I did not let my son hug me because he did not ask I watch him with the other children practicing Gong Bu spindling limbs learning those constant corrections then Ma Bu aches their legs these bodies young horses grown eager he quick bows and runs to hug me, again I refuse him because he did not ask first first of all the things I don’t want to do is not hug my son he has always been both archer and arrow like me he is a wreck of tears and fire Kung Fu he says calms his mind he needs a hug and when I ask he refuses we are never at war we are more at work in wilds full of errant wind chamfering together our best honest voices learning to ask the ground with each fresh step how best to walk upon it
I am deaf but for rumbles and blind but for the way the night lights when I strike the ground I am outside searching deep into black fractal hills for the drum summoning. A great spirit is awake tonight and haughty. I am some beast long-chained attempting a great labor The sky furrows and crouches on the ridge-lines and nothing will hear me yell as I stalk amid the pines I am bravado shaking trees and slapping the wet red earth I have seven league boots and a peacock’s tail but everything in the dark is much larger than me I am awake inside a drum I am asleep inside a drum I am rent haggard and something in the hills is angry and enjoying this Behind me in the dark my son sleeps dry and uneaten he wakens to bright and resinous air a strange lightning in his eyes
I held hurt birds I held handfuls of orphan mice I held a lame rabbit kit shrilling I was a small child beholding small things I was a small god holding fearful congregations I keep learning that love cannot be held only empty hands can do the work
Check out these great photos that Cleveland Public Library took while I was downtown this summer writing poems for their First Folio exhibit!
The Cleveland Public Library asked me to come do Poetry 4 Free in the Eastman Reading Garden on a couple of dates this summer as part of their celebration of the Folger Shakespeare Library First Folio exhibit.
I had fun — it’s been a couple of years since I was downtown writing poetry on the fly for folks, but I pretty much took right back to it. I wrote 11 Shakespeare-inspired poems in 2 hours. Folks could either give me a favorite passage, or pick from a few that I had selected.
— Free Poetry (@Poetry4Free) June 28, 2016
Some folks had no idea who Shakespeare was, and others related horrified anecdotes from college. A few people just grabbed a quote and took off without letting me write a poem for them. Everybody seemed like they were having a good time.
— Cleveland Digital PL (@ClevDPL) June 28, 2016
What will I remember about today, in this city that takes every punch, unflinching, on our chins; that rises up from every blow, standing tall, cut-mouthed against the world? I'll remember that this day is like every other day this city working doubles while you slept on it this city skipping vacation to get the job done this city, laconic, intractable where we bow to no king no, not even our own this city of redemption where we always welcome our sons home Today, today is for YOU to remember: this city can always say it left it all on the floor this city where every stand is a last stand this city where we pull for each other, exchange blood-stained grins and sing loudest for the unsung. You had forgotten what we've always known Cleveland is the city filled with champions and tomorrow, we get back to work.
spiderweb flag // on fog flagpole porcelain vase of beasts // in rare inks huge cube of concrete // speckled egg inside. backwards map // for a maze of mirrors onion skin // atop onion skin time be // tween star // light pond of rocks // pond of rocks a pond of rocks // upon whose foundation a shat // ter rain falls and while you were // reading this catercorner, edge of // eye, peripheral we sneak // on rat feet on rat feet // scuttle scaffolds to build or // crash or crash we the loud // est shout millennia built // magician hands reckless // calculation papier-mâché masks // watercolor thunderstorm monster fearing // above the bed myth minted daily // god cowering about women // god? or just // men