Posts Tagged ‘Word’

My sky is my life

My life is the sky,

My mind is a valley, covered in fog,

Like an glass eye, staring vacant,

Like a treetop aching for the sun.

My soul is spread across the horizon

Like an undiscovered canticle

On a blackboard, hidden,

As if anything written across its virgin black

Might change the world before it disappears.

Are we but a blackboard with

Words wiped away?

The lost thought, the pretext, now the past,

Sent away to define their own east and west?

Our words, our lusts, our prayers,

Words where there are no words

Souls where there are no souls

Abandonment where there was once substance

But with a little imagination

Can we find ourselves un-erased?


A blackboard obscure and somber

The sun fades forever

Into the blackness,

Into the dust.

Phrases hidden in faint visions

Our once solemn vows are but

Remnants of a civilization.

Ideas that never flourished

Never gave a reward,

Never gave nourishment to an empty soul

Never a grain left behind, but an already eaten morsel,

Stale and quotidian

My life is a brazen question

Unasked and unanswered

Forgotten on the lips of a corpse.



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Towards Lhasa

We discussed the smell

Of the monk who set himself on fire,

Shaking our heads in half-disbelief

As our tour guides made dinner.

We camped early along the banks of

The Lhasa River,

The terrain rough-hewed and ragged.

The sunset, intense orange and purple, matching

The orange flames of our campfire matching

Those that ate his flesh.
In Liuwuxiang we waited as our gear dried.

We inquired, with barely a concern,

As to precisely where he burned,

How much further to the spot in Ngawa and

Was the spot worshiped like a shrine?

To forgotten freedom?  Was there

A plaque to commemorate?
No one talked to us about the Why.

Half- hearted questions met with steel eyes.

Such questions are better not asked

Such words carry too much weight

Baggage packed with an official taboo

Burning the tongue before utterance.


We discussed the smell of a monk on fire.

His ashes washed away long ago

But the smoke still presents a challenge

The stench of burning flesh

A common pain that may never leave.




Poets note: Most of the self immolation that has occurred in Tibet have been in the Ngawa region, not in Lhasa. Access to Ngawa is forbidden by the Chinese government for most from the west, and internet access has been severely restricted. I chose to use Lhasa in this poem to reinforce these restrictions.

For more information, go to this website; https://www.freetibet.org/about/self-immolation-protests


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Irene digs into the earth with a worn spade

Turning over the soil like a slow prayer

And with each movement

Words come forth from the dirt

Black letters on white and silver signs,

Wrapped in dirt and sand

Words like





Words of promise whispered

To her inner being

As if to remind her that her job

Isn’t just to lay people to rest

But to help those who remain and

To ponder why


James was a proud man

He had been tilling this soil like his father before

And his father before him

He learned early in life to love the feel

Of the earth as it passed through his young fingers

He played with it, caressed it like a lover, listening

As if there were voices of stillness hidden

In those moments that he never heard anywhere else.

Words offered up to only his ears

Words like





Words he never learned to question

From voices he recognized

Telling him this is where he belonged.

Half a world away words fall silent. In

The wake of savage destruction the soil
Doesn’t whisper

But the howl is deafening.

James’ words could never have prepared

His son for this, dug into the

Blood-stained scorched earth

Kurt often thought of his father

And longed to be there, to tell him he was

Afraid, something he could never tell his friends

Something only his father could understand

He tried to run his fingers through the dirt

To hear the whispers his father told him about

Longing for the peace of words whispered to only him

Words like





But war is a cruel Mistress and will take her toll.

Sometimes the earth cries

When a kindred soul is laid to rest

It cradles them into it like a mother

Whispering words for a sense of calm

Words like





Words that only the resting can hear

Not intended for us who remain

Nothing Irene can hear, nor James.

The words the earth has whispered to them before

Now ring hollow

Replaced by the sorrow of

Words like




When parents bury their young in times of war

The earth has no consoling words that suffice

The earth feels the grief too deeply.
It cannot whisper. It can only grieve.

As they walk away from their sons grave

Irene can no longer do her task of comforting

James no longer feels the ground like a lover

The reality of what they’ve given the earth

Is too painful.


Later that night, the wind blows through

The windows of James and Irenes house

Taking on an ancient task

Carrying the voices of those we’ve lost

To those who remain.

Comfort comes in the whispered words like




The wind blows over the battlefields too

Soothing the earths’ wounds

Telling her lover

“This too shall pass”

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