Saturday, December 31, 2016


Perhaps all roads not taken, all lives cast adrift still exist marooned in space and time. Each image of an image of a shadow’s shadow lurking at the edge of our eyes gets projected at every turn and passed on from one day to the next, from person to person, generation to generation – from time to desire and back to a memory that never goes away because it was part yearned for, part remembered, part imagined – a memory that can never go away because it never really was.

Maybe all unlived minutes, all conversations still on hold pulsate after we stop breathing in the way that underground water wells up and works its way to the surface by the pull of a dowser’s rod. But for now how impossible to reach them no matter how close we come: that childhood, bright summer sun shining up from puddles; that great unsolved love. They fade the way this landscape fades – a late forgotten pear hanging over golden meadow weed growing soft and dark.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

White magic

Perhaps their eyes are red, tense. When you look into them you feel a sudden shivering: those thieves and hunters that visit you when morning is near. You are asleep but not totally asleep. You are not yet awake – and you may fall back into sleep again. You are just on the surface, just near awakening.   

Maybe as you feel yourself being drawn to them, you see their eyes are alive but their faces are dead, so you turn away, steering clear of their hypnotic beckoning. Instead as you begin to relax you can’t help but catch the outline of your own reflection in the dark window glass of your inner eyelids. And as garden insects stop singing in the evening when the rains begin, and as eyes are useless, after all, unless there is something to be seen, suddenly, simply, you begin to see yourself perfectly.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Perhaps we are able to share because we have reached a point of overflowing. This overflowing eventually becomes a flood. By our own overflowing, the entire universe is filled and sooner or later we touch all stars. At the point that the whole universe is bathed, in us the earth feels good.

Maybe from up above, the lit windows of our modest homes look like a fallen constellation. Night air moves in the spaces between trees as moths make dusty circles around illuminated squares of brightness that glow far away from any why, when or how. So often we do not seem to care one way or the other about the sweet smell of late summer berries, or take the time to follow a wandering drift of unidentified sound. Yet on days in which a strong wind presents a challenge to us, we so easily open our mouths.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Looking Inward

Perhaps eyes are the light of the face. Movement is their nature. Just like a river, they are so alive! They continue to move even when we are dreaming. The whole night they are dreaming along with us, but they can rarely remember what they saw. 
Maybe eyes are the doors to our inner secrets, yet at any time, we can close them. But who has ever really looked at their body from the inside?  Beyond a blank sheet of darkness, a sensation of having totally gone blind – perhaps something greets us naked, toothless and hairless, heart newly opened, face turned upward, nose almost touching the pure anticipation of our open palms.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Perhaps if there are no objects, then light cannot be seen. Look at the sky, it is blue, but it is not blue. Only when the wind has scrubbed every cloud from the sky will it be a bright morning; only then will our eyes, straining like fan blades against the ceiling, begin to flicker - their sharp edges poised to slice through the wonder of this new day’s delicate cocoon.

Maybe a child sees the rising sun as a saw blade, or as a yellow circle with teeth. Lao Tzu believed that that which can be said cannot be true. As a result, he remained silent for most of his life. I will always wonder if he ever visited hidden rooms of forsythia, with their inviting, open doors of yellow star-shaped flowers, or dark mountains gathering dust from the sands of ancient Egypt, swallowed whole by trees in the nearly invisible rain that smells as bitter as aspirin and sounds much like a lid closing over a tomb.   

Friday, October 21, 2016

Suspicious Magic

Perhaps most artists have rarely used more than a little of this suspicious magic. Yet it is the key to any work of art, for if in your mind’s eye you cover it, the composition goes flat. It is certainly most difficult to use, yet for those artists whose primary interest is in announcing a remarkable moment, a time when light stood still, it is a small price to pay for the expression they are searching for.

Maybe while no work of art can be expressed with out a hint of the mystery of it, it is only visible in its beauty in moments of high vitality. Alive and thrashing, in picture form it is almost but not quite completely pinned down. As the outside creeps into the inside, it is difficult to see where it begins and where the work of art ends. It often sneaks up on the viewer unawares, and floats in a space like a magic carpet, unsupported by anything banal.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Adventures in Fiction

Perhaps a man spends each moment worrying about the next. Living is like running in place, a motionless motion. Panic is a sound behind a wall inside him, as moving is the only way to keep down thoughts of what he sees as what he sees becomes one unpleasant skin growing over another, growing another ignominious version of himself.

Maybe, with such sudden seizures of tormented manhood flooding upon him, he rushes to gather himself up. And although storms of anxiety grip his heart, he fights with the feeling. He once believed in common sense, yet his eyes have a strange glare in them. Big, hot, blue eyes set far apart. He bellows in a foreign, airless language, trying to keep some sense of purpose, but the compass he conjures in his mind has only a single arrow pointing to a direction the rest of us don’t recognize. This results in, well.....you probably already know.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Notes on Abandon

Perhaps as the past has left me and moved on, so too have previous versions of my body left me. My naked body, the days sweet and long. My entrapped body, I look at you and try to start a conversation but it is difficult for you to say anything. My ‘in love’ body, when I hear sweet songs and think of you I want to see you so badly but you don’t call. My relatively certain body, the elements so mixed up.

Maybe even as nature might stand up and say It could not be otherwise you still don’t believe me, body, as I wander through the garden that brings us together as one, fertilize seeds simmered in sunshine and smiles that I will always remember.  The lettuce is good, although everything else is sort of dying. You thought you’d seen the last of me, but here I am, in air that is warm and grey. Am I so alone? Here we go again. And what if I don’t even like the new you, here waiting for me? 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Seasonal Shift

Perhaps leaves are the shifting thrill and shrill of the tree, the talkers, the noise. But when might we notice the first one falling? Who will catch it as it sidles down, not just a rogue leaf but a marker, the signal of the real turn of season which is happening now?

Maybe so it is with us, the photograph that we wish to see does not exist. It would show the point of turn, while containing the low voice that slips below the seeping of the songs on the tinny, too-quiet radio. It would reveal the dishevelment of the day, of edges, surfaces, nuances, habits while paying close attention to the lovely redundancy of this yearly rearrangement of design which spreads and pools like a poured liquid, at once broader and more saturated than it ever was before.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Related Words

Perhaps receiving a pin that signifies your acceptance as a new club member does not discount spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean, in the same way that buying a coat that can be worn either side out encompasses all space and beyond. 

Maybe there will come a time when drawing the enemy’s attention away from a sneak attack will reflect changing the placement of two paragraphs to make your composition read more smoothly. And while refusing to get out of bed for a month is a steep price to pay for arguing about who got to the parking place first, forgiving your brother for borrowing your favorite music CD and losing it is energy moving out in all directions from the sun.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Birds at Dusk

Perhaps far beneath the earth lives the mysterious root of all things – not a shapeless clump but a beginning formed according to a pattern; glossy even when lodged under the weight of tumulus stone and soil.

Maybe any close examination of spot, stripe, notch, fleck, vein, color and scale brings us closer to what chases birds at dusk, flying against the wind in the high blue air; lingering fragments of fact disguised by often forgotten words that breathe life into the ever-changing face of things, the wildness–in-itself of all hills.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Everything Pours Forth

Perhaps when I wake I hear deer eating strawberries just outside the screen. Trees, soaked with the thick air of night, are heavy and hushed. As the light comes in sideways from the east over damp summer buds, I step into a room where I expect to find someone. How is it that we sometimes wake feeling nobody has ever loved us?

Maybe as I take my first step into words each day, I instantly fall into a hole with the sounds I make. Every longing that I have ever failed to see returns to me as a squinting of the eyes as I talk. In the end, everything pours forth – photographs, their history. Books, their ideas. Walls, their sounds. Fans, their flow of air. Beams of sunlight so thin I cannot see them. Some mistake in my heart, a dream of what is missing, that pushes me deep into reflection. As I grow closer to understanding, the more amazed I am at being here at all. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Maybe a Dance

Perhaps as I walk among so many gentle plants and animals that populate this meandering country road, the sun is sinking low as the slow circling scents of twilight settle above me, below me, on all sides. The lights from home glow warmly in the distance. They define the destination. In the end, I arrive.

Maybe a dance in contrast, goes nowhere. While it may begin as the perpetual play of dewdrops along a slippery branch of plum before shifting to a confusion of flying birds, it ends on a remembering of so much passing away, of wings folding up. It is as if all the books on the wall were feathers in a giant feather bed as I move my hand across the page and the images rearrange themselves.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Naturalists' Trance

Perhaps contained within birdsong are clues to events surrounding us. Here is water. Here are berries, the cold morning-stilled flies. Here is a passing airplane, the sound of frogs, a gust of wind. All are reflected in the chorus of the birds we hear, released from the perimeter of the approaching day with the crispness of sunshine.

Maybe with backs to the rising sun we raise our hands, spreading fingers wide. Much as words are anchored to the shapes of our shadows, colorful tints of inner singing rise high along the bright wing of this early hour, dissolving broad streaks of purple into yellow and pink; the blue of each thin, sweet note emerging from the grass further refining the brilliance of our love for the sky.


Monday, May 30, 2016

When Up is Down (guest post by E. Dōgen)

Perhaps when up looks up, up is down.

Maybe when down looks down, down is up.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cloud Within a Cloud

Perhaps there will be a soft, murmuring voice in the sound of the just-after. Nothing you can put your finger on, or name, or run to tell your friends about. A cloud will appear at the axis of heaven and earth, a hovering veil carrying the possibility of rain and the promise of life. Portal, or dark auspice? Though the answer is not revealed, it is not hidden, much as the bird’s path is the forest when dewdrops wet the early morning moon.

Maybe as we enter the cloud the reason we don’t see, hear or know of it is that it is not anything remarkable. Yet it forms the circle of our way and is never cut off. It follows the stream within, passing through us as the tea and rice of our daily activity. We set out to follow it. Is this old age, or not?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Bench Faces the Lake

Perhaps far out on the lake three small sailboats glide, tight white triangles of light no warm wind can loosen. Today the lake shimmers with the glossy blue backs of hungry swallows skimming the surface of the water. 

Maybe a line of geese walk single file across the picnic grounds. Reaching the edge of the lake they slide over rocks and slip in without a sound to join ducks and swans gathering by the dock. One handsome drake with colorful plumage makes way for a white goose with a rough bump on her beak. One brown female mallard is smaller than all the others.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Last of the Last (collaboration with Anna Kamieńska)

Perhaps as I look through my file of recently written poems, I read the last line of the last poem as if it were meant to be the last. How will it sound then? Will it reveal to me the meaning of all?

Maybe as we rush to the final point, the active gift of gathering impressions eventually disappears into nothing until only ashes of words remain. Poems pass through us like air, for this you don’t need more than a few words the cool breeze tells me. Arguments, disappointments, losses, suffering – this isn’t punishment, it’s almost a favor. Otherwise the poem would disappear and life fly away, requiring a more difficult clarity, a more imperfect order.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tomorrow Never Comes

Perhaps the sky calls me, the wind calls me, the moon and stars call me. The dance of the fountain calls me. Smiles call me. Tears call me. A faint melody calls me. Come, come! Everywhere and everything calls me, everyone that longs to fall in love with a lullaby, the length of a rainy day, the seven clouds above on the sky’s top floor.

Maybe when to be contained so joyfully in the world’s beam is a pleasant entrapment, dear feet and hands, lips and eyes, remember, it’s the right of all that live to have you here. Hiding in the pillow next to you, I hold myself tightly and whisper softly into my own ear, my mouth half-closed. It's as if something long awaited was just about to happen as I cradle my head in the hand of a name my mother used to call me - a beautiful word remembered from long ago.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Taking Dreams for Memories

Perhaps we long for the lifting fog to permanently soften the sharp edges of rugged tree trunk and jagged stone, to smooth lines etched deep under our aging eyes. In this way nothing is better than blur, soft like a child, lines without a blade in them. 

Maybe as the new goes on replacing the old, a pristine love arrives in us each morning, fresh as bird song after a balmy starlit night. It gently spreads through the air until a small wind arrives and blows it back to earth, note by note. Carried away by a quick-moving stream, it moves along and continues to sing wherever the water is going: a flicker of eyelid, a turning of cheek, a sudden unexpected touch.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Behold the Butterfly

Perhaps the butterfly, wings etched with stars, moons and suns, is nothing more than an expansion into lightless light, darkless dark. Once set in motion she passes from spray to spray along unkempt meadows where grass blades pushing upward are as seeds completing their shape; where the music of finches darting overhead composes a wordless song.   

Maybe it is in the form of a butterfly that we might most enjoy the springtime, dallying with leaf and flower as nectar rises in the rigid stems of blossoms bursting open within its flow. Before long a rustle in the grasses calls for our keenest attention, as here as anywhere the slightest pinch or flick of motion or sound conveys an impression of something living everywhere within, born of the same small twig of pulse.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reversible Universe

Perhaps sprawled in sunshine he dissolves, pours free of his shape. Sliding along her back and legs he fills her with the warmth of a shadow unmoored. Brief kiss, rough and real against her cheek he becomes one with all joy and ease, the one within her arms. He is the best of what is left for her: a little honey, a little sun.  

Maybe much as his fingertips once read the fine print of airy messages, she now proceeds with poise and self-possession, never again looking back the way she came. She misses him, yet refuses to be pulled in by grief’s pliable eye, and finds in each morning’s heart a home. Where is he now? some ask. Somewhere fluid and quick, not part of the sadness that sings in her, wrapped in knotted twine. He is part of night’s never-ending hum; the blueness, the newness, the spell of an endless summertime.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Perfume Saint

Perhaps while any poet can revive a wilted blossom or give the natural perfume of any flower to a scentless one, it may take a true saint to seize the color of there seen from here, the color of where we can never go, in which, without a word, the still here continues to flow into the dull, rushing sound that space and silence make, its footprints appearing as one unsleeping, ever pacing thought.

Or Maybe as the refreshing fragrance of rose wafts strongly from the center of her palms, the perfume saint extends her hands with a gesture of blessing which not even the flowers can touch. For as each person’s personal perfume gradually evolves, satin and sparkling as birdsong, if he or she will pause in the garden for long enough what is absent will soon appear as vivid and nameless as a bird in-between windows, not able to get out, yet not needing to.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

That Side of Life

Perhaps when morning sets in and the coolness of night moves out into the plumage of birds, we resolve once again to make a new start. Taking the hands of our sons and daughters we board a boat and sail off leaving the city behind until, as far as the eye can see, there is nothing else but sky.

Maybe here where we can write no postcards, we wonder, why is the sky is so grey? Is this the promised end? Along the horizon we glide as birds scarcely moving a wing, longing to cross into another age, to see that side of life that we could never see before. When darkness arrives we return to the lapping shore only to find the water has grown heavy and bitter with so many destinations to fulfill – water that tirelessly reflects the twitching lights of tall, glittering towers.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

No Enough in Nature

Perhaps there is no enough in nature. The winter grass is growing fast, yet who has time or desire to count the blades or tally even half the drops of winter rain that softened the ground to make way for them?

Maybe outside a fresh scent is drifting in the air. As it wafts through rooms of the house, across empty platters it comes to rest in a bouquet of flowers. Once there, it speaks to us. It says, the bright shower of good things is ever descending. It is all a giving. Enjoy it now. Let the crumbs fall (aren’t there birds enough to pick them up?)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Speaking From Afar

Perhaps only after taking a glance backward is it possible to pause for breath as I start speaking from afar, until the speaking takes me far, for what has been uttered is never the end but follows along the edge of a mourning dove’s wing striving not only upward but sideways, through and beyond the distance that drives her intentions so easily apart.

Maybe as my words are nothing more than stiff elbows protruding from the smallest softest chamber of my heart, even as so many excuses to not write them flutter their wings, a single sentence becomes the very compass that gives direction to my quest as I drift to the surface of this sandy trail so easily dissolved into broken thoughts and the hills around my house open out onto pencil sketches of early daffodils brightening the careful call of a lonely dove that slows the warming of this cold morning down. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Another Something

Perhaps there is another world, but it is in this one, where something silently waits for dawn and hides in the heart of a shining tide in a place where horses still harvest the sun. Before roads came like traces, it patiently breathed in clouds and leaned its dreamy spine against the thick sunset to bring back to us something like home.

Maybe as we wait by the shore this silent unspeaking watcher brings all into sand with salty hands that turn our souls into seagulls. Away beyond where there is nothing left to guess, each earlier wave born echoes the whispering more weaving hundreds and hundreds of rings of sunlight together before taking them apart.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Slow Fullfillment of the Flowers

Perhaps the moment the eye of the mind is filled with the beauty of natural things, from under a cloud shadow our thoughts emerge and ascend to the open glow of sky.  High above songs of winter birds fall like rain as we receive open hands of air tinted with the lonely blue of distant hills that enriches our blood and nourishes each closed bud alive in its cloak, each thin green bough hidden under cover of brier.

Maybe as the next refreshing wind will lift our hearts even further up from the trodden footpath of cold, hard earth we continue to carefully pick our way around dead ferns, decaying leaves and short grey stalks spiraled with thorns. In spring when hedges thicken green and meadows shine with buttercups, we will enjoy them all the more having traveled the same places when bare and having witnessed the slow fulfillment of the flowers.