"Marked by the Fire"

The smoke follows Leslie.
He jokes "It follows beauty."
(what mind came up with that?)
but wherever he sits there is that hazy blue
by-product of the flame.
He moves around the fire                          
playing some distorted
game of musical chairs.                   
We are never quite sure
if the flame sings                             
or laughs:
only certain
       that it is lead by the path of the wind.

I miss the past.                                                                                          Smoke and pipes were common.                                                                     Cigarettes weren't yet destroyers
of the lung and life.                                                       
An ashtray was an appropriate souvenir
and smoke made a ring around the room
like adults & glamour
and secrets the wild world would soon divulge
whether it wanted to or not.
                                                                                                                   

"Standing in the Fire"

I was surprised by the adding,
by its sheer volume.
I asked myself,
"How do I live a life like this,
where I can't be totally sure
of where my feet are and on what?"
   I knew the answer.                                                                                   I knew the answer of standing in the fire.                                                  Small and simple: a matter of a few steps,                             
a napkin folded away,                                             
a drink of water,                                                    
a ring stain on the dining room table,                                    
even the dishes and their stacked dirty plated architecture                     
waiting for washing.                                  

The answer was simple.                                                                                
It was daily.                                                                                                   
The habit of the matter:                                                                                  
I stood in the fire that day                                                                              
because                                                                               
that was what there was to stand in on that day,                                            
and the day before and before.                                              

How much of me turned to ash before anyone noticed?                          
How much                                                        
before someone said, "Hey, aren't you on fire!?"                                    
Amazing, the amount of flame i lived with
and the amount of life without. 

It had started with toes.
But before it was over it was legs & hips,
hands, shoulders, and a few times my head.
(some part of me was always ablaze and running
for a pond or a reason to put me out.)

Now you can say that I have given up.                                           
Instead of fleeing the flame,                                            
I am quietly looking for a flickering spot with my name.
If burning be my lot,
I'll no longer stand, but dance.               


"On Funerals, Living & Being A Poor Listener"

I don't want to ever again bury
(as long as I have my bones about me)
anything.
Not the morning.
Not the day
with its changing times.
Not this moment now:
this talent, this you.
If clean picked and white can save me
from constant thuddings
of earth, and coverings and followings,

I had better get busy
or stop.
I had better be something besides what I am...this...this...
this I don't know,
this being shoveled around

and Satan snickering behind my back.
Whether Lucifer listens to the Master or not, he knows God
better than I.
The devil knows that "day"
I should be living for
and how easily I
can fall for an evil whisper,
but somehow miss God's Good GIANT voice
and creation shouting,
"FREE BLOOD!" at the top of its lungs.