Out by the Cedar

Sat out by the cedar, lines run along her bark like stretch marks, they seem to be a test of time. She leaned over and said everything’s gonna be just fine, stop trying to live up to good enough, chasing shadows. I know. I know, years ago it was only your burden, now it’s his too. I can’t help it! I said, I’m a child of the eighties, molded by Ray-gun’s greed! Waves of traffic on a distant shore, wrapped in green, shielded by her barrier canopy. Sat in silence, she listened as I tried to repair all those words. Time slowed, until, eventually, it had no meaning. Followed a line of red ants up those stretch marks until we reached a knot, as big as my face, where they seemed to disappear. I felt around the edge, it was warm and soft, like a sea urchin’s belly. So I did what any man would do and leaned my face in. It was dark, but warm, I hadn’t even gotten half way in when I pulled out again. Scared, but craving more, I reached with my hand and tugged on the outer rim, she stretched enough to fit my arm in, then my face and suddenly I was pulling myself inside her, her womb. Was it I that was pulling or she pulling me? perhaps we worked together, until I had no body, or face or any physical characteristics, I was her and she was me and I looked into her heartwood. Kaleidoscopic shades of red filled my vision, a unifying warmth enveloped me and She said: old habits change slowly, with patience, attention and understanding. All you have to do is support him. And when she said him I thought of his face and the pang of despair rippled through my heart, and hers, and we shared the lonely hollowness of fatherhood, knowing that anything we do won’t be good enough, and is bound to make a scar. All the world is conditions, and of conditions there are supporting and unsupporting, choose to be the supporting condition for growth. Then our consciousness expanded; all life is expanding, changing, looking for answers to questions that generate growth. We looked out over the horizon, we were the horizon, and everything we saw was also us, and the warmth radiated over everything. Then I was birthed to the ground in a thump, covered in sap, and bark and red ants. My son stood there, in the dark, cold, wind-swept rain, astonished and he said, da-ad, are you OK? I couldn’t help it, I began to cry. He said something to me and put his hand on my shoulder, and I couldn’t hear him as I looked up her skirt at the knot where I was birthed had disappeared, and I said, not now son, she’s gonna come back to talk to me again. And I cried again. Seeing the repeating, though unable to move, until eventually he went away. Days and nights, months and years have since passed and I still sit at her base, like stone, waiting for her return.

Out by the Cedar

Sat out by the cedar, lines run along her bark like stretch marks, they seem to be a test of time. She leaned over and said everything’s gonna be just fine, stop trying to live up to good enough, chasing shadows. I know. I know, years ago it was only your burden, now it’s his too. I can’t help it! I said, I’m a child of the eighties, molded by Ray-gun’s greed! Waves of traffic on a distant shore, wrapped in green, shielded by her barrier canopy. Sat in silence, she listened as I tried to repair all those words. Time slowed, until, eventually, it had no meaning. Followed a line of red ants up those stretch marks until we reached a knot, as big as my face, where they seemed to disappear. I felt around the edge, it was warm and soft, like a sea urchin’s belly. So I did what any man would do and leaned my face in. It was dark, but warm, I hadn’t even gotten half way in when I pulled out again. Scared, but craving more, I reached with my hand and tugged on the outer rim, she stretched enough to fit my arm in, then my face and suddenly I was pulling myself inside her, her womb. Was it I that was pulling or she pulling me? perhaps we worked together, until I had no body, or face or any physical characteristics, I was her and she was me and I looked into her heartwood. Kaleidoscopic shades of red filled my vision, a unifying warmth enveloped me and She said: old habits change slowly, with patience, attention and understanding. All you have to do is support him. And when she said him I thought of his face and the pang of despair rippled through my heart, and hers, and we shared the lonely hollowness of fatherhood, knowing that anything we do won’t be good enough, and is bound to make a scar.  All the world is conditions, and of conditions there are supporting and unsupporting, choose to be the supporting condition for growth. Then our consciousness expanded; all life is expanding, changing, looking for answers to questions that generate growth. We looked out over the horizon, we were the horizon, and everything we saw was also us, and the warmth radiated over everything. Then I was birthed to the ground in a thump, covered in sap, and bark and red ants. My son stood there, in the dark, cold, wind-swept rain, astonished and he said, da-ad, are you OK? I couldn’t help it, I began to cry. He said something to me and put his hand on my shoulder, and I couldn’t hear him as I looked up her skirt at the knot where I was birthed had disappeared, and I said, not now son, she’s gonna come back to talk to me again. And I cried again. Seeing the repeating, though unable to move, until eventually he went away. Days and nights, months and years have since passed and I still sit at her base, like stone, waiting for her return.

Waiting for Scraps

Moka pot is empty, the kids are finally into their movie; Lady and the Tramp 2: scamps adventure. Fridge is empty. They’re eating the rest of the mac ‘n cheese. Odin is sitting in anticipation; waiting for scraps.
Kitchen is a warzone.
When you getting home?

It says adapted from a poem by Nancy R. Smith. A poster at Pacific Middle school, Des Moines, Wa. The kids are gonna be alright. Hopefully.

Summer Squash

Languishing in the afternoon heat,

she waters the summer squash and tomatoes.

The cries of the crows slows life’s tempo.

Here the garden hose,

Now trickles

and the green onions drown, like my heart, sinking in mud.

 


My daughter and I watered the vegetable garden yesterday, there were so many little moments that I wanted to try to convey, though I found myself really laboring for this one and in the end I decided to just try to convey that one moment of overwhelming joy and love. If you want to read more poems about being a parent you can find them on the Parenting Page

 

Dear Seattle

Hey listen I know I chose to have kids and join the ranks of parents that, let’s face it, we are all still trying to rebel against, the parents we’re still pretending that we won’t become.

But could you go ahead a do me a favor? Could you at least not act like every time I see you in the city it’s my big trip in from the suburbs. My big trip, like I’m some kind of grade schooler with my sack lunch or some shit.

Listen Next time we run into eachother keep in mind: I have kids; they smell and act like vagrants, they try to eat all my stuff like the worst roommate, and they spit when they prattle incoherently like the neighborhood convenience store attendant. So really it’s not too far off from big city living.

Thanks,

Dan

Two

She’s
stubborn but sweet,
never really apologetic.
She’s gotta devil’s grin
because she knows
she’s gonna win.
Fun and independent,
she’s a bit of a whirlwind.

He’s
a spark of joy,
the type of boy
people just want to be around.
At times a victim
of his passion,
just like his dad.
(but don’t tell him that)

i know as time goes by
it’s my job to let you go
(kind of afraid i won’t get to)
never really thought i would
be surrounded by this much love
and misery, which are one
and the same aren’t they?
the weight of expectation
is a burden i’ll try not to
put on you, though i know i’ll
fail, have failed already.
I love you guys.

Listen

Tonight we sat down, just the three of us, to read a book; the wants and needs, the friction of life fades away; because all we have we want, and it really doesn’t matter which book we read -if it’s the one with the fallen leaves, or the famous steed – because the warmth of contentment fills our hearts, until it ends and we want another, again, and we have to say goodnight, or no, still we can’t let go.

 

“My loves, it’s not the book that makes it special, it’s just the willingness to shut the fuck up and listen.”