Daily Archives: April 28, 2016

Brightwork

In this sullen practice
of mine is the root of
happiness.

If you must ask
why it is therefore called
a sullen art,
understand that I practice it
knowing that any happiness
that may grow from it 
will only rarely
be my own

yet I sit myself down
and work at it daily,
pounding on dark metals
to make brightwork
from them
that others will look at
and rejoice in
after I’m gone.

No, there’s no why beyond
how much it needs doing; no,
there’s no explaining how it chooses
its apprentices; no, there’s not much 
to recommend it as a lifestyle
beyond that potential for 
making joy for others and 
slight immortality.  No,

there’s no reason to become 
a brightworker in words,

other than the impossibility
of becoming anything else.

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Getting On My Nerves

Longing this morning 
to trade back my boots
for the soft-sole shoes
I surrendered to get them.
I can’t feel the ground
when I walk in these. 
Doctors try to tell me it’s
neuropathy from my diabetes.
They’re half right, I suspect;
certainly some shiny whiteness
is to blame and whether it’s sugar
or culture it’s killing me dead
from the feeling parts up
to the thinking parts. If I still had
ancestors to ask about it
I would but they’re gone and
never knew me anyway. Maybe
it’s for the best that I’m numb
and becoming more numb the older I get;
I still want to trade these hard boots
for the moccasins I had as a kid, 
the moccasins everyone said
I should trade for the boots I wear now — 
good boots made to hold you
separate from and untouched by the earth,
the way it is these days;
even when you are put into that earth
they put you in a box
and that box goes into another box.
How is it right that even when I’m dead
I’ll have to lie forever in that tiny space?
Colonized in death as in life,
forbidden the right to return
to our own soil. It’s why I long to trade my boots
for moccasins and walk away
to find my own resting place somewhere;
if my feet burn the whole way there, at least
the pain will be of my choosing.