Thursday, January 17, 2019

Can it all be new?

                                              poems  2019


"The fundamental world of poetry is an inward world. 
                                                     We approach it through solitude.”

                                            —Robert Bly


Idle song

warm glow embers 
burst flames

shadows flicker clear 
a place safe


**


Family arrives
just as light leaves.
They bring their own.


**


It rained while we slept.
Puddled streets

and drip-quivering leaves
remember.


**


Morning coffee draws
lingering thoughts to the light
pulling pen.


**


Here,
the evidence:
a life.


**


Late in my teens
and early twenties,
my pose was “wild.”

This was before selfies.


**


Growing toe and finger nails
indicate nothing certain. So I’m happy 
to report my feet continue to grow,
flatter—but that’s not the point.


**


Who’s to know, 
I sure don’t, if these lines
are poems or not. 

They just keep coming.


**


This time of year the sun drops 
behind surrounding hills well before four 
and inside dims to fog-like grey.

Day is, but isn’t.

Having forgotten more than ever known
of chosen ism’s, I take care now to watch 
for what’s caught.

Only the fixed remains mistake.


**


The world is as we see it
and as it otherwise tells us.


**


Heart and mind—better still, heart the mind. 
That felt fabric denies all effort to deny
the warmth to be found here. 

Undeniable presence, the almost touch, 
the shape and curve of words 
that come about of this.


**


Obsessing for awhile over the density 
of poems proffered, returning the volume
to the shelf, letting residuals find their own
line to the page.


**


Refusing the sweep
of wind-blown branches, 
morning shadows wait 
for the sun.


**


Two days of steady rains stop
with daybreak, leave me
listening.


**


The slivered moon, the planet 
nearby, shine alone,
sky adding nothing.


**


Buddha’s name, this morning 
lent to yellow blossoms
on the altar.


**
**


Ocean-Mountain Zazen

*
we count
to return
to one

*
breath-splashed bowl
                
*
and the sky and the rocks
and the lichen glowing there
in rain-moistened air

speak those softened tones
winds reserve for friends




**
**



Sprinkles on my skin
where the hood doesn’t cover.

At the end of my walk, day’s edge 
seamless breaks:

sky never lies.


**


The answer

The wife catches signals too slight
to be caught in words, then says them
as though so obvious it’s clear 

they’re extra.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Not so poem-like



         “Haiku-like haiku are not particularly bad.
          But haiku that don’t seem haiku-like at all—
          nowadays that’s the kind I’m after.”
                                       Santoka  12/8/1938



Writing, it might be said,
is the interior making visuals,
in hopes of lasting.


**


Ananda

Santoka’s poem about the bell
at Eiheji, reminds me of remembering you 
when hearing the bell
when there.


**


Certain liturgies…

The wife and grandson sleep
in the next room. The coffee cup 
is empty. Light comes
to the window, calls the pen 
to love the page.


**


Unless the determination
of value is your own,
it’s worthless.


**


What to make of it all
is often dressed down 

as too impractical 
to be addressed

in light of all 
that needs to be done 

in order to be done 
with it all, after all.


**


You may 
recall
I spoke 
a bit
ago
about
trying 
to stay
a bit
off balance

and I 
find it
harder
to do
than you’
d think.

Is this
signal
or sign
or just
the way
it is?

Poets,
that Bronk
poet 
at an-
y rate, 
the care-
ful one, 
says something

like, who
needs to
make of
a life
something,
when all
at hand
is what
life makes
of it
all al-
ready?

Where is
what’s off
balance 
in this 

? ?


**


Fremont CA is flatland, off the bay’s edge,
along the edge of north-south I-880—
walls buffer freeway noise, and more walls 
the noise along its four-lane interior roads.

The only elevation here is the freeway overpass, 
rising slopes of grass, peppered with trees 
full with fall—the slopes bottoming at fences 
bordering a sea of backyards.

If moved to look down through the trees, 
to the leaf-softened stretch along the fencing, 
to look for a sign, a trace, feint leavings 
of passing breaths, one finds none.


**


Tea leaf residuals
make mornings
clearer.


**


I still take notes, but without thinking
I’ll ever consult them—aging 
teaches influence imprints 
its own way. Its time
is my time.


**


Awe is that rising 
rooted in gratitude.


**


There’s this impulse, this movement toward
whatever the discernible limits—even in the comfort
of the forest clearing, we dream what’s out there
will come for us with morning.


**


The room’s silence is often disturbed
by books leaning this way and that,
piled akimbo, papers, scraps, jutting here,
bunched there, so many teasing fingers,
lovers and friends reaching out for me
to reach back.


**


To Steve B.

You once said poems 
I’d addressed to others
you didn’t read, because, 
well, how could you expect 
to understand? So, this one 
is for you. Hope you do.


**


Seeing

Early morning young skunk
starts to cross the road—we stop
and turn, we two, grateful for the light 
that holds us both,
for each other.


**


Night time rains give way to sharp chills 
above wet streets. Sidewalk lights click off. 
The hardware store guy elbows his way 
through the back entrance. I wade the stream 
of someone’s cooking breakfast.


**


Trees lean every which way for light enough 
for their needs—we too lean and reach 
for the sense we need 
of what our senses need 
to bring to us.


**


Hovering blossoms,
a quivering branch,

and that quick-headed
hummingbird.


**


Fortunate for us
writer-poet types,
no one word 
ever gets
the last

word.