Pistachio Light

there are times when
good fortune, privilege
turn away and leave you
hopefully not forever
but long enough
to sharpen your focus

and even then, sometimes
you sit sharply focused
but paralyzed
while what you took for granted
as permanent and solid
disintegrates as you gasp!

I want to climb into a pistachio shell
and hide out with you
protected there for a few days
with the smooth slit of light shining in
somehow initiating a shared path
of love, non-violence, intimacy

I put my hand on your face for a second
and tuck your hair around your ear
thinking that any second
you won’t be my partner
and our habits will have ruined us
despite all our effort to the contrary

-Andre Souligny


Arm Bridge

If perilous can be a feeling
I feel it often
I try to splash it off with cold water
where the creek runs strong still
and where the canopy of the woods
thickens for high summer

holding a vessel together
full of cracks, spilling
I pour more into it
and keep it just above empty
seeing my hands cupped around
the shining wet

right there is where I live
thinking not in parallels,
rather, thinking in 180’s:
“turn around” and “turn back”

behind me, the leaves have folded in
there is no trace of me
I am for all intents and purposes
simply what you see before you:
potential, flickering weakly,
while sobbing on the shoulder of a tree

I’ve been still so long here
a line of ants has come
wound round me
marching across my arm bridge
for the tea and honey
to bring me back to my senses

-Andre Souligny


My mom turned up Joni Mitchel records loud
when I was a kid in the 70’s
it was music to soothe trouble
and my sore-eyed receptors were piqued

There were things to think about
In the words,
and the voice washed over me:
all that a person could be.

Besaw’s was just a little old place at the end of the street
Where industrialization closed in on the old neighborhood
concrete ramps of the Fremont, and 30 to the coast down the block
I went there and played “Carey” because it was just so true.

Later I became brazen
I sang out my songs on Milwaukee streets with my eyes closed and change in my case.
I thought something of myself, and then it was gone
what formerly passed through me became contrived and constructed

Between then and now, 28 years have passed
The children I tossed in the air from the shallows of the lake
now look out toward me from behind their own instruments
divinely interpreting life as they’ve known it and as they dream it

I fumble with the guitar pick in my pocket,
and hear my own daughter finding a song
directing the passion and the wordplay
indulging in the acoustics of the staircase

What really inspires
Also gets terribly in the way
Our guesses of what will be are just that
embracing what we are sure of, a wisp of tea steam in windowlight

We are born again and again each morning blessed with life
we choose between habits and awakening
and each choice is just that
at once a habit and an awakening

-Andre Souligny



Compounded by Billions

The world is a parade
of hate and love

pepper spray
and candy

every day the candy is sweeter
every day the pepper is hotter

we chew and rub our eyes
marching in circles

at night both sides meet
plotting to take back

all of the things we have
knowingly and willingly forsaken

and it is not the bug in the teapot
that thwarts peace

but rather the daily individual decisions,
compounded by billions

-André Souligny

Atoms in a Coffee Can

alone with my mind
atoms in a coffee can
climbing inside of my desires and defeats
rehashing actions and errors
revising and editing memories
tolerating the past as it casts shade
growing older and feeling still myself,
still waiting, still adding and subtracting

I live, always staying up too late
I live, rarely drinking, alas
I live, as an idle songwriter’s songs slip away
I live, tucking in even the oldest of our children
I live, dozing off, dropping the spoon, the blade
I live to hear the peepers again
I live

-André Souligny