Sunday, August 27, 2017

perpetual suspension

july into august

leaves dance with breeze  
with broom and me   but none of us 
wants to follow


to understand  
live quietly 

read after working
the garden

scribe poems 
pulled from tangled roots


a pause to consider this president

because ten words of vocabulary 
might suffice ten second
attention spans 

but when three of the ten are 

peoples’ lives are diminished 
far more than 1/3 

far more than those
simplistic three


perpetual suspension
stable instability

we are 
both called
and urged

but is
the point
in the 
end to


the night before this   words slowed 
to stop

a teacher somewhere said to sit 
the way earth takes pain 

as leaves   to let it there 
to hold   to grow

in light of the myriad dreams
heavens wish

for the wholeness of us all
listening   sitting 

in moon lit breezes
of awakened joy


to climb a thousand feet is no small matter
for old legs that somehow nonetheless
find themselves again lingering in fogs 
along the road along the ridge   giddy
in the belly at the aloneness of it all

where rock and dust walk the whole 
of the distance to where 
eyes no longer see

a thousand feet   into chill 
into the fluttered caress
of summer fogs


up sonoma way   just below 
where river begins reaching west

shiloh district cemetery 

takes mid level fog 
august mornings   listens 
to low flying geese

and the quiet pass of herons

gates are locked after dark 
ample space left to the side
for walk in’s i suppose

and beyond the chain link fence
to the far side of the grounds
horses graze   swish their tails 

just above 

where heaven meets earth


reciprocal fields of energies 
animate even what we call inanimate
routinely carry unimaginable depths
of detailed movement anyway

makes one wonder wonder the point
of distinguishing one 
from the other


chia tao speaks of the abode
of unplanned effect

where self encounters ground
before intention's disguises

that place where choice comes 
to rest



wisteria takes the fence along the ditch
aside the road 

in waves of curling tendrils 
and clustered purple white petals 

blown to erratic dance streams 
on traffic breezes  

that work this favored thoroughfare 
to highway one oh one

fresh corn sells down the way   horses
and ponies graze   the cemetery holds
what quiet it can 

and wisteria 
whatever hand is offered


a volume pulled from the shelf opened
to a page of light lifted breath
from another time

breathe together its further fullness 
now and here   as ours


the shower

the women gather
this afternoon to celebrate

and all that flows
from that   not for men
but to follow

at the edge
of knowing the gladness
of true center


earthlings   if
the universes
and all they are
were not exactly
the way the are

right now
we would not be

think about 
this guidance
not so much to figure out
but to learn to follow
the how already there


many seem unable to engage 
a given moment without calculating 
reason or weight 

pre perspectives
often cut to the quick
by quiet eyed revelations
of often unexpected
equations of love

why I don’t salt my food


choreography that suggests
to hold what it wants to show
fails its own test

by virtue of beauty’s movement

every step requires trust  

only the next step carries


earthling   i wouldn’t say
genetics doesn’t go deep
but that we don’t follow 
deeply enough   why
insist so on being 
apart from


that sakaki fellow   nanao   his first name
first language nippon   followed by biology and stars 
not to mention self taught english and a smattering 
of what he calls desert rat 

that sakaki sat in caves sometimes   sustained
by who knows what and green tea   he said first 

slow down   second   do a good job

Thursday, August 17, 2017

July poems

—July 7th—

There’s an old story
from well before digital,

where the knowing master
stops the novice 

at the gate, tells her
to practice more,

return in ten years.

She does.


A plane passes unseen
over the rooftop.  

A plane, plain and simply

no question, no need
for more

than this enough said:
a plane.


Ansel Adams Wilderness—8,900 ft.

Madera Creek runs strong. Scattered patches 
of snow, threatening clouds 
and the wide expanse

to peaks 
rarely seen from here.

Darkness falls. The creek moves, 
the tent’s netted walls 

make home.


“A few clouds, a few trees
have been your only companions.”

                                 —Chia Tao (779-834)

Chittenden Lake—1

Waking at six—the sun, the peaks,
the gauze-like half-moon 
in a pool of blue. 

Sing Peak snows hover a thousand feet 
above the ice-filled lake

and the roughened arc of cirque 
runs a ledge of pine and snow  
that holds the perch 
where I slept the night 

among the stars

at the edge of grace


Chittenden Lake—2

5 AM—before sunrise, the last star, 
            moon watching         

            are we not always
            at the edge, 

            just not awake enough 
            to see

            that way ?     


Chittenden Lake—3

The lake’s inlet stream 
runs from beneath a stretch 
of ice and snow

that runs from just below
the highest of the peaks, 

a rush of white sound 
that blinds the ears 

with a sense of ever-presence
that quiets inner tides 

with sense enough to hear 

lake lap rocks.

Differing ripples 


afternoon sun taking 
what all the lake 
will offer.


Down from the high country,
moving through forests
toward the trail head, 

we swim Lilian Lake, 
wade Madera Creek, 
stop for the night 

in a rock bound meadow

with time to linger 
with the thickened trunk
of an ancient Juniper Pine.

We eat, we walk and talk,
we prepare and clean, rest
and sleep—we look, we point,

laugh and smile—we hurt, we tire.
Same life, I think, differing circumstance.
Always a lot more to learn.


The last night of this trek is the first
I’ve not immediately fallen into sleep.
Outside the tent to pee, the Big Dipper.

The rain-fly will limit conversation 
with stars; but it’s always better to check in,
always better than not—you know, I’m here 
just the same as they, nowhere else, 

for awhile anyway. 


Sipping tea,
the mountain sits,
the man writes,
Heaven breathes.

Reading of Chinese poets
writing poems, writing poems.


I’m not convinced with plans, 
even suspicious, so have few beyond
the next coming day; but patterns
of focus do unfold pallets of pathways
of sensed conviction and root-free
intention—which means, I tend 
to just follow my nose.


What does it mean that mind 
is the true subject of poetry

and what does that say
of the religious 

who say this is theirs.

And is there a difference
that matters

before dawn,
before light appears

and is seen ?


July 23rd

“…I could not help
but chant out these brief songs.”

                       —Shih-shu (17-18 century, China)

After words…

The mountains make me sing.

I’ve been chanting now forty years
or more, more recently thinking
it had let me go; but 

the mountains
draw the heart in ways
that leave the breath 
little room to do
little more than turn
to voice on lips in song.

The mountains, they make me sing.


The only certainty is uncertainty,
unerringly fulfilling
all exceptions
of itself

—July 26, 2017—