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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, December 25, 2009

The Day I Met Anna

Sometimes as with
A twisted climbing vine
All the poems in my life
Seem inextricably entwined
Inter-textually speaking
To one another and to
My more slippery self

Each new stanza
Sends its gentle
Tendrils in short
Swift shoots

Now today
In your midst
For the very first time
I find myself
By the expression of
An entirely new twist
On the state of things

Perceiving how
It takes a subtle
Yet epochal shift
In a wintry light
To make an old suit of clothes
Still more comfortably fitting

Friday, November 27, 2009

Strange Epiphany in the Home Furnishing Aisle

In Walmart store 554
On the edge of the
Northern plains
I was unmindfully
Shopping when suddenly
Two flashlights in one hand
Apprised for just
Three ninety five
I felt keen need
Deep in my heart’s core
For something more
Though less tangible
Some utterly frangible
Token of long sought El Dorado

Wandering down
The home-furnishing aisle
Steadily advancing
Words bouncing off
A distant microwave tower
Honing in closer still
To encounter whom
Or what I knew might yet
Be applied to my flesh
Like an existential balm

I saw Norma Komali
Hanes and Fruit of the Loom
Unbeatable low prices for bleach
And fabric softener besides

Amidst this storehouse
Profusion with sparrows flitting
Swift as linnet’s wing
I might as well be swimming
In twilight so suddenly
I veered off track
One more casualty
To the uncountable
Chasms of impulse

Until a plain lettered
Sign recalled
My mind to order
With gentle reminder
That saving money
And living better
Go so well together

Which bathed me
In the light of the
Strict necessity
Of the manifold cartons
Of Quilted Northern
And White Cloud
Stacked and standing
Side by side
Each and every ply
To wipe the slate clean

Thus amidst the boxed
And stamped precincts
Of every day low prices
Wandering from aisle to aisle
I found sign of the nothing
That could best fill my heart’s
Many resultant exultant desires

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lines Spoken In The 7-Eleven Parking Lot

“All knowledge is local,”

Orion whispers into the wintry night

As he gracefully rises

And cinches his belt,

Preparing to march across

The dome stretched high above

The 7-Eleven parking lot.

“Because, my friend,” he says with a sideways glance,

“Ontogeny recapitulates cosmology.

And besides,

Please bear in mind

A blackbird sees you

Twice as distinctly, while you,

Always struggling to return such favors

With more poetic labors

Will never improve

Upon the blackbird’s view.”

Yet why else write,

I say to myself,

But to celebrate

This night and

This sky

And to commemorate

The words Noble Orion

Has spoken as he

Lets loose

Another shaft

From his star crossed bow,

And I take another sip of scalding decaf.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fullsome Flowering

What an artist knows
She knows in her flesh
With each turn of her wrist
Each inspiration and breath
She iterates space
With a knowing caress

Eyes open or closed
She feels joy in her bones
And sudden most sorrow
Stipples her marrow
So come what tomorrow
The stronger it grows

With the tip of her brush
She enraptures the rose
And captures swift life
As it ebbs and it flows
Through the harmonics
Of laughter and shade

From garden to pallet
By means enigmatic
She deftly reveals
A message hieratic
Inscribed on the petals
And leaves strewn below

Restoring us as
Beings who know truth in
What is and isn’t there
With such likeness that
We come round to seeing
More than enough
To overcome our
Autumnal despair

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ode to Picasso's Ageless Embrace

One fine
Chelsea morning
In May
Trekking along
The sunny side
We encountered
Yellow blossoms

Westerly we progressed
Placing a wisp or two
In the air
Behind the Christ Church
Drawn towards
A vision of
Late in life truth

I asked – do you remember –
Walking into
Gagosian first --
Standing in front of the
Blue black winged starling –
I asked if you could solve the riddle
Of the inner-most sanctum

And then we stumbled
And found ourselves
Before Theban gates
Reading a text
Of dream texture and
Pointing generally towards

Two spirits of single flesh
Oedipus and the Sphinx combined
In chalky Mediterranean light
A unifying vision of
The bicameral mind
Seen through the lenses
Of a compound eye

To higher power
Beyond the
Limits of mere frame
Each image composed
Of constituent parts
Yet selves themselves
Wrought by
Greater devising
Onto another plane

So pictures form clusters
And clusters form vines
And in this way
The world in its entirety
Climbs and entwines
In the mind
Of the aging Master

Arthritic in his studio
but unsubdued
By spirit of sparagamos
deeply infused
While obsessively retracing
the steps of
Les pas a deux
Of contrasting pairs

Like Maestro
Emerging from
Behind the easel
Only to find Monstro
Standing proud
Upon the stairs

And in the Gallery last
Suggestive of
Valedictory task
The Iberian Adam
And his loose limbed madam
Disport in utter abandon
Grappling without repose

Let peace everlasting
Be good and be damned
For genius notwithstanding
There's not a moment to lose
For losing oneself
In heedless embrace
Thus reaching a place
Beyond understanding

Where we may discover
The imperishable truth
Of you residing in me
While uncovering as no less true
Me deep inside of you

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From Whence the Urge Comes

One day while at play
Jack Dorsey suddenly
Felt distraught from
His good friends
Too long parted
Without knowledge
Of what path
They pursued

Through this labyrinth
He wielded labrys aloft
And with inner eye atwitter
He deftly brought forth
First thought of a network
At one stroke full formed
Of such enduring kind
Built on the glitter
Of social instinct

A status check
Around the net
To let each chime in
According her own means
About whatever she might be
Seeing and doing

From Athenian birth
Of this type
To prototype
Without pause or
Twitter soon outgrew
Obvious beginnings
Taking shape as
A mystery cult
All bounds
Species mastery
Over our own worst devices

Moment to moment
We worship in this
Virtual shrine
Perched atop
The world of clutter
Offering up libations
In a stream of perpetual chatter

Demoting and
Promoting the
The very need to speak
In manner both sublime
And ridiculous

From prologue to coda
140 characters at a time
We run the gauntlet
Of packet signals
Streaming to oblivion

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ode Composed on a Wireless Device

Fresh words unfurl
Out the front door
Down 28th Street
Two leashes in one hand
Moving westward
Briefly pausing for
The bend and the scoop
And the subsequent grasp
Of poop-bag deftly stashed

And the hurried return
To the representational task
Ever leaning leftward
Through midtown grid
By method oblique
With life-force inferred
From words overheard
In the street

Hey anybody got a cigarette
On 7th Avenue turn
To meet the next mind storm
As the nameless man complains
About the mosquito swarm

I’m like a crooked cop
On foot patrol of
Fame’s outer precinct
Prone to thievery
Of the sidewalk
Sights and sounds
And thus well grounded
By a steadying beat

With benign intent
But slightly indiscrete
Observant of the cleft
Mother tongue
And fingers adept
At wireless pit a pat

A walk around the block
Is far from a random thing
So filled with the sense
Of a positive return
Now an accomplished fact
Thoughts wrapping round
For the click and send
In six stanzas complete


Monday, August 10, 2009

Into the Polymer Sea

From Long Beach slip
The post-modern Magellan
Sails forth in fiberglass ship
Steering for the very heart
Of the Polymer Sea

Athwart the bow the midshipman
Stands on lookout for strange wonders
Boat hook in hand
Lancing into crystalline waters
Bringing forth baggies and bottle caps
And strands of a household mop
Splayed jellyfish style

Water so clear yet filled to the brim
With sun and salt bleached plastic
Stretching a thousand nautical miles
In the confluence of currents
Where blue whales once lazily sported

Longing to encounter a creature
By happenstance or selection
Fit to the niche
Of the plentiful Styrofoam bits
Oh Brave New World
So rich in appearance
Of discard broad on open waters
Rendered sterile and featureless

Thus Charles Moore journeys
Into the means of the end
Of the known world
Where plastic slowly loses its grip
Cajoled by wind and tide
Into diminishment

When comes the midshipman’s cry
At first sight of small atoll
A mere silicone fleck
In the sparkling sea
Dropping anchor and wading ashore
Moore proudly plants
Civilization’s flag on pristine strand
Only to discover beneath his feet
The blight once more

For the world entire on which he stands
Is Exxon’s answer to Murano glass
Crunching lively under tread while
Smoothed and shimmering
In South Pacific glare
He’s come aground
On thermoplastic
And so have we

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In the Portland Hotel

In the Portland hotel
Feeling oh so fare thee well
Blowing smoke in our midst
We tumbled astraddle
Both one and another

And we rattled the bed
Making love with a twist
Until quite suddenly
The world took a sinister shift

Though we remained
Undaunted and only burrowed
Deeper into the sheets
As if centrifugal force
Drew us closer together
At last falling asunder
We found untroubled sleep

Thus coming into possession
Of unexpected bliss
Through an almost unnoticed
Rift in space-time
A moment quite
And yet marked
By a deeper design

When energy without
The slightest warning
Embarked us on
A new path forward
Thus finding limerence
Through episodic reversal
And sea change besides

To which we in good turn
Would grow quite accustomed
Bringing forth a quantum
From the daily crumb
So that recto or verso
We’d get on with our lives
More deeply committed
To mundane tasks
Yet forever on the brink
Of the oracular

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Peaks Island, Maine

Here I find lingering peace
After the salt-sprayed deck
Of an afternoon ferry ride
Takes me by happenstance
To this distant rocky shore

From dockside to summit
Along a gravel wayside
Proceeds a short steep incline
Leading to an apogee with a perigee
Intimately entwined

Berries cluster then burst
In sweet conflagration of the vine
Earth’s axis of symmetry
Brings the verdant mystery
Into proximity as sublime

On the peak of Peaks Island
Surrender not to passing time
But hold the moment
As perfect recompense
For the long harsh winter
Soon to be endured

Let greater clarity of light
Beget greater clarity of mind
And in one sweep gather up
The entire harbor into
The pinnacle of this moment
In the fleeting-most summer
Of this northerly clime

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In the Garden Digging

In the garden digging
On hands and knees
Immersed with the worm’s
Unspeakable sense of being
In the many knock-on effects
Of a warm spring rain

It’s life that spreads
With Hellenic demeanor
But at pandemic speed
As what’s given and received
Falls into rough balance
Through endless exchange
Of soil and seed

No matter what you plant
Or where you
Place the fence
How well you weed or offer
Up alternative defense
Against bird and beast
The bounded domain
Lavished for so many days
With encouragement

Still abounds with an excess
Of tendrils and shoots
Devoted to the conquest
Of space beyond
The borders defined

I too have been infected
In both word and deed
By the spirit of the ambient seed
Rich in hope from
Travels wind born
With eye cast upon
A far distant shore

But here in the garden
In the warm spring rain
I’m content to traverse
From row to row
Cultivating nothing more
In style both
Alluvial and plain

By repetitive tasks
Falling readily into
The palm of my hand
Truth sprouts more
Exuberantly within
The narrow yet
Widening band

Monday, July 20, 2009

To My Rusty Red Wheelbarrow

If so much depends
on the fucking
red wheelbarrow
why not head over
to Walmart
and buy yourself
another? -- is the
backyard mantra
I mutter to myself
all afternoon long

But the message
I really want
to leave behind is --
be damned –
you must take
nothing for granted

And remember
so much more
on the trusty red shovel
and strong sturdy back
without which the
red wheelbarrow would
only continue to gather
rust in the rain

This old poem is a personal favorite of mine - an ode to my old rusty red wheelbarrow. Of course, it's with great peril that one dares to write a poem about a red wheelbarrow, in the rain or otherwise. But I happen to have a very strong connection with this particular wheelbarrow; I guess you could say we're joined at or near the hip. And as a result, I have learned a tremendous amount over the course of our long working relationship -- Qui transtulit sustinet!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chiang Yen Dreams Again of the Magic Brush

Through the long
Inveigling night
After perusing Ziprin
And abusing Excedrin
Enough to succumb
In greater haste
Into imperfect repose
Where I struggled to
Better compose
Myself according to the
Rhythms of receding flesh

More by way of vision
Than prosody
I summoned forth
A perfect stanza
The size and shape
Of a canister
Of coffee or rolled oats
But more translucent
A hologram in fact
A circumflex of words
Inscribed in light

Like Rubik’s cube
But rounded and mounted
On interior gears
Of allusion that revealed
Whilst grooving
With the supplest turns of
Wrist and tongue
Suggestive without leering
Of something else adhering
A further meaning

Point and counterpoint
Smoothed as one
The curator of the Lunar Museum
Stands to expound
On the delights
Of space-time progressing
Along the contours of his mind
The quod est demonstratum
Of the manifold nestling moons of
Diminishing size
In a medley that outshines
The beauty of a single
Setting sun

Well nigh
Unto the vanishing point
It lingered
Whence I awoke
Steeped in the knowledge
That Time had come round
So that I Chiang Yen
Might lay claim
Once again
To the magic brush