Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bunch Grasses

Bunch Grasses

Scattered poems and recollections

of La Paz, Mexico, 2009

The inscription reads:

And if you want peace,

I offer it to you

in the sunny peace of my bay.

night’s clouds break,

spilling swells of light

toward the shore.


Evening’s pink


a solitary palm.



alone at the desk,

waiting for the dark side of the moon

to shift and rise too,

out from itself.


Asked his way,

the poet replies: I’ve nothing to offer

but what’s next,

and I’m not yet there.


From Oppen’s prose and daybooks,

a poetics of no-poetics:

This will not summarize.

This will guide

without demand.


Sunday, along the darkened Malaccan, along the water,

well-mannered walkers whisper early morning greetings;

but for the slow turn of the earth,

this the only breeze.


For George Oppen

Some teachers stand out, as such, and the world is not the same

but for them; but for them, the world and all it is speaks, each thing

of its own voice and shape, and the ear, and the heart by way of the ear, hear

and recognize and know.


The pages of the journal take the ink as given,

swirls or broken lines, tears of joy or deeper sadnesses

laid neatly out or helter-skelter, the pages take all

that comes, as it comes—ever full;

ever full and enough, at any last lift of the pen,

or before the very first push, the pages,

ever in all their fullness.


Each morning,

a rooster--scattering

clustered silences.


Under my bared feet, tiles blink

—streetlights off,

the morning sky has its way.



we sit, read and write

into late afternoon--Ana Karina,

one of her favorites, on TV, Spanish sub-titles.


at the airport, a mural

in muted oranges and yellows, a pastoral

suspended above the continuous rush

of barely controlled frenzy—we arrive in time

to wait to leave


Praxis, the Great Practice

Writing the poem, writes the poem.

Saying Buddha’s name, says the name.

The work itself teaches us

where we will next go.

Doing is trusting. Trust is everything.

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