Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

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Follow Me On


Poetry by James Lawer


I Have Become Redundant

{Cantata for Tenor, Bass, Chorus and Orchestra}


My losses drain out my toes,
My tools and art have all been sold,
And while the swan drifts lazily upon the pond
I'm curled with tubes against my bed
Asking why I still hang on,
Since I have become redundant.


Ah, ai, ah pity brings a soft and middle class relief,
A sympathy that draws a veil across your hope.
Se, ah, see. This pity that is wearing me.
Release me. The road is not here, and I must go on.


This day of wrath. This day of judgment
With you at my side.


Ah, ai, ah pity brings a soft and middle class relief,
A sympathy of dancing veils in this nice breeze.
I love my own feeling for grieving for you.
I am satisfied. Release me as you go.


Curled with tubes against your voice
I clearly see: I am redundant.
But I, I cannot, I cannot release you.
You, you, you must release yourself.
There is nothing here for you. Go!


O, do, come deep to stay with me.
Descend these steps, in silence be.
Avoid assurance, look and see
Around your cellar, full of shadows,
Find in here your god, with rats and slugs
Pissing like bulldozers into mattress stuffing.
See if you might wake up t your situation.
O, do, come deep down and stay with me.
Observe, my friend, we both descend.
Only I am impetuous for the dark,
And I shall get there first.
Say goodbye and watch the steps
Going downward from this moment of your life.
Bid yourself adieu, and hope this hope:
That you will never meet your cozy self again.


These are my deities:
The rotting
The murderer
The mouse the wind
The compost bin
And into them I now descend.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


Sing to the Land

Sing to the Land!  Sing to the Land!
and in the singing the healing,
and in the healing the story reborn from the bones of our ancestors,
and in the reborning the land singing to us,
and in the singing our hearing
and in our hearing our healing.

 Copyright © 2012 James Lawer


As the River of the Valleys

As the river of the valleys
          Bring the land into sea,
As a breeze beneath the sunshine
          Laces dust into a tree,
As the winds across the mountains
          Breathe a song of what will come,
So the spider weaves our memories
          In our brothers and our sons.

          Now the wisdom of the spider
                    Links us to our disp'rate parts:
          Having spun our unseen journey,
                    Carries love to aching hearts;
          Weaves the wild into our cities,
                    And our gardens to our gates,
          Weaves our fences to our freedom
                    And our footsteps into grace.

As a needle stitches fabric
          Making one what once was two;
As a feast that's blessed in trouble
          Feeds our hope and makes us new;
As a dam that breaks its holding
          Sets the river free and bright:
May the spider weave the waiting
          Of our souls into the night.          Chorus

There's a shadow cast by wisdom:
          May you rest within its shade.
There's an artistry in living:
          May its power never fade.
There's a death-affirming blessing
          Rising from the songs of earth:
Like the dawn of dappled wonder
          Be you woven in rebirth.             Chorus

Copyright © 2006 James Lawer


What is the Rate of Acceleration

What is the rate of acceleration
in the freefall of desire?
When Romeo and Juliet
Leaped off the cliff of domestication,
Were they just falling bodies?
When Abelard and Heloise
Fled the cloisters of conventionality,
Was the velocity of their passion,
As they fell in love,
Measured as "speed in proportion to time squared?"
When David wept fro Jonathan,
How fast did his tears fall in a vacuum of his lover's absence,
As if he could map thereby the neural paths of what he treasured
And rate the perturbable agony of love discretely measured?
The heart's pulse, stoked by the heat of love,
Is fueled by insecurity, fragility, endurance and beauty.
By golden light glistening in auburn hair
Falling on bare shoulders in fields of wheat.
Because of its lightness and airy being,
Touching the mystery of any man's heart,
A feather does fall faster than all the weight of Galileo.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


Snip Snap the Razorback


Snip snap the razorback
Loves his turgid means:
Th' intemperate child
Is running wild
Wile slicing through your dreams.

Sarah Caster owned a house
With no more master than a mouse,
But bank disaster starved her faster
Done with porcine corporate laughter.

Billy Horner had a mortgage
On his corner store and salvage,
But a former Wall Street loaner
Dumped him on the street as garbage.

Most of us a simple peoples
Hate to fuss in corporate steeples:
Just you obey and all's okay
When you comply as happy sheeples.

Think all the dough you're makin'
Blink a bit, you're world is shaken:
Smirking pigs will leave you achin'
While they're sneaking home your bacon.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


Choral Hymn

Eagles, from your leather weirs
Wherein last night you caught your barefoot dears,
Lift joyful faces, towards this early down arise;
Spread wide the yawning muscle who in bed still lies.

Eagles, from your rapt amuse
Wherein last night you fought 'gainst sleep towards flesh to fuse,
Here, with other wardens of the morning, come and raise
Your hand and cup with friends the sun to praise.

Eagles, from the loading docks
Wherein last night you drove your heated pistons, hoard as rocks,
With us assemble, towards wisdom wake and reach,
The ancient unison of love which you can teach.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


The Day I Read Your Diagnosis

The day I read your diagnosis
My heart began to beat with you inside
Both your hands pulling my flesh apart
To make a window to fly through
To leave the image I might have made
To lean back over your heels at me
To ask me to go with you, floating free
Through the vagina, a harrowing opening
In my heart, through which
You are being born. And I,
Giving birth to myself, leaning forward,
Sail out behind you on a river of tears,
Pushed by the winds of pain,
Out on my own hot blood, and reaching over the prow,
Hook my fingers on your collar,
Lift you from a current of anxiety,
And hold you next to me.
All I feel leaning against this rock wall is a pulsing throb of grief
And my T-shirt damp from crying.
I know the same moon that watched the slaves
Will watch your own vivifying resurrection,
But I nonetheless shall stand with flaming swords,
Hot from scorching blood dripping to my feet,
And say to those who peer with curiosity,
Take off your shoes! This is holy ground.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


Thunder Shook Me From My Bed

Thunder shook me from my bed,
Lightning lit my sheets -
The wild man master rocked the house
And stood me naked on my feet.

In that rough and rugged dark terrain,
As splintered rain ferocious nailed the glass,
Suddenly I heard some rapture of the geese
As through the morning dark they passed.

Their song's as piercing clear as his demanding art,
These two who carve a stranger wisdom in my soul:
Their contrasts meet in healing gifts,
A double singing, Singing just to trust the whole.

Here's refrain: Let this union - craft and life -
On feet of strength and northward nature flow,
Allow the visions of your wakened heart
Inspire some inner, fertile garden grow.

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer


Dancing at the Yew Tree

8 are the steps to be reborn
Dancing at the Yew tree:
One for my laughter
Two for my pain
Three for my loss and
Four for my gain;
Five for my silver
Six for my gold
Seven for the secret I've never told
Eight, eight, come to the gate
Then from my dying be reborn

An infant cries to say I'm near
When he wakes his Spring is here,
And when he crawls up to his edge
He soon discovers what he fears
Learns, learns songs of his soul
Finds that his edge is part of the whole
He looks out with broken heart
Open now to sing his part:


A man defiant crafts his life
Where he stands, his work is ripe
He must create to know the dark
He seeks his balance in his art
Turns, turns, tends to his ear
Knows from his listening honor's near
Brave the blooming come to seed
When the human bends his knees:


Insert stanza:

A primal beast, a forest hound,
I'm touched with lust and nature bound,
I walk between my range and peace
And wrap my naked flesh in heat.
I'll leather scourge your skin 'til red
And scrape your belly 'til you've bled:
As I am life, so I am death,
My dungeon waits your anxious breath.
The blood you beat is all finite
I'll iron cuff you at your height,
I'll chain to post and bend your nerve
I'll hunt you 'til I've made you serve.
Bone songs, bone songs, bone songs:
Wield the craft until you've gone -
Your time to die is not too long.
I am the turning wheel that makes you strong.

When winter snaps our brittle limbs
Bones shall root in snowy winds,
Gone the boundaries of our shape
Merge through mist in other ways
Raw, raw, cold is the field
Age, in closing, turns the wheel.
Bless the ending, bless the soil
Bless our shoots that earth shall sing:


Copyright © 2011 James Lawer



Let us be in love with all our intentions
Trans-sex all our relations
Ride the thrust of every release
Take the world's impulses within,
Then glance away into cardboard alleys to
Give birth to a new anything-yet-to-be-dreamed,
And crossing over into the unknown
Raise it to the sun with goddam you bloody hands and say
We are! I am! Everything is!

Copyright © 2006 James Lawer


What is Broken is Revealed

Who can say
"I died and now live again,"
And has not first wilted in pain
On ash heaps in broiling heat,
Strutting failures to some dim applause
Witnessing his finite collapse,
Defying answers from gathered friends
Well meaning but empty of mystery,
And, lying exhausted in puddles of his achievement
And, having rolled over and into the void,
Freefalling, tumbling without wings,
Realized he misstep in shoes that were not his,
Laced leathers carefully devised and fashionably stitched.

Immediately, all strength becomes available,
The ear now attuned to the Something Else.

The wind rushes by his ears.
The music of emptiness becomes a chorus
In the harmonies of hissing rocks.
He shrieks into the mangled cacophony of reasons,
"Whoever says life has purpose lies,
Wanting to suck away human vitality.
Whoever says, Jump and you will learn to fly, is demented,
Trying to lap up the last smudges of grace.
Whoever says Intention is Everything, and
Clarify, clarify, clarify before you stumble through the gate,
That one has failed to live. Do not believe him: Rush away.
The smell of purpose and intention reeks of decay.

Oh. You want to live? Then
Look to roots and your ancestors.
Search deeply how they live in mud.
Merge on your burnt mountain top.
Eat ashes with awareness. Pick them off your thighs.
Put them in your mouth. Savor.
Form relationship with weeds and quarks.
Question your gods; neither worship nor submit.
Recognize and honor. Struggle, if that's important to you,
But above all, dance on the grit between your toes.
Relate for inspiration.
Everything else is diversion and nonsense,
A calamity of containment.
Only what is broken is revealed.

Copyright © 2007 James Lawer



O! Be!

O! Be!
Be and be again!
Eternally born!
Everyday after everyday
Placing our soft pads callouses feet on the earth wood carpet floor
Saying Thank You:
The trees nevertheless forever green while drinking water stolen into private ownership
The children nevertheless forever fed despite beliefs in the usefulness of poverty and famine:
The men forever tenderers of the hearth bearing the weight of swords and stories
The women forever powerful on the land bearing herbs and philosophies
The communities forever gracious making poetry, dance and ecstasy
The children forever-born-to-morning greeting the wombs of dusk
The teachers forever catching raindrops with open mouths
And our great forever aging elders forever playing drums in our consciousness.
O! Be and be known!
What the elders and the children and the true teachers forever know:
     We born creating
           As is the Eternal Forever Watcher seeing us form within our everyday after
                everyday hearts
           As the forever children are equal adventurers with the elders, in whom
                within all the egg is always awakening.
O! B!
Be and be again!
Yet, again!

Copyright © 2011 James Lawer

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