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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 ...

Monday, December 31, 2018

For Marissa - New Year's Eve/New Year's Day

If you were to break glitter down
To the subatomic level
Do you think it would
Still shimmer all the way
To the bottom rung of
The ladder of visible light?

Of course it would!
The quantity of pixie dust
Is not strained
But is distributed
Roughly in equal measure
All through the universe
Which seems to consist
Of one particle glitter
For every million of grit

With certain exceptions
For pooling and puddling
Here and there
Yet even so
Wherever we see it gathering
In greater concentration
There we can infer
Lies the growing tip of
The homunculus rising
The very sparkle of life

All that glitters is not gold
Yet still it may hold far
Greater intrinsic worth
Than all the fool's gold
Locked away in the vaults
Across the vast glittering earth

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Plot Summary for Next Week's Episode

Suddenly the story lurches forward
Along with a quickening of the pace
Concentric circles alone
Don’t make a champion
But hitting three rings on
Your first go is no
Cause for disgrace

You had hoped for
A golden scarab
In the dead of winter
But all you heard
Was a stink bug
In the rafters high overhead

This is one of the early poems from my new collection, which is being written in the form of notes that I'm sharing, in real time, with the show-runner for the upcoming season of my life.

For Mom - after a first visit to Academy Point

With a command view
Of the Mystic Harbor
End of life is a time of life
With an idiom all its own
As the fire banks lower
It shows us how to re-calibrate hope
Downward moment to moment
Taking comfort in the ebb and flow
Of the Mystic River itself

*  *  *  *  *  

It's all assisted living
From the midwife's first slap
To our dying embrace
The passions we lay claim to
As our own most assuredly
Are merely borrowed from
Some ulterior place
All the closer to which
You now reside

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Reprobate's Son - less than wholly transformed

It's not just anyone but
The reprobate's son who
Has been less than
Wholly transformed
Across several lifetimes of regret
In each and every case
Having waited patiently
To see just how long
Virtue was going to take
Before taking good hold
Still waking up stoned and
Occasionally dreaming of Zhuang Zhou
And otherwise alas still
Seemingly possessed of
A passably translucent
Pair of butterfly wings
For whenever they might
Turn out to be needed

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sitting in Chan

Sitting in Chan
Open to stillness
Is both the hardest
And easiest thing to do
It's the event horizon
Where discipline and
Effortlessness converge
And where intention all
But disappears while the
Center reigns supreme

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Songs for the Here and Now (for Osip Mandelstam)


Here and now come
 Little magnolia buds
Set hard against
December’s frost
Saving their best
For springtime
In truth the future can’t
Come soon enough
Once they have laid down
Their downy nubs


As we journey along
We strive to be
Better attuned
To the here and now
Yet sometimes that too
Seems overly confining
 As if we’ve been trapped
Inside these two boxcars that are
Coupled together and rolling
Along a circular track


Peering out through the slats
 What we truly yearn for
Is to soar like the winter geese
Wherever they may be bound
We too ultimately belong
Only to the cloudless sky


The noise of time
It comes and goes
The more we hurry
The louder it grows
Until it subsides
In times of repose

But even then
It will flare up again
And can't be denied
We must surrender to it
Like a tinnitus
Rooted deep
Inside our brain

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Poem for a December Morning

A beautiful morning on December 1st.  The sun rose in the east much as expected.  Diadems of frost shimmered atop the spare stalks of winter grass. Was it a slug on its last prison walk that had drawn the dazzling paisley pattern on the sidewalk before me?  A troop of turkeys gathered and dispersed as I advanced. And for no good reason I thought about William Carlos Williams and composed this little poem.

The news that may be found in poems only
Faintly resembles the silence broadcast daily
By the blade of grass and ear of corn
So you may peruse some verse 
If you wish to be informed
By second hand whispers 
But only wordless in the presence
Of nature can you hope 
To be truly transformed

Photo courtesy of DeviantArt