Affirmations and Storms Returning

by Eric George

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1.
Affirmation I can watch roses bloom With no envy toward the sun And see the weeds with no bitterness In the garden I begun I can send gifts to the wedded Though the bells ring cold And with grace let go Of what desire would hold I can belong to this world Without being a possession And know my destination Without having a direction I can sing with rage As placid as the morning And find true stillness In funnel clouds forming I can safely not know The answer to the question But let the asking Beget the suggestion
2.
Monday I When the house starts to vibrate In anticipation of the night And the zucchini, breaded and ready On the baking sheet, neatly arranged, Waits for its plunge into the Red Sea I see Charlton Heston as Moses Spilling marinara sauce on his red robe Hoping no one will notice Amidst all the miracles II After leaving that house Towards my bed of down and sleeping dog, I found I was left with a sweet scent Somewhere on the right side of my face Hiding below or just along my jaw line In secret moments I turned my head On the unsuspecting scent to catch it, And each moment was a gift From a friend I held Or a leg I rested my head on Or a parting embrace to celebrate The practice of gathering It was a sweet soft spice like a nameless Orange flower with its dark eye staring at the sun, It was my father's desk drawer When I asked him for a glue stick when I was five He kept a salve like tiger balm inside Which scented the pencils of my childhood, With which I drew my first picture Of a dog that would later be asleep on my bed, With which I practiced my backwards letters That would later become this poem // The Library While I was in the library Finding words that rhyme with ivory (I've fallen for piano keys) My friends were outside picking blackberries While they were weeding the beds of garlic I was reading a book about farmers Who couldn't find work I hope you're hungry my dear, For I have words to share, Some truth to confess: I dress my best Seven days a week And I study the way Roscoe Holcomb speaks And the way Texas Gladden Ends her notes by adding Sudden mountain peaks The ballads and storms endured And forms that changed - I hold the remains as though America's past was cremated But the ashes in the urn Can't alleviate the fact That we've been burned While I was in the library Searching for a word The ivory keys became plastic The flag was at half-mast For the passing of the wilderness And my friends were locked up For stopping construction equipment While I was in the library The world spun around me And I finally found my word, Dressed like me, singing songs For the last bird of its kind, For the migrant workers hiding, For my friends pulling silver fruit Off starry vines, Saying, “Here, take this star, Take it to the library And we'll read beneath its light A hundred years from now”
3.
Storms Returning or Season of Song I I can't be in some stained glass mansion Getting sideways glances From the omniscient cowhand I can't be sailing Through the dim tunnels of the heart Finding pain behind picture frames I can't be bathing In hardening sorrow carving letters Onto the trees of my time I can only dissolve And hide in the creases around my eyes Where you'll find me To say that when I smile It reminds you. Then the creases unfold And I hit the ground To grow like a seed In spring II No one seems to be stopping, So why should I? We're all chasing our muses, Aren't we? I've turned a baseball diamond Into a garden, Haven't I? The dirt under your nails Are my stone fingertips And the flowers you grow Are my melodies scented With sweet blue certainty The sisters are digging the cistern To collect the rain, The family of strange birds Heard something to make them sing, And I've been carving my woods Out of soft wood Trying with tired eyes Admittedly blithe in my Harrowed humility To find just what it means To embrace the seemingly Endless ocean, While on the shore someone sits Sewing nets with bone needles Gutting fish and grinding stone wheels. You, wishing all the while For the sweetest deal in which you sail Over mountains, through deserts, Taking your time III While the summer's numbered days Shade out the flowers of my uncertainty, The heat stands still, The dogs pant in the dry dirt, And the rattling questions of the cicadas Are posed in swelling choruses I respond one by one As though each wing were Teaching its last lesson, Masters of their sound Found deep in the season Of their song
4.
Tradition I Your crystalline consciousness won't save us Even the copper in the penny arcade Of your spirituality was mined In corners of the Earth utterly forgotten Repay the priestess of a thousand years ago By drinking the stolen water of her children You breathe into that sadness For a few moments within a week In a class that fits somewhere In the fissure between fitness and fabrication Chanting like crows in rows of colorful clothes Sewed by factory hands forced off their land To submit to the law of supply and demand Your Dharma of detachment is a notion That floats like plastic in the middle of the ocean Your mindfulness practice is a helpful distraction From the sounds of fracking in your neighbor's backyard Watch with forgiveness as businesses Burn holes into the lungs of the child That resides within a fifty mile radius of the coal mine Go ahead and empathize with the poor lost soul of The CEO so he might know how to love Because you gave him a sprinkle of magic dust From your pouch of boundless compassion You're up against a tank Waiting for your magic carpet to take flight While the sun is setting On the age we thought would never end And when the bees have stopped buzzing And the peepers are deafening in their silence We'll all hear you say, “Namaste” II To me, the old song is fruit On the end of a limb Of an old tree. It is picked, and the fruit grows back. I feel the weight Of the swelling seed As the branch bends gently And I wonder with excitement In the thought of its taste. You seem the tree is same But the rain changes From year to year, Century to century, Such that the sweetness now Was bitterness then, But the taste stays familiar And akin to the one some ancestor Once tasted on their tongue As a gift from the Hard labor season. To wait until the fruit is ripe, To feel each footstep towards the bough And extend my hand to receive the gift, The fruit of purpose and practice. But perhaps I hold this notion too dear. Some just that I'm the old man Yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, But the kids are breaking branches Just the other day a young man With a steel string guitar Slung over his back Pulled a pale green fruit Until the branch snapped. He showed off the stick For a month or two But the fruit never grew And the taste like sweet rain And the reward of patience He never knew. Here is what I will say: One needn't be an arborist To study the beauty of a tree, But if they're to hold dear The health of the old growth As they reach, Perhaps a student Is what they should be.
5.
November A billionaire was elected president Leonard Cohen died this morning And Tom Waits is playing on the radio Four sheep were slaughtered yesterday The dog smelled the blood on my clothes And lately every time I hold a friend It feels like we're at a funeral Maybe we are It could be for Leonard Cohen Or for the country Of for the sheep Kicking their way to the stars As they opened like Erupting volcanoes // Travel Plans To The Bottom Of Kakariko Well I have travel plans To the bottom of Kakariko well Sometime this winter, And I plan on staying there a while, Listening to those spooky drums // Tea House I always know When Jess is running the Tea House I can tell from the temple bells ringing The throat singing Inviting us into the room The candles lit beneath Carved wooden sculptures Good people made immortal Forever holding up their hands In some holy gesture of understanding When Jess brews tea Her hand rests on the vessel As through the leaves Whisper into her palm, “We're ready now”
6.
Untitled When your heart's ropes are taut And the words are caught in your throat As though the thought is stuck Stubbornly like a rock in dry dirt And to lift your hand To stop the falling of an auction hammer Is a gesture like wind Blowing a bolt of lightning When the well-tended roads of emotion Like Roman waterways crumble Into the rivers of your arms And the careful current carried Through the deltas of your legs Up to the monument of your mind Comes pouring over the sides Of the marble slides Down into the quiet village Of your heart, You might start to feel that The ropes are taut from falling walls Being raised up by the enduring community Of your endless breath // Too Young To Remember Oh, I'm too young to remember I hear it said often As though the right to the past Requires a 401K or a slick new coffin I don't know that John Denver song But I know some scarred lines Of mining songs once sung On the sides of those West Virginia country roads (They spoke in code so they wouldn't get shot by coal company thugs) You'd think they swept your generation Under the rug by the way you talk As though the cultural mausoleum Containing your peace-sign pins For all these years has been Bolted and locked Am I too young to remember? No, I'm just not old enough to forget, The way you did when you let Change slip through your fingers After you smoked your last marijuana cigarette Only to place stock market bets In paisley wearing a necktie Staring at your secretary's body Like she doesn't notice And you hold this Asking if I know this or that song By someone who stole it From an artist who wrote it But wasn't allowed to vote Oh, but I'm too young to remember, It was before my time // Wanting Poetry I miss making love with words; I want to make these pages scream And ask for more, I want to be turned on By my handwriting And daydream in poems That pant in my ear With words that moan As they read themselves Half asleep in the middle of the night; I want to write so long That exhaustion means nothing Until I cover the page with ink And awake with my pen in hand // Wedding Honeymoons in hurricanes White balloons in lightning storms The marquee made of metallic bones Praying in silent static chants Clouds spinning in tumbling grace Offering a whipping gray finger To touch the earth In the oldest marriage
7.
Hathaway 02:01
Searching For The Miller's Sonnet The other day I heard someone say, “Did you hear that the baker Has written a play? Did you know the bartender Can recite your favorite sonnet?” But I wondered, When will the bricklayers Tell us the story of how These walls came to be? Not with eloquence Or framed in filigree But with tools and plans And callous hands Prying open paint cans Like prisoners putting on a play To make sense of the audience When will the drivers Whistle to the world the tune That rides shotgun in their minds When they cross state lines? Where is the dance called, “We don't want your bread” Choreographed by the convict's wife And dedicated to the state? Where is the new rendition Of an old song sweeping The nation of electricians? I don't know Where to look these days Who gets praise And who gets raised To say their peace In ways without words? If luck puts the pen In the hand of the poet And the shovel On the shoulder of the miner, Call it then the human spirit That puts a song on all our lips As tongue in cheek We dance and fight On the lawn of that Terribly White House
8.

about

In the depth of a hard winter, the coast of Maine called. In a quiet house on the water with snow knee-deep, and without a plan of what to record, I decided to document some poems written over the previous year. I then created musical interludes to fit the feeling of each day.

All sounds, music, and poems were, recorded, and mixed by Eric George. Mastered by Jer Coons.

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released May 5, 2018

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Eric George Burlington, Vermont

Eric George is a Vermont-based songwriter, sound engineer, and performer of original music and poetry. One of the most prolific folk musicians of the Northeast music scene, he is intent upon maintaining the integrity of American folk music while taking a contemporary approach to songwriting. ... more

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