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

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The world is raging through space,
turning and turning as the consciousness
of it struggles to comprehend, to come
to terms with itself. A house divided,
spinning away from creation.

I have declared myself non-combatant,
a conscientious objector in the battle
of awareness with the infinite abyss.
I have retired to my digs, to contemplation
of conflict in abstraction.

Wishing on a falling star, we have wished
for all of them to fall, to die in a fusion
with our hostile mind and time.
Maybe they were happy to explore
the cold and meaningless Void.

Conflict is attachment and sorrow
and we hold each other here, where
we fight over everything except
the Nothing that matters. We can
give our siblings no relief from shame.

Contemplation makes the room in summer
stuffy and warm. The dust, sifted by fans,
appears like snow on the furniture, until
no one comes to challenge my redemption
through the old screen door.

I am winding down to corruption
but have considered many battles,
daydreams of boredom and horror and glory
and now I find myself at peace.


J. Kyle Kimberlin

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Adagio Before Dinner

Sunday, late afternoon and early summer.
Cooking smells rise from the four directions
of time, past, future, now, and forever.
The small dog dozes in shadow, as do I.

The songbirds and a ring neck dove
in the jacaranda join the breeze
and the windchimes for a long quartet.
Adagio for a sabbath of forgotten prayers.

I don’t remember you very well anymore,
and that’s no fault of mine. I remained.
There are days when I am still, listening,
and I can hear the planet turn and sigh.



J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed


Such Days of Joy

I can’t tell the story of my life,
not all of it or even part
of the wonderful truth.
I have these fragments,
shards of glass or a few gulls
on a long wire.

A freight train rose up
from the southern horizon.
I looked away and a dog
ran to me through tall grass.
The surf, just beyond vision,
was a drum with a living voice.

Everyone gathered to pray
but I didn’t join the celebration
or raise my eyes towards Heaven.
I was small and tired so
the engine broke past us
in a gust of time and car after

clattering car until I was alone
with the swirling dust and the cold
tracks running on the mounded ground.
I should have listened to the sea
but I believed that dogs and love
and such days of joy would never end.


J. Kyle Kimberlin

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Rain washes out all of the colors
except for red, which stands
for pain and blue which stands
for music and tears; yellow
for arguments and laughter
that keep our hearts beating
like clocks in separate rooms.

Green is the color of every tree
that will still stand and shiver
in love with the wind and cold
rain, after we are dead.


J. Kyle Kimberlin

Creative Commons Licensed

Rainbow in Carp 1.31.2016 Crop1