small lessons from the dream book

 

When a message arrives from a friend who died

two years ago

In the middle of an article on how to replace a bad habit

Beneath Led Zeppelin playing on the radio

At the end of a dawn dream falling

In the voice of a patron eating scrambled eggs

half way down the counter

 

Or by email: lurching me to check the sender’s address

for recognized or new?

Regardless, most comforting to assume that this is true

 

Checking for cc’s and other addressees

I may not be alone

Accepting, either way,  there is no one to help

 

Sent today, they are they and you are you

Pause.

I open my heart

I compose my response

I release it

 

Sent more than a week ago, I read carefully

I compose my response

I consider it will take

at least a week to reach them

I release it

 

Sent a year ago, I read carefully knowing

that the technology may have failed me

I open my heart

I compose my response

knowing that they may by now be gone

It’s okay to assume I know what I think I know

It’s okay to assume that I do not know what I do not know

I release it.

 

Robin Eichele

February 2019

caudillo (kô-dēlˈyō, -dēˈyō, kou-)
n. A leader or chief, especially a military dictator.
n. A political boss; an overlord.

ne·​science|\ ˈne-sh(ē-)ən(t)s, ˈnē-, -sē-ən(t)s\
n. Lack of knowledge or awareness : ignorance

dirigiste  us  /dɪrəˈʒiːst/ 
adj. relating to a system in which a government has a lot 
of control over a country's economy: 
a dirigiste government/model/state

 

i

moving to the back of the train

 

how long-ago answers

from when history was not designed

 

to record the same way as say

a color or a pain today

 

become much more essential

now that the memory bombs

 

drop in clusters

of vague sensations –

 

blended reconstructions

balled up

 

in before and later

or smoothed in the blur of

 

sometime on or about

like summer flowers

 

flattened in a book without a date

brought to light by a random visit

 

to Pound’s ABC of Reading

finding a violet pressed

 

against his instructions

for charging language with meaning:

 

phanopoeia, melopoeia, logopoeia

the violet pressed there why

 

in such a slim volume except

it would be preserved

 

by its neighbors – the Guide

to Kulchur on the one side and

 

The Cantos on the other

how could I have imagined

 

in 1963 or 4 that I would have

positioned the charge of images

 

sounds and mingled words

in such a frail subconsciousness

 

moved by where those flowers grew

and I was plucking them – returning to

 

check the publication –

second printing of the 1960 first edition –

 

and the primal question of that season:

does the word dictate

 

the experience we articulate?

as in,

 

do the words find it for us

or do we find the words for it?

 

oh, dear violet, oh, dear Ezra, where

was I and what feelings are these

 

that now grace this retrograde

illumination?

 

Robin Eichele

February 2019

the dog and his master rotate
to create their own equator

the leash invokes centrifugal
hand to collar forces

first one and then the other
plays the superior gravity
gifting their partner with
the thrill of the planetary orbit

they bark and yelp
in the delight of emotions’ atmospheres
stretching the mandates of physics to prove
they have in their personal cosmos
the laws of trust and love
and moist noses

they dance as if the stars
and the warm summer night
are who they are and all they need
their constellation to define

Robin Eichele
July 2015

“In Edo Sashimono, the elaborate technical mastery
                              of the craftwork is concealed.”

check your bag
you’ve got what you’ve got –
no more plans for ten-year apprenticeships
no becoming an Edo Sashimono master
with a cured Mulberry inventory
and the finest collection of heirloom chisels and planes

your story must save for the next time around
the preternatural precision of the full blind
mitered dovetail
those laser-handed tenons and mortices
those seamless panel-to-panel integrations
of hair-strand grain

words are all the wood you’ll get now
so take care to fit them as best you can
rub them with your love of what nature brings
bathe them in layers of urushi to move them
from hidden to spontaneously arranged
in the practical simplicity of iki

Robin Eichele
July 2015

fear unfurls off the lake with the fury
of January ice
chainsaw chatter
boney-jawed defiance of fist and cudgel
pain and mortality in an envelope
on the mantel
to be opened only if and when

taking on the heights without a net or a rope
or a parachute
four fingertips wrapped on a half-inch perch
converting three thousand feet of gravity
into an inevitability not taken

the video has one million views within the week
and then the wannabes
sporting imitation’s shortcomings
posting their final mimicries
absorbed by the sponge of error
or is it mediocrity?

to the uninitiated
the measure is in what
gets thrown away
not kept

they dressed him in a too-small suit and half shoes
more polished than he ever was
the package obviously not a priority
in the rush of pools of adrenaline
demanding to be drained

Robin Eichele
July 2015

it’s the post-birthday sloughing of delusions
as slippery as cut-out mythologies popping up
in a children’s book
pretending to be as hard as nuts falling
into the metal pockets punched by hail
in the tops of cars mere days ago before the bright sun
rode the pure blue of the high pressure bulge
into the clear night and sub-normal dawn
that drilled the chill past the comforter and sheet
into the ribs of the passengers

ears intoxicated on percussive fulminations
bellies borne on the giddy skiffs of percolating suds
faces cured peach-red by the cloudless sky
eyes glazed as if no need to make any more sense of it –
yesterday’s somnambulant patriots return
from the fireworks downtown to
put the car in the garage
finish the dishes and tuck in the kids and lock the doors
and check the thermostat
before turning out the lights

Amelia disappeared today

The words are bigger on the page now
about the size of a black bear
squeezing in for the winter
versus that peaked coming out in spring
scrawny yawn and terrible hunger

Now the words have got more grit
leather straps and ligaments
a medium conflagration looking out
for a decent reason
chafing at arbitrary imprisonment

Now the words have taken an ironic turn
and then turned again
big toothy grins sprinkled with laughter
challenged to get at the meaning
at the marrow of the nagging dissonance

Robin Eichele
July 2, 2015

He has tried discipline more than once
and has found little use for it – born
with a narrow margin
he has learned to turn within

Well into adulthood he has been overtaken
by vapors upon rising –
beset by a procain fog that knows no lifting –
hence the natural order of what he does
out of habitual expedience:
get from A within the fog to the B beyond

Some days he makes it – some days he does not
The key to why or why not continues to elude him

He no longer drinks brown liquor, which helps a lot
He cast out the snakes of reckless behavior
after he came to naked
with a phantom john doe tag on his toe
so they are not the villains

He has taken to a raw vegetable cuisine
with herbal teas and multiple liters of water
He meets his daily walking minimums
He chokes down his supplement regime
and draws on the golden ray each morning

Some days he makes it – some days he does not
Some days he asks why – some days he does not

some live so much longer than molt and fly and die
such as this from Brutus’ lips to Cassius
“… we must take the current when it serves
or lose our ventures”
in Act 4 where before arriving at this bottom line he counsels
“there is a tide in the affairs of men,
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”
why now my fingers test the lifting of the flow
compassed by nature to fix where I will go
and my knees gauge the thrust of buoyancy
and my eyes parse the beaches to lock on a landing
favored by bold immediacy

Robin Eichele
June 2015

Robin Eichele

I have been writing poetry as long as I can remember, which is more than a few years. I have published here and there and have read my works at various venues in Michigan, Toronto, New York, California, and London. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. I can be reached at robin@robineichele.net, RobinEichele@comcast.net, and on Twitter @PoetEichele. I have a free ebook available, "Sleeping with Dolphins, Selected Poems 2009." Send me an email request and I will reply with the pdf file. The book includes an audio recording of each poem and a short impressionistic video.

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