So We Believe

Some nights we go to bed sad.
All the lights dim across America,
all the sparklers dipped in a midnight
kind of pain that puts them out.
Then all night it’s cold in the mountains
and across the great desolate land,
a blue wind coming down from high
places, from snow, through aspen
and pine, and it’s hard to sleep.

In the morning there is dove light
again, dishwater clouds.
The traffic moves, dogs bark,
the people rise and fling themselves
into argument – the great debate
of right and wrong – as children
go to school and probably survive.
So we believe there is a God
and it’s not us.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

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Happy Easter

I gave myself a few nice little presents for Easter this year, each one better than the ears off a chocolate bunny. Let me tell you about them because they might inspire similar gifts you could give yourself, and it doesn’t have to be a holiday.

First, I gave myself 30 days off Facebook. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and when I got up this morning and saw atheist trolls bullying Christianity on Easter, I knew it was the perfect day. I’ve always said that the bug that allows Facebook users to see what their friends are “liking” and commenting on elsewhere, even if their friends don’t actually share it, is a bad bug. Well, an old friend of mine was commenting on atheist pages, which caused me to be able to see these horrible things. It was bad. Stupid blasphemy in my feed. The only thing worse is when religious people try to force others to practice their religion.

So I activated an app in my PC that will block me from logging on to Facebook until noon on May 1. And I deleted the app from my phone. I’m out for the first time in 9 years. Feels better already.

Second, I wrote a poem for Easter. Here it is. This poem is for my Mom and Dad.

SUNRISE

The universe is confusing.
I’m trying to see the next right thing
and light goes off on a tangent.
Then there’s paradox: Truth
is always two things or many things
all real, all believable
or nothing all at once.

Why is there so much water
all around and so many things
that can’t breathe it? Why haven’t
dogs learned to talk yet?
What is Time, falling and flowing
and standing in puddles that reflect
the face of an infinite grief?

How could God make something
so soft and weak and full
of wet fragility and selfish hope,
so many of us all alike, then
love each and every one unto
death and into Eternity?

Look, there comes sunrise now
and flowers, spring sempiternal
as the planet spins, dragged
through the void by a star
fleeing everything, bound for nowhere.
We ought to be grateful for the ride,
whatever we are, born on our way
to somewhere else.

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Third, I used part of my Easter free time to draw a picture of a tree. I haven’t tried to draw a tree since art class in junior high school, in 1974. But I remember I liked doing it. I remember the art teacher, Mr. Hinton, came to my piano recital. Which was a pretty damn nice thing for a teacher to do in his free time. Nice guy.

It’s a humble tree- it’s bottom-heavy and it needs a lot more leaves – but not terrible for the first try in 44 years. I enjoyed it so I’ll probably do it again and get better at it, right? Just like with writing, practice makes possible. And if at first you don’t succeed, skydiving probably isn’t for you.

Tree 2018-04-01 14.34a

Christ is Risen.

 

Time Passing

What is the poetry of time 
merely passing? What birds 
alight and sing in vain?
Does a face reflect in dusty 
surfaces and will flowers 
find forgiveness in this rain?
We’ll spend the day and time 
will pass and nothing 
in this world will cause us pain.
J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed
Lines written while waiting for a dangerous storm to pass. Fortunately for my little town, the atmospheric river shifted and split, so that the worst cells of heavy rain struck north and south of us. When the river shifted back and took aim at us again, the storm had weakened somewhat and we were spared severe damage, such as occurred nearby on January 9. But the change that was kind to us was less kind north of here, where a 19-year-old woman lost control of her car in the rain and was killed. Truly a terrible loss; I can’t imagine what her family is going through. So while I’m relieved and grateful for a sunny day today, it’s no celebration. 

Forever Dog

If I could choose
the last thing, I wonder.
The last thing I would ever see.
You understand me: I mean the last thing
I would see before I die. It should be
wonderful, like a bird. No, a bird
would never remember.
A dog.

A dog running.
A little dog running to me.
A dog laughing and running.
I wish for a dog running and watching
the small birds alighting in the grass.
A dog of my own forever, just
a dog forever and ever.
My dog.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed

Sitting in the drive-through of the bank today, I looked up between the buildings and saw a gull catch a gust of wind. I thought, What if that was the last thing I ever saw? It’s beautiful. What if people could plan ahead and choose their last vision. The poem began forming in the next minute or two, so that I had to pull over and start scribbling it in my handy pocket notebook. Jack London was right:

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”

Now I wonder, friends, what would be your choice? What would be the image you’d like to carry with you into eternity? Feel free to leave a comment or create your own expression and share a link to it.

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

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