Barbed Wire Ballad
Bring more barbed wire. Bring the heavy rolls
of twisted steel and metal thorns. Wear
heavy gloves, unspool the wire from the roll,
make loops atop the wall. Bring more.
Bring more barbed wire. Here are metal stakes
on which it may be hung. Go on and on.
Here is a wire cutter for when we are done,
but that will not be soon. Bring more.
Bring more barbed wire. Here are people
to keep out, there are people to confine,
here a place to make secure, here we are
on our side, thank God. Bring more.
Here are people, there are people,
here a border, here a barrier,
here are places, here are people,
here a wall and here the wire. Bring more.
My Blue ChildI let you go now, my blue child.My Blue Child5 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Fly away, I make you wings of memory and pain.
The wings that offered healing once would not come again.
Your pain is now complete, your pain is past.
Our pain is torn and tearing, our pain will last.
I played a counting game upon your back when we were small.
Then I had your wounds to count. I could not count them all.
A prince come from a star, with golden hair;
I took you to my heart, I held you there.
You were my own, and every threat to you made me fierce.
Now I must be, yet cannot be, fierce enough for this -
to let you go now, my blue child
FallFall4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Something fell. How could a sound so loud
have been a dream? Yet how could a sound
so loud have left a silence thick as this?
There is so little sound you might be deaf.
You say, "hello," softly, to the dark.
You hear your voice clearly through the air.
The lighted clock says four A.M.
Did something fall? It could have been a dream.
It may have been the picture in the hall.
Why did you hang it with a single nail?
Or was it something not so near as that,
whose size and mass you cannot say?
Was it here in the city, a block away,
a mile? There would be sirens, surely.
Or was it something both near and far -
did a world slip down a stair,
from one step to the one below?
Whose was it, then? Or was it yours alone?
In the morning you will know.
It was not a dream. Something fell.
Friday's BluesWhen I woke up on Thursday,Friday's Blues5 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I had Friday's blues.
It was twenty-four hours
before they were due!
I said to the blues,
"You don't belong here today.
Get your stuff together
and be on your way."
But the blues was upset
and unsure what to do.
I said, "Listen to me,
I will take care of you."
I said, "Put on this coat
and put on this hat.
Wear these dark glasses
and follow this map.
"The route there is perfect,
don't you stray from that line."
So the blues left me then
and my day was so fine.
And I wondered, I wondered
if the blues could swim -
my map led to the river
and then it led in.
I woke up on Friday
and there on my floor
I saw soggy footprints
coming in from my door.
Well, the footprints were made
by some soaking wet shoes -
and so there you have it,
you can't drown the blues.
In the heartIn the heart4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
In the heart, doubts
In the doubts, a small room
In the small room, a table
On the table, a map being soaked by rain
On the table
In the small room
In the doubts
In the heart
A mirrorA mirror3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I have a mirror that shows another face.
I have a face that asks to hear a song.
I have a song with room for light.
I have light that is the red inside every color.
I have a color that is waiting for its name.
I have a name that means tenderness.
I have tenderness caught in a mirror.
Pursued BluesThe speed limit here is fifty,Pursued Blues5 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
but I'm doing a hundred and ten.
If my luck holds out till morning,
I might make it home again.
I've been moving since October
and they haven't got me yet.
I keep my eyes wide open
for every trap they set.
Sometimes I say a prayer to heaven
for the damage all around.
There is justice high above us,
but who can call it down?
The speed limit here is fifty,
but I'm doing a hundred and ten.
If my luck holds out till morning,
I might make it home again.
If I do get home tomorrow,
I will not be there long.
I'll put my arms around my people,
and then I will be gone.
But it's not so much the staying,
as knowing home is there.
Not so much the staying,
as hoping home is there.
MakerMaker5 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
How do you move within the stone?
And who has said that this is stone?
No one but I may say - no one.
And will they listen, every one?
No need for all, if some few will.
May I be one among the few?
Oh I will leave that up to you.
Veiled, unveiled, uncertain, sure,
Each day I choose - may it be well -
Stone - or story still to tell.
No Time for the BluesI had no time for the blues,No Time for the Blues6 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
but they had time for me.
They came to my house
about a quarter to three.
I had to get out of bed
when they knocked on the door.
But why had they come?
They would not tell me what for.
I was awake with the blues
for the rest of the night.
And oh, I saw the blues
by the dawn's early light.
It was a quarter to nine,
I had things I should do.
But I couldn't go out,
I was feeling so blue.
And so I said to the blues,
you must have somewhere to go.
They glanced at the time
and they answered me no.
I had no time for the blues
but the blues didn't care.
All the time in the world
is what the blues have to spare.
Cool BluesI'm stopping at the stop signs,Cool Blues3 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I'm signaling my turns.
I am trying to be cool,
I know about what burns.
I'm older than my daddy,
I'm not walking in his shoes.
He ate his milk and honey,
and you know he paid his dues.
Green glass on the sidewalk
that I don't always go around -
because my sole is solid
I just hear a crunching sound.
I sit at my favorite table,
it's the one where you are too -
I love to sit and listen
as you tell me what is new.
Soldiers on the street,
moon in the sky -
owl in a tree
getting ready to fly.
I hear voices in my head
as I fall asleep at night.
I thought everybody did,
but I was not right.
I am canceling debts,
no one owes me a thing.
I'm spending my days
learning how to sing.
L - K - JLook at Lake Elizabeth, the color of milk,L - K - J2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
and clouds of boats with sails of blue silk.
"Keep the sunrise on your left" is what the captain said.
If she was right the city should be soon ahead.
June or July would have been better for this.
But we don't want to wait, so March it is.
Impossible is only a word.
Just the same, some things are absurd.
Hope for tomorrow, breath for today.
Grant me these, O world, I pray.
Gray all day and black all night.
I'm beginning to feel the absence of light.
Fire trucks are coming from all around,
to burn the old places down to the ground.
Emergency procedures are well known:
Take off your shoes and swim for home.
Draw me a pint of something hoppy.
I may get high but I won't get sloppy.
Count the gains and count the losses:
One resurrection and too many crosses.
Breath is truth, but words can lie.
Why are lies told? We all know why.
And and and and and
the open heart, the open hand.
The Cloth of SleepThe cloth of sleep I'll make for you,The Cloth of Sleep6 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I'll weave it with my own two hands,
out of the thread of dreamless rest
and thread of dreams that calm and bless.
A pattern I will draw myself,
upon the night so dark and fair;
I'll pin it to the cloth I made
and then I'll cut with skill and care.
A gown of sleep I'll sew for you,
it will be yours and yours alone,
to wear that you may put away
the worried fabric of the day.
When I have made this gift for you,
I'll send it to you in a song;
send back to me the news I seek,
that sleep was good, the night was long.
You see the way we sitYou see the way we sit and how we leanYou see the way we sit5 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
toward one another, then sit back again.
We sip our coffee, say, "You should try this,"
and lift our forks to one another's lips.
Do talk and easy silence make it seem
there is no tension left to make us one
with all the heat and sweetness one might dream
or drive us far apart if it become
too taut and snap? Perhaps you tell yourself
that all is settled and no questions left
when two have been together for so long?
It is not that there are no questions left.
We ask them often, more than you would guess,
we ask them every day - and answer yes.
Waiting for My Rider BluesWell, I'm waiting for my rider,Waiting for My Rider Blues3 years ago in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
I hope she gets back soon.
We really should be leaving
if we are going to reach the moon.
My rider is a sweet one
and she likes to navigate.
But we got to get a move on
or we are going to be late.
She went into the city
to buy us bread and wine.
If she got lost inside the market,
getting out could take some time.
There may have been bad weather,
and she was caught by a storm.
Just as soon as she gets back here,
we will both be safe and warm.
She may have met a crowd of people
who were watching a parade.
She may be waiting till it passes,
and they move a barricade.
She may have heard some people singing
and gone to see what song she heard.
She may have stayed to sing soprano -
you know she sings just like a bird.
She may have had to show her papers
to a security man.
They don't make you that much safer -
they stop you because they can.
You know I will be waiting,
however long it may be.
gonethat limp,gone5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
left warbling on my desk
where the glass
went sick with longing -
how do we start over?
your note said it all
when you put down the pen
and I could feel the air
forget your name,
coals in the grate
hissing their warning
like a dirge.
i was born too late
and the robins bare mourning
on their breasts
your feet always knew
the way home,
fighting their instincts,
with the purge
of simple lies
crushed under them
like the lost gift
Lovely Lady DeathLovely Lady Death1 year ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I met a lady outside the town,
pale her face and dark her gown.
A great black bird passed overhead.
"What gift have you for me?" she said.
I gave her honey, I gave her mud,
a song of springtime in my blood.
Though she was fair and bade me stay,
I knew her name and went my way.