the baseball bat

as a child i can remember him
slipping away from the house
into the shed, then reappearing
with a hand-made baseball bat,

one of the many he crafted long
ago for a forgotten ozark team.
they all shattered or cracked
from wear, and we believed

all were lost. but after he died
we found a bag inside the shed
under years of dirt and dust,
twelve baseball bats remained.

i keep one near my desk, still
smooth with the brand burned
deep in the wood like the many
memories of him upon our minds.

flight 365

the year is half-gone into eternity,
and time’s black hole does not relent.

what is this place where we believe
we can acquire anything, but always

leave empty-handed and alone?
we live in a slumber where dreams

seem like reality while existence spills
from our bodies like jet fuel behind

a damaged aircraft in mid-flight.

imperfections

under the surface
we are free. all spirit
and essence waiting

for brokenness,
for the slightest flaw,
for an opening

where the true self
emerges as light,
escapes into being.

 

 

* Written last year in response to Robert Okaji’s beautifully haunting poem “His Softness”. After reading it several times, the phrase “somewhere, under the surface, / unattached” stayed with me and prompted this poem.

the exchange

a politician mailed a half
dollar to me and asked
for fifty in return to help
his cause. i have heard
preachers on tv promise
the same things in different
ways, always asking for more.
so i buried the half dollar
in a corner of the churchyard,
near the dead politicians
and tv preachers, imagining
the squabble taking place
on the shore when charon
stretches forth his ghastly hand.