Usually the plan is to
read and read and read
the poems of others, until
something strikes my imagination.
This often works, sometimes it is
just a word, like pulsating or
scramble, a pathway to completely
forget that my shoelaces are tied or
that these fingers belong to me.
Lost in the moment, obvious and
unpoetic, then again, also true.
That really so much writing is just
abstract painting, adding color,
a swirl, skip a line, then do it again,
and again, until the crickets outside
sound like laptop keys, and nothing
is lost, not these seconds, not the
clear air of night, not my quiet mind
making sense of time passing,
It is only a house, wood, paint, single pane glass windows,
but ten years pass and it is no longer ours, no longer
that two-story blanket that covered us in our laughter,
held our bare feet on floorboards that knew our family’s
groove, from Gangnam Style to I ain’t your mama, no I
ain’t your mama, not anymore. Sold, our Spanish
American War casa, Victorian era, master bedroom in
the San Francisco fog, where I daydreamed through
tree leaves and power lines, pondered this and that, scribbled,
loved and prayed on dark rainy nights. This place held
us in moments, just moments that always go on to the next,
the goodbye was always waiting, we left and it said hello.
when my daughter was young we flew a kite
from her wooden deck, bedroom balcony
she held the string, I watched wind
nearby leaves rustling, flapping
nylon snapping, waiting for release
to soar or sink, ever the question
on a day such as this
the two of us standing there wondering
what does it mean to fly away?
I let go, her twine wriggled through fingers
up and up it went
sun stopped for seconds
our fabric patch covering time
I actually want the time to show, let the world know that I’m that much closer to the abyss. Aged ringlets at the borders with brown, blonde before that, when hair was just hair. Above my ears a battleground, the grays sending sentinels, accumulating knowledge for the next attack. I stop and stare like Rembrandt with a ballpoint pen, pluck rogue whites from eyebrows where they grow as if I were a 19th century senator. Better than bald, some say, distinguished, the old compliment the old. Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice, my favorite Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young line. Oh but we do, ointments to push back nature, like pioneers clearcutting ancient redwoods. I look in the mirror again, as if it matters, as if I will be here forever, in wonder over the me I see. This face, this head, these gray hairs, human dust clinging to a self making meaning out of molecules.
Whiskers start in June
mostly black, some gray
pushing through skin
like sunflowers they emerge
carefree, unrestrained by razors
of other seasons
when they are scraped away
like speckled truth
man’s primitive nature hemmed.
Summertime, I let them grow for days
like a backpacker searching
for my lost youth.
Long hours of shadowy sun
my face like time
if anybody asks
I tell them that each month
I add one minute of meditating
to my days, accumulating silence
like pennies in a jar
until the day I’m