A Book of Seven Poems
by Darryl Price
for Charlotte and Mel, as always
"We should insist on joy in spite of everything."--Tom Robbins
“I don't need your love. I don't need you to understand. I just need you to listen.”—Perfume Genius
1. I Want to Sing To You
without looking at the words. I want to draw a picture of you
without setting my hat on fire. I want to swing you around in an open field
without thinking something's bound to go wrong. I want to touch your hands
without resorting to an old map found buried in a book on fairies.
To run with you in the downpour without looking for a quick squeezed
way in. Want to remember your face because it's resting in my fingers like a cherry
pit. I want to sit with you in front of the ocean without
planning to take one shell. I want to find you in a garden
without thinking I should remove my shoes first and put them under a
rose bush for safe keeping. I want to give you that dance without dropping all blanks
in the chamber for good luck. I want to embrace your name without
falling into an unmade ditch of spears head first. Want to drink your
trance without going home and putting myself to bed afterwards. I want to
play my guitar like a wounded warrior without having to explain the nature of all scars.
I want to leave my most careless poems on your doorstep without having
to fold up all the moonbeams into neat little rows before I go.
2. Actual Reality
Travel into the beautiful swirling being you occupy whenever you get the chance. It's your right to seek the name of the most holy one in your deepest awakening. Then will you most likely find
fellow travelers splashing about in their naked auras
in the Milky Way's fist full of molecules like any other happy otters made of moon beams and eternal star dust. To look directly at
the universe is not an original sin, but it is or it
isn't a formidable, dangerous path to cross blue and red trains with at the next
natural wiring station . Just because it's blessed doesn't mean it can't
be compromised or binding. Greed can bring a redwood to its knees. All you've got to do is accept the risk
with an open heart and quit mumbling, use
an open mind before you go in all the way and remember to always love where you are every living thing you encounter for its own shining soul. And where souls touch is the trembling truth being born again. Each form brings delight to the Sun.
But the darkness would rather crush you. You, however, cannot be crushed forever because nothing is extinguished; only hidden. It's okay to laugh. It's okay to dance.
It's okay to sing, to make music that others might consider noise. It's ok to not make sense. Ok to drum your fingers on the rocks. To dream. To imagine. To be a poem. To turn into a bird or a cloud. To wear a cloak of many stars. To return to yourself at last. Der dust,
dust, dust, dust, dust, dust, dust.
3. Some Maybe Not So Important Boats Set Partially Afloat
I was always only me. We were beautiful
like no one else. It was our time together. Where'd
you go? I was the one who'd heard you sighing. Nobody
else bothered to listen. You didn't care.
You were the most beautiful woman of all, you
wanted to be the most important. We were still
all of us there so lively. No illusion, I
was but me. There was no need to wait. I was only
myself. You seemed convinced I would eventually
turn into some modern day version of you,
but I was just me already. On the other
hand you always acted like you were living life
in a dress rehearsal. It was me on and off
the stage. In the end you didn't care. I was I.
4. I Want You
to have something, but I don't think
you need anything from me. There are
poems that belong in your hair and
no one else's. They should be like
stars that only appear every
one thousand years, and even then can
only be seen when you are walking
next to the ocean. You make them
shine. And you don't even have to
try. There's more truth to your presence for
me than a sunrise because the warmth
I feel is in my whole being.
Tell me how do you thank someone
for something like that? I know your life
has its own set of sorrows, but I
also know that you face them with
a dignity that is who you
are. I know you have cried real tears. I
know your heart has ached away the hours
before. These words are only a
small breath to cool your current burns,
but they are given without debt, and
without want. They are words that say they
will always believe in you no
matter what, that's all. Please take them.
Apply them whenever you need to.
They are all I have. You've already
given me the meaning I sought.
5. Birds Fly
Birds fly and people focus on finding their still
point. Birds fly and people wait for love, but I couldn't.
Birds fly and people think about beauty. Birds
fly and people become frustrated. Birds fly and
people drown in little rooms. Birds fly and people
like strange words cast huge shadows. Birds fly and people
make mocking landscapes filled with balloons. Birds fly and
people frighten themselves in the mirror. Birds fly
and people fold like origami horses. Birds
fly and people ask for blessings under their breath.
Birds fly and people die of old age on fire escapes.
Birds fly and people will take horrible vacations
in their mind's lonesome valleys. Birds fly and people
are programmed to be the problem. Birds fly and
people don't remember soon enough. Birds fly and
people pour a glass of water. Birds fly and people
hurry in the wind and rain like it's a matter
of pity. Birds fly and people run on the
grass until nothing is left but bones. Birds fly and
people go down the stairs. Birds fly and people say
little to each other. Birds fly and people wave.
6. How to Remember Important Things
Save the whales. Save the dolphins. Save the bored housewives.
Save my hands, so often cupped over the sorrow in
being alive. Save the beautiful made-up cherries of delight
I feel everywhere in your presence. Save the sprawling landscapes
of late night cafeterias of the mind. Save the often
forgotten radios of our flying dreams. Save the hand-printed love
letters of early morning light. Save the inexhaustible curiosity of
a small interior poem of silence. Save the naked air.
Save the Spanish tongue of Neruda. Save the sparkle in
the brushstrokes of a Picasso. Save storm and the rainbow.
Save the North Sea. Save shadows. Save all hearts from
beginning to break again. Save the ripped apart sky from
the rain of so many angry bombs leaking inside. Save
the secret handshake. Save the Pandas. Save the sea turtles.
Save the roses. Save the last dance. Save the sailing
boats and floating planes of melting romance. Save whatever makes
no sense. Save this feeling. Save the butterflies with passionate,
provocative kisses. Save the question of imagination. Save the end
of the poem until you really need it. Save the
world from itself. Save your wild goodbyes. Save every word.
7. Like a Pop Song This Is the Head of a Sunflower
This is the head of a sunflower as well
as the butt of a beetle as well as
the membrane with its busy veins of traffic between
sky and cloud as well as the upside down skeleton
of a raindrop as well as the groove twisting
in a line around your sweet kissable thumb as
well as the balding white spot scuffed atop the
toe of your mowed down old moose slippers as
well as the polished slick talons on the eagle
somewhere pumped up from the kill as well as
the moment the feeling flag slaps its stitches against
the pant legs of the day begging for an ice cream
as well as a tired old poet making a
sad grunting noise through his chin as he types
with one finger as well as the colorless mass
of cocoons blowing away on any given spring day
and turning into flowers tying on their new bonnets
as well as you still crammed into my heart
like a folded map I've kept for all these
years or a message I've never been able to
code out or like some pyramid on the horizon
I just can't seem to ignore anymore even though
I want to as well as the milky way flying
through outer space like a swirling rush of water all
lit up from within from its own blushing crush
on life as well as this unwieldy ball of
sentences as well as this fishing line cast into
the unknowable electric currents of now and never and
maybe forever eh as well as a tiny spastic
hope clinging to a fast falling building as well
as any dream lingering on the edge of sanity
as well as the boy who forgot to go
home and grow up as well as the girl
who fingered her hair and smiled at the boy
as well as vanished years that tumbled into rainbows
All poems written by Darryl Price and first presented in their true original forms to the Fictionaut on-line writer's community as part of the ongoing experimental process in 2014. Thank you.
I Want To Sing To You has been accepted for publication by Poetry Pacific for their upcoming Winter issue to be released on 5 Feb of 2015.
Like A Popsong first appeared at Metazen thanks to Marcus Speh.
How To Remember Important Things is now up at The Miscreant Issue 1 thanks to Amanda Harris.
The houses are only holy while we are in them is slated for Revolution John Magazine on Nov. 03--thanks, Shel!
4 Bonus poems:
You Were This Close
I don't know if we'll meet again
in the sea of light. Circumstances
aren't only up to human
beings. After all maybe it's
all drunk circumstance, but that doesn't
answer the blinding question,
it only poses some more. This
is what we know. You are what I
knew surfacing in the sky, a
deeply flying dream on fire. That
doesn't give you anything to
go on. It's a story stuck to
another story's moisture pack
inside a larger jar of stories.
You can see this picture from
your bedroom window. You can know
its raw material when your
feet hit the ground. I held you once
and it didn't feel like the end
of the world to me. That's what you
give off. I'm a different kind
of continuous animal.
My hair is full of birds and wheat
fields and luminous leaves. I can't
deny this. I no longer want
to. I only meant to find the
right words to thank you. And gift you
this. All else is what betrayed us.
(The) orange thing has left its own tree
in an abandoned dream for
a blank book of adventures.
It was time. No one knows when
or where you get to meet your
shadow out in the magic
light, but it happens. After
that you either disappear
altogether or just walk
around with a strange, pale and
thin smile plastered on your face
that people take for a wry
certain look. You know the one.
This can get you into a
lot of trouble with ye old
solid citizen's brigade,
mostly because people are
looking for anything to
make into the new next war.
It's a problem. But waves will
be waves, and sails will cry out
in strangled tones for the quick
unfolding moment's flag that
awaits the lucky ones. That's
not exactly another
circle,because it makes no
sense, (well) you've got to believe in
something. Anyway the orange
thing stayed orange, but appeared out
of context to many more.
Two Tigers Were Dancing
in the rain when one said
to the other,"I so
want to eat you right now!"
The other one smiled with
many sharp teeth and said,
"Yes,I want to eat you,
too, so much,but I'd be
sad if you were to disappear
from this land forever."
Later on as
they snuggled under stars
for blankets something ran
a squeaky wheel in this boy's chest.
The houses are only holy while we are in them. All this worship of standing stones
is another sad excuse to get someone. Leave it alone. It's a mystery because it doesn't
exist outside your own head. Spirit works, on the floor, or running up and down your
spine like a zip of electricity. That's where all roads lead. It's not Rome, or New
York. It's more the middle of your self-imposed prayer to stay alive please one more silent
minute while you look for your missing heart. There is no understanding love. There is no
keeping love. If you make love that doesn't mean love gets you. You're still alone, only
visited. But all these tacks in the map don't really give you the picture you deserve.
I know that. I've always lived with love's uncertainty because of you. That's where all these
words are heading. They still want to reach you alone, want to hold your hand, like
some misguided boy caught in a windstorm. No one will ever be enough for you, to
remember or forget. Love's a cute monster you dream about , waiting for the world to end,
as you walk through the forest at night, thankful for moonlight. It doesn't have to be
that way. Not for you. Not for you. You might prove them all wrong. That's why
I add my voice to saying your name to the most distant spread of stars. You're
the only thing left I still believe to be real. Take my life if you need
it. These words will pour me into your hands as long as you want them to.
Go and be brave. Go and create the world. Go, remember who you are being now.