Three Poems

Daniel Bailey

Pure Experience

I remember being born

I remember the love factory

Setting itself on fire nightly

How its ashes were swept up

And reconstructed each morning

I’ve forgotten everything else

Even forgetting is pure experience

I know I’ve stubbed my toe

But can’t remember when or where or why

I suppose the why is idiocy

Which is also pure experience

Blessed be the idiot

Embrace your inner idiot

That message being for myself

Everyone on earth has already formed

their opinion about me in the pyre

of their world view

When I said pyre I meant kiln

Today I flattened circles of play-doh

and used a plastic mold to cut butterflies

Then I ate Mac n Cheese on the porch

With my 2-year-old, I mean 3-year-old

Time has been neutered

What time is it right now?

It’s nearing dinner time

Pure experience

If that’s not how time works

then time doesn’t work

One Thought Per Day

Lately, everything is nostalgic, dangerous

I listen to a song I used to love

I am near death

Crashing down a wild river

I let the river use me as percussion

I become a salt shaker shook into the river’s egg

We remember music and feeling

But what of the future of feeling?

Who will push the thoughts down through my legs?

How will I ever reconcile the clouds as they exit the screen?

The memory of having sung

My thoughts bloodied in the wake of experience

The river shatters me in a hidden chasm

Which I ingest via glass

I spit my inner melodies up into the air

“Please don’t grieve me,” I say

Even though we’re just playing in the backyard

And even though “the rain washed the sun away”

We play in the obvious hug of mud

If we wait long enough it will dry

Or it will rain more

And we will be carried down river

Take my head, playtime

My dreams ambered in ceaseless thought

Future oil silks its way through the rest of me

“You are allowed one intelligent thought per day”

I get mine out of the way early

Usually in my dreams

Before I wake up

Which flows faster:

The river of water

Or the blood river of water

And a legal document stuck in the trees

That says it’s permissible

To be as stupid

As the day we all were born

Mouth Wash

Vow of silence

Interrupted by bee sting

I said “Eeeeeeeeeeyow,”

And walked out of the temple

Followed the path to the river

Became a cloud of minnows

Trapped inside a plastic bag

The bag snagged on a log

We stayed there for a while

Maybe 20-30 years

A government of minnows

We never aged, found peace

We argued a bit

Drowned a lot

but we agreed on a common minnowanity

Became quite the beauty of minnows

We exited the bag

We clung to water drops


Found a new home in the clouds

Kept ourselves a cloud

of minnows

Never returned

Never regretted our decision

To never exit the cloud
Daniel Bailey is the author of several books of poetry. He lives and teaches in Athens, Georgia, where he continues to revise his bio.