filling

first,
the needle
a long
narrow
relief
and next
the drill
with its
many min-
ature bits
not sharp
but whirring
singing
like a light
sings on the
eye, brightly.
They hand me
sun-glasses
to numb the
intensities.

I am reminded
of diamonds
with two sets
of hands
in my mouth,
the assistant
dexterous,
takes and
offers tools
with her
littlest finger
while the doctor
wields the drill/
diamonds are cut
by other
diamonds
the strongest bones
in my body
are cut like
diamonds,
slightly, just
a little at a time.

I could fall
asleep if not
for the drill
and the vacuum
and the banter
above me,
over which
porceline
makes for the
strongest
molars.
A chuckle,
a shrug,
were they
flirting?
the assistant
and her pinky,
the doctor
and his drill
in my mouth
bite down
he says
measuring
either side
does it
feel any
different?
–ECW

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Poem 55 Revised

Family Portrait

 

Two score before my parents wed my father held the branches of three trees:

Peach, Apricot, Loquat; their sapping cylinders fresh leaking of life,

With his knife bore them holes together, and bound them with leftover string.

They grew entangled like the knots of unkept ambition, their fruition

Was never compromised by their scars. Here we are

Slack by our tendons, held together barely by bark

But you and I know the best part about broken branches.

They must grow back.

—ECW

 

Poem 55 EditedPoem 55 Original

Poem 37 Revised

Metapoem

I am a poem from this side of the states to t’other

Map-scratch these lines and find your trails rugged

With these words, I declare them satisfaction in roads mid-construction

Highways heaved of trees; I am progress—if poetry

Moves forward—I am the windshield protecting inspiration

From misfortune’s wind and ambitious stones.

Thumbs out! Or clutching nubs once pencils. I am

Poetry where I stand or wherever I once stood. Come

Lace-up with me some afternoon baked in the mountainside

I am poetry aching for a destination, for it is destiny

Sending me to you.

—ECW

Poem 37 Original Poem 37 Edited

Poem 34 Final

99d9f-toes2

 

Toes in the Water

 

We play hide and seek in seats

We share with strangers.

With you hiding and me

Lost. Sought truth but

Found only book bindings.

The well is depthless where

The well informed tread water

In the wake of inspiration:

A filling cup twice its necessity.

Come find me where pages

Smell of fingertips and

Day dreamers drape drowsy

Heaped on borrowed furniture.

 

Poem 34 EditedPoem 34 Original

Poem 25 Revised

Siren Solace

It was the ocean who came to me
In a dream dreading unhappiness
With her own wide tides to blame
For our less than easy sailing.
We dipped our toes over the mast
And cast our hair to the waves
Like fish nets or marionettes
Where it trailed below and spoke no more.
From there we tumbled overboard
Crashed through the surface,
//purge me of breath//
Postponed—the ocean and I—in perfect awe
Dangle timeless, belong to the sea.
—ECW

Poem 25 EditedPoem 25 Original

Poem 13 Revised

cycles

 

she thought she could be beautiful if only

she could decide

what beauty was and was not

afraid of rabbit holes and conversation lulls

speak more candidly, sharpen your arrow tongue

maybe you’re afraid—so be it so be it

 

she knew she could decide beauty was

if only with a scrap of paper;

water & pigment

—oh—and a brush

but that would be hindering…

a meddlesome fall dries the colors to their leaves…

to paint them why cant they be everything at once

 

isn’t true beauty potential,

the potential to be everything at once

I want all the colors at once I once

knew a girl with an eye full of sun drops and cancer in her bones

cut her canvas with a house key and set

mixing the oils with her fingertips—

if only mixing was enough

like sex to beget the baby, forget the baby or the potential of a maybe

the acting graces are beauty enough keep going, don’t worry keep going.

 

I thought I could be beautiful by watching the sky

and tracking the hurricane negotiations from the shore

close enough to hear the thunder chuckle

opened my eyes to lightening and was blinded by

color—light was everything at once.

 

I tracked the stars in the sand with a walking stick

made their maps dance in the valleys of my footprints

told the truth of their location and nothing more

was that not beauty enough

is said of ideals and most are untrue

the tales of lions dancing in the heaven crest

all the rest is black, like the inner side of a resting eye

with the tide quieting the constellations

the sea is black with possibilities

it may be anything, at once.

—ECW

Poem 13 EditingPoem 13 Original

Diary of a Dancing Goat – Chapter 2 Preview

Hello Readers: This is the first section of Chapter 2 of my ongoing novel-project. I thought it would be nice to put it into the world and see what happened. I hope many of you can relate and enjoy. This is a DRAFT and will therefore need lots and lots more EDITING, so nobody panic if it doesn’t read perfectly. As a poet, I plan to scower over every word. But for now just let it wash over you like a good hot cup of Joe. 

 

coffee3

A Cupful of Joy

I’m kicking my feet wildly. Small tufts of dirt are lifted from below my heels and brought to the air as offerings. The sun, my only deity, is pulsing from his perch in the white sky. I am kicking my feet with vigor, with the energy of ten thousands nights asleep and five thousand fields grazed. I am a dancing goat with a throat full of cherry red fruit I have never tried before.

 

There are many legends of the origin, or more so the discovery of coffee. The origin is the land, long before it was crushed into animal fat or brewed over a rolling boil; it was the sprout of a rainforest seed, weeded among the roots of taller trees. Coffee was fabled to be the discovery of goats, who danced so vigorously their shepherd, Kaldi, tried the hearty bulb himself. News of a god seed traveled quickly. It was monks who crushed it, roasted it, drank it before their daily prayers. It was a religious experience, first with the earth and then with a more formal god. But the seed, the blackened bean born of flames, was the true god. And his perch in history is prolific and permanent.

 

Tea totes a more delicate story. One of an emperor resting below a tree sipping piping hot water, the leaves of a breeze rustled branch mingle with his cup and he is enlightened. Better than Newton, whose falling apple locked us in a universe of perfect but rigid formulae; the falling faith of emperors opened the cosmic eye and turned it to the soul. Tea and Coffee came across with the sea on trade ships and with them chains and whips. They, among other exotic commodities of the freshly colonized world, wrapped the growing population in an unquenchable thirst.

 

It was neither the goats nor the king who bound us in these ropes. It was a misunderstanding. It was a misuse. It was a machine with a mouth eating away the land and wrapping the ankles of an eager age to a knotted and overgrown nest of twisting roots. We are knocking with our hooves at the door of knowledge but we get only sugar grains: the modern latte. Two decades after I was born my lips met the burning bitterness, the smooth consolidation, the frightful bite of an addiction built of love. It was real espresso. Not a latte, not a roast. It was the espresso blend Authentic Coffee Shop hid below layers of sweet and foam. It was a love/hate. It hurt to take it in. A short shot, piping hot and harsh. Flashing into my nostrils and corners of my mouth where my molars are most sensitive. Involuntary outbursts of a howling tongue are nearly necessary. It steals your breath, it tears your eyes, but it returns the favor in richness too hearty to deny.

 

Coffee. Tea. Chai. Mocha. Java. Latte. Café Au Let. Crème Brule. French Vanilla. Caramel. White Mocha. Matcha Green. These words are meaningless to the average consumer. They are tickets onto their favorite café ride, a far cry from the bean and the leaf ten thousand years in the making. It is a shame. In their naked state they taste crisp and honest. Coffee Black awakens the senses, sparks a furnace deep in the belly, churning a burning heated hearth. Jasmine tea, an ephemeral perfume steeped for a mere moment can drive away the weight of any reality. Suddenly alone, atop a grassy hill beside the first tea tree, twisted with the path of the passing day, and dusting the landscape with effortless fluttering leaves. The scent comes first. A powerful humbling whisper from a simpler time. So few experience that joy, for it is a joy and not a need.

 

People need coffee. A woman came wandering into the shop one afternoon when the rushes had died down and there was time to share a frivolous conversation. She was draped in hand woven cloth, worn as a shawl displaying the dancing figures of elephants, giraffes and goats sewn wildly with sequins and tinsel laden threads. She looked to me with a trail tired face and asked about the origin of the coffee. I began with my scripted explanation but she stopped me. Is it organic? She wondered, since she was vegan and only consumed foods that the earth sanctioned. I nodded. Yes, I told her, all coffee is organic, at least from Authentic Coffee Shop; we have our own fields and our own treatment facilities. She sighed and readjusted her shawl to absentmindedly flash a pointed shoulder. I will take a cup, please, large and hot. I began my second list of questions. Would she like room for cream or a flavor powder in her coffee? Her eyes widened then settled into squinted wisdom. No, no, just black. If you add anything to coffee it loses its medicinal properties. Too many people live to eat instead of eat to live. I had served one hundred caramel lattes that morning, fifty mocha blended lattes, two hundred coffees with cream and seventy-five chai lattes. And this woman wanted her coffee black, because she knew its secret truth.

 

I am no prophet—here is no great matter. Coffee is more when less. Most customers had never tried a shot. Never had black coffee, were afraid to sample even a sip. Saying it was too bitter, too burnt. But that was not the coffee, it was the roast they were tasting, smelling, hating. And again and again I would promise there were other options. We offered light roasts and dark roasts, espresso blends and medium roasts that were neither bitter nor burnt. There was no convincing them. They had tried coffee in college out of desperation. The discount barrel of coffee they over-brewed at work was awful and therefore so was ours. So much stigma. I could have never reasoned with them. Most people who drink coffee hate it, and that was just that.

 

So why do Americans alone spend billions on coffee? How can the industry of the bean span hundreds of nations and drive millions of lives? The answer is simpler than you would imagine. Addiction. First to caffeine, which is not even the main factor, affecting the victim with headaches, moodiness and inability to concentrate. Since coffee is sold on every street corner from coast to coast, in drive through burger joints and gas stations, in bistros and dive bars apart from the cliché café, the consumer need only pick their poison to keep the need at bay. Then there is sugar. Most drinks consist of liquid and some sugared flavoring, account for the main part of daily calorie intake, though few consider them meals. Sugar, arguably as addictive as heroine, requires the victim to consume more and more to quench the ache. Some customers, myself included, consume several coffee shop drinks in a day, racking up calories and fueling a need for more to feel like a treat. And then there is the final and, in my opinion, the most addictive drive. The experience. Walking into a coffee shop is thrilling. The warm hazelnut browns and the bakery-sweet smell of vanilla wrap the visitor in a comfortable cloud of homey belonging. Perfectly coordinated merchandise, menu configurations and crisply-dressed smiling baristas welcome them by name to create a fulfilling personal escape from their dull reality.

 

It’s not the caramel in their hand they crave, sac religiously sweet sauces mingling with toasty espresso and creamy frothed milk; it is the jolt they need to finish their chores and the escape they crave from their underwhelming jobs and love lives. The coffee shop is a pause in an otherwise fast paced and miserable existence. Whether that existence is university exams with no sleep to spare, or a bottom level job that has yet to pay off. It is a drink moment, a coffee run that America lines up for at 7 am. No matter the drive, the caffeine-sugar onslaught is just a small side effect of getting away. But they aren’t going to a field of frolicking goats dancing in the midday sun. They aren’t going to the solace of a shaded tree in the silent breeze if a quiet afternoon. They are falling back to the places they spurn, an over-sweetened often burnt out cup full of emptiness begetting another and another. An artificially induced commodity built to train addiction in a ginger-bread house of hearth and heart promising happiness if only just another drink can be downed. People need coffee, the faded flower-child told me. I knew it already. People need coffee; they just don’t enjoy it much anymore.