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.
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
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.
Under my bared feet, tiles blink
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.