How to catch fire

The only way to catch it
is to hold it. 
The only way to hold it
is to become it. 
The only way to become it
is to love it. 
The only way to love it
is to say - I am it. 

I am a fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am fire. 

I am a fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am fire. 

I am Prometheus
and I am burning. 

I am a phoenix
and I am dying to be alive. 

I am on fire. 
I am the fire. 
I am the fire. 

One for you

A thought this morning
Out walking -
I thought
I ought
To love my body
As it was moving -
To allow and enjoy
The infinite intelligence
Of this living system
And its movement -
And in that moment
I said to myself
That I loved my body -
And then laughed
At the physical recognition
That the ‘I’ that I clung to dearly
Was clearly
Illusory.
My feet are here
My hands are here
But ‘I’ am nowhere to be found.
‘I’ love my body -
Such misplaced pomposity
Of an ‘I’ deigning to adopt
A position of affection
Towards a miraculous
Muscular constellation,
As if standing in authority
Above it and surmising
With some superior judgment
That this living moving thing
Is worthy of love.
And I laughed at this
Comedy of errors
Of this human propensity
To fall in love with a word
And hold it high
This ‘I’
And look through it
At the world
And see in every thing
Its own reflection
Without ever
For a moment
Stopping to detect
The lie that this ‘I’
Is invariable and real -
This shattered mirror.
This teardrop.
This empty line.
The promise is too tempting
To be broken by the offer
Of seeing clearly.
Better to hold to a wish
And make-believe
That it is true.
My ‘I’ comes with a promise
To stop time and sustain
A passing moment
By the power of possession -
Reaching into the river
And declaring it held
As empty fist clasps rushing water.
Oh, ‘I’.
My love is blind.
Better to invest my life
In every losing bet
Than face this empty space
Without the comforting return
Of your baseless vow.
‘I’ll define the undefinable,
Grasp the ungraspable,
Mask the unmaskable.’
The seduction of a crutch -
This ‘I’ stands up straight
In my place.
Imagine this.
A word to fall in love with.
An endlessly accommodating elision.
I will be anything you want me to be.
Put a pin in the world
And call it fixed.
Imagine this.
Design a word from scratch and say
This word can bring anything here
Make anything now
And take what’s ephemeral
And make it last.
Too busy looking at what the word
Is pointing at we forget to look
At how it works.
This magic word.
This simple spell
That posits certainty
In a universe of flux.
Say ‘I’ and feel it.
So charged with emotion
And power and weight -
And just a word.
Say ‘I am great’
And feel it
So convincing in the feeling -
This instantaneous invention.
‘I am lonely.’
‘I am broken.’
‘I am yet to be persuaded.’
An infinite array of adaptations.
‘I am happy.’
‘I am weary.’
‘I am delirious with envy.’
The possibilities are endless.
O little word
O simple trick
I think you’re me
But you’re really
Barely there
Not even quite a tick
A scratch, a mark, a stick -
Eloquent and defiant
This placeholder
Can be relied on only
To capture my attention
In a moment’s misdirection
This magician’s wand
This number one
This little lie
That turns my eye
Away from life
Into a fiction.

Storm

I think of a storm
Of raging ocean waves.
The kind that surfers dream of.
And us, out at sea, 
throwing ourselves into the swell.
Seeing the life in the water
but ill-equipped to ride it.
Crashing again and again,
churning in sand and foam — 
exhausted arms and legs
reach out for the shore.
Then land.
Surrendered to wet sand and stone,
look back and see the racing waves.
Reminder of what passed.
In humbling acceptance of limitations.

Salt-watered cheek and lip
the only reminder
of a strained adventure.
Of reaching for experience.
Of tracing the boundary
of the edge of possibility.

In this silence

I will bury my feet in clay.

Firmly planted
In the riverbed
I’ll count the stones
As they are washed
past my ankles
by the current

And I will lay down
On the damp earth
In a furrow in a field
And watch the stars,
Counting the feet
Of every tiny creature
That might walk
Across my skin

I will close my eyes
And listen for the morning
As every bird says its name.

And in this silence,
In this waiting,
My gift to you.