Friday, March 1, 2013

House on Fire

Here's the poem I wrote recently. Some of its influences include: our flat and its occasionally disabled smoke alarms, the carbon monoxide detector at the retreat center, John Giorno's poem "Suicide Sutra", and the Lotus Sutra.

House on Fire

It takes a while
To see the simplicity of
A sooner not later
Goodbye life

Ah, but here are
Alternatives to simple
As when one lies down
In a closed room
And smells smoke

Do I open the door?
Finish the book?
Scream for help?
How to overpower
My bewilderment

Again and again, I wake up.
The walls are hot.
No crashing, no sirens
Just a kind of wrongness
Unnoticed by
Public servants

The greatest
Nightmare is this, here
Watching the one episode
That burns, that gnaws
White eyes...

Now is too much to bear.

Terracotta soldier with himself
digitally colorized
[SF Asian Art Museum]
Here are two choices.
All of us must do one of them
Either the world is pried
From our fists
Or we let go
If only: of a sense of control
If only: of choosing my fate

In every now that I can find
The thing to let go of

Is me
One of the other things
Is you

My house
Caught fire
I stroll outside
With the sky


  1. What do those gymnasts do? Oh, yeah - "nailed it." Odd expression, but yes, you nailed it.

  2. Loved this, deeply moving. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. This really grabbed me and shook me around... in a good way.

  4. Thank you for this gift of a poem.