Off The Top Of Your Head

You can’t think of a reason
to ignore the news
or the way the colors of November
suddenly sharpen in the gloaming.

While light in the shade
goes down to dusk, you
stand in the cool embrace of the
scarlet bloomed royal poinciana
assailed by the mechanized
conversations of commerce
coming and going, direction unknown,
destination next –
in the spirit and spit of a soaring seaplane,
in the young growl of an accelerating motorcycle,
in the mournful blast of a passing freight train,
in the retired neighbor’s swing
of a straw broom
clearing the dust
from worn Asian rugs
in the rhythm of a volley
of cannon shot.

Everything beyond the fences,
everyone going somewhere fast,
buying anything for the right price.
You remain a fixed point
of reckless patience
as the soundscape clears
and the senses extend
and the vastness of the ocean
comes in a consuming
scent of salted purity,
of savory clarity.

The enormity of change
from day to day
unbalances you.
So you seek stability.

Off the top of your head
can you think
of a time more precious
than this one time
now that you’re in it?

Something there is
that moves you
to push the way you do
against the prevailing forces
like a blade of grass
always righting itself
after the winds bend
or the lawn mower’s blade
cuts it to half its size.

Off the top of your head
can you believe
nothing persists
like change
and believe this
time can ever
be better than it is?

Something there is
that calls for a world
without balance
for a history
that wobbles
that tips over
rights itself
and spins again
perennially on edge.

Because of this
is in constant
need of repair.

Off the top of your head
can you list
all the ways
all the better ways
all the best ways
to be balanced
and happy?

Of course not.

Let’s stay focused on
the tilt-a-whirl
and consider the immediacy
of need
that we daily confuse
with the tendency
of want
that we daily confuse
with the certainty
of despair.

Off the top of your head
when is the last time
you tore yourself from distraction
to ramble around
looking at the endless sky,
at the soaring yearning of trees
and wondered at their age
and wondered at their roots
deep down and determined
in the dark, damp
living earth?

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When is the last time
you considered
the symbiosis
of opposite directions
for the growth of fruit?

The politics of language
determines how
little we know
in contrast to how much
we think we know.

Nothing is new
now that
everything has already
except what happens next.

And that is up to you.

Off the top of your head,
what will you do?

What enormity
the mundane doings
of the average
anonymous tree
in a suburban backyard!
Just standing there
she is a clock
she is a prophet
she is a historian
she is a silent philosopher
holding on to the ground
for dear life
just as she strives to heaven
for dear life.

The difference being
you have a voice.






Cover image from Flickr.