Posts Tagged ‘breath’

looking at poem

l o o k i n g   a t   p o e m
nose nose.  mirror close.
smell poem’s breath.  poem
breathes mine.  steam reveal,
fingers paint.  inhale, lay
motionless.  awake,
disguised under sheets.
poem inside, doesn’t sleep.
here, feel, dusty feet.
cat leaps onto bed.  unfed, leaves.
some poems too, closing their eyes.
mother father, child.  reflection bears
no fault.  if you had a thousand eyes
that’s exactly who I’d be for you.
language contains this bowl.  monarch
wings.  see how they heel counter
compass into lofted wind.  see
how poem measures itself.  knotted
twine that holds the sway.
some other sail, bent, bitten word.
what calls itself, newmoon face.
poem, mirror, me.
and when it stands alone, one breath,
the way wind breathes on leaves

neil reid © 2014 february

maybe possibly the first in a group, not so much “progressive” but looking to say what this poem really wants to really say. ie. if a poem could speak, what would it want to say? (without my help to stir up the mud)

go see the WWP prompt, if for nothing else save the video included.
about poems, about you

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quartz like this


in the beginning I relied upon repetition
over and over like two tracks in sand
like silver dollars mold themselves close
into the shore and my feet are wearing
themselves into a dream grain by grain
and still even now repeating the beat.

it’s like my first two thoughts and we say
two because we say time and that makes
us linear so really it’s just one thread
continuos like one pulse one beat you
see hear feel and it is only the illusion
of thought that even suggests difference.

and the thing about a thread is that they’re
all circles woven like a meal or like rain or
your life or a child’s color of eye and you
can never get to either start or finish without
the thread walking walking until only god
is left within your gathering reach.

am I alone from my own life?  to live
these many years unmarried from my own
breath, from my footfalls to cousin earth,
from true hunger and true joy no more
hidden than grass from the sun?  we ask
these questions when true doubt arrives
and is indeed no disguise but rather

the most generous of engaging truth.


neil reid © may 2012

Write a poem about loneliness, asks the prompt.

Maybe this is being some measure trite. Maybe I don’t care. Maybe the poem is not all done, also just like me. Didn’t start off thinking about that old sense of loneliness, just observational. But maybe that’s what I came to observe. Although not in a distressing sense, but rather just what is.

It does reflect my April experience in some sum part. I’ve been more ill than ever yet in my life during this month – more partly meaning my body could not heal itself all alone. That’s not my usual experience. Better now, but for April that was my major focus. Yet too, perhaps it also allowed me to step outside my personal “usual” in many aspects of my life. Maybe well worth the price.
Written for the We Write Poems prompt #104 by Irene.
I wandered lonely as a cloud.

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while downloading you

while downloading you

this is how a face turns into light.  this is how light makes face of a moon.
this is where the memory of night resides inside.  this is dark inside bright.
this is how light faces a question.  this is how it was marked.  this is how it took the name and called itself doubt.
this is hair cropped short.  this is skin close scented like a rose.  this is blood.
this is rhythm.  here is a poem on your lips, or your word for hesitant faith.
this is the ear held close to earth.
here is what fog suddenly lets fall into dawn, eyes and nose and mouth like pearls.  here is breath.  just one of us.  here a cup is raised.  here is thirst.
here there are no words for why.

and why I won’t circumvent my own doubts of doubts.

every wind deserves a breath.

neil reid © march 2012

while downloading an image of poet Christian Wiman, to be specific.

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defining real

defining real

was it always me or never me?  meaning what
I see through windowed eyes.

(t e e t e r)
I remember seeing-sighted one day, and it looked
to be as real as a cardboard puppet stage.  all of it.
like paint on the inside lens of my made-up eye.

(t o t t e r)
then again when each single breath inhaled
bloomed radiant trees and sky and sun right-handed
right inside of me.  how blindly insensitive I realized
not to have noticed before!

somedays don’t you just wish someone would
read their story to you?  every page out loud.

does mass absorb meaning same same as it does
light?  making shadows in its’ shallow wake.

so maybe meaning changes like changing clothes
like dawn and dusk like spaces between falling rain.
maybe it is knowable and unknowable both.

maybe these words too.  changing.
maybe even me.

can poem aspire to be just as Pinocchio did,
to be a real live boy?


neil reid © september 2011

Balance is a lop-sided thing. Have you noticed that? And of this poem, I mean light-hearted, not like insincere, but not serious (even if I mean it all for real)! Impressions are not spurious, yet neither are they balanced in a two plus two sort of way, so simple math needs step aside.

What’s that mean? Well, some parts of what’s written here, seemed random, hardly even coincident with the lines I formally thought to write. But then I thought, why am I editing these, like I knew better somehow? So given rein, then I could notice the relationships, and maybe rain is purposeful, every single drop of it – if we only pay attention, or even just allow.

(So this is also chapter in my odd quest about “breaking rules”, yet seems the rules to challenge are more those of that internal editor than much else.)

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possibly this

prompt # 031
by staff@wwp

Write a poem about love. Where and how you find it. Seems simple, huh? Well…

possibly this

maybe it’s in plain view at the boundary of
knowable possibility, seen from inside the flame.

maybe like your socks or like your chair, gravity
seems likewise unconditional, like fingers will do.

maybe like your bed while you sleep,
maybe like your favorite fork.

maybe it’s dark matter and we’re mere guests
in a greater blink of an eye with more to learn,

more than what we have added up.

maybe like dusty skin illuminated by summer talc.
maybe like clockwise romance that isn’t yet ripe.

if I say, maybe symbols aren’t enough.
maybe it’s not about me at all, nor even you.

maybe it is rain on your face, hat left home.
maybe it is a second chance stray cat in a box.

do I give you air to breath? any more than
fish make the great seas wet? and yet,

maybe I’m just a messenger at best.
maybe when I say I love you

it is like the mirror sky. inside each breath.

neil reid © december 2010

So, a poem about love that doesn’t use that word. Seems like right in a way to come in through the side door perhaps. Less obvious to see what is (or isn’t)! And like many, seems only a first page of more that might become. (Honestly, I have a pretty clear understanding, but how to say that in a poem… that is less obvious for me.) (I feel myself “participant”, rather than “owner” if you will.)

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What’s that feeling nibbling toes?

Let’s call it gravity.

A like attraction of like?

An affinity that matters?

There is no opposite visible.

Nothing implies what isn’t.

Yet does creation fill?

Ask a bowl what it thinks of space.

Does matter imagine breath?

Does emptiness cling?

A like attraction of like.

An affinity that matters.

There is word on water.

The word is embrace.

neil reid © july 2010

neil reid © july 2010

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Language becomes

Language becomes

Words we use are fingers and feet
treading ground already made.

We speak now in symbolic bowls,
a bride’s red gown to what we mean.

In the beginning was the word.
And word was water in the dark.
And when it flowed, became all light.

Should be a word saying. breath-that-breathes,
not symbolic, that feels all of itself warm-close-ear,
making-life-to those where its-touch-is-received,
no copy but genuine.

Science even says no observation is without effect.
Merely to see, changes the being-ness of being.

There should be more ripe words for love
tenderness passion touch taste, as our cloth of skin,
transparent to word, moves like boundaries aren’t.

Embrace should embrace.
Nor leave doubt. It is not a measured distance,
it is the reception of willingness that flows by lips.

There should be a word for lovers who
never touch except by word. It should
mean the same, just differently,
like clouds are, differently.

Word   makes   real   of   nothing   at   all.

Understand. Receive whole word by word.

I once refused for years to listen to music
sung in any language I understood. I wanted
to hear the music inside meanings instead.

And love can mean home where
deepest fear and deepest love
without even the space of doors.

Or you tell me what heart says home means
to you, and that’s what I’ll mean saying to you.

That unknown cat across the street came
at the first hint of tongue, greeted romance.
Silly do you think? But tell me your secret
heart would not hunger for such a meal.

There should be a word for strangers that means
You don’t need to prove worth when you already are.

And everything here came from word,
when word was singularity, the all and
nothing-of-all, including seeds
that stick to wandering feet.

Lay beside me, speak sleepy to me
beneath the sheets of words, translate
with your lips down to meanings like
a child understands. I follow you,

Just gotta find the red rocks inside words.
Rub till my face goes bright, till every drop
of blood knows your name, whispers loud.

There are whole vocabularies in wind
the way it rolls dust in from the north, or
on small feet idyls itself between my home
and shed teasing flowers to dance.

Words don’t all need be understood,
just received. Let them play in your hair
kiss your cheeks, remind you that bees
make honey from desire unbound.

Ten fingers ten toes just like roots.

Word   makes   real.    Makes   grow.

So toss this poem out, put it in the dirt,
maybe weeds will grow, maybe you’re
smarter than me, more loving than me.
You’ll let me know, won’t you please.

Here  to  be  defined.

neil reid © june 2010

neil reid © june 2010

To be revisited. Perhaps you’ll knock on the door. Till then, begun.

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U n t i t l e d

Untitled, that’s how all these poems begin

an empty old battered pot. (Says so

right here in soot and thumb.)

Will I ever love you rightly or enough,

lingers in thought past when eyes close to sleep.

And do you wonder who? I mean you.

I look for a word. I look for a life.

Some feathers fallen onto this path.

But not really only of mine. Something from

this spiral arching net, a thousand thousand

seaward fish. Some omen I might translate.

Make invisible into soup, some flavor

we’ll both understand. Some language

we both enunciate.

Is that your Spanish or Chinese tongue?

Or just an old English psalm? Honestly,

all more than easy-as-butter led-astray.

It comes to what a heart is willing to reveal,

willing to give away before some last breath

claims me back again.

I’m not afraid of going home,

but empty-handed, of that, yes.

It would just be a shame not to appreciate.

A shame to pretend I didn’t care, didn’t see

what’s feral turned friend.

And I do understand. Just as is a rose,

untitled or named. Like you.

Neil Reid © March 2010

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Some hints toward happiness

Open your arms to a dawn

Cast your heart into a night

See what grows

See what follows

Spread a few wild seeds

Wild knows what to do, You observe

Take a breath

Now let go, everything dances on fingertips

Eat some cake

Pleasure is good for you

Butter too, cook some fish

Lick your fingers during meals

Go fishing with your heart

Harvest what is bright

Beauty is inside every shell

Also outside, right to horizon’s bow

Dare to see with generous eyes

Gently stir the soup

Appreciate every bowl you meet

Allow friends beneath what you fear

Be of good heart and understand

Who you will become, is enough

Eat dark like chocolate

Understand matter is a choice of life

When you’re in bed in night and

her breath is just that close beside and

you’re feeling all is lost from you and

no matter what you wish you seem to be

getting less and less of what you thought

was right to you, now instead awake

Awake from what you thought was awake

Remember that very first best desire

why you held her hand (or held his)

You listening, listen now to a rhythm’d heart

that is kin to the pulse of unlabored wind

It has never been about you

It is about what you’re beside

It’s about what love says it is, allow and

Open your arms to a dawn

Cast your heart into a night

Love reaches meaning only outside a box

And heals everything broken, even

what was never broken at all

Eat your vegetables and some fruit

Share a spoon and some soup

Break bread because it’s meant to be

Recognize a hand that speaks in light

Meditate   then   act

Move in right directions you see

Use fewer periods when you write and

breath, and oh yea,

Dare to write bad poems too

Maybe a friend is looking for you

Neil Reid © March 2010

with thanks to Sean for the idea and being a friend

Sean Fraser’s blog, The Dolls Point Blogger

and posting: Time Always Runs Out

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Fisher boy

Recalling that body prompt, a little sea-salt, thus one for the road.


Fisher boy



Like ten years old, I remember waves,

remember brawn that pushed then pulled.

Surely some arm must have been inside

that frothing elemental thrust.


Then it shatters milk glass on rocks,

as did my will to remain one stance.


Feet tumble, a scattered flock

away, away, climbing sky.  Yet

hands stroke back in sight towards


Banded green curves just out of reach

Some fearless breath.  And now


I find myself outstretched, beating wings,

waves unmet, counting seven by sevens.


Where hands like gulls thirsted far flight.



Neil Reid © October 2009

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