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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 ...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My First Foreign Language Poem

Here's the first poem I've written in another language - in this case I started with Spanish, which is my first second language.  Here's what I wrote:

Belleza continua adelante
Sólo una milla de ancho Pero no obstante sigue siendo  
Mucho más allá de la piel  

- La Flor Azul Poeta

And here's my attempt to translate the poem from my first second language back into my first:

Even if Beauty continues being
Less than a mile wide
It nonetheless remains
Much more than skin deep

-- The Blue Flower Poet

This is actually not a composition that originates with me because it turns out that these are the exact same words the samurai is reading that had been inscribed in fine print on the inside lining of the cherry blossoms in the Japanese scroll painting shown below...

On the Creek Adrift

As the egret wades 
Out at slack tide
In silhouette
Every aspect of its being
Into a single
Looking straight
Ahead towards supper
So my bowsprit
Splits the difference
Between here and now
As the kayak slowly drifts
Out towards the inlet

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Almost Memorial Day

Oh what's to become of us
Now that Memorial Day
Is all but here and gone
Yet neither the earth
Nor I stand ready
To receive summer

The cherry blossoms are
Barely gone leaving me staring at
A few glaring bare patches on the lawn
And the fig tree’s leaves
Still remain unfurled
From end to end there
Is endless and growing work
Waiting to be done

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Poem for Frank

This poem was written in a moment of serendipity experienced at the neighborhood bank tonight on the eve of my 58th birthday. 

Tonight at the bank
A succession of signs
Presented themselves
In quite linear fashion

First the ATM wished me
Happy birthday which I found
Frightening enough that old
JP Morgan even knew or cared
Quite so much 

And the next thing I knew
JP was thrusting money at me
In a most peculiar way
More so than I could have
Ever hoped or imagined possible

And then to top it all off
He asked me if there
Was anything else he
Could help me with

At which point
I showed presence
Enough of mind 
To ask for at least
One more good year
For the both of us
My dear brother
No matter how
Outlandish a request
That may seem to be
To make at the bank

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ode To A World We May Not Have Lost After All

Nietzsche tweets
And Zarathustra speaks
Thusly: The Word is dead
Long live the word!
I don’t think I’ve ever
Heard anything more
Absurd in my life
And yet that’s exactly
The way it goes lately

Why just the other day 
A young man
On the street corner
Explained he was in the grip
Of an intense though perfectly rational fear
About how ever since 1997 the storyline
At Marvel Comics has been
Spinning out of control
With parallel universes
Coming and going
With abandon
So fast it’s impossible
To keep track

And only now I realize
That’s exactly the way
I’m starting to feel
Though not about Marvel
But about the myriad
Strange creatures and myths
Populating my own storyline

The center holds onto
What exactly?
The extremities I suppose
And what do the extremities
Hold onto when they're not
Sleeping or otherwise indisposed?

Here we've all been living in the grip
Of the poet's most powerful illusion
That one day things were otherwise
That order once prevailed
But it's always been the same
As far as I can tell
It's always been a mug's game
For king and pauper alike
We just make the rules up
As merrily or not verily
We keep rolling along 

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Mockingbird's Cause for Lament Late Friday Night

One more reason
To feel forlorn
These days is that
We lack recourse
To blame or beseech
Anyone but ourselves
For our failings

In days gone by there was
A vengeful God to rail against
For the plagues visited upon
The Nations of Israel and Islam
All equally attributable
To a higher power

But now we are forsaken
As we hurtle towards a doom
All of our own making
Devoid of even the
Flimsy power of prayer
To halt its advance

Ask not for whom the mockingbird tweets
He tweets for us all night long
Tirelessly with his song