(Like a Pop Song) This is the Head of a Sunflower

by Darryl Price

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

Bonus poems:

For When the Flood comes

by Darryl Price

Take this, not my hand. Take this pill. It will 
dissolve all the other pills and leave you 
with nothing but your awake self. Take this 
dove dropped note on the window sill to mean 
something's coming. Take this suddenly there 
shaft of shine above your head as the best 

way out. Leave a sign for any others; 
that you were here. Take this breath and climb out 
of your own way. Exhale and don't look back. 
Take this to the one it is meant for and 
please don't worry about semantics. Take 
a good look around you as you go. Take 

heart. Take the song in my voice with you, but 
only listen to it when you feel like 
it. You must journey alone, but you are 
never alone, not like that. Take this hat. 
It's a good hat. It will keep the sun out 
of your eyes. It will not betray your trust. 

Take the rain and the snow and be thankful. 
Take these shoes. They will walk with you and not 
ahead of you. They will stop when you need 
rest. They appreciate looking at the 
beautiful trees with someone like you. They 
will spend as much time as you wish looking 

up at the stars with you. They are in no 
kind of hurry to get somewhere else. Take 
this offer. It has no expiration 
date. It's for unlimited access. Take 
this map, it will not lead you into a 
sand trap, but over and around trouble, 

if used correctly. I made it myself 
from memory, but it's a guide not a 
stone tablet. Take this meal. I put as much 
of my love into making the bread as 
I possibly could muster. I hope it 
nourishes you, whenever you take an 

honest bite, with goodwill and friendship and
courage. Take this passage and remember
who you are to yourself and to the world.
Make it work. Take this drink of water.  Take 
this time to celebrate, even as we 
mourn, even as we determine to live.   

Windy Idiots

by Darryl Price

are at war with women
and children. They have their
guns, but we can't have books?
Idiots are at war

with rainbows. Harrison
was right about the taxman.

Idiots are at

war with demands for justice.
Idiots are at
war with parks. They have their
guns, but we can't have freedom

of expression? Guns

are meant to kill whatever 
you aim them at. I

will love you all I can. 
Idiots want you to
hide your love away. They
have their guns, but we can't

have exploration or
curiosity? They
have their guns, but we can't

accept others into
our homes or our arms? They
have their guns, but we don't

get time to think, or feel, 
or act upon our own
deepest feeling? Idiots
are at war with sea

ice. They have their pollution,
but we are targeted

for caring about 

all life on the planet? 
Idiots choose money,
not kids' lives. They have their
guns for trophy wives. If

I drop this flag, someone

please pick it up. Idiots
are at war with the

poorest of the poor. They
have their guns, but we were 
surely made for one another.
They have their guns,

but if the tide is to 
turn, it will be us doing 
the turning toward 

something else. Idiots
are at war with character
and common sense. They

only love the game if 
it simulates a war 
against any and all 
new ideas. We believe

in taking chances. 
The windy idiots

are at war with the easy 

chair of dreaming dreams. 
They have their guns, but we
have a hunger for more 
fun adventures of the 

heart together, okay?  

When I Say

by Darryl Price

I don't have anything to say, I only mean
I love you. When I say I don't have anything
to say, I mean it's only me. When I say that
I don't have anything to say, I wish you would

say, I know exactly what you mean. When I say
we're all candles in the dark, I mean won't you share 
with me the meaning of your light? I mean don't be 
afraid to show me who you really are. When I

say I don't have anything to prove, I mean you
don't have anything to live up to. When I say
I love you, I mean I'm glad you came along, and
very glad to accept you in my arms, if you 

should ever need me to. Happy to know you are 
your own beautiful part of everything I care
about in this whole world. But, of course, the words can't
express that deeply enough for me. When I say 

I've got to go, I only mean I wish I could 
stay, my dear friend. If all things must pass, then so be 
it, but know this, whatever I am, wherever 
I am, I will always be your companion

of the heart. When I say, we're here at last, I mean
nothing can come between us. So, even if I 
don't have anything left to say, I give you my word,
you're now and forever welcome to all my love.

A Beginner's Guide to Something or Other

by Darryl Price

Certain people just know how to sing back 
to some things, calling from stone or through red 
bone, to accept the gift of a new song 
and make it their own for awhile. Of course 
you'll be entrusted to give it away 
again because it is a wild thing and 
thus belongs to the endlessness of sky 
and the warm inviting branches of the 

timeless guardian trees. It's the only 
way we can show great care for all beings. 
If healing is to be done then begin 
it until you finish--the result will 
always mean the same as a miracle. 
You must learn to say goodbye as you smile 
and say hello as you ache. It's not a 
mad riddle of any sort, but it's an 

open path, a path of do no harm. Your 
role is to be, not to own anything, 
but ever to acknowledge the living 
edge wherever it confronts you or takes 
your hand with true human humility 
and empathy. They suppress that kind of 
simple lovely thought throughout the concrete 
centuries only because they feel they 

alone are entitled to the power 
and we are not. They beat us to death and 
burn our beautiful poems, but still we 
live on and sing on every tongue's measured 
breath like mushrooms or berries. That's because 
there is a nourishment that will not be 
denied for long. It comes from our own hearts
and independent minds and protects us. 

This is What They Want

by Darryl Price

I don't care, but some part of me
still does. I know that's confusing.
Once I held a Swallowtail on
my finger. Its feet felt soft as

string. Now there are no butterflies
in my backyard. I sure miss them. 
Been standing in the pumpkin fields
before so cold, so cold my smile

was shaking in my face. I looked
for you, but you were still missing.
You weren't in the clouds. On the moon.
But maybe you were in the winds

that day. I know something beyond
the playful slap on the back was
trying to tell me to listen
for you. It hurt to not pick up

the sound of your laughter mingling
with all the rest. I don't want to
pretend I'm okay. I should be
going inside now. How is the 

world still so beautiful? I can't
believe I am walking in it 
like I just might belong. I don't.
I've never. I mean not without

your heartbeat. I mean not without
your song. I mean not as myself.
Sometimes words get in the way of
my talking to you. Can't get out

of the way. I am in the way.
My poems are in the way. My
tears are in the way. We shared a
rose and a fire.That's all I know.     

The Elephant by Darryl Price

in the room is secretly
satisfied to be no bigger
than a bread box. A shoe box. There
are no bread boxes anymore.
Hardly enough elephants. The
one in the room is flying high;
no one knows what is a trapeze
I suppose. Welcome bowlers! Our
elephant in the room would like
you to count all the sky bones--make
sure they are still there. The you know
what inside the room would like to

remain anonymous throughout
these proceedings. The elephant
in the room wants to know what is
happening in your backyard. What
are you thinking and believing?
The elephant in the room needs
you to stop trying to belong
to a normal world order and
focus on survival with some
empathy on your dignity.
The elephant in the room thinks
you cannot be mere spectators

when love is at stake and lies have
become laws. The elephant in
the room, by his very fact, feels
we must listen but we don't have
much time. Let's talk out the front way
then. Together. The elephant
in the room explains: to give your
gifts well is to make a loving
person out of yourself, to not
be angry with anyone.
If we don't see each other just
remember the good things first.



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.

Talking to a Locked Gate by Darryl Price

"Fun is the one thing that money can't buy."--The Beatles

Poetry is an act
of love. Who do you think
you are? I'm not on your
wave, you riders of young
dreaming lovers, their hands
tied together in brave
hope for the future. An
act of love. Who are you?

I am not on your side,
you armies of trial and
terror, you proud puppets,
stompers of desire and
exploration, mistakes
and spontaneity.
Poetry is my love
for you. I am not on

your path, you critics of
the imperfect fumble,
artists trying to score
lightning into magic.
I resist. You gender
deniers of the great
mysterious spirit
in nature. Poetry

is an act of my love.
I return your beauty,
manipulators of
precise political
correctness, the strict lanes
of bricked-up feeling, spit
while proclaiming freedom
for only your own pain.

Poetry is at the
heart of all life, a wild
sensuality I
celebrate like a priest,
diverse and giving. Who
do you think you are? I'm
on the side of dancers,
starry-eyed rain makers.

Poetry is an act
of fun. Silly has no 
religion. It has no
government. It is not
precious. It is our friend.
Do you think you are sane?
I'm on the side of shells
on the beach, light that shines. 

So Little

by Darryl Price

I must apologize for only having words

with me. They seem so little to give and

offer you. All their hats seem to

have been around now for quite some

time. Others before me have worn them far

better than this. This makes me sad,

because sadness is not what you deserve,

because what I want to give you

is a kind of freedom, of knowledge 

about the feelings you deliver to

me just by being around in the

world. Even that sounds less than sincere.

I wouldn't accept that opening offer either. Flowers like

those just don't belong in this conversation,


not yet. Not by a long, hanging shot. 

I'm trying to give you something you

can accept without regret or debt, something

you'll recognize and remember, something we alone

share in our midst, a thing that

exists solely because of our presences together

and not out of mere circumstance. A

belief that is at once a beautiful

truth and a ringing bell, that does

not fall over into thorn bushes if

it rains too hard. Not a plucked

sun, but a celebration of all suns.

Words don't fail me now, there's just not enough

of them to write your name between


the so few stars. It's impossible to

align our planets. This I know. I

am not asking for that kind of lit-up on a stage 

miracle. We grant what we can out

of our own beneficence in this life.

I only want the chance to say

into your ears the best words that come

naturally from the well within my core-self.

To not be a liar with you.

To not be a coward in the

face of a world of doom. To

give the gift that belongs. To

say that in spite of the frost

that accompanies you in your stocking feet


I will meet you there. That being

said I don't know if these words

are good enough to bring you this

message. I bless them as best I

can and set them between all the bars on this life's window ledge 

like my own tiny doves. They know

their own hearts. That's all I can

ask of them. But of you I

ask nothing. You are enough. And when

they read this to you do not

hate them for their ignorance about the

dance, but teach them the steps that

made you laugh, that let you cry,

that lifted your eyes again, and caused your smile to turn on.  

A Song the Lorax Taught the Table While We Were Playing Cards Late into the Evening by Darryl Price(original first draft)


The trees have become afraid of our love song. They used to bend forward with all their might, clicking into place and building impressive physics. Now they carry their frames backwards and upward trying to flee something always behind us. We were not good shepherds. We only wanted something to eat and a

place to sleep. You can see it in the faces of the colonized leaves. They hate us. The trees have become afraid of our love song. It used to mystify them and bring them into listening range. Then we fired the first shot, we swung the first axe, we cleared centuries of their stories and put them in toothpick jars.

They used to love our determined broken trails through the snow, but now they toss the moon high above our heads and weep. Their armor is broken all the way through. Even the haunted forests have become more abandoned than full of millions of tiny lights. The trees have become afraid of our love

song. They are shutting their eyes again and ascending to the heavens without us. Maybe at the top of the world they still throw flowers at each other. The trees have become afraid of our love song. They hear it now as the end. Their march is no longer to reach the center of everything, and join in a

beautiful, joyous windy celebration of branches and bark. They need a healing circle, but it's all in their heads now. Only the saplings have the old dreaming heart, but even they are caged and kept behind miles of tar and soot. The trees have become afraid of our love song. That seems a real shame. Where

do we go from here? A butterfly with something important to say is still going to have a very tough time being heard as anything more than a butterfly up to butterfly things. The trees have become afraid of our love song. It is printed on their hardened faces. They do not agree with the meaning of lots of space. The trees

have become afraid of our love song. But some of us want to understand again. Some of us would like to be part of the healing circle without causing any pain to other living beings. Some of us will always admire the fierce beauty of their construction and join the council in the sky to pledge our own individual

devotion to their rooftop safety in this craziest of worlds yet. The trees have become afraid of our love song. But, this song before you is a poet's attempt to make contact and say we are indeed friends forever. You will always be included in our thoughts and prayers. Nothing would be the same without you. Thanks for such a lovely hill. .   

Forever Stars by Darryl Price


The time to be remade as authentic men and

women is finally come, deeply creeping up

our shores with its final blessing in hand. We've been

living here among the nameless reminders for

lost centuries and they have done their colorful

dances all around us in the hotel lobby


of the heavenly hosts. Sacrificial soldier

bees have kept their favorite lilies coming to

the happy surface for electrical shoulder

stimulation and visited every other

monastery on the planet. Ambassador

butterflies have landed and left the wind sprinkled


with a new jam of the same forever skies in

a velvet tribute to the sadly fallen. The

missing moons have spread their smiling out robes over

the world's sleepers like a glistening dreaming wave.

But now the tatters of our tears must tell as well

another tale. Something else must be done for those


who know us not. A new world is coming. We must

leave for sharing a guiding kind and strong music

once more for its mindful passage to the unknown

spaces ahead so that it always includes the

best things we remember as beautiful and good.

This is no time to worship ancient shells. Oceans are gone. 

Don't think water. Think people. There are those who will

always drive the submarine to the coordinates

to halt the end of the world, but they won't stick

around to watch you blame each other. The time is

on its own as are we. There are fascists inside

every species. The garden should remain open


despite the dangerous flying insects. Its gates

should always spell friendship and hope. This is no time

for coded cries for help. We must gain the wall and

keep it in our hearts that what will always come is

what we have given to be made truthfully in

our selves. This is the unbreakable mystery. dp

A World of Possible Flowers

by Darryl Price

"There are many dark places;but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."--J.R.R. Tolkien


If the love never came you must have been

Dragging your feet. If the hatred carved your dreams

Into warning signs, you must have been looking in

The wrong direction for that ever-glorious ghost army.


If the love never stayed lit in the hills

You must have been asleep in the hay. If

The eyes of the angels turned to stone you

Must have been dipping your hands into the wrong


Fountain. If the love dissolved into the rug like

An imaginary spill you must have been lost in

The crumpled lane of clothes on your floor. If

The game was thrown into the garbage by mistake


You must have forgotten your own name when you

Were asked to sign for your soul. If love

Is too tired to continue you must be feeling

Pretty much alone by now. There is a sea


Of nothing but broken stones, but if love were

To sail there, each one would sprout, and where

The hint of a green continuation begins so begins

The trickle of a world of possible flowers. If


Love never came down the road there would be

No need to go anywhere ever again. If the

Hate can make you wonder what is the point

Of an organic truth, you must give up your


Dancing shoes forever. If the love never came we

Never existed anyway. If the love never came we

Never got the chance to say out loud the

Whispered promises of the graceful winds at our bursting


backs. Nothing is over just because everything is changed

or changing. The love comes from you or it

comes from nowhere. If the love never came you

must have been spending your money at the race


track of the current lies. If the love never

came you must have given them the wrong street

For delivery. If hate can make you nail your

Windows shut the sun might as well go home.  dp