Ben Harper is on the radio. It’s the afternoon, I’m drinking coffee, and oh, it’s the perfect time for a poem:

Six Billion People
Tom Chandler

And all of you so beautiful
I want to bring you home with me
to sit close on the couch.

My invitation inserted in six billion bottles,
corked with bark from the final forest
and dropped in the ocean of my longing.

We would speak the language of no words,
pass the jug of our drunken joy
at being babies growing into death.

Sometimes, I know, life is stupid, pointless,
beside the point, but here’s the point —
maybe we would fall

in love, settle down together,
share the wine, the bills,
the last of the oxygen and the remote.

It’s my mother’s birthday today, one of those events I always dread. Too many histories, too many explanations, too many pasts. Hardly fitting for this page. And since I’m still on a Chandler high, here, another poem. What could be more apt?

Ten Degrees
Tom Chandler

How beautiful the sun as it skims
across the air in the hush of ten degrees,
disc of palest yellow hope along a sky

of circumstance; how beautifully we watch it fall,
the random tern, forgotten mole,
the infant tree inside rough winter bark.

How beautiful this frost, female fingers
tracing down the glass, how beautiful
this world too cold to criticize itself;

how beautiful Earth’s creatures are, happy
and forever safe from the only perfect tragedy,
which is of course to never have been born.

I like Tom Chandler.

To the woman at the Red Edge Motel
Tom Chandler

Some tourist of love
in his cheap suit of longing
will elbow the bar
in the lounge of no last names,
dip his cuff accidentally
in your seven & seven
and ask you to dance
to the faint moan of muzak,
perfume your earrings
with breath mints and gin
as the lights grow yet dimmer
as his hand on the switch
hovers inches away
from the slick red edge
of your hungover heart
with its faded no vacancy sign.