Friday, January 1, 2016

Joy does leave traces

Dreams of being my teachers
have followed me most
of my adult life.

More recently, I seem to have
lost them—must have taken
a different turn.


The calendar says winter. Rains return 
in the night for the last of the leaves,
each called by its earth name.


In the street in the dark in the rain, 
storm drains warn everyone 
who passes.


The quiet required of authentic attention
comes with it.


It’s pretty much dry
under the pine behind the school.
But I wouldn’t take the rain gear off
or tell the wind if I did.


Before the altar, nonsense syllables
sound truer—incense and fallen petals,
one for every direction.


Street lights hold intersections
ready throughout the night,

but stars have their own way,
scattered puddles

in darkened stretches
of roadways,

headed most anywhere.


Nothing ever happens more than once.
Let’s leave it where it falls.


Can’t fix the top of the chest; 

but the cedar center breathes 

just the same.


The subject is words,
those things things
bump into being…

some see a world
where no thing bumps 
any other—things become 

together, drift away, as they 
do, words too, so, 
don’t know

then, what more
might be said 
about that.


The lamp with the shade 
reflects windows 

that allow lights outside 
to come in.


it occurs to me now
how we know this silence
of which we speak—we hear it…


life-death, for certain includes 
the occasional resistant encounter, 
like a skein of sheerest silk jostled and shaken 
unrolls of itself to its fullest possible length, 
there and then naturally its lightest


I met Ho Tai face to face
there in the garden
under the fig tree

where he sits on rocks
that hold the slope, and wondered, 
as I spoke to him aloud, 

what he’d think,
if he weren’t like a rock,
what he’d say

to a fool clearing leaves
from under tree, speaking 
to a statue,

and concluded he’d likely do 
as he does as a statue—raise his hands

to the sky, and laugh.

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