Ready for Sleep

Ready for Sleep


He ascended, gathering

Words and wit into

Vaporous clouds, heavy

With a lake of water,

With a sea of floods, and tears

That converged and mingled

In a darkening conversation.

Weighty debates polarized until

Ionic flashes lit their

Sagging gray bellies. Their weight

Grew until they fell. He fell

With the others as August

Rain, fell light enough to drift

Through searing air, dispersed again

To vapor before reaching

Parched soil. Intercepted, held

Aloft by an overbearing wind

As it debated in whispers,

Argued in howls.

Uncertain, trees swayed

With its insistence. Dense arguments

Compressed to unusually hot gusts

Slammed walls with such force

The buildings shook . Thick air

Ground to a halt as if pausing to think,

To gather the positive and negative.

The pressure grew too great

And the sky cracked then shattered

In an electric flash instantly

Swallowed by the night.


My eyes should be closed

and I should be wandering

through a vivid

and colorful world.

Instead they burn.

A dull rhythmic ache

pulses behind them.

The would-be dream? Replaced

by a vindictive stream of

consciousness and

incessant ringing in my ears.

My world contracted,

a second skin, much too tight.

I wonder, could I molt

like a snake? Leave it

laying in the dust.

Maybe it could split like

an over- ripe pomegranate

and spill its ruby fruit

across the ground.

My next world will be

loose and open, bigger than

an overcoat, but just as warm.


Between Canada and Ireland


They rose into the stratosphere. Ionosphere. Migrating birds in perfectly linear formation. Below their shadow danced across the surface as land and sea felt them drift in and out of white-gauze clouds stretched so tight that they could catch glimpses of the world below. Like gazing through smoke rising in lazy clouds from fires in pits on a beach. The migrants cut through skies leaving and returning all in the same journey.

He left a cold world filled with high emotion, high hope. And a bit of resignation. He was not sure in which place he belonged. Roots had grown on both sides of the world. And, like most he wanted more. He wanted a dream to grow behind his fading eyes into vivid reality. He wanted to grow like a hungry infant who has the world waiting, to harness the power hidden within naïveté, in the grasp of anticipation enlightened by spring’s inviting sun. There is no question. His world is broad, high, and deep. He sees with a different clarity through dimming eyes. He whispers to ancestors who continue to fill the world with hints, moving tentatively toward wisdom. Accepting knowledge of the world, of self, rising above the smoke in a still air. Knowledge clearly burning away fog and doubt as fast as thick gray mist tries to hide confidence and dampen reason.

They spoke of hummingbirds. Of butterflies. Flying south. But not of warmer climes to which they travel. They spoke of the journey. Of the daunting challenges faced by delicate creatures in the face of a world’s turmoil. Of the roiling atmosphere that buffets tiny, nearly weightless creatures. That buffets us all. Tiny creatures all in the face of the living tumultuous globe on which we walk and live. Challenging all to survive. The butterfly moving south through gusts of wind, clouds of hungry birds. People vanish from coasts and islands inundated by sea and waters flooding from mountains.

He slept in the assigned formation while plunging headlong toward an inevitable sunset. Voices rose and fell. The words were not clear, distinct. They didn’t capture his attention. Occasionally the world would swat at them, make them tremble. But there was no sustained effort aimed in their direction. He wondered, drifting in and out of a superficial sleep, about those left behind. About the enduring entanglement that bonded them. It is a mystery. It is in the blood, maybe in their genes. Maybe ethereal. Enigmatic.

Sun set almost unnoticed behind the gray shroud tangled in the trees and hills around the town. Evening deepened. A chill rose from the earth. And a sigh. The breeze grew stronger and as night took firm grip on the mountains around the valley, the wind stretched the dark clouds like banners. They grew thin, translucent, then disappeared. A black sky arched overhead pushing the cold. Holding it down against the ground.


I opened the window and leaned

to look out. As I exhaled, yin

slipped between my lips and shot

like a rocket into the pale afternoon.

Overhead between the crows and

clouds the essence of night

circled my house. Clouds darkened

and the wind took on a chill.

It is supposed to be Spring, I thought.

It is supposed to be warm.

I left the window and walked

alone the busy six-lane road.

The drafts from speeding cars

whipped my hair, occasionally

slapping me as I moved along.

Even with all the activity in the world, it

seemed a barren place. Distant. It had

become disjointed as if I walked

through a diorama. The familiar

construct lacked vitality. Its deep

perspective convinced me to turn back.

It would not let me in. It just hung

there. An unchanging dusk waiting

for the sun to drop and light to fade.

I leaned into the wind as it

bowled along the narrow sidewalk.

I cast furtive glances skyward

searching a pale streak,

arcing in the sky above

the sunset horizon like a newly

discovered comet.

The sun kissed the

mountains in the west. Ice clouds bent

its light. Sundogs appeared on each side.

In seven minutes the

mountain silhouette stood like

a cut-out against the horizon.

Chaotic, dark, and cruel,

the world remains a part

of the expanding universe.

As evening’s chill spread from deep

shadows of the foothills an emotional

posse charged into the dusk to

pursue the fugitive.

Yin rode icy clouds toward

the pinpoint light of stars,

while yang blazed within.


The flickering light

of primeval stars

pierces the smoggy sky.

A broken heart petrified

as epochs of ancient sunsets

dissolved into the dark

of uncounted nights.

In the delicate fossil impression

mere hints remain of love

that could have been.

But that was in a younger world

when flesh covered those bones