Life/Writing (Any-a-gram)

I hate it that I am so sporadic inconsistent, not persistent,          no straight-ahead-in-a-line-to-the-finish. I’m distracted, side-tracked stops and starts, mis-matched piles, can’t remember the whats and whens.
No perfect files, labeled loudly       I  A M  I N  C O N T R O L. I feign at neatness, completeness escaping me ever in process, a mess in the making. Oh, why can’t I be like those orderly others, those finishers perfectly packing their lives in a box, the rank and file, who smile      at me, “Oh poor thing, she’s so erratic.” Well— I am resigned to the whole of me, my hits and misses marking a difference, scattering joy, seeds abound.
I cannot (do not) go in a straight line— Random A to B then on to Z. (Sequences only happen on a test.) And life is an actual emergency (not a test). I like this formula better: A cubed to D once plus E squared then back to A and jump to N, then who-knows-what? I’m the only one who can spell my life. ------- from my files, circa 2008. still true.

January Bird

Where have you been? Out of town like those who flee our chilled clime and metallic skies? Elsewhere, warming up your voice to herald today's sunrise with your song? I welcome your morning melody making its way to my ears, stirring memories of other songs on sullen, silver days when your music was my only companion, a balm for the emptiness at the edge of my days.

Autumn Seventeen

When did the hills 

gather this golden?

yesterday's horizons

turn amber in waves?

I slept with green outside

my window and woke 

to topaz, russet, moving 

yellow, mellow against the sky.

-Jody Collins c. 2017



65 is Just a Number

There is no statute of limitations on vision.
My old eyes register a darting messenger of
God's blatant, creative joy. Watch the winged
creation hover in a web of air.
Spy a sleuthing intruder
snap-tapping its way
across the wood, tunneling
away and down the outside stairs.
No expiration (yet) for hearing,
cataloguing birdvoice and the
chipclacking of breakfast
at the feeder, the squeaking
insistence at the fountain.

Teach me to number my days, Lord,
to register the ways the wind
ruffles the tablecloth in the morning's
gentle breeze, how cool, shortened
shadows signal this sea change
of a season rippling towards
quieter times.
May I live this calendar daily
not ticking the days toward the end
but aware and alive and about your
business, not counting the days, but
living into your addition, subtraction
multiplication, division, the only
math that matters.
c. Jody Lee Collins 2017


Lavender linaria spikes upward, miniature clouds stalk-perched      as they reach for the sky. Hummingbirds crowd-feed      in the waning afternoon sun. Carnations, red as a fresh-cut      thumb, wave divine perfume from      ruffled taffeta on gray-green stems. Sweet peas' pungent surprise,      a salmon/marshmallow palette, celestial      bouquet a fragrance of that       far away gate in the Heavenlies. Juncos chip-clacking in rhythm,       sure-footed clutching on feeders afloat,      trapezing in the breeze. Leaves, light-transfigured day      lanterns lingering against      a cornflower sky. Voices ferried on the wind,      gleeful hollers loud as a      clap of thunder, neighborhood       jazz accompaniment      to this quieting afternoon. ///
Let the record show, no pockets
     or wallets were emptied in
     exchange for these riches, no
     bank account tapped, no debt
     incurred to pay for this view.
The ledger will detail only this:
   "Full stop, eyes open,

Silence Ascends, Sunday

There's a lot one can say
     about the power of being 
     quiet (yes, I see the irony).
When listening forefronts the mind
     other senses muscle their 
     way into place (the ears above
     all) take in the not-words
     simply song, hum and tone
     in counterpoint.
No addition necessary; I am
     mute, yet the Word bursts
     alive, verse and chorus rise
     without me. The truth
     needs no help to stand.
Even when I'm not singing
     even if I'm not yes-ing it.
Sometimes you don't get an amen.