I am a bell waiting for its chime, toll-bent in the middle of my life, just a bell whose roundness is assured forever (wave of gratitude), my copper folds waiting, echo of sighing heard long ago heard listening now waiting for a chime to claim me, pure tone, pure hum, pure moan (wave of wonder), and like a bell I hear heaven in a heartbeat, I hear tom-tom, tattoo of gladness, a dove in my hands who flew into the window and was struck perfect dead in all her parts and delicacy of feather, lineament of wing (wave of sorrow), and when I am struck like a bell I fill with gladness and the warmth of this aching voice, I get down on my knees and weep (wave of I-just-don’t-know, wave of zenith center), and I lean into the holy flower of winter, I crystalize my breath in a poem in open-armed yearning, in gathering what petals I may (wave of astonishment, of being struck-alive these 50 years), and will bell-weather, bell-worthy my dry knee-caps cliff-face mirror of the divine rectitude and mercy and the patron saint of the misspelled word (wave of not-knowing, of the master class of kneeling), my bones a bell and my flesh a bell, my tongue a vibrating rhythm all its carpet own (wave of I-know-not-the-name-of-the-holiest-thing-so-I-will-call-it-love), chiming down the hallway of these given days given unto me for now, for always, for the steelhead of my dreams I held in my hands once (wave of the wet teeming earth, wave of incarnate dripping rainbow that smelled of deepest woman), bell that walked this earth for now in galvanized rubber boots, bell that answers to the common name of Robert, bell that hordes and harbors pages of much loveliness, madness, letters written to the earth, the sky, the land of first kisses, the lonely boat of failure, that caught and released a shimmering Niagara of fish, that stripped streamers until his fingers bled, that slipped down the rabbit hole of this sacred earth’s dreaming of heaven dreaming of earth heaven, bell waiting for its struck wonder, bell on its clappered knees (wave of mystery, wave of the most imperfect electric slide), where, oh, where is the perfect stroke to strike me, is it happening even now (wave of ecstasy, wave of your fey hand waving goodbye), who or what seizes this bell in holy sound, this sustained note on earth as it is in heaven so heaven is earth and earth is heaven as I ink and bleed down this page in human music (wave of pity, wave of grace), dripping and echoing out until the end.
For once, we aren’t late. The kids keep asking me if we are, but I am able to assure them, we are fine, we’re right on time. I know this place. We just need to park in the big lot…
What to do with this beauty, what to love of it—what almost to sigh and to sing and even groan, what beauty, this beauty all around
I had said things that I was not sorry for. I had said exactly what I meant. I had made people angry. I had decided the day after Trump was elected president to not care if someone I hadn’t seen in ten years didn’t like me.