Love even lives in an empty Sanctuary,
shoe soles echo through heating vents
older than Jerusalem.
Constantly moving, the air embraced
the already sticky pews riddled with
foreign fingerprints pressing for prayer.
A welcome pamphlet stuck out the pew number
askew to the left as if curious or pointing.
The whole building seemed to travel cyclically,
from the optical illusion of eternity in the ceiling
all the way down to the powerful pillars
that traveled back up through the organ pipes,
resembling a giant baby's first recorder.
Not a sound in earshot but for the prayer pillows
possibly knocked while taking a seat.
They were just wide enough for a knee and a tear,
they hung on a hook at the ready, like a coat
that finally can rest when you get home
and turn on the light.
Yet how can illumination have diction?
As if light bulbs didn't exist and stained glass
had a wattage, the windows burst with colors
not found in science or pigment; the story walked
on walls to the pulpit and rested at the top
in a column of three in gold.
I don't know exactly why I cried.
Maybe it was because a sanctuary
is never truly empty.
1. Cobble stone streets lend
to nostalgia but do not
support learning boots.
2. American tongues
are sharper than most countries .
Adjust to silence.
3. Blood pudding involves
dried blood sausage and science.
It’s not a cookie.
4. The Scottish accent
is a song with a beat.
Learn rhythm not words.
5. I have learned to like
potatoes and walking and
6. Parties are weekly
Monday through Sunday so sleep
is option and choice.
7. Pubs pubs and more pubs.
Ginger ale whisky and brew.
Pubs pubs and more pubs.
8. The sun rises at
9 sets at four so learn
to walk in darkness.
9. They were right to say
the chill seeps into your bones
You can’t run from it.
10. New countries are hard
to wear like places you’ve worn
before so be calm.
I woke up feeling clean.
The kind of clean you find on your teeth,
after they have picked and scratched and
scrubbed them to that white hue with sharp tools
we are all afraid of using ourselves.
The inner lining of my skin is now smooth
and finally worth leaning on.
I feel clean. I am sure this is what it feels like.
Because to know clean you must first be
friends with filthy, an acquaintance of crummy
and a distance relative callous.
I have known these things
as they have stuck to my being before,
made my insides rust and flake off
in a flurry of inconceivable nightfall
This I know. I know both.
Today, I can perceive and receive a morning of clean,
with hands visible to the valley in my own fingerprints
exposed and extended, almost transparent,
almost fragile, almost open, almost there.
Reaching for my being
Clean and clear
I guess the thing that eluded me first
Poetry didn't flow out of me like a divine diarrhea
(waiting for an open mic stage
where people are half listening
and half going over their poems praying
you don't read another one).
Is it because poetry didn't know
which pore to seep out of and witness for herself
just how lost and found I really am?
I have no idea what I am seeing for the first time
and I am without stanza or cause
Empty. Like tears that aren't mine.
I have felt fear for so long
What better to replace it with
than Jazz on rustic historic stone
shining pebbles that dare call themselves
a street in Edinburgh.
So far from home.
How many hills quietly sit or stand
in fog maybe or saturated in rainfall?
How many of those green hills–
So green that you forget that money use to rule you–
How many of those mounds of grass barely grazed,
barely walked through or driven upon,
How many of those are waiting for me?
Next to a brown road
(no need to pave what doesn't have secrets)
that winds arounds like a belt or miniskirt
no words, just road.
How many of those do you think I can run
roll down or walk in a progression
until I reach the Horizon?
the source for all the patience the hills have carried
all these years
How many hills on an unknown Scottish countryside
marked by the tiniest of the sun to hit the top of one–
How many are waiting for my back or bum to rest or
stand against the wind looking forward (only forward)
How many of those moments are waiting for me
How many of those are calling me
to just get up and go.
It is easy to be an entire country
when you do not have to take responsibility
for what it stands for.
I can't explain our obsession with football–
a sport we created and coincidentally are champions at–
anymore than I can explain
why we find organic joy in butchering people's names with gusto
I have never had to be an American until now
I never had to carry the history in an introduction
or a beverage ( Shirley Temple).
I never had to make excuses for decisions I didn't choose to make
Do all countries have to go through this?
Do all nationalities have that legislation to carry, that story
or is it just America.
Americans that have to shrug off the questions and gestures that ask
Why the fuck are you the way you are?
What answer would be most appropriate?
I am not the one who made America,
I just hold the foundations of its forgotten beginnings.