Monday, November 13, 2017

other locales

                              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 


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 


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

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



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



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


one morning recently
waking to find

i’d been awake

all along

Sunday, October 1, 2017


found my watch today, after several days 
missing, time taken with it, leaving me
well, me left behind, timeless 

and free, you’d think

but for that empty wrist, bothered
to raising itself toward my eyes
time and again chasing time

simply no longer there, simply lost

so i’ll have to admit, it feels good 
to have it back, them back, or 
to be back with them

for as limited as time may be
it feels good to be taken in 
again, to be here 

to be, now

to be me


bitter-sweet, the tang of knowing dust
left where it lies, better to see
where we’ve been 

latent flavors rekindling taste


kubose sensei

when years ago we met in the temple
in chicago, close to elevated tracks

arrived late, a portrait of his teacher
hanging on the hondo wall

he spoke of the movements of his
even then long life 

each preceded by someone asking

he was fortunate
he said


life itself, the big screen, asks
all the right questions, like them or not

leaves open options for advisement for
the questions that follow—answers

are not so much touch-stones 
to stem the flow, as buoyed branches

passing to show the flow
will hold you


“if you don’t speak up, we can’t hear you”

            jim james, singer, song-writer


tuesday the 26th of the month
of september, darkened mornings
quickening sunsets

a book somewhere closes 
as words’ pours to the page 

loosen their hold



less than a week back, in groves
of bristlecone pine, high-desert trunks

multiple millions of years of bulked 
and twisted rings

as quiet, as unobtrusive as 
evening’s snow-dust fall

to bare face skin 
and graveled ground 

all alike, never to be repeated
ever again


to return to doctrine too long after
the fact 

is like tracking back

once favored boots now too tight 
for the longer haul

open sky calls for differing resource

yet seminal music
melodies pathways

familiar, nighttime 
or day


the sun slips below the ridge
leaving adrift the chill held secret  
on drafts held still 
before the fire-faced gift 
known to us only in shadow


lingered among the thoughts 
of years of varied teachers

the heart 

pressing thorough through

with trust