21 June 2017

The Chair is for Balance

Seniors in Silver Sneaker Yoga sit
in chairs to pay attention to breathing—
inhale / exhale.  The instructor coaches
to take our time, but she rushes and we
attempt to keep up.

Seniors in Silver Sneaker Yoga sit
in chairs to raise our arms on an inhale
and float them down on an exhale—
mimicking the instructor’s pace and eyes
closed and yet hurried.

Some, familiar with this instructor, can
anticipate her moves, music and moods,
others half smile, step back and modify
her pace to suit their own inner rhythm
slow, slowing, peaceful.

I succumb to Silver Sneaker Yoga
until I note the simple word “yoga”
means “union,” which is not quite so simple.
At home, I move a chair onto my deck
to attempt to breathe

in air beyond the class, and today two
morning doves join me. We take in tree tops—
white and scots pine, catalpa and cherry—
and we forget to count.  The doves take off.
I relax in joy.



For Sumana's 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Yoga




My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast



There’s No Mistake About Seven Bullets


S1 philando
Civil Rights Lawyer: Philando Castile's Skin Color
 Ended Up Being a Death Sentence

"Philando Can Be Any of Us": Black Lives Matter Protests 
Acquittal of Officer in Minnesota Killing


You disarmed him and then disheartened him.
He died still sitting in the driver’s seat. 
Your terror took his arm and then his heart.
He tried to give you his driver’s license
and you gave him seven bullets instead.

Quit it.  Acquitted.  Quit it.  Acquitted.  Quit.
There’s no mistake about seven bullets.
There’s no mistake about police terror.
Quit it. Acquitted. May your guilt set fire.
May you turn to writing hymns:  “I was lost,

and now I’m found.” Amazing grace will hit
you with seven bullets, you and other
lawmakers and enforcers in terror
of dark skin colors, you who shoot then duck
and cover yourself with policing codes.

You are one of thousands, you join the list.
Quit it.  Acquitted.  Quit it.  Acquitted.  Quit.
There’s no mistake about seven bullets.
There’s no mistake about dark skin terror
police learn from the system they represent.

A reformed slave trader wrote “Amazing
Grace.”  What will you write when you awaken?
His hymn helped raise awareness of evil,
what will you raise?  How long before you’re found?
How long before we who-are-silent speak?



My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast


13 June 2017

Sounding Depth in Wellfleet



Keyboard clatter is all that separates
the library from the Quaker meeting.
Can one receive God’s word by indirect
means? Technology has not gone so far.

And yet, both have a throat clearing, coughing
and page riffling.  Voices from ten thousand
books clamor to be the day’s ministry.
And why not?  They record testimony.

Authors sound the souls of their characters
and settings in poetry and prose.
Their words saturate educated minds
who must sift through to the burning bush. 

Shakespeare’s There are more things in heav’n and earth,
Horatio* smacks up against Fox’s
there was an ocean of darkness and death**
and Piercy’s ocean that is way too warm.***

And we who have spent a vacation day
at Wellfleet’s shore bring its sizzle and sway,
bring newly salted spirits into play
in silent worship as we seek our way.





*Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
**George Fox Diaries
***Marge Piercy, “We Know” eco poetry


My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2017 Susan L. Chast


11 June 2017

We Are the Food we Eat. (Subtitle: On the Road)

A cup of coffee
source
  


Food marked our meet-up: After eggs and coffee in
Northampton came fried clams with bellies in Dennis.
With cheese and wine in Wellfleet, we ate poetry
all the way in to our most intimate beliefs.

Have you had days like this to travel and to feast?
Later we examined the wrappers: How many
details and lines?  What did the small print hide? How hard
or easy was access?  Should we have micro-waved?

It’s odd that we arrived at our destination
unscathed.  We didn’t follow directions.  Indeed,
we didn’t look for them in our hurry to feed.
And we could have been poisoned.  We could have been lost.

Have you had days like this to become whole again?
To act with the innocent courage of your youth
without forsaking hard-earned wisdom risk-taking
earned you (either for pleasure or its opposite)?

If we die surfeiting on trust that we are part
of creation—please celebrate our lives.  If we
live—celebrate with us the opportunity
to co-create a world that nourishes us all.

This morning, I brewed coffee in a pot I did
not know, counted tablespoons of new-ground beans to
water whose measure I had to guess.  The coffee is
too weak, but I will make it stronger tomorrow.  


My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast


07 June 2017

Midsummer at the Jersey Shore




It’s been so long, I try to rush but can’t.
My calves play “push and pull” with sand-soft ground
while soles thicken against each grain’s sharp edge.

The ocean wants me, too, enough to salt
my arms before I reach her moistened slip—
I smell and taste her as I lick an itch,

both hands too full of leisure things to scratch.
Already I breathe with the billowing
skirts of ocean twirling along the shore.

And I haven’t yet felt her cold and wet
between my toes, haven’t yet dared her catch
me, suck the ground beneath and swallow me.

There she is!  Ocean’s playing catch with Earth,
tossing both live and dead beings, mixing
them up with plastic and sea glass and foam.

I place my bags above the high tide line
and bow to both  before marking my space
with blanket and books and water bottle.

Ocean and Earth and Sky intersect where
I ambetween, among and inside them
lining up bottle caps and sparkling stones.

Midsummer meeting needs no fire or drums.
Its mystery predates evil: To stay
in relationship no matter what comes.


*© 1972, Z Budapest





My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast