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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 ...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

梦蝶 灭 (Dream of a butterfly slaughtered)

Of the backfilled thoughts
Across so many years
That wear you out and
Grind you down
And leave you hoping
For someone who
Someday just might
Happen to reappear

Of a multitude of
Engagements
Past imperfect
And the ripeness of
Certain fruit of
First youth
So fresh you
Somehow sense
It may never be
The right time
To move along
Into another aisle
Stocked with
Whatever
Canned goods

The din we made
You and me
In the full idiocy of
Our over-privileged youth
Was more than loud enough
To shatter the peace
Of a distant afternoon

Deciduous or not
I ask myself
In circular fashion
If surviving doesn’t
Make me feel nearly
As guilty as you daily felt
About the pulp
You wrought
And those whom
You brought down
To their knees

And now that you’re
Gone and I’ve
Emptied my purse
Once and for all
I find myself
Standing here
By the check out counter
Needing to figure my own way out
Between the doubts and fears
Of loving you
Even so
After so many
Years

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ode to a Wife Left Behind

With apologies to Anna
For the none too literal
translation


Such a cold proud man
But perhaps you can understand
How he truly thought
He was following
God’s righteous words
With his righteous deeds

And what can he say
About his loving wife
Who once and forever
Lost her original name

Whether you think
The less of her or not
Just because she couldn’t
Keep from looking back

At the earthen towers
Of her native Sodom
And the childhood pavilions
She couldn’t begin
To fathom life without

Suddenly she
Looked to the rear
And I imagine
Once nimble her feet
Became rooted
To the spot
Captured
So they tell me
In a transparent tower
Of salt and tears

For all of you
Kind enough to ask
I’ve learned so much
About the insignificance
Of my own life
With or without her

But no I never once
Looked back
Nor have I surrendered
To the least regret
For what the good Lord
Commands
One and all
Must abandon
Though I miss her so much
The woman who ventured all
For a single glance



Poem for Mr. Apology

If everyone takes
More than a little
Whatever remains
Must sustain
Those left behind
For Tahnee
Among others
Following in your footsteps
While out for midnight
Postering

Attention blue
And white collar criminals
Attention you cheats and frauds
Attention sex workers
And pleasure seekers
Those with long drawn faces
And with smirking smiles
For ordinary people
With extraordinary
Secrets and regrets
Locked in silence
Most of the time

Not to speak
With mournful voice
But seriously inclined
While riddled with joy
In celebration of the
Perverse logic of we
Human beings

Being one-half animal
And the other half god
We can and must
Figure this out
As best we can
It could be worse
Much worse after all
And inevitably will be

From bombs
In the basement
Well accomplished
From first to last
At every art he tried
Of figure study in the studio
And daylight shaft
Falling on wooden interior
On the farther South Side
To know art
Is to know being
Both possible
And palpable
Everywhere
All of the time

But for now
Read these block letters
As I know you can
And rejoice in your
Exalted position
Atop the food chain
And please try to think
About what you ate
To get where you are
And what’s eating you

That’s right
My beloveds
Every last one
Of the great unwashed
Urban scum
Just call Mr. Apology
And let him help you
Lay it out on the line

Monday, January 18, 2010

To Lay a Body Down on the Water

Sometimes I feel
Like old Captain Sully
Trying to position myself
For an eventual soft landing
Held aloft by the wind
As if I’m dropping into
A bed of clover
Nose tucked up
Proceeding belly first

Yeah just like Sully
As he heads
Down the River
Attending to his task
Rudder in hand
In immaculate fashion
Unrehearsed
If you need to land
That contraption
Somewhere Sully
Please don’t make it
My backyard

From 5,000 feet
In the air
50 tons feels bulky
Unassisted by
Mechanical thrust
But descends more
Gradually than
You otherwise think
Would be possible
Held aloft by a
Column of air
Streaming down
From the north
Then turning sheer
To the east

Oh yeah
Just like Captain Sully
I want to lay
This body down
So gently on the water
With the wind
Streaming down
Sheer to the East

And I want to get myself
Into position
For that sweet soft landing
With the wind in my face
Held aloft by the ocean breeze
As I’m dropping into place
Nose tucked up
Proceeding belly first



Song of Winter Shadows

What I discovered
During this long cold winter
Looking into shadows
As they come and go
Is something I think
You should know

Shadows come
In many colors
But among all the others
You always find a blue

That’s what I’m telling you
When you look into
Winter shadows
You always find a blue

As the January day
Extends in length
The light softens
At the edges
And I look deep
Into the shadows
Where among
All the colors
I always find a blue

That’s what I’m telling you
When you look into
Winter shadows
You always find a blue

During winter more
Than any other time
Nature comes to you
Spare and uncovered
You look deep
Into her shadows
And there you discover
A rich world of color
And among all the others
You always find a blue

That’s what I’m telling you
When you look into
Winter shadows
You always find a blue

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Of the Rock Pocket People

with Heather and Ora
on a cold January day


So we navigated
From the south end
Of the Mall past the
Air and Space Museum
And then we alit
From the Honda

Fellow travelers with
Child rearing years
In the rear view mirror
Though child like
All the same
We encountered
An Ojibwe canoe
And central Arctic kayak
In the vast interior

Only slowly learning
To articulate
The latent manifesto
Of the poem indwelling
In such wide open spaces

Aligned dead center
In the nested circles
Of concentric rings
I felt there the
Indelible spirit
Of the tribe from
Whence I came
Captured by means
A vaulted ceiling
And the stones heavy
In my pocket’s bottom

Of brotherhood
And sisterhood
I mean to sing
These being the feelings
Most concentric
To the heart of
Any human being