Not nature as thing, but the nature of things as
never repeating patterns remembered
as the call home.
Wrinkled paper speaks the vernacular
found in notebooks
scratched with ball point pens
anyone can afford,
though pencils will do
quite well too.
The old ones spoke
of “plain wood.”
I recently read where older folks
sometimes begin to feel a sense
of disconnect, of loss and loneliness,
but have come to see this as the sensing
of room, finally the space
within which self and ego stretch
into that silence
that has carried it all
all this while.
Spider webs drip last night’s rains
into air held still by doves.
That the telescope in the corner gathers dust
while pens routinely run dry of ink
Each rain drop,
going its own particular way
among all the others.
To let go of the need
need not mean to let go
the practice—every gesture
ever carries its perfect weight,
even when we can’t tell.
I travel lighter these days,
take fewer notes and
The almond tree is full snow,
and fragrant cuttings grace the vase
on the altar next to the wooden Buddha
found in the market in Bali—the blossoms
speak well of this.
If the renegade is simply unique,
then the world is full of us.
This too, this dis-ease,
Friday morning before feeling light
and let’s face it, I’m seventy-two—what place
can new possibilities really have here? And yet,
here we are.
Many things, most perhaps, run better
when things run through them. Body, for instance,
forests and streams. And wind, what would be desert
without wind ?
Too many interruptions
turns your story
Breath: even when lost is still wind.
At the risk of seeming contrary,
from where I sit, there is no “other side.”
But there are horizons.
ocean works waves,
not the reverse.
The other: change.
I’ve lived too long now for philosophy.
Point me to the poets.
What makes us think it is we who penetrate
the world—who do we think we are
anyway? Let’s vow to return
to trembling readiness…
At my age, my grandfather had lost
three of six sons, and his wife. Though
my uncles were beside themselves, he
bought a VW camper and wandered
the southeast seaboard alone, looking,
he said, for family clues. On his visit to this coast,
he asked us to take his picture alongside “Pigs Off Campus”
graffiti at Berkeley. He chuckled when he laughed, chewed
when I was a kid and always wore a fedora.
We grew up in blue-collar, suburban New Jersey.
The bus ride across the river to Manhattan
might well have been the other side the continent
from the last block on Rosewood Terrace
which was mostly duplex, lined with maples
and dead-end at the back fence of the local factory.
Tall hedgerow hid us there when we smoked.
My dad did all the work on the family car
in the driveway out front. In high school, we moved
to Livingstone Road, nicer, with a garage. He stayed
with the driveway, but neighbors there came over to watch.
Saturday afternoons in the fall were devoted to college football.
My dad’s day always ended in front of the television,
with a cold beer. Pabst Blue Ribbon, I think. But all of this
was before color.
1. Sheetrock nails take best to a measured hit—always hold.
2. We didn’t know our bikes were second-hand
till other kids got new ones—chain guards
keep grease off your pants.