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If I'm Not Beautiful

If it's not beautiful,
Will you get any closer?
There is more back there if you look.
Take the door off the hinges
And watch the dust rise in funnels
As the wind rushes in.
There is matter in that dust,
In the stale air around put-away things.

If it's not beautiful,
Is there nothing to be see in it?
Climb to the top and, sweating and fearful,
Swing your head around.
You've never seen this Earth,
Because changing your perspective
Creates it anew.
Maybe that's where home was built.

If I'm not beautiful,
Can you find nothing to love?
I'll share all I have,
All I've collected across the miles,
In the hours and years and all ways of measure.
I suspect I'll be no less without it.
But if it seems that it's no use to you,
Will you leave it in the dirt?

If it's not beautiful,
If all you find is the oddness of texture,
The displeasing shape unsettling in its self-ness,
Its brazenly willful efforts to become more
Than the pieces that you recognize in it;
If all that is worthy is what you can place in its box,
Then I'm sorry for all the ugliness in your world.
It seems I've stolen all its beauty for mine.


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in a night.
A light on the long street
on the grey river,
on a long walk of broken clays.
It takes only a streetlight
to bare the sighs,
the yawn of dark alleys,
of quiet honesty;
the great peace
of telling without cause,
without want.
The arm stretches
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the body doubles its warmth.
Laughter snaps
against brick and glass,
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heart combines with heart.
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The Day My Brother Flew

The day my brother flew,
I prayed for the last time;
Asked for his acceptance,
A chance to say goodbye.
Stood inside the chapel,
Whispered through the motions,
Knowing in my chest
I did not believe.
Months gone from that day,
I stood inside a basement,
Staring out the window,
Chainlink in my eyes.
A host of white lights came,
Gathered right beside me,
Waited till I turned,
Slowly sank away.
I never told my folks.
They could not believe it.
I don't know what I saw,
If I’m lying to myself.
The day my brother flew,
I sat down on a stairstep,
Fingers in my hair,
Asking why I breathe.
He lived and enjoyed life.
I don’t even like it.
That was '91;
The answer never came.

When I See It

I don’t believe in time.
There's much more world left;
So much more to learn,
And I don’t believe in time.
I believe in shadow birds flying
Through the green of mown grass
Under the squint-bright sun;
An ocean dappled with clouds
And the white sails of small boats
Crossing my shoulder;
A thousand dynamic blooms
That I can’t name, speaking
With voices of children
And laughing as they pass;
The reassuring chatter
Of great wooden beasts
That sermonize patience
And continuity.
But I don’t believe in time
Or the limits it implies.
I don’t believe in the failure
Of the manifest soul.
I don’t believe death will result
From the cessation of habits
That feed my blood,
Because I won't believe
In a future nothingness
That I can’t see from here.