Thursday, July 27, 2017

Related adventures...

June 2017

I’ve become an annoyance of late,
drawing on space and time it seems
I oughtn’t, there and then,

thinking too it’s little to do with me,
but annoyed with it anyway.

Out the window in the shaded courtyard, 
a hummingbird, blossom to blossom,
and everything in between. 


It’s Father’s Day at home, here 
in Spain too.

Once it’s got you, well,
maybe you know…


“Language wakes up in the morning…”
                                  —Jane Hirshfield


Thinking this morning at day-break
along the boulevard, small groups 
of those 

who’ve not yet slept 
last night’s sleep, 

thinking how much a day’s first words 
can mean, even 
when not spoken aloud, how 

grateful one can feel 
anyway, at all that’s said.



Antonio Machado, the poet
lived here, and you would know that
if you did too, hung his coat
on the wooden hooks 
across from the window 
overlooking curve-tiled roofing 
crumbling now, splotched 
with matted moss 
growing delicate bouquets 
of small white flowers.

Ethics and aesthetics are one,
he taught—the inner guide
to goodness: make it beautiful.

Mindfulness, for the world—why 
I turn to the poets.


“How hard it is, when things 
             are lowered, not to be lowered.”

                          —Antonio Machado

To be american these days and not diminished 
means acknowledging what we’ve allowed

the world sees as surely as 
unravelling self-infatuation brings us here—

heroic action defines itself most clearly 
with the demise of the disfunction
it replaces.



Close enough to hear from the sidewalk cafe,
traffic chimes

calm the round-about 
between the bridge and the end

of Calle San Fernando, swallows
circle, ducks skim, 

a breeze lifts skin to cool
and soft tones float 

the musical tongue
that carries this country.



The cafeteria machine whirs
“coffee long,”

tall birch trees flash their leaves 
on an unseen breeze

and the heat waits, quiet 

the pleasing lie
of morning shade.


Sevilla #1

elevator music
blocks silence morning brings,
mutes the clink of spoon to cup,
abducts every thought—

only the quiet rise and fall 
below it all remains 
at all its own


I’ve been thinking a lot of late
of the free-ranging possibilities
and grace of old age,

where future takes care of itself,
its own pace, where sustenance
comes in small sips,

unexpected stops, and memories
continue snatches
of wisdom

just not available back when—yes,
I’m going free range wanderlust,
infected with gratitude

for time received, for all it brings
and for the gladdened nuance
of all that’s left behind.


Sevilla #2 

The sun collects gold
on the building front
across the street,

throws pools from there
to here 

through glassed

onto the foyer floor
we’ve managed

for days not to see,
suddenly so unavoidably legitimate

our fickleness breaks
winds of self-appreciation,

tries to conceal shaded layers
of profound inattentiveness

to the continuing gifts
light brings.


Does quiet descend,
or rise dust-like
in light then seen, 

both having always 
been there.


Poems sparsely spread

count fewer pages
than days breathed; 

but neither has yet to 
let me down, nor 

yet let me go.


To Madrid

Contemplative quiet rises, 

track-gliding movements 
transitioning landscapes.

First stop reveals a different me.

With two more to go, how will I know 
who will arrive,



Plaza Porta del Sol

Madrid’s center draws the entire country,
every clicked degree, all the myriad places 
calculated from here, to there, each

at the same time showing its own 
unfolding abundance of chance—you know, 
the crooked, sometimes line-less lines 
of sensed encounter. 

You know, the living beneath the idea.


“It is important that we die
        only to show its unimportance.”

                                       —William Bronk

Our most important legacy, 
our ordinariness, is not really ours
to leave behind.


Naturalness: not wanting
anything you have to wish for

and allowing the wish the room
to be as it is.


Calistoga—Franz Hill Road

The deep chill a country road can hold
is only like itself, but uphill climbs
build heat that do a body well.

Two older guys pass with smiles 
and a lifting sky offers upturned eyes 

the grateful strokes of herons, 
two that glide and circle and alight

the tallest of the trees, to watch, 

the curious goings-on, there below, 
on that frozen stream.

July 4th

Friday, July 7, 2017


June 2017

A draft rustles 
the black and red checkered shirt
hanging on the back of the chair—
lumberjack, the kind doctor

of glaucoma called me 
in the examining room to speak
of unseen pressures that impact 

to know that the known
and the unknown touch 
ennobles witness—

a poet said that.


Lady bug, slowly 
up the inner stem 
of the persimmon tree.

Slow traffic, late pruning,
a tardy producer,

all suggest a different pace
this edge of the garden.

Subtle signals that make
for even less time
for just talk.


True: that which happens 
for no discernible reason
other than itself.


Declarations of independence 
make me uncomfortable.

I can’t say with any certainty
what drives the ways I’ve been.
Not to follow, impossible; but willful,
I’m not so sure—even conviction
doesn’t cut clean enough. It’s been
more like trust, the jumpy-stomach
kind more than solid, though that
too time to time.

That I might not push back,
doesn’t mean I can easily 
be pushed.

That I can’t say, doesn’t mean 
I can’t see.


We are enabled by world
making us one of itself, small-
minded efforts at separation 
failing into light-
made relief.


Ego tangled in itself
squelches light, but never
all of it.


Without question, bulbous puffs
of thinning fogs lift off the ridge,
go naked into the blue.


That thread, discerned
one culture, one time to the next: it 

pulls us.


Taking care, for words…

A few uttered words,
the first in morning,

pulled through shaped air 

back to where it 
                comes from—

circular runs of roots

unseen, except 

for what’s been said.


Walden as frame of mind
rather than frame of reference,
the poverty of humanity
its insatiable need to collect.

The loosened grip leads 
to broadened trust, 
the nourishment of no need
to hold on.


Moon Bright

Bright moon
moving west
in morning light,
neither wrong
nor right.


Leaving South Africa

The shallow pottered bowl,
trim geometric design
at the entrance gate,

weighs the sweep
of paved streets, slows
those who enter to ponder 

just where here is…