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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 ...

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