Almost the Way a Thing Feels

Here are two new poems from Ken Stateman, an artist, entrepreneur, and spiritual practitioner who lives in Marin County, California.

Ken Stateman



“Until your heart opens, you cannot digest a single drop of water”
          Zen Master Seung Sahn

  “The chicken on the egg is dedicated. The chicken in the oven is committed”

Petaluma is only one of the places
I always seem to be

forced to pass

where in

one egg ‘factory”
they feed rooster
to their mother
hens and say its better

that way
if the color, taste, and consistency
of your yokes
is of singular
importance to you

and if you happen to be
concerned at all
about that which binds

best in powdered cake
mixes—- and other things you don’t even know
matter to you.

When you develop a tolerance
for a substance before you
know it
you are craving
more of it
while, all the while,
it does less and less

except murder
in their sleep.

Even salvation is known
to be like that.

In Petaluma,
the excuse is foolproof:

“the meal is so ground up
that even their own mothers
wouldn’t recognize them”.

I can’t speak for you but here
all a thing need do
is taste sweet
and its down
the hatch.

Even when Petaluma becomes only a vague memory,
a trail of exhaust on the freeway south,
its famously ambiguous scent,
lingers in the manner

it is famous for.

And sometimes I can get so stuffed up with it
that I can hardly breathe,
let alone conceive

the difference I imagine
could be made
if things were
even significantly

What was that? Did you catch that?
Thank-you sweetheart for that,
thank-you for taking me
outside—- you truly are—- a good egg.

As to everything else, I shit you
not - that this is anything
like some joke
or just another lame excuse
to watch you choke.

A choke hold is only an embrace
in the most dire
of circumstances.

So, don’t worry about a thing
any more than you would
about anything that must be

ground up before it’s fed,

if there is to be any hope
of your digesting it—-

Evaporation Versus Evapotranspiration

“I have a fifteen-year old’s craving to deeply explore
the places I hope will always remain secret”
Jack Prescott

Pulled up off the ground
or otherwise sucked out
from lying in wait bodies

of water, both fresh and salty,
the rain makes its way back
to where it was presumed to

have begun. Most everyone who’s
ever known a morning, also knows
the dew that clings to everything.
Not talking about those dews. She

does have subtler ways, you
know, the rain does of drawing
what she needs from inside of
what she is hunting for, down
here. As much moisture is being

lifted out of leaves and from
inside the earth as is otherwise
scooped off the surface of things.

Evapotranspiration is easy
to imagine when we realize
that everything naturally
green or earthen—breathes
out CO2 and in H20.

Nature craves far and away above
all, subtlety and unseen transactions,
which is my love, my way of thanking you
for not having showered for days before

you see me. Ozone, yours, is in the air
and thus in me. Effervescence, your scent
is so much more than whatever will be
familiar to me.

I have been especially taken by
it’s precision. Can you be more
empirical? Have you not shown me
how it is only within a degree or

two, where the dew inside the leaf dares elect
to leave it’s more stately green for the wild blue?

Today, the sky is being doused from below
so I turn my head and look up from here and
still welcome, with neither song nor dance,
how both lovely and inevitable it all is

that our roles will invariably reverse and I will
find myself torrented as you fall and fall and fall
and fall, as if you hadn’t been secretly planning
all the fine details, in a way best suits your taste.





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