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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, March 29, 2015

Poem for Ken (composed on the long walk home)

Listening to you explain how
The dark forces of personal 
History gather themselves
Along certain fault lines
In our lives I realized 
Just like the deepest
Metaphors are those
In which we interpose
Our bodies directly
Without hesitation
Or relief not so much
Because of what we say
As because of who we are 
Finally we come around and
Must learn to stand our ground

Saturday, March 28, 2015

An Endless Winter

It’s almost April 1st and
There’s snow sprouting
In the garden again
Right along the same
Default lines where
The newly planted bulbs
Were expecting to grow

And what if James Baldwin
Was wrong and Captain Scott
Was right and it’s not the fire
Next time but an icy demise
That awaits us?

It seems so much the purer
As Nature’s ironic response
To our feeble attempt
At mastering the globe 
How April's shaping up
To be the coolest month
And this may yet be
The way the world ends
Not with a bang
But an endless winter

Back in the Cradle And Still Endlessly Rocking

Brooklyn is distinguished not only as the home for all true hipsters but also as the cradle of the American self-published poetry scene.  (Remember Walt Whitman?)  So this April 1st, we will be rocking the cradle and celebrating the arrival of National Poetry Month with a reading at the Word bookstore in Greenpoint.

For my part it will be a bit of a smorgasbord presentation.  A little bit of Musto and a little bit of Monkey King.  There will be a smattering of self-published and newer self-unpublished works.  Hope you can join us at Word and then afterward somewhere nearby for a drink!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Field Marshal of Spring

This time of year more
Than a millennium ago
The great Tang poets
Used to make their way
Around the willow parks
Surrounding the outskirts
Of Chang An in search
Of the earliest signs
Of spring

It became something
Of a game played by
The likes of Li Bai
And Du Fu to see
Who could lay claim
To prior sighting of a
Crocus breaking forth
From the ground or even more
Incredibly who might stumble
First on the sprout of
A wild asparagus spear

And it was precisely
Such a moment as this that  
My wife and I encountered
On our way home
This afternoon
As we rounded
The corner onto
Foster Crossing
And came across
This willow tree in our
Neighbor's front yard
That was lit up by the
Sun's retreating rays
As if from within
It glowed with pride
Having just signed up
For another leap of faith
This being the first day
Of Spring no less
With a rime of snow
Still dappling the lawn
And this willow was already
Engaged in vigorous display
Of the path forward

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Poem First Written as an Email to my Wife

I suppose death
Is something a guy
Could get used to
Sooner or later
Everyone does
The lights go down
In a permanent way
And all your credit lines
Get pulled too
But when all
Other means
Of communication
Have broken down
Do you think
We'll still find
A way to stay
In touch not-
As if life and death
We're nothing more
Than semi permeable
States readily or not
Overcome by the spirit
If not equally so
By the flesh

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Question Posed to My Nonself Which Oddly Enough Promptly Replied

How is the no-self
That much different from
Low self-esteem
When it comes
To accepting the truth
Of the world’s disregard
For the most heart felt
Of dreams?

Between the infinite
And the infinitesimal
Falls reality’s narrow
Band of shadow
Obscuring us
From all we
Otherwise yearn
To feel and be

Ode to the Yin Extremity

Last night was a full moon plus one so it rose in perfect splendor thirty minutes or so after sunset. Here's a poem I wrote in the course of my walk down to Weesuck Creek to watch it happen.

*  *  *  *  *

Announced by
A faint corona to the East
There’s just a snout
Of amber light
That first breaks out  
Above the horizon
Nothing more than
A flickering presence
Through the tree line
A Chinese lantern  
Pulsing and molten
As it filters through  
The cloud bank too

Not so much seen
As felt in all
Its Yin extremity  
Slowly the full moon rises
Ever at the ready 
To seep through
Whatever veil or scrim
Reality chooses to
Throw in its way

A glowing Gestalt  
That fills in gradually
Only as it ascends
An inch or two and
Takes possession
Of its abundant powers
In presiding over
The vast expanse
Of Weesuck Creek  

Over the swans sleeping
In their saltmarsh dens
And the shellfish beds
Lying in sessile splendor
Under the luminous blanket
Of yesterday’s snow
Now all held in thrall amid
The March moon’s glow

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Suffolk County Snowscape

Tonight in a snowstorm
Riding home on the bus 
I could be traversing
The surface of the moon
Or a dreamscape in which 
Each twig of each passing
Branch has been
Precisely articulated
In accordance with
The exercise of
Its own free will
Just as I myself have
Attained to my present stature
Under the fading influence 
Of available daylight

A Poem - written while walking along Fourth Neck

An email arrived
Just now alerting me to the 
Quogue Library's early closure
On account of the snow fall it seems
And here I am traipsing around again
Down at the end of Fourth Neck
Notebook in my left hand
And right hand pressing 
Down with a vengeance
As if somehow a firmer
Grip will better fix
The ink to the damp page
While the snow keeps falling
Not so silently in fact
Since I can distinctly
Hear after a great fall
How it pings the
Notebook's pages below