New TCBH! poem:

How can you know when you run? (inspired by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: “How can you run when you know?”)

What are we running from?
Where are we going?

My feet hurt, but I don’t have time to rub them
Or cool them in a stream.
Like a deer,
Leaping old barbed wire, and new
I bound over smoldering fires
Always cautious, always anxious for the herd.
I’m like an old dog
Showing that I still have it in me
To run and run and run.
Always, always away.
I can barely see the city rushing past.
I have wings on my feet.
My sight skims over the bones of things.
I see too much.
I smell the fear . . .
But I keep running.
I see the future like a slow-motion wave
Before which I am flying,
Before the crash and foam.
What message am I carrying
From god to impotent god?
What silver-winged flight have I achieved
Leaping from mist-draped ledge to fog to cloud?

"There you go again" (Reagan)

Ok . . .
Ok, this is where I draw the line in the sand.
I don’t even know if this is true,
But I imagine it is.

It comes with a true-enough ring to it.
Turning dingoes into time-bombs,
Animals as bombs . . .
Is this really new?

Or am I just waking up from a dream
On the porch of a nursing home,
And I am gagging on my spittle
Because I’m dehydrated and
Because the sun just cleared the edge of the porch roof
And it is as if someone removed my blindfold
And I find myself bound to a stake
Facing five men pointing rifles at my heart.
And everything just came together for me,
In this dream about explosive dingoes.
I’m a Native American about to take a drink from a bottle
And I pour out the first sip to the earth for the ancestors and
When the liquid hits the ground it sends up a little puff of dust,
A little mushroom cloud and
Now I am a mother giving birth. I am my mother,
And I’m giving birth to myself.

The world is at war because it has lost peace (Pope Francis)

But it’s not just the world that has lost peace.
I lost my peace.
I used to have it.
I used to cook meals with it,
I used to season my food with it.
It was with me when I mowed the lawn.
My peace,
my vision.
I even had it after Orlando . . .
I was watering the garden
and I looked up
at the clouds passing over the field,
and that was when I realized that peace was missing.
Have you seen it?
It was right here only yesterday?
You ask, “What did it look like?”
Well, like a sunrise,
like a bird singing in a tree,
like a wetland beside the interstate.
It looked like a gun with a flower sticking out of it.
It looked like a catchy bumper sticker,
like a sunset,
like a red and pink Hawaiian guitar
with islands stenciled on it
and a hula dancer.
It made me happy at the end of a day
no matter what the day was like.
It looked like a book of Sappho’s poetry
by a reading lamp
switched on.
It looked like a fish jumping clear of a stream.
It looked like a ray of hope.
Like a sleeping cat.
It looked like my grandfather’s sad face
when he was teaching me how to throw and catch a baseball.
I was watering the garden at dusk
and I looked up
at the clouds passing over the field
and one of them looked like a pink guitar.
I saw how beautiful everything was
and that was when I realized that peace was missing.
It was when I was paying attention to all the reasons to panic,
when nature was showing me every reason to hope;
I panicked.
I lost it.
If anyone finds it
let me know.
I’ll be home
or you can leave a message.
Gary Lindorff

A poem about this

I’m looking at a box of tissues.
It is my supermarket’s brand.
The photo on it is very beautiful and understated.
It shows a swan gliding from the left.
There are no words on the box.
In the background is a man in a rowboat.
He is so far off
That at first I thought he was in a kayak.
Both images are tiny.
The water is close and expansive and there are
Undulating mountains low in the background,
Also understated.
And as I say, there are no words.
(The barcode and the name of the store
Are printed on the bottom of the box.)
The box is mono-tone, mustard-yellow
Like just after the sun has set
And everything is saturated by the afterglow.
There are no waves, only stillness
And perfect reflections.
The subdued color enhances the feel of the scene.
I dreamed of a supermarket last night.
I was passing down spacious aisles
Crammed with food.
I was leaving the store without any items
And felt the need to explain to the cashier why
I wasn’t buying anything:

. . . Because our friends give us food
And because we grow just about everything we need.
In my dream the supermarket is closing for the day
And each time I list another food we grow
Another cashier disappears
Until there is only one checkout station left.
I know that when I leave
This last cashier will disappear.
It is July 1, 2016.

Total Recall

(Prefacing remarks: My dealer writes to thank me
for letting them fix the airbag on my Suby Outback.
Apparently I was driving my car for many years with
a defective airbag that was a potentially lethal weapon.
In the event of deployment
it would have malfunctioned,
perforating a body
with little projectiles of shrapnel.
Good thing my car was “made with love.”)


Total Recall
6 billion recalled for defective wiring.
Official notice:
Global Crisis Sensor and Reactive Systems failure.
Read on:
During any global crisis,
(such as catastrophic climate events
or flagrant acts of terror)
if you were born after 1945,
your body, regardless of model,
will go into sleep-mode,
shut down entirely
or self-destruct.
Cause: Global Crisis Sensor overload and
total back-up systems failure.
90% of models will fail
due to design error.
Retro-repair adjustment and upgrade
will begin ASAP at your licensed dealership.
Date to be announced.
In the meantime,
Gary Lindorff

New poem:

The pipe

The pipe is longer than long.
No one knows where it starts
Or where it ends.
It carries our dreams.
It carries our stories.
You can put your ear to it and hear beautiful singing.
That is the sound of the spirit running through it,
The spirit of the beautiful beasts
Who used to people this land.
We make offerings to it,
Offerings of flowers and hair,
For without it we would not be here.
The pipe is our mother, our father,
It is our teacher,
It is our communion.
It is where we will go when we die:
Our spirits will be sucked in.
When the pipe sweats
We collect the droplets
To baptize our newborns,
And to anoint the dead,
To heal the sick.

Notes toward a manifesto

I want more of these things:
Peace, happiness, friendship;
I have these things:
Home, dreams, loving companionship;
I will fight for these things:
Truth, freedom of speech, nature;
I will cultivate these things:
Kale, garlic, blueberries;
I will bury these things:
Cynicism, angst, racism;
I will reject these things:
Meaningless taboos, business as usual, patriarchy;
I will value these things:
Conscience, openness, selflessness;
I will nurture these things:
Patience, courage, friendship;
I will overcome these things:
Complacency, skepticism, regret;
I will study these things:
Globalism, human rights, women’s rights;
I will exercise these things:
Voice, spontaneity, joy;
I will contemplate these things:
Spirit, mystery, destiny;
I will deplore these things:
Gun violence, incarceration and the death penalty, addiction;
I will liberate these things:
Imagination, linear thinking, two-party politics;
I will support these things:
Animal rights, freedom to protest, LBGT rights;
I will look forward to these things:
Health, long life, self-acceptance;
I will oppose these things:
Nuclear technology, war, capitalism;
I will be these things:
A liberated human being, a dreamer, a revolutionary.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Sliding scale

The physical thisness
of the question
available qualities
spinning infections incubation.
Because everything noted,
oblong rebuttal
post neo anti macro
prenatal capacity
turns inward,
swinging plaintively
release phase obvious
carries forward. . .
Suppressed direction alone
tends to happen
exactly in terms
of waxwing.
I recommend
upending the oblong
structure of reinvention.
Move deeper this idea
forehead cool
(Don’t forget to breathe.)
footsies warm repeat
associated and now
like anybody else
damaged vision
downward dog
truly bleeding the role
where you have
sympathetic emergency of focus.
Probably impossible
but you promised.
The acupuncturist leaves
one in for the road.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Riding the elephant

There is an elephant king
lying flat out on the ground,
His life was giving rides.
I know exactly how he feels,
that’s the crazy part . . .
To be used I mean,
by those with tiny dreams.
(Elephants actually walk on their toes!
They barely make a sound
because the pads of their feet
surround what they step on.)
This old one is done tip-toeing,
is lying in the dust,
imprisoned by the scale
of what used to be his eminence!
His trumpeting voice
reduced to a mere
fluting in his brain;
whatever he once wanted to trumpet.
He used to dream of rampaging
through the village,
bulldozing huts,
scattering the tiny people.
How hard it is sometimes
to remember
to be proud
of what we are.
Gary Lindorff

New TCBH! poem:

Sucking the bones of the bee

We are
breaking the little bones of earth
(bones of coral, bones of red wolf,
bones of bat and bee,

bonobos, their little fingers). . .
Now that all the bigger bones have been broken
to extract the marrow,
we are breaking all the little bones . . .

to make ourselves powerful
to defeat our enemies in battle,
to feel superior to our enemies
because we are so vulnerable,

vulnerable to fear and pain
and hunger and feeling alone,
alone with each other
whom we do not trust

to feed us when we are hungry,
to care for us when we are wounded,
when we are old and helpless.
We are

very busy
breaking the little bones of mother earth,
now that all the bigger bones
have been broken.
New poem by Gary Lindorff in ‘Sucking the bones of the bee’

Gary Lindorff