The surface noise, at times tends too much
to distraction, tends, over time, for someone
like me, to tire—it’s the more
that keeps me coming back, the currents
that make the music and the dance
more than just a party. It’s the folks,
who will meet your gaze for no better reason
than your presence on the street—you get
if you’re willing, you be noticed
with a nod, no matter the time of day.
It’s the genuine pull
of people toward one another,
hence toward you.
It’s the pull, that the people here go with,
that they don’t ignore, the deep pull of the true
and real that carries
all the rest—just like the river.
And of memories?
The thin curve of moon shoulders high,
keeping distance from the chill above the water,
some thirty degrees lost in the night.
A freighter shadows in the dawn,
the lighted tug groans, and the river, well,
the river continues—named or unnamed,
histories carry through waiting horizons,
under open skies and into nights of crystal-
chilled stars—nothing really ever lost.
The sun rises
among the sketch of clouds
just there behind where
the Mississippi bends,
but I can’t tell
if New Orleans is waking
or just now
heading for bed.
Even at this age…
It can’t be said enough how many times of late
I’ve used that phrase—even at this age—which suggests
of course, aging, aging advancing as against attitudes
and needs that have not too, moved along.
So here it is, a vow as such, to let the search
for reasons, for answers and plans, to here let all that
go—I’m here, right now, so,
as the masters were wont to say, I write,
sometimes chant or sing or dance, here, so walk
rivers’ edges, gaze grandchildren’s eyes, hold hands
with the wife and generally follow
the tangle of heaven and earth and my nature,
however and wherever it all unfolds.
Life really is about the spaces in between—it’s not nothing,
but something you cannot see, except by what it’s doing.
Like the fog this morning, like a veil-covered face—moonlight
shimmers the only sign of breath.
Streaks in the sky, south and west,
clear light despite early mists.
And the scent of fall
that comes of the crush
of crumpled leaves, that speak
of the last of their turn, this time.
The stretch of the eternal
cannot be heard in entirety,
thus leaving behind
within which we can hear
all that’s held in time.
Tides of miniscule movements, most unseen,
often missed, though sometimes not,
is where the poet works—
what does this blossom
on this apricot tree know
about this late-November
that I do not?
A day with no fresh air
is not yet
you wake up
goes without saying.
And still counting…
Awhile back, I cleared my shelves of titles
I knew in my heart I’d not return to, or for that matter,
those that hadn’t held my attention long enough
to have taken too much space for too long a time
on a shelf like mine—took’m down to the county jail,
where men with extended terms reside,
where books are read and re-read, re-cycled
hand to hand, and talked about—great life for books,
for words otherwise collecting dust, uncomplainingly
doing the work they’ve been cut to do, and maybe,
maybe even more—which is maybe the point,
you might ask, they’re prisoners after all, but who
among us has not been there
before—the point is like butterfly wings
and weather patterns—everything’s linked,
everything matters, everything counts—each word
every time—and the best we can do is do them
as right as we can, keep them out there,
keep them counting.
“I count syllables