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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Poetry of Ellipsis

What’s forgotten
And left unsaid
Defines a poem
Inside my head
Of the very purest kind

It's the poetry of ellipsis
Composed of words
That slipped away
Before I found the time
To scribble them down

But who can see and savor
What's on display inside
The museum of forgetting
Who can hear the holy bells
That peal without a sound
Or pay homage to the relics
Lost amidst the landscape
Of forever shifting clouds


Last night I spoke with Allan for the first time.  Actually, it wasn’t much of a conversation.  We stood on a mountain top.  Marissa was there too, standing off to the side.  I was looking down at a sea of clouds – a beautiful ever-changing field of display.  I noticed one cloud in particular that looked so painterly; strangely it was the cloud’s interior space that defined the image, while the cloud’s exterior served as the picture frame.  An image emerged within that was defined by the negative space, where the cloud gave way and we could see only blue sky.  It was shifting about, like a Keith Haring figure, dancing, arms and legs undulating to the rhythm of wind and sky; somehow it managed to be both a still life composed of the deep blue sky and yet fully animated as the cloud continually transformed.

I wanted to point out this masterpiece to Allan, hoping to impress him with my artistic sensibility.  But I found myself tongue-tied.  I couldn’t remember Keith Haring’s name.  All I could come up with was Jean-Michel Basquiat and then, while I struggled with name recall, the image altogether disappeared.  And then I woke up and wrote this poem.  What's forgotten/ and left unsaid/ defines a poem/ inside my head ...

  (For those of you wondering who Allan is – he was my wife’s first husband, a brilliant artist I never had the chance to meet.  Marissa and I are now working on a podcast to tell the story of Allan and the Apology Line, the conceptual art project that was the masterwork to which he devoted the last 15 years of his life.  You can read more about Allan and his work  on my Apology Line blog.)   

Saturday, September 7, 2019

In the Empire of Rustling Leaves

for Diane Seuss

Here close to the center
Of the known world
I administer to an empire
Of rustling leaves

The world is wordless 
But far from silent
Alive with the music of things
The arpeggio of wind as it
Plays up and down the trunks
Of nearby oaks and elms
All the while conducted
By some sightless being

Of each acorn drop
The squirrels duly take note
Nature abhors nothing
Not even a vacuum
But chooses rather to fill it
With a harmony of
Ceaseless pings

Birds are not not-birds
Except when they tweet
Silence offers nothing but
Always comes complete
And the great awakening  
Is really no awakening at all
For although mind may be stilled
The world itself keeps singing

(not sure of the source of this great photo)