Friday, July 7, 2017

Precedents


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 
seeing—

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…

Saturday, June 3, 2017

a few more, poems that is



April-May 2017



Rising early enough 
to see the big dipper,

after looking up, 
that is.
                                       

**


Differing hemispheres means 
vantage point, which can mean

a whole different world 
view—even the slightest tilt 

of the head can change 
everything, inside

and out—y’ see?
                    

**



The young jay swoops 
silvered flashes 

of blue and white, there 
where the old oak glistens 

rustling shades of green, there 
in the bottom of the ravine.
                                        4/13


**


Returning to the State campus,

sitting on a bench, remembering  
breaking a slip of plum blossoms 
from a tree aside the quad 

where the new library now stands, 
a young man with a smile approaching 
and asking what it would be like if everyone

did that—and I’ve not done it since.
That was the year the riot police stormed 
the campus from 19th Avenue, shields 

and helmets, long batons, some 
on horseback—that was the year 
we ended the war—that one, anyway.


**


And along comes the poet who suggests 
we follow the cast of words ahead 
through the careful view

to something not yet understood,

to be opened to the chance to be changed, 
to the chance to learn the kind of life 
this might mean.
                                                  4/15


**


April 22

I mean, isn’t every day
earth’s day?


**


May 2nd

Even before I’d asked,
she said

she couldn’t give me anything
the day hadn’t already.

The rest was up to me,
she said.


**


Devoid of pretense does not mean
deficient—the teacher leaning forward, 
so I did too, to hear him say 
he didn’t know, 
and smile.


**


The compassion possible
from the deepest sense 
that we have no 
lasting answer

manifests 
in the extension
of that favor 
to others. 


**


The way the winds come up
in spring late afternoons
and keep us awake
in sky star-studded and cold

and how newly planted veggies
held in light long enough
to forget winter’s way
thrive.


**


East-facing windows 
in the slopes to the west
signal the sky

with its own light,
the glistening kind, the kind
that speaks of cool-born clarity

or of morning fogs that falter  
when sky’s patience
begins to test itself.  


**


The pivot, they say,
for examining reality fully
is self at points of encounter
with world, 

working points that re-meld
with original continuities 
to spell resiliency.


**


—a poet from here in the west 
once said 

the organizing principle of the universe 
is deterioration,

which for humans 
is the primary reason:


**


May 19, 2017

Fifty years tastes like morning
free of clouds, sky blue
suggestions of summer comings
and marrow-deep gladness
unafraid of loss.

We share a flower from the garden.
Go for a ride.


**

5/20 Ben Lomand

The space an open door creates
allows the entry of leaves, 

shadowed and sun-struck whisperers
enter and presence

as friends—fingers loosen,
coffee cools

and a place not home
becomes so.


**


Cleaning up around the house
helps my mind get that way.


**


Two riffs of evidence:

Leaves are not fragments 
of trees’ systemic extensions of sustenance, 
but active parts of working processes trees are, 
wholesome movements within greater wholeness,

as can be said of our lives, never fragmentary 
ever, not even one single breath-pushed thought, 
or glance or act, or feeling, nor any single word 
ever dangles or falls itself alone.

*

Nothing to be done
means you don’t even
have to show up
to be here

now means as you are before
revisions conceal

your self-foolishness
from you

means your own vulnerabilities
given leave to rest

right where they are.


**


The place we make for ourselves
may not be the place we’d imagined
in the making, may not
be the better, even if 
anyway we decide 
to stay.


**


When we say life, we mean us—what else
could we mean, we call world.

Just because loneliness is not an abstraction,
does not mean we are not mistaken.


**


May 30th—overcast and cold, the window
in the room open just a click, so the breeze 
can find relief too.

I’d wanted for a long time to be Buddhist,
but found words beginning with capitals 
burdensome. Being too a poet, suggests 
too broad an interest in work
not of interest. 

So now, I light incense 
in the room where I write
and sometimes read, 
just because.

Though I continue to try to be responsive,
I’ve learned to prefer that company where

expectations near weightlessness.