a sound.

There is a long river of light when the day gets old
and I grow tired, thinking of my food and where I sleep.
I am not afraid because the pack is with me.
I do not rest alone.
But you will, Man, and it makes me sad.
I have seen our tracks in the dust up ahead,
where they go from many to few, to two then one.
Mine don’t go on very long, but I have no words to tell you this.

~~~

What The Dog Owns

They say that we should live
in the moment, cherish and be
present entirely, the moment
being all we have.

And the future, the infinite
possibility, vast and strange
un-writtenness of it, dark swirling
Maybe of it, belongs to God.

But the past, with its happy smells
bright fuzzy motion, sudden pains
and great meals, long sleepy
afternoons, belongs completely
to the dog.

2017-03-25 20.13.29

J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

The Twilight Sky

Each night is a change
bringing longer darkness
down from the mountains
east of home.

Nights follow shorter days
with angled sunlight.
Little bats flutter up
like troubled thoughts
into the twilight sky.

I stand up at 9 o’clock
and go out alone.
Night after night
we are together
then I’m alone.

Every night is longer
by degrees of solitude
and grief until I stop,
look back before I drive away.

God knows what might
be gone when I return,
when nights are forever
and lonely, and January bitter
toward the end of time.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
3rd Draft, 10.11.2017

Creative Commons Licensed

When We Are Ghosts

When we are ghosts
we will float gentle as light
through panes of glass
and slip into bottles of wine
or perfume and wait to be
poured out. That will be like
being born again or at least
remembered and we will
laugh for many years.

When we are ghosts
we will hide in the cold fireplace
through spring and summer
until the sky turns the color
of a dove’s wing and the trees
call back water to their trunks.
Then when the logs are lit
we’ll make the flames burn gold
and blue and dance into the ashes
of morning.

When we are ghosts
we will pose briefly in the smile
of every dog and wait
to be photographed and alight
in the face of every flower.
No one will recognize us
but we will not be sad, only
wishing forever for the kindness
of sleep.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
9.25.2017

Creative Commons Licensed