By: Michael C. Seeger
Field Notes from a Far Place in the Mind
Between vision’s palette and the process
of its understanding and potential —
an irrefutable question rattles
the cold mind’s eye contravening every
steepled ritual from childhood forward —
What replaces the irreplaceable?
There is a flame enduring beyond that
which can light it, a landscape resisting
the full focus of consciousness encoded
deep within the very folds of our being,
what unknown force compels us
to know more than is requisite?
Beyond the familiar and the unknown —
time and chance reestablish our lives
from Enlightenment to Anthropocene —
I have been reacquainted with the world:
There are no finalities to be found,
no endings, only beginnings —like now.
Ornithologists say a baby bird has fledged
when it has matured enough to leave the nest
on its own —though its ability to fly
is not yet well-developed.
Once the young birds have fledged,
the male mockingbird oversees
the further development of
the young birds at play.
The ceiling fan in my daughter’s room
continues to turn like the spinning
reel of thought in my weary head —
sometimes fatherhood defies description.
We watched the baby mockingbirds
practicing their flight skills —flapping
and fluttering white trimmed wings
among the bushes near the porch.
Did you feel the question hanging
on the end of every spoken word
of conversation —trapped inside
some unknown inner longing?
I wonder what you must be thinking
in the mystery of these early spring
days when the air is full of hope
and music feels like religion
You’ll go away to college soon —
leaving behind an empty nest of
recollection —like the breath of promise
in the remembered music of your first words.
Now memory feels like looking forward.
Rising late today, just before sunrise,
I lie idly, watching the long shadows of dawn
mold existence out of darkness –a second dimension,
then a third, a cloud, a tree, a house, a road.
Out of the mouths of these shapes —
a hundred distant voices call my name,
the insistent sounds of a day opening.
I ignore them all, let the world take its course,
and enter my devotions like a rock in a stream.
What is it out there that needs me?
What is it out there that can’t wait?
Soon the froth and noise still.
The water parts, glides
around my sides like silk
around a woman’s hair,
until no motion at all is discernible
and I am lost in a world inside this world.
Returning, I rise lightly, smile,
and set about my business
amid shapes and sounds that,
the moment I abandon them,
conform perfectly to my absence.
After Winter Sonnet
The warmer weather
Promised by spring
Had finally come.
Trusting that greener
Season of blooms
To be good
For the head
And heart —I took
A walk in the mellower clime.
What one believes
Where the path led
I could not look —
At what I’d become.
as the sunrise
that will arrive
in the morning —
although we are
required to forgive
And as we forgive
we will be
who you are
for Charles Bukowski
always swim against the tide
in a compliant sea of puking conformity
drink beer with peanut butter sandwiches
and avoid long-term commitment
You’ve nothing to lose…
except your voice
particularly and in general
and the bunghole of
know your limitations
and what all betrayed lovers know
you just mind find out
who you are.
Michael Seeger is a poet and educator residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Prior to his life as a middle school English instructor, he worked as a technical writer for a baseball card company and served as a Marine infantry officer during Desert Storm. Some of his recent poems have appeared in Ariel Chart, the Scarlet Leaf Review, Pioneertown, and the Desert Sun.