30 August 2016

About Time in the Stories We Tell

Emojione 1F366.svg

Time now amasses rather than unfolds—
it’s more like soft-served ice cream piling up
in cones than like conveniently-sliced breads,
yet equally—maybe more—nutritious
as spiral rather than as linear,
vertical rather than horizontal.

Take Jesus for example. Birth and life
and death and resurrection happen all
at once, enhancing each other’s meaning.
So theatre and film makers, novelists
and poets build images to amass,
linger, add up and affect each other.

And I, when truthful and alert, can feel
my past conversing with the present as
I act, saying Remember when you did
it wrong?  or Remember when you could remember?
Ice cream can come before the bread, atop
the bread or after—there is no set rule.

Time now amasses rather than unfolds—
and for my part, I’m glad to find childhood
right in the center of my ice cream cone.
Time ices and time softens, it drips and leaks.
My hands are sticky with such time on them,
juggled and dropped, stepped in and recovered.

  My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast 

28 August 2016

After Watching the No-News


Chaos out there—
what to eat and not eat, kill and not kill.
carry and not carry, support and boycott.

Chaos like grasping straws
against the end, against new beginnings
for hysteria and panic and proselytizing.

Chaos out there
commentary replaces news, trickery
replaces competition and cooperation.

Chaos like untamed orchestras
everyone trying to have more or holding onto what little . . .
rolling up entrance ways and locking windows.

Chaos like serial drama
enough cliffhangers for melodrama
but not even good comedy or tragedy will do.

Chaos out there
and so we turn it off and sing alone
choose not to watch until the end

Chaos out there
If we let go of all the isms we know
and fall freely, we may still have a chance.

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast 

27 August 2016

Questing in the Desert

The process of forgiving grows easier with age
though wounds feel deeper and closer to home—

No more Schlemiel-Schlimazel clarity
softens the building blocks of character.

What kind of person challenges actors
immediately after performance?

Yes, see?  That’s what I mean.  The action’s more
important than answers which need to grow.

Sometimes I get so tired of waiting that
I pray for a divine gift of patience.

And patience is not letting go of truth
but finding it first in my own backyard.

Today, because the heat is dangerous,
I open the balcony umbrella.

I hang the fuzzy peach blanket over
a banister to provide privacy.

And sit in this created wilderness 
to quest in the desert of my soul.  

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast 

26 August 2016

Midwifing Creation

Hand of God reaching out to Adam who receives it

to Jennifer on her 64th Birthday

You see, when we’re together writing, Grace
arises, swirls around the ceiling edge
to dance on picture frames, and squirrels up
tree limbs to frame the sky above—and this
third presence smiles. It crackles in the air

And smiles.  You see, when we’re together paint-
ing, Spirit glows and shows its layers just
for fun—the work is play and play is draw
ing out insight from darkness, light from fog
and possibilities from dead ends, un-

Till more enters than expected, and Mys-
tery speaks volumes and—you see—when you
bring us together to create with beads
and twine and food and song and anything
at all—you are midwifing Love and Joy.

© 2016 Susan L. Chast 

25 August 2016

Joining Langston in the Kitchen*

Image result for Alice in Wonderland illustrations creative commons

When we perceive truth in polarities
do we merely hold them in balance, or
nibble at them to feel how they effect
digestion, health and energy? And then—
do we invite cooks in to taste of them,
see their preparation and seductions,
and finally, critique who they nurture?

Contradictions and paradox reveal
the deeper truths.  Parables tell them—
not so we’ll say uh-huh and keep balance
but so we'll act:  Can we decrease and end
the harm in our menus?  Can we eat less,
feed more?  And then  remove the walls that sep-
arate the kitchens from the dining rooms?

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast 

*referring to Langston Hughes:

                           I,  Too
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,"

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

(From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.)

23 August 2016

Feeding the Inner Light

Pendle Hill Shadows, Photo by Susan

She walked without noticing where her feet fell
on pine needles, metal grid, grass or concrete
drawn by ever green scent of pine and cut grass
called by cicadas, gongs, voices and silence
as if cocooned by what she hadn’t yet reached
in this hour set aside for rare solitude.

She thought—nothing—simply unwrapped shaded paths
while entering—as if they were gifts, tapped tears
of frankincense from days of yore laid out now
as guides and guardians.  Wasn’t that the gift
of kings under the wondrous star?  Mystery
became the food and drink of this hour’s peace.

And then when she—again alert—felt the weight
of air, she glowed through shadows she found there.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast