Monday, February 19, 2018

Death Might Be Just A Holy Rend

“Our species is committing suicide – that is a choice…”        -- Terry Tempest Williams

Death might be just a holy rend                      a stitch of good luck,
a weeping of snow melt.

How resurrection prefers dirty water and pain, I’ll never understand.
Her instructions comprise
                   a tiny storm of mercy– full of crows and bottle flies,
                                                               to debride the corpse,                                
                   and morning light              supple as fish bellies                                      
                                    to code a new practice,  
                                     day in and day out
                   and a renaissance of questions,               
      a splash of breath rinsed in tea leaves and sea air, 
                   the blood and semen find their legs
                                                             to dance past angry prophecy 
                                                             and drab dreams.

Death confessed everything before he conjured the crisis, 
before he created the cliffhanger, 
the linchpin, 
the keystone, 
the choice.
And choice might just want a bed of gist,
a resonance of gravity and a nascent green stubble of winter wheat. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cream on Whiskey

-- Women's March first anniversary 2018

Crone privilege abides here
in the steady pour of the Mississippi.
Her laughter, belly deep, shadows grackles and gulls,
her inconvenience, forever indentured with her shoals,
and her easy is fickle, full of silt and minnows.

Crone privilege abides here.
Out of the modern drudge, we know these truths:
Wisdom is love, love is patience, patience takes its time.
On the shoulders of old women, it pushes boulders up a hill,
Defying the Sisyphean habit – they will roll it up and over, be done with that.

Crone privilege abides here.
Call us queen bees, a riot of pussies, hand maidens over done.
Maya Angelou made her heart into a mantra, now
when we straighten our backs, the chrysalis splits wide,
and like cream on whiskey              we rise.

Until the Corn and the Cheddar

Maybe you believe this land is a tamarind rind
                                         or geode hide,
                                 or conundrum stubborn.
Maybe it reminds you of a sleeping old dog, growling
and mean with dreams of glory days and the chase.

These hills and muddy folds of dormant agriculture
                                                                never heard of Persephone.
Even Eden is a piece of gossip since John Deere and Massey Ferguson.
The busy on I-80, chases the suppose to happen and meant to do,
                           away from effigy mounds and thunderbirds.

Maybe you feel inclined to follow January’s repose, even forgive its sloth.
                              And since eagles are the sentinels today, 
let them gather up the few confused bats,
awakened in the mercurial slivers of April before Ground Hog’s Day.

Don’t worry about the details now -
We will meet them again in the corn and the cheddar.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Walking Dreams

Long shadows of winter woods crosshatch the afternoon road.
Sun strobing a windshield in strange Morse code,
delivers, not so much an invitation, but a summons,
the pull of growing light. Hip deep in such a year as this -
never what we intended, askew in storm and surge,
we walking dreams of grandmothers and fathers,
swim with the avalanche of history at our back.
Light as love, light as breath, light as legacy.
It comes from deep in time, a tiny germ,
a song we feared was lost, a turning point,
a pivot, a catalyst. The messenger,
a code of pulsing light among the trees, quickens us
like the voice of multitudes heard as from a distance:

Light as love, light as breath, light as legacy.

Winter Solstice 2017
Rosalynn and John Michael

Friday, December 8, 2017


don’t you love it          the way trees              trimmed
                                                         power lines

get right back up                  to reach for the sky

the severed limbs heal         how they send out               new wood           
                                             how relentless                     spreading       

                       light pushing its edge

invisible bridge                                we say phototropic            
this call and response         in supple bends and angles

some creep                      in the largo tempo of        oaks and redwood
others pick up the pace       andante of              mulberries and pea vines

as plants are             people are                    phototropic too      

seduced with light           
light of love                       
sun and stars

see how we wrap our limbs around one another          
                                         an arbor of hugs
leaning in        breaking open    to radiance        cardinal  and  irresistible 
                                               is it soul or breath     
how we rebound            from pruning        reach for the love again
invisible bridge                                          we say resilient

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Redemption, Years in the Making

My name is Paul Prince, and my mother is an addict.
                              I cradled her Addictions              and a trafficked woman  
from Ukraine
my grandmother took her in                       our home     the sanctuary 
haven of lost causes 
Trafficked woman and I married       had three kids              and
loads of piss and vinegar bickering  
     I’m an all-day sucker

My wife is a liar      her words bloom like barbs under my skin
                                                                    we share a welted shirt
                                                                         family heirloom
I think 
                       she thinks        she uses for fun           Coney Island without the crowd

I think           
                      there are devils    who camp in her heart           
                                              followed     her      from      Ukraine
                                                       another family heirloom  
she talks with Them in our sleep

I think
             I use because my mother uses                 demons live here too

On good days               I pretended we weren't Addicts        those days were minutes
On incarcerated days        I pretended I was a Victim of circumstance
                                                                                       those days      a YEAR
I want to be a Father              not a Victim
My grandmother is hearth    roof    a hug     a full belly        a FULL HEART
a place   my kids    can live     grow up      with         just              fairies and imps

the Welted shirt         I want to burn         the Coney Island          to bury

             My liar gutted the sanctuary and shelter 
                                took the kids
                                       wrapped in the Welted shirt  

I think
            I must be
            determined enough
to bring    us                 beyond                the circumstance 
                                                           that fools its victims

My grandmother is a fountain of MERCY
I know
                she won't            live               forever
she needs them home             
we need them home
                                        here is clemency 
                           yards            and             yards              of        it

I have a full-time job now with my uncle’s help
I'm working             on a Backbone                  my grandmother won't live forever

Inside me                           I feel a turnip seed      
                                   of hope       and     dreams
                                       HERE     a fallow field                  
                                       let hope plant its seed
                                       let hope plant its seed
                               grandmother              fountain of MERCY
                                                rain on me
                                                rain on me
                                                row by row   
                                    this life   this rancor   my dirt      
                                   turn to Green   the color of kindness                      
I think
             my kids will bury the shirt under the fountain 
             the devils           can turn                           to      birds

and     the Ukraine woman will plot    her own story
                                                          I mine

                                           My name is Paul Prince, and I am not my mother.

What happens when I read the news before meditation

I go to my cushion, I sit

with Iran Iraq, all shook up - 7.3, an inconvenient sanction,
with catastrophe to break its back.

I sit with red scarfed women, quiet as the dead -
with their broken city, broken body, broken song.

I sit with the ones who always will remember,
forgiving my amnesia, preserving us like a peat bog, tar pit.

I sit with my faucets of hot water and long showers,
my own safe place, a lifetime of golden yolk, delicious.

Under the same sky, I sit with ten thousand children
toting five-gallon buckets, minding minefields and mortars.

I sit with questions poking the soft soles of my feet.
when I walk too fast they pop open and swallow me.

I sit with dilemma, with a thready song, pretending
that my fingers can touch the grief of red scarfed women.

I sit in webs of hope, take notice of a pileated messenger,
hammering away for the little things that deliver us.

And when grace tips me on my head, I am
an ocean-dreaming puddle,  a puddle-dreaming spring.