24 January 2018

Innocent Offense

Cat with gun mounted on a unicorn 1958343 mouse pad computer mousepad
Mouse Pad by Monkey Pad at Amazon.com

Weighted and smoothed to sensual finish,
guns say “touch me, hold me, use me, love me”
by design.  Extensions of human arms,
they seem advantageous; they are like pets.

Affectionate, hungry and beautiful,
they egg their owners on.  “At least
look at me, please” they say. “Show me to friends.
Put me between you and potential threat.”

“Clean me, load me and aim me at targets.
Practice.  Purrrrr-fect.“  Little cats and big cats—
they own people—ask any cat person
how we wait on them and serve them, or else.

We train our dogs, but cats train us.
Always a little wild, domestic cats
flirt.  Their play is simulated conquest.
A gun is more innocent than a cat.

I can own one without answering its
siren call, keep it out of sight, lock it
in a safe place.  I can ignore it like
a stone in my shoe, like a cat.  Perhaps.

For Sumana's Prompt at Poets United
Midweek Motif ~ Weapon

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

21 January 2018

Conversation Among Strangers

I’m “tweeting.”
Whistling, actually.
A tweet is an instant 140-character message
that flies around the world.  Its echo
inside the four walls of one room
is quite accidental, while whistling
ricochets around it like a cue ball
banking but with no pocket to capture
and stop its anti-music vibration. 
Spontaneous outburst of joy,
it’s a sure sign that no one
is listening.  The expectation
of isolation is complete.  Who
would tweet their stupidity
when whistling is possible?

Or prayer! Here’s another choice
of solitary expression, though it could
be tweeted or done in a group.

I’ve been known to draw my prayers
for the duration of making art,
you understand, not for the skill of it
as my crude stick figures and unblended
color pencil scratches attest.  
Some need priests for prayer and others
need candles, mandalas or cantors.

Those that use a computer to talk
to world-round audiences
shouldn’t be surprised when
answers come in bombs or laughter.

Let’s talk instead.
Let’s talk before we whistle or tweet
or sing or pray and before we scatter,
before we forget conversation is what
two or more people do after listening.
They use questions to draw each other out,
to dig deeper into the softer flesh behind
the public slogans and rehearsed speeches
that get us by, that substitute for closeness.
Imagine looking across a crowded room
and seeing many whose masks had
lifted for an instant, to smile, to respond
honestly to a sincere and direct question,
as if it mattered, as if humans mattered—
even the strangers who share a room. 

Posted at 

Poetry Pantry #387

Ok, so this is a bit of an anti-DT rant.  His tweet 
cheering on the Women's March was so laughable, 
it scared me. And there still may be bombs, but 
that may be a different topic altogether.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

17 January 2018

A New Dawn for the Soul

Lift up your eyes upon 
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again                    
To the dream. ~ Maya Angelou*

I’ve got a soul.  You’ve got a soul.
All God’s children have souls.**
All life in all forms have souls.

And to heal the soul of our nation
and to heal the soul of the earth
know this experientially.

In the absence of a child or an elephant
try knowing with a loving pet—
a cat or dog a horse or a turtle.

Saying the word helps: Soul.
There.  I’ve said it seven times.
Seven times seven***

Is the recipe for forgiveness
is the repetition for reparation
Is the prescription for what ails us

who are soul-sick.
Whether we know it or not
we are in an epidemic

and no quarantine
protects the earth from us
when we lie down with it

and wake to drip hot desire on it
instead of the light from within
that sees with the Light of All

Creation.  Here is the paradox:
Does the soul radiate its light
from or to us?  We don’t know.

Are we the home of soul
or is each body of life
a way station of soul? 

If the paradox were solved,
would that change how we act?
Soul Soul Soul—that’s seven more

Souls.  I swallow the word.
Not knowing what soul is, I plant 
the word in my mind, heart, body.

Soul grows truth: Not mere sound 
or symbol, soul is the entire breath 
needed to protect and extend life.

***Matthew 18:22

For my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Psyche / Soul

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

10 January 2018

Poem About Being in My Body


Heart-1.jpg by Plismo

When I decided I’d written enough about
my body, I already had old waffle skin,
a loosely wrapped and scarred birthday suit I loved
but rarely showed—
even swimming fully clothed.

Jaws in action are my favorite body parts;
and mine I still jut out, determined as a rock
someone can stand upon. Yours, I love to watch talk
and chew unlocked,
so confident, unblocked.

Hands are my second favorite for expression.
Yours dance as you speak, shaping ideas in the air,
while I hide my chewed, bleeding and clenched fingers,
fists buried deep
in pockets of secrets I keep.

I’m oddly shy about the best, what I replay
from days of hands and jaws setting our souls on fire
inside our skin through moist caress, our love leading
to unity
that still provides immunity.

It’s this power that bids me sit today and write,
bent small and wrinkled at my keyboard window seat:
We carry knowledge, body-borne, that our lifespan
is merely part
of the great purpose of the heart.

For Sumana's prompt

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Poetry about the Body

My blog poems are rough drafts. 

Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

08 January 2018

Words That Came During Worship, Revised

Image result for Green Street Meeting

At Green Street Meeting                    

I know how to appear at prayer.
Today, today, I pray to go
beyond “seem” to the center.

My own center has rocks of grief 
not yet ground to their inner jewels.
Today, today I pray to go 

beyond rock to the gem. I’ve been 
here before.  I’ve visited the
apparatus in the body.

I check in.  I address each limb 
and organ “Have you welcomed God 
today?”  Whatever God is, it 

works me body and soul.  It knows 
my buttons better than I do.
My triggers and I say “So What?”

“Keep going, please, beneath these, please~
go beyond these to where all is 
empowered, to where I am a 

"Citizen of the Universe ~
starry and fiery, hot and cold."
Clay, flesh and breath is shaped in this

Tiny package for a purpose
by design, nothing is wasted.
I seem now to be writing, but 

This is an illusion.  Hear this 
prayer today, today: Show us 
our places and take us there.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

03 January 2018

Opening to the Living

Rooms by the Sea, 1951 by Edward Hopper
Rooms by the Sea, 1951 by Edward Hopper

Which door will we open wide so
humans will reveal their faces?
Simple doorways are all we need
to imagine better places.

The lucky ones, those not locked in,
are leaning out the doorways now
gathering cloud and clay and life
to build what we don’t know how.

Recipes, patterns and blueprints
won't help us.  Our senses tell us
“Lean further than ever before,
and trust in your inner voices.”

What will we find?  What will we make?
We know little before we start.
But, O, the freedom is thrilling!
It freshens and reshapes our hearts.

For my Prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Doorways

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast