Unravelling and weaving, sometimes simultaneously

Archive for October, 2014




RIP Galway Kinnell

Thank you to Doc at Scholars and Rogues. This is one of my favorites of Kinnell’s. RIP to a great poet and performance artist. We will miss the mild, mesmerizing, accented repetition of magic words.

Progressive Culture | Scholars & Rogues

One of our greatest poets has died at 87.

I had the privilege of seeing Kinnell read while I was at Iowa State in the late ’80s. He did some new things – things he’d been working on during the flight out, in fact – but this was the high point of the evening.

Thank you, Galway. Sleep well.

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Bread Crumbs

I am reading your old emails
flipping back the years
to when we met

There were secrets there
I paid no attention to
at the time

You divulged bits of yourself
pinching crumbs from the loaf
scattering them
for me to follow to you

The birds beat me to some of them

Still, I fell in love with you
not remembering those pieces
I scramble to find and savor now
while I am starved for you

Lost in the deep woods
I feel along the path
with loamy fingers
searching for more bread
one last taste of you
then another

Not really caring
if I find my way home
unless home is somewhere
you have gone

What I wouldn’t give
for another random missive
a 143 text
a voice mail telling me
you’re okay where you are
but you never really left

(c) RCGA 2014


The wolf huffed,
his breath a white cloud.

The crow preened,
eyeing him sideways
from a tree.

“Friend Lupine,”
the corvid began,
“here we are.

we have followed man;
we know him.

We have helped
the two legged hunters
find their prey.

We have shared
the task of clean up
after war.

They do not
appreciate us.
Not one bit.

They shoot us
and drive us away
from their towns.

Yet, we are.
We’re mercenaries

When man falls
from his own hubris
we remain…

And one day,
we will clean their bones
shiny white.

You will run
and friend, I will fly,
free and safe.

Until then,
find us a trash can
to knock down.

Let us eat
while we are dreaming
of heaven.”

The wolf grinned
and canted his head.
“Yes. Let’s eat.”



(c) RCGA 2014

Black Pearl

I dive deep
hold on to my breath
eyes open

The water is dark
filled with mud and writhing things
yet I swim deeper

I cannot
touch the bottom yet
too far down

But fingers reaching
latch on a slippery shell
and wrap around it

Out of breath
I strive to surface
gasping sky

Crawling to the bank
I examine the oyster
I pry it open

A black pearl
is in its belly
dark nacred

Iridescent orb
beauty created from pain
I hold in my hand

Inside me
there grows a black pearl
just like it

(c) RCGA 2014

The Unbroken Circle

I am working on songs for Adam’s memorial service. I have a couple that I am pretty certain he would like and that feel appropriate for him in particular… “The Deer’s Cry”, “Let It Be”, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “What A Wonderful World”.  I want to end with a hymn. Adam was reared, as I was, a Baptist, though our years together were spent happily at the much more liberal and relaxed Episcopal church where I work as an office manager. He was reared by his mother and grandmother, and spent time as a young man in a faith-based rehab when he struggled with alcohol after the loss of his mother. Like me, he was eclectic in his beliefs, more spiritual than religious, but he loved gospel songs, singing in general, and was, from our discussions, a full-out believer in an afterlife where we would all be together once again.

So I pulled this song, covered by many country singers, out of my memory, and finding the lyrics, I adapted them a little, to make them more universal than a song simply about the loss of a mother. It is the same grinding loss no matter who is leaving in that vehicle, parting from us on this plane. Our hope lies in reunion, in knowing love and the soul is eternal, no matter how temporal this mortal life is.

“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”
(adapted from lyrics by Pete Seeger)

I was standing by my window,
On one cold and cloudy day
When I saw that hearse come rolling
For to carry my loved one away

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

I said to that undertaker
undertaker please drive slow
for this loved one you are carrying
Lord, I hate to see them go

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

We sing the songs of childhood
Hymns of faith that make us strong
Ones that all our mothers taught us
Hear the angels sing along

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

Will the circle be unbroken
by and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
in the sky, Lord, in the sky

One Small Step

I make myself use the bathroom.
It is my bathroom, after all.
I find myself bracing every time,

but it is less and less.

I cleaned it myself
but there remains
an essence
that raises the hair
on my neck

I am not a practical person
but I can practically ignore it.

Sunday morning,
I took my first shower in there,
washed my hair.

I took my time.

I sat on the shower chair
and I let the hot water run over me,
feeling some of the fear run off me
with the soap.

This is not bravery.
This is survival.
This is how it is.

I am sure in the scheme of things
the streets full of knives and danger
the battle fronts and tenements
the precariously broken homes
my act is infinitesimal

In this place
in this time
in my heart
it is walking on the moon.

(c) RCGA 2014


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