First page poems
There’s nothing quite like first page writing,
the cushioned fullness of the journal’s endless
possibilities pulling pen-point present
into free-range future, without lifting
from the page—both here and there,
then and now, this and that and whatever else
that sense and no-sense wholeness brings
into the field of living-into-dying reality we are.
The pen’s place, like the breath’s,
drawn by its own moves:
This moment, yes, is all,
though its move into the next
is all the rest.
The last of the cherries from the tree
next to the fence next to the stairs
to the yard, were deep red sweet,
these pits, here in the bowl
in the sink in the kitchen,
a thank you note
to next spring.
Words find their way first, we following
directions they take, our revisions
the exploration of where we find ourselves
Intimate with their own roots, words
tell us what we think, guide us
to what’s next, better
than we can guess.
I’ve let go the news pretty much
except for what I get from voices
living in the air in front of me—that space
the best to engage for me with what’s mine
to give. Light reaches around the globe,
but touches each thing where it stands.
Darkness falls without sound.
Complete in its self-telling, we understand
without having to hear.
gold-dust morning sunlight
breaks over the bay
fire-burst dazzle and day stars
turn the face
and steal its words
make it so.
I’m at that age now where friends
and acquaintances are dying. In the wake
and tracks left behind, each in their way
say what those old poets have said
all along—life without death
isn’t being lived.
The sun wakes slow, coaxing,
before its blazing, coaxing all things out.
Even the deepest crevices turn their darkest sides
into its coming—I’ve seen this
even in the bleakest deserts—before the blaze,
everything shows up.
Bahia de Banderas
Outside the closed curtains,
beyond the coastal edge,
the precipitous drop and depths
of bay waters answers the Pacific.
The perennial conversation
of the place of continents
in a world of waters—how long
they’re expected to last.
At the Marina, the calls of the boat men.
I’ve wondered if the slower pace is more
a function of a longer culture. Have you,
have you noticed the music air-born
at the end of the strings of the Spanish
spoken here—the pause, the lift
the time continued beyond
what outside ears
can hear ?
I know the shadows back home
where you’ll find smooth-skin madrone.
And knowing now their red fruit to be
edible, clearly remember the leaf-strewn trail
that goes there.
His face is square, mustache chopped
like his hair. Blue shirt, strong body,
he doesn’t look up as we pass,
bare sidewalk silent as the winds
I believe though, we don’t pass through,
no matter how it seems, we don’t pass
without notice taken—prayers,
like this one, are given
just for this.
What is it about aging
that only someone aging can appreciate?
Well, aging. Like when they took my face
and replaced it with that older guy.
The eyes seem the same, but for years
I’ve looked through them, not at them.
It’s happened to my friends, but I’ve not asked,
for fear of seeming rude—though their eyes,
from what I can see, are indeed the same.
There’s something about smiles too
that clearly elude the grasp of this mystery
among us, that makes whatever it is seem ok.
Tell me the distance is imagined, not real,
and I’ll believe, at least for a bit. For the least
is enough, for the while.
This early light touches without claim,
reveals what isn’t revealed without it,
asks nothing other than revelation.
In jungled foothills
streams always have something to say,
but it’s the leaves who speak first
for Paul—Puerto Vallarta
Returning from Old Town,
they droop over the roadway
like moon flowers
planted in the median,
lighting traffic either direction-
flow through warm night air,
elbows jutting windows
turned down to face-catch
the breeze, cab driver
unaware of the treat
In the garden across from the market,
bird song in the leaves, sparrows
flutter for grilled kernels scattered
among filled benches, emptying,
filling again—laughter, young voices,
traffic sounds, colorful aromas…
learning to fish without a hook,
tasting it all, the momentum
of the music, everything.
It rains late afternoons, floods the streets.
In Coyoacan yesterday, pounding hail
filled the gutters. Today, through the downpour
outside the window, an Azteca conch sounds,
Being ill at home is hands-down better
than being so away. I would die here well
too (he thinks)—looking out
houses scattered among trees scattered
across the hillsides, under the clean arc
horizon under blue skies
always anxious pacific fogs
and clear breaks of nighttime stars,
the first always right over there
looking back, as it does, past
my pointing finger, right into
at this writing,
that life hasn’t “left.”
can its “return,”
feel so vividly real ?
after Jerome Rothenberg
to say in every possible way
what cannot possibly be said
just as sun speaks clouds away
each word enters the world
opening in me