Friday, December 1, 2017

In passing



Trees touch fingers underground, 
tell things each other only know. 

Living’s way, the warmth 
of affirmation

in layered strokes, the prayer 
of reciprocal reach, 

the release of shared breath  
knowingly received.


**


i was told today meaning has no place
in poems—it’s what you have to present
that’s critical—the universe’s every wrinkle
and wink presenting fullest moments
every time—what small slice of that
might you voice today


**


like so many leaves shorn and blown 
circled and bunched

signal something to someone 
somewhere—poems too 

carry words this way


**


easy enough for me to say
old friend 

but i take heart that the masters
didn’t quibble

over challenges of old age

even creeping immobility
is the working of eternal
working

who then can talk 
of not walking —look there 

along the fence, morning 
glory ripples


**


call it first principle
if you will, call it whatever
you will, but watch and learn 
all the same

see that no one is hurt


**


this way comes to me 
as weightless as does page 
to finger tips 

as guide-less as light to eyes
and as sure—no oughts

only open-ended witness
of all that comes along


**


the greatest danger

is the presumptuous convenience
of indifference—distance
enough from the bothersome
breeds ignorance of others
enough to silence from us
their pain—that 
the most certain link
to the world at large 
there silenced too


**


these days, my days mostly begin 
with breath’s moves

with prayer-taken fingers
filling pages to edges 

emptied    

to where words 

don’t go

Monday, November 13, 2017

other locales

                        poems—
                              Oct-Nov 2017



i’d understood the silence
as separate, as passing, in and out
taken and given   away

then it settled one day, my sense of it
settled with it 

as dustless sure as air

this silence


**


october 15th finds us in sun-drenched tropical
mexico, overlooking banderas bay
that flags the pacific’s reach

south and east of baha 
but west of most all the rest
of this sprawl of a country

whose people meet the eyes 
of strangers, speak ready greetings

that tell of the goodness 
of the day 


**


dropping into a day-dream
a new lightness in the world
at large, a learning

to let it be its own 
delight 


**


puerto vallarta, in october
at seven in the morning 
is still night 

orion traces the west
the moon and its shadow 
hold to the south 

bay waters break
and swell

and swallows wing in
slow coming light


**


on our first day on the road to the resort
the taxi before us halts, shaky hands wave
forbearance, skinny legs protrude the door 
run to the wheels in front, where fingers lace
the turtle’s belly, thumbs press its shell

and the girl follows the not so secret thread 
of shared life    to its shaded understory 
of sanctuary


**


releasing expectations
resolves tensions held securely there

allows contradictions room enough
to make the new


**


off-road coffee, black

burns fingers holding a tin cup
washes dry toast clean down 
quite nicely


**


so much could be done
one would think
something would be done

and it is—just observe

closely, individual folks 
this one and that
simply doing

just because 
it’s the way
it’s done

to live right
among others
being breathed 
with


**


hotel morales

this old building holds
night’s silences in its bones

lets only the smallest creaks 
sound aloud

to remind us of time
and other treasures


**


original religion
         —after cecilia vicuna—

the poem’s conception, the experience
of engaging, of attention taken 

counts for more
than whatever the encounter’s form

words, the ancients knew 
hold open associations, outer  
and inner, outer to inner

words question and fathom 
tides and currents 
and depths
alike

words mirror and illumine multiplicities 
are migrant sources of sustenance
that touch but do not bind


**


WHAT’S GOING ON

in this churning rage, this despair 
of barely contained streams of ready rupture

to turn to one another open-handed
mantled in morning blue

is the work of unquestioned trust
in our collective commonness:

to allow the unanswerable 
to be uttered aloud 

among us 

is the sound of unbroken evidence 
of the unbreakable


**


guadalajara

after reading dylan’s last thoughts
on woody guthrie

a single star
draws the morning sky

between the buildings
over the open plaza

not a cloud


**


i’d never thought myself an artist
nor indeed of art much at all, but then
there’s the words, and other push
and pull, other shadows trailing light
and line and colors that appear
out of the whirl and steadiness
implicit in vision unfolding engagement
with the everyday—i don’t think 
myself an artist, but then there’s words


**


the most subtle indications of genuine freedom
clearly suggest all others need be given
similar leeway—a tall order, wrapped in dynamics
of radical non-interference 

firmly rooted where no stance ever 
is pre-figured—readiness

to hear, to see where the world, outside 
and in, would want to go—a poetics


**


guadalajara #2

circles on the map turned to circles
in the streets last night

that finally found the briefest alleyway
called corolla, hosting the coltrane cafe

hosting live jazz on the pavement
under the evening sky

local billing, local venue
for the limitless


**

an apple

curtained red
against white
linen, holding
crisp hues
of living
sustenance


**


one morning recently
waking to find

i’d been awake

all along