Author Archive: Mark Mandel

looks like

looks like the last time your eyes
passed over words like these

back when you ate
a different kind of fruit

to break your fast
in the morning

as your thoughts drifted towards
the day’s accomplishments

beyond the few dreams and reveries
that you couldn’t quite remember

and sipped a drink no longer
found in this world

strange ideas pulled at
a part of your being

and flowers you never suspected
were allowed to blossom open

made of symbols long-forgotten
in a language you no longer recognize

and the scent of their bloom
not known to you now

filled a void still hinted at
as you finish reading this now

of the vortex

it splashes and flashes
her face-length eyelashes

and matches the scratches
on his busted eyeglasses

the vortex is spinning
round faces beginning

to turn up and notice
through a kind of osmosis

that things now are changing
with a wild rearranging

that’s never been stable
or observed a timetable

we just think that it seems
to follow our dreams

while we build out our life
with our joys and our strife

and then slip off to our beds
with these things in our heads

but with morning comes dawn
and then we all move along

letting events stay unformed
unless they match with the norm

which still holds its old sway
until maybe today

if we open our eyes
and are ready to rise

and start off to roam
as we make our way home


I thunk it so it must be so,
or that’s how this new theory goes:
if I exist in the minds of men,
then I’ve been here through thick and thin,
But if I’ve not been here till right now,
then I’ve thunk myself here anyhow.

Great Tits

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen
great tits.

They turn out to be excellent
social networkers.

Back when milk was delivered
to the doorstep,

it was difficult for great tits
to find food outside.

In hard winters, they learned how to peck
through the foil

to get to the rich cream
at the top.

Furious 21

Furious 21

Every day a flower carries,
some things stay, while others vary.

Free them! Seize them! Help the slaves!
Bedlam, dead men, purple haze!

Fan that flame quite happily
to stoke your rage to apogee,

Black men, white men, yellow too
they make us mad, and so do you.

Are there creatures void of grace,
or is our fear just out of place?

Roiling with the best of them,
boiling over to the brim.

Anger doesn’t end at all;
surrender and begin your fall.

Governments won’t take our slack;
they hoist their problems on our backs.

Religions lose their prayer ‘holy,’
while news stays focused narrowly.

Yet a vision we’ve hardly known
brews within us, cover blown.

Time is coming to an end;
it’s not too late to call a friend.

Rendered free within the dream
like icy pearls inside a stream

or seeds the size of melon carts
and mysteries within our hearts.

Are you ready for the now?
because it’s coming anyhow…

Freedom Please

The lonely cry to sounds that ease.
I loved your sigh, my freedom please.

The road is rough, though carry on.
When that’s enough, then we’ll be gone.

Though here to learn, we know not when.
We start to churn, as it begins.

I lost the face I held on to;
that’s when this grace came shining through.

It’s always near, though we have gone,
by closing where we don’t belong.

Yet life is not a simple thing.
We just forgot what loving means.

Freedom please, and art that roars,
we’re on our knees with hearts that soar.

I Couldn’t Find My Shoes

I couldn’t find my shoes
in the dream I just woke up from.

As I open my eyes and step onto
the wooden floor from the lumpy bed,
I smell gamey goats’ milk
and golden honey fresh from the hives.

A chill from the approaching winter
blows in through the open window,
and I hear the creak of the porch swing
and the soft twinkle of the wind chimes
hanging at the front door.

If it takes me a while to place myself,
forgive me, for I have mistaken
my name and my face more times
than I have ever dreamed of being.

The only thing I truly recall,
so deep in the core of me
that there is no turning back,
is someone who I’ve never left
and who has never left me.

I don’t know who exactly it is,
but as I spoon dark, earthy tea
into a cup in the kitchen
and look down at my bare feet,
I smile and let my breath
lead me where I must go.

Old Pojoaque

Have you ever traveled the back roads
where pinions, junipers, and sand
take you by the hand?

Out across the years:
hot eye gleaming in the north,
high across the mesas,
chill in the winds by early October.

Since I left the range,
I’ve kept returning
through the decades,
pulled by memories of
logs blazing with fire,
sweet sage burning.

Hot mineral springs cleanse
something far, far larger than
than I could ever hope to know.

I rest my weary bones
at the bottom of the gorge,
while you who continue on
are still drawn
by the dance of the clouds
and the slow sway of the sun.

May all remember the tears
and the play, beholden to none,
and raise a toast
to the great Great One.


We’ll leave some younger things behind,
some struggles that we’ve had,
need some demonstrations,
race relations,
firm foundations

We watch the news, get the blues,
till we’re almost seeing red,
have some conversations,
views within our heads.

As we grow inside our minds
see the world just fall apart
hear some declarations,
deep inside our hearts.

So right now we have to choose
pick the cloth from which we’re cut
find our expectations,
leading up to what?

Can our awareness ever find
that events first start within,
and our fluctuations,
spring from dreams therein?

As we’re paying off our dues
and we wend our way through time
when will generations,
finally align?

Belief and Desire

Some say our life starts through belief.
Some say instead it’s through desire.
From what I know, though life is brief,
and like a simple aperitif,
I side with those who choose belief.

But if it was the other sire,
I think I’ve yearned enough to know
that wanting does indeed require
a life that’s leads to more, although,
everything that we acquire
we’ll shed like burdens in the mire.

*with great thanks to Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice”