Monthly Archives: March 2015

Warrior Poet

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is ninety nine
and still writing poetry!

His faces appears like a smiling Buddha
in the ephemera of the days news

still calling out to our better selves
to be the angels we forgot we were

still telling us to save the world
by loving it harder

like an Old Testament prophet with
a funny hat and a sword made of words

Practicing

I tried untangling the drawstrings
on the folding window blinds–
someone left them tied in impossible knots

I spent hours sorting the pieces
of the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle
into piles of guitar fragments

Fender logo, fretboards and lots of
black background nothingness until slowly
an autographed Strat showed itself

all curlicued happy snarls
and whammy bar and sidemen
drunk but still wailing eyeing the blond

at the bar who would make the night in a Tupelo juke
less like a box of rusty car parts
and more like a savage night run across the delta

in a growly Mustang hand on a tan thigh
tongue in ear mistake worth making a thousand ways
all the pieces fitting together all the guitars friends

who forgave my decades absence
while I worked on drawstring knots
making a Tibetan mandala out of sand

again and again and again
on my knees in red robes
practicing breathing like I didn’t know how

Nothing vs. Something

He who does nothing for others does nothing for himself.

–Goethe

Finding Symbols

“The craft or art of writing is to find symbols for the wordlessness.”

–John Steinbeck

By the Port

The day says wait for my signal.
Both gladness and grief
seem indistinguishable
from the wing beats
of geese leaving the river.

All memories want to rise
and enter the arena.

How I loved the hoof beats
of summer trail horses!
Their creaking leather saddles
warm from the sun and smelling
of barn hay and brown soap.

It was an ordinary day
like this one when my father died.
The worn red carpet
in his church gleamed.
His old organist called from far away
with smiling eyes and a throat
as parched as winter.

Far out on the marsh an egret
like a priest in the stubble.
I walk to where I can see
the shipping channel
and try to throw a stick to the end
of the first row of pilings.

The stick a bird circling low,
then rising slowly over the water
as effortless as a child
reaching for the breast after sleep.

Chemotherapy

She holds on to the day
tighter than a lovers
embrace on the jetty

while her oaken fingers
harden like sea ice
into winter honeycombs.

The night nurse’s
chemical embrace
loosens her grip somewhat.

She stands on tiptoe
peering over the railing
at India rising from the sea.