life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

circles keep circling 


This is the beginning.

Almost anything can happen.

This is where you find

the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,

the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.

Think of an egg, the letter A,

a woman ironing on a bare stage

as the heavy curtain rises.

This is the very beginning.

The first-person narrator introduces himself,

tells us about his lineage.

The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings.

Here the climbers are studying a map

or pulling on their long woolen socks.

This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn.

The profile of an animal is being smeared

on the wall of a cave,

and you have not yet learned to crawl.

This is the opening, the gambit,

a pawn moving forward an inch.

This is your first night with her,

your first night without her.

This is the first part

where the wheels begin to turn,

where the elevator begins its ascent,

before the doors lurch apart.


This is the middle.

Things have had time to get complicated,

messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore.

Cities have sprouted up along the rivers

teeming with people at cross-purposes—

a million schemes, a million wild looks.

Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack

here and pitches his ragged tent.

This is the sticky part where the plot congeals,

where the action suddenly reverses

or swerves off in an outrageous direction.

Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph

to why Miriam does not want Edward’s child.

Someone hides a letter under a pillow.

Here the aria rises to a pitch,

a song of betrayal, salted with revenge.

And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge

halfway up the mountain.

This is the bridge, the painful modulation.

This is the thick of things.

So much is crowded into the middle—

the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados,

Russian uniforms, noisy parties,

lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall—

too much to name, too much to think about.


And this is the end,

the car running out of road,

the river losing its name in an ocean,

the long nose of the photographed horse

touching the white electronic line.

This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade,

the empty wheelchair,

and pigeons floating down in the evening.

Here the stage is littered with bodies,

the narrator leads the characters to their cells,

and the climbers are in their graves.

It is me hitting the period

and you closing the book.

It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen

and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck.

This is the final bit

thinning away to nothing.

This is the end, according to Aristotle,

what we have all been waiting for,

what everything comes down to,

the destination we cannot help imagining,

a streak of light in the sky,

a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.

💞

Aristotle by Billy Collins




So that 

I stopped 

there

and looked 

into the sun,
seeing not only

my reflected face

but the great sky

that framed 

my lonely figure
and after a moment

I lifted my hands

and then my eyes

and I 

allowed myself

to be
astonished

by the great 

everywhere

calling to me

like an

invisible 

and unspoken

invitation,

like something

in one moment

both calling to me

and radiating

from where I stood,
as if I could 

encompass

everything 

I had been given

and everything 

taken from me 
as if I could be

everything 

I have learned 

and everything

I could know,
as if I knew

in that moment

both the way 

I had come

and, secretly,
the way

I was still 

promised to go,
brought together,

like this,

with the 

unyielding ground

and the symmetry

of the moving sky,

caught in still waters.
Someone 

I have been,

and someone

I am just, 

about to become,
something I am

and will be forever,

the sheer generosity

of being loved

through loving:

the miracle reflection

of a twice blessed life.

Twice Blessed by David Whyte

From Work in Progress


the path keeps winding

I keep walking

always into surprises

always into adventures

today an unexpected ‘wow’ on the path

love always wins,

though the windmills of God 

do grind slowly, for sure!

grace always changes us

I keep seeing it

reflecting back at me

from eyes I meet in every place

I let go into the the flow

the mystery keeps expanding

this thing, love, is truly the only thing 

that could possibly change this world….

or anyone……

mainly….

namely….

someone….

like…

me.

☺️

AL

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