On Seeing

Moose Lips!

“What we say we see says a lot about who we are.” – Ocean Vuong

“Why is no one ever looking when I use air quotes?”  – Matthew Harper

Sunspots through cloud-cover
Moose lips
Butterfly fuzz
Honey bees kissing lavender stalks
Spring breezes blowing cottonwood seeds into drifts 

Convection popcorning in the flame-blue east
Summer shimmering hayfield-rivers
Dust-devils whirling out of a midday calm
A dragonfly poised above a stagnant pond
its wings “wiggling—they don’t flap” 

The spider     like Godzilla’s more graceful cousin
terrorizing the webcam’s livestream
of pedestrians on a bridge over the Willamette
attended by the oblivious
broadcasts of a classical radio station 

A mother skunk trailed by three kits
emerging at midnight from the greenspace
across the street—their bottle-brush tails
going vertical    as my son    quivering
encroaches with his camera—
& erring on the side of sweet mercy     again 

A one & a half twisting layout somersault
from a trampoline—lights swirling in figure-eights
fifteen feet above the ground

Moose lips     & butterfly fuzz

The ease of every convoluted moment

The relative difficulty of ease


Butterfly Fuzz 3

Photos by Matthew Harper 


9 thoughts on “On Seeing

  1. i can’t help but try to read the poem through the Vuong quote, which is actually touches on a theme running through my essay on Larkin, which i posted today: what a poet chooses to put into their poem, is it reflection of them, even a confession in the Confessional mode? i am not saying it is, but i have been able to entertain the idea so it is worth seeing out. Now, “moose lips” does that confess anything? hmmm… i suppose “the relative difficulty of ease” is as difficult to think about as it would be to speak coherently with moose lips. Don’t know where i am going with this. haha.
    Brilliant poem by the way. The acrobatics at the end was entertaining, one of those difficult things to render, you made my eyes drift upward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Daniel! I appreciate your insights. In writing this poem, I believed Vuong’s observation to be the perfect lens through through which to capture and celebrate the essence of who my son is. The things he “says he sees” (particularly the way he describes his own photos) are atypically astute and profound, if not downright poetic; the things that make up his world are too often missed by the “neurotypical” in favor of an existence predicated on the obvious and the easy — to which Matthew doesn’t belong (and if you ask his mama, he’s better off for it)! The question you raise, though (which it now occurs to me must be the more obvious for the reader…), of what it is I’m saying about who I am by way of saying what I see, is a wonderful challenge for me to find myself considering… To what truths about myself am I confessing? Certainly, the fact that nothing has ever been easy in my world, either, not for a second… And also that as the mother of extraordinary (and often, aptly difficult) children, and as a poet (which I can no more help being than Matthew can help his autism), I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but I’ll need to devote some more, earnest energy to being honest with myself to thresh it out more fully. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • You must be an amazing mother. It is never easy to find ourselves in our poems, though we know that we are inextricably there, constantly opening into ourselves, it doesn’t make it any easier. i don’t usually say,, “go read my blog” to people, but you just might find something that spurs you in the Larkin essay, maybe, a big MAYBE.

        Liked by 1 person

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