In February, which is coming

eros-e1354571794589When I remember that I am the god of love, I am not surprised by how my body responds to beauty. I am not surprised that the love I feel came to me unaware, something outside the reach of my conscience, beyond the intricate workings of the cerebellum bumping against the medulla bumping against the midbrain. And yet in that jungle, the sensory cortex lives on top, near the crown, the place where I am reworked each moment by the way the world picks up its corner and shakes cobwebs and magic into my path.

A poet who wrote more of death than of love (although loving was always a part of the passing) spoke of birches being bent by ice storms, when really what he wanted to talk about, what he

. . . was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself . . .

Truth with its brain diagram flashing in my mind wants me to know why I love and why I feel and do what I do, why I can’t leave Psyche to her path, why I want to chase after her and why I continually hover on the edge of the picture frame she fills with each task that takes her farther from me.

Or is it closer?

Toward the end of the poem, the poet says,

May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

Yes. Yes, I believe that. I who can fly with abandon know that earth is where Psyche will live with me. Bone to body to bone. Bone of our bodies to bone of the earth. That never changes. Heart and soul and body, the very nature of our breathing, the fire that burns inside us or refuses to rise from ashes: all of these things change with time and growth. Not bone to bone. Psyche, you know that I am here. You know where you will find me when you have found yourself.

Earth is the right place for love.

Can you hear me whispering that to you? Would this help you stay on your path?

My questions fade with the day. Days spin their fabric into new clothes unfamiliar and fitting. Whatever I wear does not change the fact that I feel.

Blood will not relent or back down or fade into apparition. It forever returns me to myself as . . .

In the greeting card aisle every February, strange mutations of me exist in red and pink. I am coupled with roses and endearments and gilt lettering. Gold-lined envelopes compete with the fluorescent lights above. This is the path that others have chosen for me. A fledgling hip hop singer in a Britney Spears perfume ad where she is Psyche. The matchmaker with the physique of a Chippendale’s dancer in porn videos.

Choose your own image, Psyche. Or better yet, choose to know what breathes behind the image.

This evening as I sat on the windowsill gazing at nothing and everything that earth astounds me with, I felt your thoughts turn to me. I have been living with poetry, and so have you. Your words open me more than I thought possible. You have given your life to a promise again.

When I return to you, I will whisper
What I dreamed on the road
Into your ear, smooth down your wings
With the tips of my fingers and lie
In the warm curve of your body
Like a question mark followed
By parenthesis. I do not know
If I will survive, yet if I do,
I intend to retain everything,
To share it with you, to come to
The end of my dreams and to open my eyes.

This time, Psyche, when you open your eyes, I will be there in the glory of whatever light we make. I will be there, and we will know each other for the time that is to come. Stay on your path and know.

–Eros

(Shaun Perkins)

January

photo(4)Shower the world with crackling leaves,
Dead and limp before but now firm
From frozen dew, this ground your signal
To the creatures you watch in the night.
Shower the broken places with jangles
Of icy prairie grass and let the spring thaw
Spark life never imagined, never believed
In the time of winter’s locked prison.
Shower me with kisses melting hours
Apart, reclaiming late winter sun
When we walked along a silent river
And I saw how you had changed my life.

for Ken

–Shaun Perkins

The Conqueror

fearAnd I ran for miles
I ran through blackened fields hissing
Below my scarred feet, through dirt roads
Sidelined by progress and the advent
Of the telephone and the cultivated rose
And I ran for being here

We remember
In our bones if not in our behavior,
The struggle inside the web,
The thorn of the hackberry
And the stronger man’s grasp,
Made strong by words
And not by muscle

And I swam too far
I swam out through the river
Til time could not reach me
And the gnats circling
Above the rotting branches
Punctuating every stroke
Finally abandoned me

We remember
Each life blossoming in the new,
The courageous choked in the bully,
The weak reborn in a singer’s lullaby
To the world ever-changing
And never-changing and waiting
To surrender
Its
Hold
On
Fear

–Shaun Perkins

Arrival

creepy_creek_by_bugonawall-d3dy26bThe first place I looked was where the spring rounded the grove of oaks and began to widen into a creek shadowed by sycamores. The moss grew thick on the bare spots of earth where the sun only reached in winter speckles between branches. It spread across the rocks—outcropped on the edges of the creek and sunk into the bank sloping up to a path the deer and raccoon spent their lives making. Continue reading

Writing Workshop with Oklahoma Book Award Winner!

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the museum will host a poetry workshop taught by Oklahoma Book Award winner and professor Jeanetta Calhoun Mish.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a tour of the museum, followed by a workshop at 7:00 p.m. Participants of all ages and experience levels are welcome to attend the tour and the poetry workshop. No previous creative writing experience or training is necessary. Continue reading