Saturday, January 12, 2013

Martin Willitts, Jr

Wild, Wild with Wild Love
“It’ impossible not/to remember wild and want it back” –
Mary Oliver, Green, Green Is My Sister’s House

There are some reminders we do not need
to understand our desperate purpose —
unfortunately we are stopped cold in our footsteps,
the world pulled away like a rug under our feet –
and the falling begins— closes its wing-like heart,
and nothingness becomes what we were—
and then— what? Do we pray when it is already too late? –
the moment has eclipsed; the envelope of time is sealed.
Enjoy the wildness while you are still attached to it.
Find yourself shrieking with sheer untamed joy.
Try to kick the stars out of the sky.

The Sleeping Gypsy
Based on the painting by Rousseau, 1897

We have been traveling the dreamscape,
a sleepwalker lost in their own thoughts.

This absence of normality creates impossibilities.
In this traveling, there is no distance, taking as long as sleep.
Our belief is primitive imaginings.
Why is it we are never tired of traveling in our dreams?
I do not understand many things in my life,
and loss is one of those dream-like things.
A lion passes by and sniffs the fullness of moon
like it was a note from my six string lyre.
Dream are a pitcher of water.
If I empty it out, more dreams will spill out.

The Annunciation
Based on the painting by Van Eyke, 1434, honoring Luke I: 26-38

The Book of Hours has been turned to the wrong stanza,
for I am not worthy.
I was in the temple, where I belonged,
working on a tapestry of prayer. Why have you chosen me?
You turn words at my unworthy feet.
Glories of seven rays come out of nowhere.
I am not special. I am a pair of hands
stitching threads into something I am not worthy of making.
What is grace?
I do not embody it. I have no special permission.
I have no great words to speak. What is in my unworthy heart?
How could I bare such a burden? What is faith?
I am nobody,
less than a donkey hair, less than straw, less than a drop of rain.
You say I am illuminated. My hands only know thread,
the making of embroidery, casting useless seeds to doves.
What is praise? I am nothing compared to dust.
I am at the loom making a slip and readjusting.
Everyone notices my imperfections. I am less
than a beetle. Why am I compared to the setting of angels?
I notice all the biblical images on the wall,
and I do not belong.
Do not praise me.
I am humble as a thimble, or needle, or guiding thread.
I am full of alarm and uncertainty. Take back
this startling blue ermine. Take back praise.
Unbind this knot/
Do not honor that which does not deserve it.
Do not extol me to be a host of stars.
Lend not my name to something I am not.
I am the furthest from glory.
I am the bend of light as it departs into nothing.
I am common as a sparrow.
I am the draft from a window crack.
I am the wick flickering in no breeze.
I am the drip of wax.
I think, perhaps, you have mistaken me for someone else.
Someone not so common; not small as a ladybug.
I am someone who has no sense and soft spoken.
You need someone fierce, someone flammable, someone unique,
who does not sweep with a broom or collects water
from the lowest brook. I am not the one you seek.

Folding Origami Fish

sixteen folds swimming, over,
creased back, searching for simplicity,
different colors strung, not like fish,
more like a carousel of fish,
some tie-died, some polka-dot, some
on different levels. Hands making repetitions,
paper bending, transmuting into real fish
fluttering lines of poetry in balanced air,
making something different.
Air is buoyant,
glitters off gill slits,
a constellation of fish-stars.
Children in a school
learning to fish for words—
mountain-fold, diagonal fold, crease marks—
punctuation swimming in paper water,
in deepness of intense concentration
following the folds, sixteen times,
gathering a school of fish.
Sometimes, sixteen folds hide fish—
when we reach into the surface of paper,
line breaks
into the depth of experience,
speech and words
become live fish.


They say, if you cut a worm in half
it will regenerate. But they never say,
it will bleed, feel pain,
spending its remaining days
searching for the missing part of itself
A person that has an amputated limb
feels the loss of what was.
The doctors say this is phantom pain,
but to a person feeling its absence,
it is not imaginary.
There are things more real than we can envisage.
We know the missing is truly there.
How can loss be seen any other way?
Our lives can be segmented,
dissected, and studied,
but this has nothing to do with pain.
It is the presence of what is not there.
I could not bring myself to slice the worm,
nor shove a hook in it,
or send it to a watery grave to the fishes.
I could not cause pain.
But, sometimes, we cause pain without trying.
Sometimes, our intentions are well-intended.
Sometimes, the best of us fail;
our efforts are cut open,
then our blood moves like earthworms.
There is a hole, there is an absence,
there are things no longer in place
where they belong,
and nothing,
not one thing,
can bring them together again.

Martin Willitts Jr retired as a Senior Librarian in upstate New York. He is currently a volunteer literacy tutor. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 5 Pushcart and 3 Best Of The Net awards. He had the following poetry books published in 2012: How to Find Peace” (Kattywompus Press), “Playing The Pauses In The Absence Of Stars” (Main Street Rag), “No Special Favors” (Green Fuse Press), and “The Heart Knows, Simply, What It Needs: Poems based on Emily Dickinson, her life and poetry” (Aldrich Press).

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