Just an odd little one that’s been rolling around my head since the cafe last night, gathering some substance. I don’t believe what I thought would stick is what ended up in here, but that’s how these things work. Pretty much the way I was feeling in the evening, carried through into today. I’m not sure what a lot of it means; will have to step back and come have a look later on.


An aphid, one peridot pixel,
is emigrating across my knuckle on her way
from the window to the teapot. I will believe
in good omens.

Lately, it’s been impossible
to find anything calm. Water does not
sit idly in the cup; words clothe themselves
with unwanted meanings. Last night,
I scrubbed my hands until the skin went white
and cracked into desert islands
rather than give myself away.

There isn’t much I ask for:
kinship with the things that crawl,
half-light and pleasant music, something warm
that I can hold while it grows cool. I don’t miss
anything except the simple pleasures;
but I hope for the onion-skinned ones,
so complicated and so easily torn.

Bring me a lantern to see with,
a bell to speak with. Bring me the night
brimming between sealed fingers,
and drip it into my wounds.

That will be restoration and
the beginning of faith. And I will be the mirror
holding the world still. A six-legged scrap
of pine pollen gathers
intention from the isthmus of my thumb,
carries it like a charm from one place
to another. Sometimes we have to
remind ourselves.

Not everything we touch will turn
to ashes: I keep trying to cling to everything
that won’t.

19 thoughts on “Plea

  1. mareymercy says:

    Lately, it’s been impossible
    to find anything calm.

    I love the turn on that line!

  2. Crazy how poetry works. This is beautiful and a little haunting. I love it.

  3. Oh, Joseph, I REALLY have to get here more often! This piece is… yes, hauntingly beautiful — to steal from valderingrojas. And your comment reminded me of a favorite quote from Socrates who said:
    “I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.” Yup! Sometimes it’s like that! Love this.

  4. Irene says:

    Love this! It reaches into unspoken places.

  5. barbara_ says:

    This is one that will last beyond us.

  6. brian miller says:

    some really cool touches…i will be the mirror holding hte world still…like that…the simple things you need…i def relate to that in many ways….

  7. claudia says:

    Bring me a lantern to see with,
    a bell to speak with. Bring me the night
    brimming between sealed fingers,
    and drip it into my wounds…just love esp. this part..

  8. poemblaze says:

    Great poem of gritty determination to see the light despite wounds. The aphid is an amazing starting point for the poem.

  9. Joseph, I read this poem as a former Manhattanite. It feels as though you are longing for some time – but not forever – in the country, closer to simpler beings, uncomplicated sounds… It breathes. Amy

  10. Really like the closing lines.

  11. Second, fourth and last stanzas just brought this whole thing to life for me, really mesmerizing and moving. Really powerful piece and I love that it just forced its way out even if you didn’t know why at the time.

  12. SolariC says:

    This poem captures magnificently the feeling of failure that can haunt the poet, or even the person, but also the hope we can and should have, that at least some of the things coming from or through us will be beautiful anyway. Really inspiring work! I am glad I came upon it.

  13. This one really speaks to my heart, Joseph. I find myself in that space of needing to believe, trying to believe, that not everything I touch will become chaotic. The hope for a lantern and a bell. Thanks for sharing this, and for hanging onto good omens.

  14. Evelyn says:

    My GOD this is impressive. WOW.

  15. This takes me to hidden places — like where the cockroach hides — but makes me see them for the first time. Many of the things we won’t touch will survive when our “civilization” turns to ashes. And I suspect they WILL crawl on six legs…

  16. I love the description of an aphid as a peridot pixel – genius!

  17. Sue Judd says:

    Haunting poetry, had to read it again, aloud. Especially liked
    ” Bring me a lantern to see with,
    a bell to speak with. Bring me the night
    brimming between sealed fingers,
    and drip it into my wounds.”

  18. Joseph, I love exactly what Sue above me does. A beautifully haunting piece of writing.


  19. The things you ask for are worth asking for! :)

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