December 2020 The stories I tell myself about the world

How do my feelings about myself reflect how I see the world?

What do I tell myself about the world to feel safe?

What stories do I tell that confirm my world view?


   by Jim Harrison

Most of my life was spent

building a bridge out over the sea

though the sea was too wide.

I’m proud of the bridge

hanging in the pure sea air. Machado

came for a visit and we sat on the

end of the bridge, which was his idea.

Now that I’m old the work goes slowly.

Ever nearer death, I like it out here

high above the sea bundled

up for the arctic storms of late fall,

the resounding crash and moan of the sea,

the hundred-foot depth of the green troughs.

Sometimes the sea roars and howls like

the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.

What beauty in this the darkest music

over which you can hear the lightest music of human

behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.

So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above

the abyss. Tonight the moon will be in my lap.

This is my job, to study the universe

from my bridge. I have the sky, the sea, the faint

green streak of Canadian forest on the far shore.

What’s in a Question?

By Eugene Marckx

Growing up the boy had questions

His father would turn them into paper kites and

            sail them into turbulent winds until

            they’d break off and blow away

His mother would cut them into paper garlands and

            string them around the windows until

            day by day they’d become brown and flimsy

Then the boy dreamed of a storm sweeping in

toppling the table and chairs

or he dreamed of a road winding through the hills until

            he woke up with his nose against the wall

But now the boy is grown and so out of his hand

            springs a songbird that flies here and there

His father worries it will knock over his reading lamp

            not to mention that restive beak at his precious papers

His mother is unstrung by the too-boisterous birdsong

            not to mention those wet blotches on the dining room table

So the songbird leads him out along a winding road

            to where an old man has been waiting all these years

who tells him of islands in a far-off Southern Sea

            where bees gather and play among the rainbow flowers

            where trees dance in the wind like swirling maidens

At the old man’s door the young man opens his hand

            improvises how to rise over the waves until

            out flies bird after bird after bird

Only these two can see

            how filled the skies become

and among the loose feathers left behind are questions

of where they’ve gone …

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