Thursday, January 31, 2019



There are mirrors, throughout the house
reflection of whatever passers-through
and flashes that windows let, 

taken so easily in as if 
interior-exterior were passing 


like A R Ammons, my backyard
is my nation-state 

and perhaps the thousand-footer
a hundred yards or so beyond—

what else: well, you may ask
who A R Ammons is:


barges lay distant
on the bay

rain drops


the experience of experience
holds its own


“Firm ground is not available ground.”
                                  A R Ammons


The storm comes to turn the lights off,
leaves candles in place of stars,
heavy blankets, flash lights,
robes and bared feet padding
chilled floors leading to a toilet
that still flushes.


Sleeping deep
throughout a storm-torn night,

waking late
and long alone

where hours alone
take me—

waking from hours’ spell,
we’re told, will toll for real.


—A R Ammons…

“…we really are in a poetically inexhaustible 
world, inside and out.”


You can follow your own steps
back to the well. 

But where our feet have not yet pressed
is where something new can happen:
how the water tastes 


Verbal encounters of the first kind
enquire of both parties 
where they’ve come from
to reach here, but do not demand
spoken answers.


—Nature’s way

The oranges on the tree
across the street
ripen, fall and roll
often the entire distance

to our side, 

and if not damaged 
or crushed by parking cars,
are recovered, peeled
and eaten.


Tiny pink-red petals
blink from beneath
the tangled green
hiding the fence
holding it all.


The Buddha on the altar is wood,
from Bali, folded legs firmly planted,
holds the left hand horizontal in the lap, 
the right, center chest perpendicular
with the grain. Eyes lowered, 
not closed, thumbs meeting tips
of curled index fingers—impervious
to successive clouds of incense, 
all comings and goings, waits 
without calling my name.


—The arrangement

The car takes me
from A to B and back—I take it
from tune-up to tune-up,
fuel stops in-between.


In times like these, continue
doing what you love best,

even, especially
if you can’t remember what

that is.


Letting go attentiveness,
letting attentiveness do,

loosens loneliness
into light.


what it was
he sought, he
thought, nothing

which made it
all the more

In this world
not wanting
more is odd,
is suspect—

doubt arrived
but found no-
thing wanting.


Flowers do not visit other fields, 
but grow with all their might

for themselves:   their contribution
to the fields.


A R Ammons,
                —from “Poetics”…

“not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
summoning itself
through me

from the self not mine but ours.”

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Can it all be new?

                                              poems  2019

"The fundamental world of poetry is an inward world. 
                                                     We approach it through solitude.”

                                            —Robert Bly

Idle song

warm glow embers 
burst flames

shadows flicker clear 
a place safe


Family arrives
just as light leaves.
They bring their own.


It rained while we slept.
Puddled streets

and drip-quivering leaves


Morning coffee draws
lingering thoughts to the light
pulling pen.


the evidence:
a life.


Late in my teens
and early twenties,
my pose was “wild.”

This was before selfies.


Growing toe and finger nails
indicate nothing certain. So I’m happy 
to report my feet continue to grow,
flatter—but that’s not the point.


Who’s to know, 
I sure don’t, if these lines
are poems or not. 

They just keep coming.


This time of year the sun drops 
behind surrounding hills well before four 
and inside dims to fog-like grey.

Day is, but isn’t.

Having forgotten more than ever known
of chosen ism’s, I take care now to watch 
for what’s caught.

Only the fixed remains mistake.


The world is as we see it
and as it otherwise tells us.


Heart and mind—better still, heart the mind. 
That felt fabric denies all effort to deny
the warmth to be found here. 

Undeniable presence, the almost touch, 
the shape and curve of words 
that come about of this.


Obsessing for awhile over the density 
of poems proffered, returning the volume
to the shelf, letting residuals find their own
line to the page.


Refusing the sweep
of wind-blown branches, 
morning shadows wait 
for the sun.


Two days of steady rains stop
with daybreak, leave me


The slivered moon, the planet 
nearby, shine alone,
sky adding nothing.


Buddha’s name, this morning 
lent to yellow blossoms
on the altar.


Ocean-Mountain Zazen

we count
to return
to one

breath-splashed bowl
and the sky and the rocks
and the lichen glowing there
in rain-moistened air

speak those softened tones
winds reserve for friends


Sprinkles on my skin
where the hood doesn’t cover.

At the end of my walk, day’s edge 
seamless breaks:

sky never lies.


The answer

The wife catches signals too slight
to be caught in words, then says them
as though so obvious it’s clear 

they’re extra.