which is to say

reflecting on the travels my loved ones experience
that are somewhat diluted in their retelling.

which is to say


this, the shape of a fist
a temporary stasis, we will expand
          the universe deepens,
          man colonizes frontiers
          families dig motes between them
there is beauty in it, beside the chaos,
a quiet loveliness in moving out and over
the spreading, its own kind of journey
the distance, a pattern of language

which is to say,

we’ve gone from here knowing
left doorways ajar with the best intentions
of returning, but we’ve never come home
that part of us so vital, rearranged to fit new perspectives
cannot sleep in our childhood beds
or eat quietly
amongst our elders.

which is to say,

I’ve missed you,
collected trinkets for your giving
met strangers and we laughed under greek constellations
but none of it was ours
not even when
you shared it with me.

Europe, Summer 1997

we count first on our fingers
in bundles of five,
the places we have seen
the people we would visit
then we count from memory
the houses whose doors are yellow
standing out against rusted drainpipes
taking a second moment before
becoming grey in the passing view.

We watched the compounding skyline
which began as rooftops but became high-rises;
a wooden rendering of our own jourey,
which began on foot and boarded the railcar.
You, looking at me from behind our father’s glasses,
offer up a sigh of relief–we are moving now.
Moving on to something else.
We were young but I remember a sense of longing
an emptiness only time can fill,
following the footpaths of cobbled alleys
knowing a home-land in a place I’d never been.

–ECW

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 23 Revised

When it meant something to have an ivy covered house, home

Was the yellow corners of my father’s family album

Worn down with recounting the birth of the youngest, at one a.m.

The death of their smallest, twelve minutes alive,

It was a memoir I hoped to write down in departure

traveling away from here, traveling anywhere

 

When it meant something to have an ancient surname, my house

held the left hand of my mother, the guiding light held tight

Through rooms I knew from her stories, in houses that belonged

to other people now; would see as we were passing through.

Here is where the chair sat that belonged to your grandmother

My mother was forever with her hand in mine, unwinding our family-lore.

 

I filed the grooves in my house key down to the gloss,

Lost the scent of my window boxes and potted flowers.

In the towers casting hand shadows in a window haze

In the crooked cobblestone margins where it meant something

To have an ivy covered house home

Is a moving target.

—ECW

Poem 23 Edited – Poem 23 Original

Poem 10 Revised

{Title Forthcoming}

 

I found one hundred pounds but gave it all away.

The money is hyperbole: I lied to

Keep a copper pence coin worth half

A slice of bread borrowed from a roommate.

I’m not behind the lines drawn in the kitchen

Yours & Mine

One hundred pounds won’t be spent on flour.

 

We left our silhouettes in alleyways.

Ate our way through creameries

Melting sticky fingers remember cotton-paper

currency can be dry with possibility; might be

everything might be anything at all

where we’ve wandered the poverty

trading bread and ice cream

Fullness & Sweetness

Bread: lines in a sandwich are walls around a mouth

Sugar cream makes mockeries of these geometric boundaries

Maps mark the lines to and from, not yours and mine

 

Dug up one hundred pounds to hide away

The money was knowledge, but you try telling

Readers collecting memories in dog ear’d novels

As the story grows in throes,  the body rows

Some passages whispered, others on a podium

Most wooden men are soapboxes shouting

From street corners in idiums about

Lost currency on concrete. Beauty

Marks our misfortunate faces. How Beautiful

A morning with a pocket’s painted possibilities.

 

Wander with me, and wonder

If fullness or sweetness decides

the stationary philosophy we stamp for the post.

It was a ghost, littering the streets with gold

And we sowed our wild oats in the mortar.

Through the egress of an average existence, with

One hundred pounds on our backs, all we ever had.

—ECW

Poem 10 Editing Poem 10 Original