Monday, March 3, 2014

The Tradition of All Experience

Before what we call morning,
there’s another that lives
where dark turns,

where doubt finds room
near the surface, 
or along the shore

where light weighs time,
lays claim to all experience
as its own.


And so, I’ve taken the pen at times,
at different times so many times
that the weight and heft

often remains un-discerned,

nor separate a charge from heartbeat
or the lift and rise of pulse—such it has become
of its own so thorough, so as to

reframe the world, steady the step
and simplify the things that need be carried.


“…because every syllable counts.”
                                       Cid Corman

The thrust of our living
letting loose our careening way

propelled and re-propelled millions
of little moves—is who we are—countless

the triggers off those little moves:

the greater mystery
               of who we will be.


Words—swarms of bees and honey—


It would be,
it is,

enough to say 

I don’t know…


Blue ink
marks the page
a way
beyond black
and yet
close akin
to remind
one of
the other

as tracks
swirls and
broken lines
make their
own way

there on lines
that now here

hold weight and light:

a single point
in all time.


To turn
right there
and meet
the eyes

of the friend

you’d been
for all

don’t let go
that look…


The glint of moonlight
  on the rim of the bowl
     on the table at my feet

—at times a lonely way,     
         but never alone.


Fog collects thick as doubt
this morning. Even the closest trees,
rootless, shadowy slips, like distant cousins,
reliant upon familial resemblance.


One rejects nothing, the other
accepts everything.

Different times, different tongues,
linked on the lure of language in line.

And for each,
though treating margins differently,

each day begins
a blank page, listening.


Answering the last hours of dark on the mountain’s trails,
sitting among the chilled stones, watching light
begin its work,

earth’s textures, what night holds safe, why stars
lean so close, how morning returns
already full.


There are days when utterance crumbles
as it meets the air, when the most careful intention
stays jagged and torn and reliable lies just beyond reach.

On these days, let grip slip to those slower movements,
to those recesses deeper than doubt, return to that refinement
where inevitable resides.


And what if the world arrives,
full distance of all time, present
at your doorstep?


Mist and low-hanging clouds.
The moon, a luminous smudge.

But the owl calls, quick to scold
those who turn away too soon.

2014 Notes along the way…

2014 Notes along the way…
January 2014

Words and names
ride breath

being spent,
sound the edge

of having been
and will be,

each return
and no return,


in currents
of timelessness.


There are the hours where light sleeps,
rests in the velvet of original voice, 
waits the slightest quiver.


For me these days,

flashes in the periphery
catch the glance 

of something known,
given again,

intimate, intricate

in the luminous folds

of solitude.


For A. D.

Tell me of this temple
of the open sky,

this not-so-secret sanctuary
of hills and byways, this tradition

of all experience. Speak to me
of this heritage of the heart, of your kin,

your patron saints, the spirit
of the lowest bow.

Tell me your living aspiration,
your favored prayer

for the lips.


But I went ahead and lied just the same.
It was closer to the truth, that lie.
Told as the last of the sun’s rays passed
into shadow.     I told it   
so she could smile.


No one knows I’m here. And with you now gone,
who will speak with me of the stars, of the lights in the hills
that glitter where the limbs of the great eucalyptus once gathered
the whole of the night. A warm cloak of unknowing, buffer
against the chill of unwanted distance.


Heat rises with the dust,
lays like a yoke across your shoulders,

an oxen in time, ever thirsting, ever forward,
but at whose bidding?


River of Words

Along the river, one can travel light,
for all that’s necessary is given—early whispers
illumine shadows, direction takes, flow determines
and breath holds true for sound—all else,

just added weight.



And as it does, the world and all that it is shifts

and all about us again accounts for itself anew.


On the road in Chiapas,
under a near-full-moon,
fired sugar cane.



Here, arrived here today, where
every star holds space sacred, where
every breath ever taken returns, where
notions of must and ought
are rendered superfluous—here.