On remembering

When the wind blows loose

Thoughts that spin

Like golden leaves

And trees whose veins

Remember summer

Are shaken

By the cooling breeze

The serrated pond

Reflects nothing

Forgets the goose

And its landing

Returns the sun

To the nodding reeds

When before tumbling

Afternoon morning breathes

Its last upon the water

I remember

Autumns past

That blew through

These same trees

Scattered the same sun

And in time when leaves

And night and winter fell

Slept the same

And remembered the same

Forgetting dreams

.

©2014 Jason Anderson

Self-published at last

A few days ago I released my first Kindle collection of poems, The Virginia Chronicles and Selected Poems. I couldn’t be more excited. Having been a shadow writer for years, barely mentioning the fact that I wrote to anyone, and then beginning to release my poems on this blog a couple of years ago, the idea of actually putting myself out there in the marketplace has been daunting.

What would happen? What kind of reaction would my writing receive? Wild applause, or the sound of crickets chirping in an empty night?

Most likely, somewhere in between.

I think a lot of writers and artists in general, those who didn’t start early in life or follow a linear career path, have been to the place I am now. Move already. Fish or cut bait. Get this out of my head, out of the familiar, comfortable realm of my own head and DO something. Show the universe that I’m serious and willing to do the work — not just writing, but the work of attempting to get read.

And so, one small step for a man. The Kindle book is out there, and the skeleton of my Amazon author page is up. It’s no small victory for this 40 year old shadow writer.

I want to thank you for reading this blog, and thank the people in my life who have encouraged my writing and tolerated my intractable resistance to exposure. They saw something in me that I’ve been at times unable and at times unwilling to see. I’ve been blessed with many people like that in my life over the years.

And I’ll resist the urge to go on and wax poetic, at least for the moment. If you’d like to check out my author page you can find it here.

If you buy and read the book you’ll have my eternal thanks — especially if you reach out and let me know your reactions and thoughts. And if you feel it’s worth a read, you might pass the word along or lend it to a friend. And in any event, watch this space, because God-willing there’s more to come.

Thank you for reading, thank you for writing. Thank you for holding up a mirror and showing me that this urge to create and share isn’t a luxury, isn’t a waste of time, isn’t a distraction, isn’t just ego and pride — it’s one of the most basic human drives, and it serves vital functions. It loosens bonds, weakens the mortar in fortifications, narrows uncrossable rivers, deciphers unintelligible tongues, and every so often wins a pitched battle, or a heart.

So much for resisting the poetic urge. Hell, no apologies — that’s why I’m here, and probably what brought you here too.

Jason Anderson
New York City

City of God

4 train at Grand Central 42nd Street

City of God

Into the breach again

All ties dissolved behind

Ahead a platform, a staircase

A daylight world

Of unformed possibility

A swirl of probability

When I don’t fall I throw myself

I forgo sunglasses, preferring

You see my eyes

What you’ve created

The beauty, the depth

The endless blue

At a certain distance

Blurred by a tear

Of recognition

That I am created

That what I see is only beauty

Stark, effortless

And human

Moving, climbing

Writhing

In the filth, in the sharp

Voices and guarded glances

Sirens, hawkers and

Wide-eyed children

In abject weariness of overload

And the poverty

Of disconnection

In the rubble of

Walls that crumble

Unexpectedly

At the gentlest touch

Of something human

I reach out, creator

At the strangest moments

To test the give in a wall

Dig a little dusty mortar

From between heavy stones

Moisten it with a tear

And build a home

.

©2014 Jason Anderson

R

there is in the meeting of every eye a calculation of distance and probability, the moment of holding on and the moment of letting go and divining the interstice

you slipped through the turnstile as the subway train arrived and sat down on a bench until the doors opened – who does that? – and didn’t look back

as your fading echo drew the light from the station, I pocketed the kiss you forgot on the platform and carried it home

a trophy or a souvenir of the boy who held my hand during Titan, who shared a crepe, who reminded me that Resurrection was at least as good as a Thousand, that forty-one is as far as eighteen from old

that love meets its object where it is, and does not hold

I walked home accompanied by caravan of trash collectors, their shopping carts teetering with the gilt of a threadbare city – scraps of metal, aluminum cans and bicycle wheels

in the next crisp morning air everything was possible on merit alone

if I saw you on a busy sidewalk carrying your viola case I’d have fallen in love with you on the spot, but it didn’t happen like that, and now I might have to fall in love with every boy who plays the viola

 

Jason Anderson, 2014

Hope

Again it’s been too long since I’ve tended this WordPress garden.


 

 

They set out with no notion of what awaited, they had heard the streets were paved with gold or mud, that the new world was paradise or it was a graveyard tended by plague and cutthroats, promised land or hell, and in between lay a purgatory of desperate ocean, miles across but miles deep as well and the journey had the potential to go in either direction, that the journey was salvation or it was doom, and they set out into the unknown trembling with bravado and seasickness, and the drink ran out and then the food ran out, and when it failed to rain the water, and if it wasn’t hunger and dehydration it was the interminable rolling, and if it wasn’t the motion it was the rats, and if it wasn’t the rats it was the stinging flies, and if not it was the endless unflinching horizon mocking their eyes from every direction and the tireless monotony, and about halfway across the ocean they left behind conversations about what lay ahead in Eden or hell and retreated to the privacy of their thoughts, and at about the two-thirds mark they left rape in the wake for the stench of their fellow travelers was unbearable and they were clothed in tattered sores, and theft too for there was nothing of value and nowhere to hide it, and murder because one person would be missed and an extra corpse inconvenient, and they clung in the desperate hold to their book and on the sun-scorched decks to the rails and retched out the last of their pride and greed and lust as the sky heard the evidence and the sun judged and the ocean yawned wide to receive their sins, but at the first call of seagulls and tender whiff of brackish mud on the offshore breeze hope returned with a vengeance, and into the new world pulled a battered boat filled with liars, thieves and cutthroats, purified by the worst that was now behind them and the conviction that mere survival was divine decree that the sprawling garden that received them was theirs.

Where We Live

From my travels in your dark heart

And every thing I’ve seen within

Among a million memories most clear

Are moments I met your eyes

Lucid wondering

Leering enticing

Bored guarded

Exhausted measuring

Aggravated yearning

Hopeful angry

Wielded alluring

Eager innocent

Lost vengeful

Delusional petrified

Tearful promising

Distant cutting

Wandering shining

Young callous

Rebellious derisive

Abashed urgent

Hungry ancient

Broken exultant

Level gazes and economic appraisals

In a town where up and down

Are the norm, instant fleeting

Entanglements, lives together

Lived in a shiver of a moment

And the shrug of a heartbeat

Lost to the turn of a corner or

The shutting of a subway door

Capricious loves lavished and quenched

Promised eternities foiled by a stray eyelash

A speck of dust in the whirlwind

Or an inverted umbrella

Always another, next more

Behind beyond again forever

Packed together we who watch

Will watch, and witness ourselves

In crescent moments of accident

And sliver heartbeats of insight

And know where we live

.

By Jason Anderson

How hungry next time?

This crazy place where gold sits in plain view beside an ideal

And a hungry man steals the ideal

Makes from it a simple piece and wears it proudly in the streets

For everyone to admire.

.

How hungry must he be to let gold hang from someone else’s neck

To leave it on the field

To let it gild marble walls and lofty altars

And languish in vaults?

.

How hungry to toss together rickety foundations of refuse

And mounting them, raise a naked fist

To a smiling sky

That showers golden stardust on the sated

And leaves the famished to die?

.

How hungry must he be, next time walls fall

To leave gold to the rubble

And build something of value

Beneath the smiling sky?

.

Jason Anderson, 2014