Ben Wolfe

milkweed, new year’s day 2021 (out of the husk of the old, the seeds of the new) · ben wolfe

media chatters on like mind,
always another story to tell —

we talk and talk to ourselves
about what we do not know,

minds in our heads repeat
in chyrons over noisy streets

media interjects and competes
from every window

’til mind
is the breathless reporter,
broadcasting live

with endless speculation
(and no new information)

from the unfolding
disaster scene
of our own lives

— may 28, 2008 / january 10, 2021

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chagall windows, art institute of chicago (detail)

A poem shared in tribute to the Panhala poetry list. A few stanzas of serious play inspired by cosmology, laughter, the mystical texts of many traditions, and (most in the moment) an interview with dr. seuss about why he wrote The Cat in the Hat… to tell the most complete and alive story he could in the fewest, smallest words.

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god loves in simple words,
simple and small
i am, and you are that,
and it is the all

god words reach for silence
where words are the same,
the silence in each word
is god’s true name

god spells god
with a lower case g,
says nothing is finished
so how could god be ¿

god is the space
at the heart of god’s name

and two other letters,
each moving outward
near mirror-alternate,
not quite the same

— March 26, 2006

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to a teacher

andy goldsworthy: rowan leaves laid around a hole, yorkshire sculpture park, 25 october, 1987; sycamore leaves edging the roots of a sycamore tree, hampshire, 1 november, 2013

he was a black hole man,
an invisible centre
he was being not-there
holding things together

said ‘you know it takes nothing
to make things spin’
and i saw nothing
when i looked at him

now i’m a black hole man
’cause i couldn’t absorb it
’til i fell in the centre
of my own orbit

and there’s nothing the matter
no, nothing at all
and i’m circling round it
and i feel the call

and we are black hole men
in a world of matter
and we move together
though we seem to be scattered

and it’s up, down, strange, top
falling in will never stop

but if you can read rumi
while you think john bell
better look in a mirror
while you still can

before gravity fails
and you’re a black hole man

— September 22, 2006

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in a perfect moment
of total surrender

time stops,
it no longer knows how to go on

one moment like this
is longer than your life

it is worth your life

— December 9, 2005

helix nebula (the ‘eye of god’) · nasa, jpl, caltech, kate su (taken with the spitzer space telescope, infrared, 2007)

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Ben Wolfe

Ben Wolfe

community-builder, communicator, changemaker. poet, photographer, placemaker. trying to live, more and more, inside the better world we know is possible.