Sunday, May 7, 2017

February into April

After Cid Corman



in all
things that come 
your way, 

delight in
no need
to choose.


Morning, March first…have you 
noticed how sky lets time imagine limits, 

and other fierceness run through 
to implosion, never interfering, 

never leaving, always holding
without holding back ?


One of these naps 
will likely be the last.

Others will know, 
but to be bothered by that

you have to be there.


Fathomless for us, this lack
of impatience—work, wait, listen—

work, wait, listen—the woodpecker,
for whatever is there.


San Francisco to South Africa

We’ve been in the air since yesterday,
heading toward tomorrow—three days 
breathed in space for one. 

Why do they call it jet “lag”?
                                               3/9 (?)


Dubai—8 PM

Call to prayer 


Airport aisles


Many wonderful things might be said
of sunrise in Africa. But silence
does it so well.


On the Zambezi, downstream waterfalls 
give rise to brushed orange moon light
and shadowed banks. King-fishers 

glide the darkened surface
in the way they do,
and we do too.


Before being discovered, Victoria Falls
was called “Smoke That Thunders.”
Some still think of it this way.

A mile wide, 340 ft. deep, continuous
plumes and clouds of river mist 
make rains that fall up 

into winds that caress the skin wet.

You could say there shouldn’t be
a rain forrest in arid country 
like this.

Thunder and Smoke say otherwise.



In dry years the Chobe River contributes
all it has to the Zambezi—in times of plenty,

the Zambezi turns its abundance back  
into the Chobe, changing its direction, 

refreshing that which will be returned
to the Zambezi again, when conditions 
again change.

The indigenous people here
do not know “ownership.” 

Need alone determines possession, 
until another’s need.


Finding Orion lying on his side,
I remember I’m in the southern hemisphere,

figure he’ll regain his footing
upon returning north.


Namib Desert, Namibia 3/18

“Namib” means vast, open, continuous desert flows 
from Botswana through Namibia and into South Africa, 
uniform grains of sands of differing shades of orange 
and beige and outright rust, blown drifting sweeps 
and pyramid dunes, right to Atlantic’s edge, 
and then some. We do not intrude here,

anymore than the dune lark, who in all the world is found 
only here, in the heat and dry of an ocean of sands 
that ripple and spill from every press of any foot, 
then pool over to recover each track for its own. 

It’s the things we bring, the things we leave behind
that survive, preserved by air and heat for posterity, 
blatant evidence in every discard, every scrap.

Our guide says desert is details.


Cape Town’s Table Mountain
forgoes the first fall of sunlight

for the company of gathering clouds—
silent sentinels for vulnerable beginnings.


The first long sleep in weeks
and sunlit blinds seep light that slips
in streams that trace the walls
in silent pursuit of shadow.


Street notes…

Cape Town’s Nobel Square 
hosts sculpted likenesses of four 
South African recipients 

from just the last thirty years, 
joined today by a young musician 
playing multiple instruments 
for gathering crowds:

playing while recording himself playing,  
then accompanying his own recording 
in singularly live performance, 

wave after wave of movements 
of self-taught appreciation 

given such insistent vision
you have to listen 

and watch very closely 
to understand what you are hearing.

There’s no manual for Nobel work either.


We stay a week in the “Bowl” of Cape Town, 
residential-commercial mix, walking distance
to the civic center, botanical gardens, library, 
museums, restaurants, all within easy sight 
of Table Mountain and surrounding waters, 

in a two-floor, two room flat, 
open at the back 

to a cobbled courtyard, a table, 
two chairs and wilted vines, 

surrounded by neighboring homes 
that hover this morning under overcast skies 
rippling classical piano 

notes of narrative hours of heart-beat marks 
in real-time, 

where breath follows sounded moments 
of unlabored quietude.