Friday, May 17, 2019

Here and there, April into May

Just as currents eddy and pool round ankles
and hoofs, round the lilt of tongue 

on the waiting face 
of morning’s lake, 

the ears that hear these curls
drink in

the awareness of our living.


After-rain chill, sky glittering blue,
and the hills, there, fresh spring green: 
what else, what other, could I want to be ?


My good friend walks with me, 
asks to see me, but the door is jammed
with words that no longer hold meaning.
Having run too far, too often, I think 
it’s time just to sit.


Not so sure what other to call 
this tiredness, but deep in bones 
that need only sleep. Body’s warmth 
thrown over itself, the rest left to dream.


The wind needs room this morning,
pushing limbs and branches, brushing 
through flowers and grass, leaving
nothing untroubled, nothing of itself 
behind, but what we breathe.


Watching the spider
slowly work its way down
and across 

fully extended bamboo blinds, 
stopping to inspect 

each connecting thread
supporting the whole, 

wondering what in the world 
I’ve managed to learn 
in this life.


In the museum, Monet, an old friend 
again met, echos of articulations
of time and space, color and flavor, 
all remembered, all new.


Pissarro doesn’t allow distance
to deter what exists in the depths
of painted scenes, 
but you have to step back
to see that.


Awaiting take-off, snow and ice
stream and blur the plane’s windows.
Chicago’s version of spring, confusing 
expectations of Washington’s blossoms.


Fundamentals: step out, look up—that’s it !



There’s this
subliminal hum
of recognition.

Even if, even when
going along, that hum
signals going further
or getting off.

The warm-glow feel
of going it alone

found center quiet.


For me, the reach for belief often fails, 
not for lack of want, but lack of root.
For me, doing itself is the surface trace 
of source, thought a layered mist. 
It’s not about making, but finding, 
a different patience, witness, 



Warmth and light from the muted sky
fill the east-facing window as readily as 
full-foliage trees reach into spring. A block
from Metro, our lodgings edge cobblestone
walks in Old Town, digital buzz and hum
rolled under the muscled runs of real trains 
nearby—old, they say, but still here. Like me.


The garbage men service the hillside streets
on Friday mornings—we share this space,
dark and light, winter to spring, summer 
into fall, like this: we pass and wave.

This time, as we passed, low-slung overcast
began to lift and part, as if to reveal
sky’s deeper promises…

but we just waved, anyway.


Canyon Buckeyes show the fulsome circle
summer opens to spring, white pirouettes
of dense petals, deep foliage green
and the dance of senses.


I write with a ballpoint pen
that’s nothing you can discern
from where you sit, any more than
I can tell where these words
that lean along thin blue lines
really originate either— 

even if I sit here thinking it’s me
doing or following, it’s actually perfect,
not purposeful, but actually perfect syncopation, 
continuous happening happening here, 
me-here, wholly-in-part-with, world’s unfolding,

pen drawing, moving hand, sitting, thinking
—all nominally me, mine, words even, 
even if but for a time—but really…

An acquaintance once said his wife 
was a Christian, which he said 
he admired and aspired to, 
if but only inconsistently.

If asked, I assent to being a Buddhist,
but more and more experience
discomfort at saying so of myself—

it’s in part the inconsistency,

but the suspicion too, the conviction (?),
of something other going on,

fundamentally illusive, but fundamental, 
more true, really.


—Masanobu Fukuoka

That cagy old farmer once said this about that: 

“It is like clapping your hands and then arguing about
which is making the sound, the left hand or the right. 
In all contentions there is neither right nor wrong, 
neither good nor bad. All conscious distinctions 

arise at the same time and all are mistaken.” 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

One day...

                          —April poems

And one day the world comes in from somewhere, saying 
something or other about this or that, and, well, a draft pulls 
instead of pushes, and even though you trip on your own
resistance, you’re out there—everything’s changed, no going 

And then later, a long later, maybe, you realize how little
you’ve done on your own, remember how steady the pull 
has been all this while, and how the light has lingered, even 
if scattered sparks, lingered throughout the arching reach, 
the presumed maturity, 

and you feel (you know by its pull), you feel the world wanting 
again, and this time you know 
to lift your feet.


Never just this or that,
always everything.


The moon, just passing full, takes the quiet sky
to the west. No struggle, no other—neither us, nor them. 

Sky’s lead is empty, empty enough for whatever fullness 
might dare to dream.


Mist and rain…

Walking later than usual this morning,
as garbage trucks make their noisy runs,
parents their illegal turns to drop the kids,
as new growth shows past dull green old. 

Unable to figure the so what, or ah so
somehow warm with it all, this morning,
later than usual.


The open eyes of morning call fatigue
into filtered grey light

like freshly washed underwear, clipped 
under loosely stretched line, 

white flapping winds and two wooden pins
determined to stay put, 

till everything is ready to get on
with it.


How many morning walks more,
old man—furtive moments
of unlimited exuberance 

signal pure illusion now, we know—
but take their extended hands anyway,
I say, welcome each next on its own


The parent part never leaves,
so they say, and so it seems as 
true as true can be, as they say
it to be, and I’d say I’d not have it
any other way, not even for a day.


Finding you’ve finally arrived
and it’s where you started

may be classic, but nonetheless
happens—to wit: duh..

thud, foot hits earth, breath
passes nose, both ways,

forever leaving-always returning,
always here but going everywhere,

final exit, a return,
leaving body its return—

Buddha is said to have touched the earth
and said “I”

If he was thirty-five,
what’s taking you so long?


I mean, flowers attend
sun’s doings, which feeds
bee’s needs, which feeds 
flowers doing attending.


Grey overcast dominates,
offering only silent shadow,

asking nothing, making no demand
that anything give 

more than it would
to fullest light,

yet each does—

working harder
for more light, 

most all of us,
is who we are.


The hills in the light just after the sun drops
show of winter, shades of green that reverberate 
so intense one might think golds and browns
would never return, might think it so true as to point 
with certainty at the way of it, and think 

this the mark and fitting end of the song,
only to wonder, perhaps, perchance, 

at some distant, almost imperceptible humming 
still heard.


Primary things
like earth, like breath,
rhythm, motion,
stretch and retract,

sound made, sound heard,
seeing, being seen,



Clouds completely gone, 
crisp and blue and empty sky
carries the train’s voice,
somehow always a surprise—
peripheries of purpose.


For India

The cheap pen
from the expensive college

slides the page no more smooth
than the cheap pen from the school 

and office supplies department 
at the pharmacy,

although the former does admittedly 
exude certain gravitas and pride 

for the grandparent here now 
pushing it along.


The telephone poles 
in town are still made of wood.
The woodpeckers know.


Easter Morning

And where,

when gone,
does wind

go ?