glance

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glance:

she looks my way
and i look hers

eyes open
as windows

without a word
we think —
who are you?

windows open

eyes turning elsewhere,
mind moving
into privacy

where we
sit and
think about such
things as meeting

strangers, new

friends we
may enjoy —

i sip coffee, she reads

wondering and wondering,

we both
return home.

 

chris woodhull

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all this

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the bank of trees, in still wintery
nakedness, a closet

nothing open, waiting

all hidden, yet awake

each tree a finger, distending
holding something within

sleeves of snow scatter,
disappearing, ground breathing

listening

all this, soulful knowing
past and future

all of this, nothing alive and
yet alive

how?

how did this road get here?

I have been walking
this lane for hours,
cut between the wide stand
of poplars and pines

all this roadside
solemnity suggesting someone?

they say a baby
is the essence of a human

where did the baby go?

everything within me
whispers

here!

 

by chris woodhull

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the window

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A storm blew in last night and knocked out
the electricity. When I looked
through the window, the trees were translucent.
Bent and covered with rime. A vast calm
lay over the countryside.
I knew better. But at that moment
I felt I’d never in my life made any
false promises, nor committed
so much as one indecent act. My thoughts
were virtuous. Later on that morning,
of course, electricity was restored.
The sun moved from behind the clouds,
melting the hoarfrost.
And things stood as they had before.

poem by Raymond Carver / photograph by Shinzo Maeda

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I walked past a house where I lived once

 

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I walked past a house where I lived once:
a man and a woman are still together in the whispers there.
Many years have passed with the quiet hum
of the staircase bulb going on
and off and on again.

The keyholes are like little wounds
where all the blood seeped out. And inside,
people pale as death.

I want to stand once again as I did
holding my first love all night long in the doorway.
When we left at dawn, the house
began to fall apart and since then the city and since then
the whole world.

I want to be filled with longing again
till dark burn marks show on my skin.

I want to be written again
in the Book of Life, to be written every single day
till the writing hand hurts.

Yehuda Amichai

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For Love in a Time of Conflict / by John O’Donohue

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When the gentleness between you hardens
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said, or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root,
May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.

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who knows where

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who knows where
we will be in a year
but now, here,
on this small ledge

a mountain porch opening
into the night with listening
pines and a cathedral moon
i hold your hand

that made the tea and
for the first time
the thrill of love
returned to me,
without stain —
it could have been a
prayer.

our souls, my soul is a
feathery invisible breathing,
lifting and panicking
with delight —

why here and why now?
who made this,
who made us,
where will we be in a year?

 

chris woodhull

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People who shut their eyes

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“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.The time has come to realize that the interracial drama acted out on the American continent has not only created a new black man, it has created a new white man, too. No road whatever will lead Americans back to the simplicity of this European village where white men still have the luxury of looking on me as a stranger. I am not, really, a stranger any longer for any American alive. One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced, with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is also something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today. This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”

—James Baldwin

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Text

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Writers, painters, drawers, thinkers, coffee-sippers, dwindlers, rocking chair enthusiasts…we are warriors. Brave people put on this earth to question even the things we know are solid and right in our hearts. We remain as sponges; letting thoughts flood in, but occasionally wringing out ones that don’t belong. That’s us. We feel. We believe. And we fall and scrape our knees every day. We are warriors of the heart and believers of a beautiful now and a glorious future.

-paris

as is

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My heart hurt thinking about you

so I bought a book of poems

I may already have:

a line so small and heartbreaking

crept up on me

and slipped itself inside me and

stopped me dead in my tracks

and I trembled

– and yet, I may already have this line

in the very same book I may already own

and yet what if I am wrong

that is the question

about the book at home

and later this evening,

the store closed,

lights out, everybody

gone, home, alone, one lamp lit,

wondering how I dreamed up such a mistake

– what a terrible desolation – and

yet I am now driving home,

book in hand, so to speak,

in a bag resting in the passenger seat,

and the only surprise still possible

is this:

what if on the other hand,

I now have two beautiful slim volumes

of the exact same book of poems,

each with the hidden line I love,

one for me and the other for you.

 

 

chris woodhull

Fine and Mellow / Billie Holiday

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My man don’t love me
Treats me oh so mean
My man, he don’t love me
Treats me awful mean
He’s the lowest man
That I’ve ever seen

He wears high-draped pants
Stripes are really yellow
He wears high-draped pants
Stripes are really yellow
But when he starts in to love me
He’s so fine and mellow

Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you do things that you know is wrong

But if you treat me right daddy
I’ll stay home every day
If you treat me right daddy
I’ll stay home every day
But you’re so mean to me, baby
I know you’re gonna drive me away

Love is just like a faucet
It turns off and on
Love is just like a faucet
It turns off and on

Some times when you think it’s on, baby
It has turned off and gone

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