Friday, July 22, 2016

the creeds never quite get it right, in words, absence of life


Keesor in Nepal


"Uaha vanhole,"

the old man says from the front porch,
a couple hundred feet set-back
behind a copse of trees.

"What?"

"Faithful. You are faithful."

(This is the neighbor that hides hind the trunks
to catch those whose speed-o-meters trip just a bit
too high - through the hood.)

I give him a thumbs up,
& keep moving -

He is referring to my walking, 1.7 miles every morning, to usher the sun up,
3.4 every evening, to tuck it in -- & fluff its pillows
Is this the extent of my belief?

One foot in front of the next, an ever forward movement,
a discipline, a habit which can fit on a bumper sticker -
21 days to each new atonement

Too many habits, I might as well be a nunnery,
& I wonder do they see - God
more for giving up the feeling of warmth beneath the weight
of your love-making.

In Nepal I did 5.7 miles each way from where I slept
to the school where I taught & then again
when I returned each evening.

This is less

Keesor. Naran. Prakash.
Ramesh. Rasu. Saman. Dahn. Srijan.
Manu.

A month later and I have already forgotten most of the names
that rang like the bells of the Hindus each morning at 4:30 to wake up
their gods - themselves

I don't know, I can only go by what the streetvendor told me
as we stood listening for the sun to come over the mountain,
"Does your god believe in you?"

Are you more than what you do, in relation to
the story you tell, with lips less than 12 inches from a heart
that beats a wild rumpus for something else - beyond this...

existence...

tell me what love is

more or less

let me hear, the song of your steps, a whisper of breath-less
wonder in the iris, the expanding on contracting pupil, ever learning to adjust
to the light//the dark//the shadows in between

that look like trees
but are people - you just haven't had a chance
to meet

                              yet.

"I am faithful."

I laugh. I cry. I learn to love my enemy - myself,
that always seems to get in the way,
of the promise of belief.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Srijam (a psalm in three, parts)


Srijam (in Nepal)


Five fingers, open as a bloom, ever reaching
for the morning light, beyond my shoulder
contrasting shades of the patchworld quilt

sh -- a -- ir,    sh -- ay -- m,   sh -- ee -- p
p -- uhn -- ish,    w -- o -- sh,     each sound,
a breath -- the sound a breath makes

we (sons) of the same inheritance


I am home. It was amazing. I survived. And I am humbled. This is a picture of Srijam - he was one of the EKG (Early Kindergarten) kids who I taught Phonics and English. Yes, the school is made of pressboard and bamboo. I miss him. He gave me a hug every morning.

A musical sevenling

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hi



I know, this is kinda awkward.

It's like showing up at home, after being gone for a very long time.

After people gave up that you might ever come back.
Knowing you are a different person than the one that left.

Ok, so maybe it is just me.

____

My name is Brian Miller. Once upon a time, I wrote a lot. Here and at other places.
For years.

Until I disappeared.

Surprise,
I am still alive.

____

My family is doing well. The boys are bigger than ever.
They will both be in middle school next year. Can you believe it?
T is still working at the University. I am still a high school teacher.

I still write, rarely.
Maybe we can talk about that one later.

____

I got your emails --- and if I did not respond.
Sorry. It's complicated.

I was enjoying the silence.

____

So what is new?

I graduate with my Master's in May.
Wait, it is May.

Ok, in 2 weeks.
I am so glad,

to be done.

____

And a few weeks after that I leave for Nepal.

Which is why I am back?
Maybe.

I will be spending the summer in Bharan, Nepal --- teaching.
I will be teaching at a Pastor's College in the mornings
and then at a newly formed elementary school in the afternoons.
And on Sundays, I will be teaching in local churches.

The fam will be holding down the fort here
while I head out on this journey.

(You can pray for them -- and me.
It's a crazy kinda fun twist the stomach
in knots, put a smile on your face
kinda thing.)

____

The elementary school services Pre-K - 2nd grade.

If you want to go to 3rd grade and beyond, it's a bit of a hike.
I am taking computers to start a computer lab at the school,
which hopefully enables them to teach older students
in the near future.

I worked out this deal with the local university
to buy some of their old refurbished computers - relatively cheap.

Hey, it's a start.

____

Yes, I am going alone
and I won't know anyone when I get there.

Sounds exciting, huh?

____

So, Here I am.
Scrambling to graduate, to get students to graduate and/or finish the school year,
and to catch a plane that will take me halfway around the world.

(If it all goes well, Cole wants to come with me next year.
Mama says I gotta come back alive the first year
before he can go though.)

It's good to see you.

Will I post again?

I think I just might,
so I can share a bit of this journey.

And who knows,
maybe I will find a poem (or a story)
along the way.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

expecting, nothing --


a man steps off the curb
@ the corner of an intersection
                  his face a mess of angles
                   & shadows in the green
                 of the streetlight,
      
& finding the center line//
traffic oncoming @ 50 - 60 mph
                   stops
                      & throws up
            his arms

like Moses parting the waters,
a player scoring the game winning shot
a symphony conductor about to strike
the first note

tires squawl/scream, metal buckles
booM, BOOm, bOOM goes the bass drum,
cars dive & spin, smashing into one another
in a mad ballet
                      to avoid
                                           him.

woodwinds, woodwinds, woodwinds
a hub cab crosses the road in a straight line bisection,
alone & unafraid

airbags burst
out their hidden compartments, horns
blare, (there are no fireball emplosions//special effects
cause this is no movie) glass
                                        tinkles
                          on the
            asphalt,
PERcussion.
oil, gas& wiper fluid mix
a cocktail in the cracks,

heads bow
& he stands there               unscathed

lowers his arms,
adjusts the bag on his shoulder, as if the weight
might be cutting off             circulation
& continues the rest of the way
a-cross

"What the hell was that?"
a guy yells out his downed window/ pissed off
& oblivious cars still coming

the man looks 
over his shoulder, lips & teeth---

"What did you expect?"
he shoots back & keeps walking,
deeper into the parking lot,

sirens wailing,
             in the distance,
                  as our turn comes
               @ the cross
     street, getting
the green

& the wind blows our tune---


for dVerse

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

while i could read your hand, your eyes tell me more ---

photo from wikimediacommons


I should go see Sister Rose, the gypsy
fortune teller  & her sisters -- she had eyes
like a thunderstorm on the prairie,
hands like a wheat field ---

my cousin bought us each a session
for $20, and according to her---

i'd be a rock star

but now, i coach girls soccer,
surprising, what with all my experience,
two years in middle school as an asthmatic
full back ---

there were games i could barely walk,
from lack of oxygen, the world retreating
to pin pricks

i have this girl, a bit overweight, lacking
coordination, the first day
she said ---

"this is the most social engagement
i've ever had"

we've already been through tears,
the ball caught her mid calf & you'd have thought
her leg fell off

"MEAN BALL"

she lashed out, & she's always last,
loping back to the line, kicked beehives eyes,
surprised at herself, but making it ---

she's an easy favorite, because it's not effortless,
as with the long-legged gazelles
tearing down the field

we used to get bottle neck turtles out back
at our house in florida, they'd rise from the lake,
coated in slime, moving slow
across the grass --- my son toddled
on barely stable legs, reaching
for the monster

nearly as large as him,
eyes wide enough to fall in,
& sometimes,
                    --- we did.


for PJ

Monday, March 9, 2015

confession is good for the weak, so i do ---

photo by frankieleon


somewhere, in the back of my mind
a still small voice always reminds
me
      this ----
               is not going to work out
      & that ----
                  is what keeps me
                                          going.



for dVerse

Saturday, March 7, 2015

i've grown soft ---


my hands ache // are black
as miners', one knuckle busted
on a shard & the blood

dries, red to mud,
like a river that's lost
its flow---

is not always apparent
to the naked
eye & if you
push your cupped fingers
a few inches into the loam,

like one of the big yellow earthmovers
excavating a pad, so the foundation can be
poured for the new neighbor's house,

you find the river
never left, only turned inward & still
veins, as it returns to the ocean (as all things)---

as this ice,
flash frozen in the night, into jagged teeth
after the county trucks pushed clear
the road, will eventually---

i lean into the shovel handle
& try not to

rub the remnants
of salt/soil//gravel///exhaust
in my eyes
                the trickle of melt
makes the rocks glitter & air
trapped
              beneath the ice
         in bubbles defies
    gravity, the pull
downhill -- works
      its way back up,
             to  the surface
                        in silent
                               ex-
                              hal-
                            a-
                               tion-
                                       s


for PU