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Tender is the Night

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Nocturnal Plaza De Panama, Balboa Park. San Diego, December 15, 2014.



I was trying to find a poem
To describe your skin, night
But the poets don’t know
the hours, or the look i just tried on you–
I cannot find you in their words.

I am always hiding in their verses,
moon behind clouds.
Distilling memories, crafting them into images, words:
what is the wine that we drink?
and who can write about the way you held me?

They do not have a name for this, for how perfect we were, the amber and coffee
of our hips.
Your kind chest,
your arms, taut as steel,
and the fact that i did not look at you, not once, afraid of learning too much
from the way you walked,
or the way your clothes fell.

Drowning so sweet,
tender fire.

Name the nights this year,
count them on the palm
of one hand.
Indifferent city, i stole moments of brilliance
from your stingy months.
I ride dark, subversive waters
and capsize
continuously.

‘Until the inconscious is made conscious, the subconscious will rule your life,
and you will call it Destiny.’
Carl Jung

Do the poets write
of a lion lying with his lioness?
Of fleeting things?

You drove and i held your hand
You told me one must laugh, pray and cry,
everyday.
I argued the last point.

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Sunset. Venice, California. November 2014.

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Anything Can Happen. Anything Can Be. Santa Monica, California. November 2014.



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How to Love
By January Gill O’Neil

After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love, 
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape 
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance. 
 
What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see, 
the three wild turkeys crossing the street 
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to  do 
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross. 
 
As they amble away, you wonder if they want 
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too, 
waiting for all this to give way to love itself, 
to look into the eyes of another and feel something— 
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night, 
your wings folded around him, on the other side 
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.

Above Seas of Clouds

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Continents



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Perfect Storms


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Icescapes


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The Light of Florence at 5PM


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Resilience


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Land becoming Cloud.

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Habeas Corpus

by Jeffrey Schultz

 


In memoriam the once-frozen North

Our collective consciousness does not allow punishment where it cannot impose blame.

United States v. Lyon
Judge Alvin Benjamin Rubin, dissenting

 


There is of course the other idea: that the intricate latticework
Of our bodies loosed from us at last will leave us free
To become anything, pure light, perhaps, or wing-beats

In fresh powder beneath some maples locked up in their thin veneer
Of ice. But then as always a sudden gust and the limbs’ clacking,
And, as when some insurgent sound crosses over the porous border

Of a dream, the world recrystallizes around us: midday, snow-
Grayed, the wind-chill’s sub-zero like a ball-peen to the forehead.
It’s cold enough to quiet even the soul’s feathery throat-song,

And so it does. Nothing moves and I move through the woods
At the edge of its city with dog, hoping he’ll shit his daily shit
Before this reddening flesh numbs entirely. Nothing moves,

But beneath months-thick ice and powder, winter’s put up its dead:
Squirrels and sparrows, the wren and the fox, whole families
Of field mice posed as if in the pet store’s deep freeze, even,

Here and there, scattered and whole, occasional missing persons.
For now, for guilty, for guiltless, no matter, the world offers neither
Deliverance nor decay, and though we trust in that the thaw

Will come, that someday soon some pond water, water
Still and softly rippled as pre-War window-glass, will again reflect
Its image of the bloodless sky, cut, at intervals, by spring’s

First returning vultures, and though the police will then take
A little comfort, as they kick the MOBILE CRIME LAB’s tires
Before rolling it out for the season, that the birds help at least

To ease the legwork, we know no one’s, you know, going to be
Set free. The skull’s thin as eggshell so far as the beak’s thick curve
Is concerned. The raisin of the eye’s an easy delicacy.

And so to imagine the future is to imagine the present, but warmer,
But more forthrightly, more honestly violent. And so another day’s
Bones picked clean. There is of course the idea’s consolation:

For eternal patience, eternal reward, for the meek, the Earth’s
Corpse. Instead, a sort of waking sleep, a sort of waking slow;
We rub our eyes, warm the last of yesterday’s coffee, stare

As our email loads: surely something must have come, surely
Someone has spirited us that which would make all the difference.
We call to complain that nothing’s working because we like

The on-hold music, which is a sound other than our breathing.
We ask the music if we can speak to its supervisor but when we try
To explain it only laughs, Guiltless!
Who do you think you are anyway?,

Laughs its little soprano sax laugh before it loops back to its loop’s
Beginning. The coffee pot runs on mediated coal and drips acids.
The car’s topped up with artillery and emits amputees. The idea was

Waking would make things clearer, would startle us as from any night’s
Nightmare: these sheets’ cold which is not bare concrete floor,
This patch of light the moon has cast not the interrogator’s light,

This knocking in our head not some still-indecipherable code
Tapped against an adjacent wall by who knows who, by someone
We can’t even begin to imagine, someone stuck here longer

Than even ourselves yet still committed to the idea that finding
A way to speak to each other would help matters, this knocking
None of that but rather something real, here, furnace clank or thief

In the night, something real and something present and not
The dream of what must be held that way until it stops thrashing,
Not the dream of being held that way, but what could be danger

Or else nothing once more, which means we prowl once more
The house, ridiculous in our underwear, ridiculous with a flashlight
Gripped like a truncheon, the floorboards cold somehow as bare

Concrete, the floorboards that croak somehow like vultures who are
Not here, who winter south, scan the Sonoran desert’s northern
Edge, its empty water bottles and tire ruts and those nameless

It dries to a sort of jerky, those nameless who labored in vain
To cross it, who had hoped that in crossing, they would be set free.
Nothing’s wrong, the house secure, bolts bolted, latches latched.

Somewhere in the distance beyond the kitchen window, downtown
And its bus bench bail bondsman, downtown and its graffiti
Covered wall’s Great Writ:Repent! The End Is Nigh! As always, as always,

Answers the darkness. But, pre-War? In what will soon enough be
Dawn-light, in this near-light, who can tell if it’s blood spread thin
On our hands or else just a healthy, living glow?  Outside, the idea

Of night and the idea of day seem to have come to a standoff.

No one’s calling for negotiations. We know what happens next:
Whether the stars flicker or merely flinch, the sun, whose face

Is a badge, has always been a little trigger happy. And though
The firestorm will consume, soon enough, everything, it seems
For the moment this will go on. As if indefinitely. As if without cause.

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San Diego Harbor, October 18, 2014.




to my single reader:


perhaps one day soon
i will tell you about puerto rico, taíno heart, and driving into méxico at midnight
like two fugitive moths
the indio angels
perhaps i will share the secret tales
of a heart that keeps returning
to the south
and reading poetry as an act
of revolution.
i did not forget. i am not gone.
i never gave up.
artists cannot stop seeing and sharing beauty, no more than poets can stop feeling and bleeding ink.
it is not a choice for us.
understand that a pen lies dormant sometimes, oftentimes,
only to gather strength, and stories,
like our souls.
only to heal.
the vessel eventually spills over.
i will tell you about calabria, my tierra, my fisherman father, then new mexico, the beautiful natives of this country, their poignant song…and the lines i wrote
at ten thousand feet
they might make sense
once stitched together.
i will talk about
traveling as an act of infinite love
to heal, to forgive, to archive
yet never, never forget (i will never let you go, hold you into the light)
but i will never say a word.
there will be more photos than drawings, please forgive me.
there will be, more often than not, no explanations, and little context [as in life]
accept these scattered offerings.
what is the music that one hears
as we change skin?
i can only bring back
dispatches.
the giving of one’s self
receiving infinite blessings
and signs
i will find a way to share this
hiding my hands, covering my mouth.
breaking awful tiles on that grey vinyl floor ! and every instance that made me thankful
for a heart that was broke open
like a seed that could finally flower.
for a traveling soul
that will always eschew expediency
for narrative.


but not tonight.
tonight is not the night
for everything to be told.
it’s a start, a shy coming back
after months abroad.
the new world, the old world.
i return to the shuttered home,
look at these years
stacked in neat boxes,
wrapped with care, once.
a gift from ourselves, to ourselves.
it is time to return,
harvesttime is once upon us, and finds me stronger.
it is time to shake the dust covers, unpack
and finally, finally move in.
there is never enough time to do housework, single reader,
but i figured  you know
it is not the thought of unfinished laundry
that keeps me up at night.

The Lady Doth Protest

Ink on Moleskine paper. Schneider Hybrid 0.5.  San Juan, Puerto Rico. June 2014.

Ink on Moleskine paper. Schneider Hybrid 0.5.
San Juan, Puerto Rico. June 2014.

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