Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Changing Sky

The sky went from blue gray to gray
not a big change really
but a subtle change
that turned the hillside back ten more years

This morning it was white and brown
those clumps of soft furze
against the snow

You could feel the crows hidden
on their branches
beneath the intermittent sun

But now I think of budding childhood
when the idea of sledding
was more fun than the sledding itself

To walk along the treeline
inhaling the fresh cold air
arms open to tomorrow

That magical grayness
alive in the crunch of snow
beneath my feet

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Time Traveling in My Room

When I lived in the orange building

I watched the sun rise over the mountains

the mist come up in the valley

like being in a sea of clouds

My little dog woke me each morning

tail wagging pioneer

I always followed exactly where she led

When I look across my room

at the painting of my home

I feel a peaceful comfort

and miss my dog

Once in Arabia I walked

two days without water

sometimes sliding down the sand dune

enveloped in my white cotton robes

A few people would wonder

about this maybe

but still to drink that fine

water from a pale hand

was paradise at the end

I don't have a painting of those two days

except in the cavern

of my mind

with its fat golden candles

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Musings While Waiting for a Friend


The green passage
you stoop down
and undulate
the rushes wave
and part for you
faint music

it's always been there


Center plum
black agents
of dawn

We think too much

The drum beats
all by itself
under sporadic hands
cadenced for two
the human way

Forborne / forlorn
eeeeks emerge
along the space
between the ears

it feels good to say that


Ummm is a specific
word to use
for conveying


In my sneakers
under the socks
is a certain memory
when I was young
and thought myself old
I used to push
just one more mile
to please the color red


White wine is a
crisp occasion
if jazz
if poetry

(not this poetry
especially but any kind
where you can stand on the
stair step and
look down into dark
fecundity in all its

if art.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There are Worse Things than Death

So here I sit, while aging gracefully
In three rooms that suit me very well
Wondering what will happen in the years ahead
When Social Security dies or is taxed beyond
The cost of necessary rent and heat
Will we choose between food and vitamins?

When Medicare doesn’t cover a massage
New glasses, reflexology, or natural remedies
Will we sicken soon and die?
When we cannot pay the rent will we go
To nursing homes with chemical food
Stale air, vile medicines and shots?

Perhaps our generation is scheduled to die off
Infected by selfish corporate lies
Working until 70, just to live
And then no recourse but to heel
Beneath the wheel of the AMA,
The FDA and the other evils of the empire

Our ideas have always been too wild
Our passion way outside the box
Once retired, we might actually do some good
Write plays or music, books and stories
Even a well-inspired painting
Can change a world

Maybe I’ll go back to northern India
And live in a one-room shack
Where the nearest Ayurvedic doc is a block away
Where the night is dark and everywhere is music
I shall miss my friends and all the other
Seniors living on the street.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


High functioning disabled
Habits ingrained just wrong
The gamut of mental gears
Once removed from a love song
Incipient tears
Somewhere to belong
In the dream real or fabled

A resounding call
To sanity once remembered clear
To be or not to fight
Mine fields in fancy dress appear
Attempts to etch in stone take flight
Wind scours the radiant fear
Chameleon on the wall

The promise of all art
I cling to truth
The book unread
In unrepentant youth
the lady with no back inside my head
The pirate with his sharpened tooth
Come fill my heart

It's not so far to fall
the inspiration so enabled
Deep inside the mind
The answer many-gabled
the pride, the price, the path to find
with all my horses safely stabled
I come on foot or not at all.

This is an experimental stream-of-consciousness poem with a recurring a-b-c-b-c-b-a form. Feel free to leave a comment if you wish.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The stark white sense of place
What else is there
Not quite emptiness

The end of innocence
The end of death
What else is there

Many are called and
So few chosen
Who can decide

Fate reaches out
We grasp the hand
That’s closest

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Road Home

The golden clouds
Tease the landscape
With their fond reassurance

How I remember the road to
Nam Tso in the summer –
The crashing stream
Running happily beside us

No Nepali music
Will ever sound
So good –

The road beckons
Longingly with
The summer’s heart.

How does it know the time
Will flow to the end
Like a river?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Maxfield Parrish Sky

Under the canopy of clouds
Where dreams migrate
Across the sky
Every possibility is rampant
Fishtailing with glee
Outwardly the quiet procession
Inwardly the explosive joy

In gold and white
Against a sea of blue
Those etched yearnings
Filter silver linings
Soft to the touch
Like the scales of magical fish
The present moment filled to the brim
With promises that need no tomorrow

The heart soars
All edged with grace
He knew he tasted he painted it
So well
Dear Max.

In honor of his birthday which was yesterday, July 25th.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Island Moment

In the silence
chattering frogs
twittering birds
dog barks
fan whirls
faint steel drum
screechy parrot
dogs in chorus
insect song
trees' interior conversation
in a slower time zone
time dance
rain's a'coming
rain's over
wet and happy

Monday, June 28, 2010

Turning Up the Heat

Nestled in the creases
Salt and sweat
New dirt
How did we forget
This summer season
So persistent

Like a drunken mother
Lurching toward us
Speaking too loudly
Stumbling as she
Reaches to embrace
Not her fault
The poison

Love is there
As strong as ever
Maybe stronger
Tinged by panic
Then – is that a shrug?

I see her cut her losses
Let it go –
Like childbirth
All the waves and storms
And fiery ruptions
What the hell
It’s meant to be
This purge
This cleansing

We may be ants
Upon the elephant
Stars in the distant sky
Embryos inside the mother
Our fate to sink or swim
Is it too late
To change?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rationale Melting Into Synthesis: A War Story

The enviable will
To withstand
When faced with doubts

Tough inner fiber
Locked hands a stirrup
For that leap onto the dark steed

Where soldiers stand
In bamboo armor
Let them free

To have one clear clean
Of indefinity

Peace we know
War we know less well
Both are fraught with bravery

Ask for no answer
From siege or calumny
The soul bears scars only it can heal

Long after dangers cease
The battle rages
In the struggling breast

Having lost the power to weep
May we still retain
The trembling hand of comfort

For the aging warrior
Longing for death
To be reborn

Shall the mind be stripped
And memory washed out
Or wrapped in the honey of experience?

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Sense of Suspended Time and Muddled Energy in the Vortex

Swirls of brown and purple streaked with white
Like watching water curling down a drain
I see my life blood seeping out
Staining the carpet of past dreams

Angels stand arms folded frowning
Bodhisattvas with heavy-lidded eyes
Await my awakening
Not skipping a beat I sit abandoned

Sweetness in its true guise
Lashes my sleeping form
I dream, still clinging to my bitterness
Like the only vehicle that can propel me

Once I danced, was it yesterday
My shoes like second skin
Polishing the floor
But that was yesterday and I have nothing to show for it

The birds are my fondest remedy
Perching on the door frame
They seem to reassure my entry
Flying above my head or nesting

Shall I pick up my largest burden and walk
Will I fall again
It is a time of confusion which I’m told is worthy
Of the highest attention

Is passion surely leached from my bones
Have I nothing to wish for
Only now do I understand the snow mountains
Only now that I am exiled

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rockdale, Late Summer

I'm leaning into the wind
listening to the molecules
bouncing against each other
quiet as a parchment yellow wall

I'm imagining the taste of wine
aging in the sunlight
infused with operatic twilight
the faint aroma of Kools

I'm writing poems in my dreams
in the light from an old flame
against the window facing south
remembering a play by Oscar Wilde

It's late summer and the tomatoes are ripe
the marigolds are fragrant
the frogs are loud, the crickets are purring
piano music rolls likes waves across the lawn

I can hear my grandmother calling
"Supper time ..."
I am on my way
ready for every future possible.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax is Dead

In the rag-covered body on the ground
A man died here, just incidentally
This is not his home
This street, this pavement in Queens
Perhaps his home is in some corner of the park
Or that shelter over on 64th
Or maybe the cardboard tent under the bridge

But not this condo complex
Where nobody stopped to ask
Nobody dared
Or cared
Or had the brass
Even when lifting him up to see the blood

As he lay face down on the pavement
The gray cement cooling his face
On the early morning of his death
After his heroic struggle
In defense of a woman
The frail ideal of helplessness

The woman who ran away to who knows where
While the hero stayed behind to fight for her
Was stabbed for her
And bled for her and for many who did not call 911
Who did not stay and speak kind words to him
While his life blood ebbed away

Though he died without a friend,
Perhaps he found some glory,
Perhaps he was feasted by the angels
And comforted by the djinns or bodhisattvas
I like to think he would never again
Be called homeless.

Dedicated to Hugo Alfred Tale-Yax, a homeless man who fought a robber for a woman who fled, and who died April 24, 2010 while people passed by without stopping to help.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Wind

The wind came out of Navajo country
across the plains
through the tops of the pines
sliding beneath the fur of
the four-footeds close to the ground

At first I thought it might be
the raw wind, the heartless wind
that lashes the elms and oaks
on its way from the gray-spotted waves
far to the east

But no, it was the kindly, deep, auburn wind
the wind with the talismans of deeds
the wind of the wise counsel
new responsibilities
the wind that confirms our ancestry

We belong to this land now
whether European, Asian or African orphans
the wind and mountains have molded us
the edges of the ocean have reminded us
of our origins

Boned by midwives
winnowed by witches
encased in hummingbird nest
struggling for purchase
on the tallest branch

Swooping down to the mole's lair
underneath the gloaming
eyes squinted at fairies
waiting for that wind - that prince of wind
to carry us off to our real home

In the arms of the new wind
not the wind of summer
mysterious blackness and crickets
dancing in the elven rings

Not the wind of winter
stern father to our labors
swallowing sound in a long whistle
weeping in ice dreams

We are lodged in the eternal heart
of mother wind like a walnut
that her owl will bear away
with secrets safe
in the moon's shadow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Perseverance

Plants are hardwired
to reach upward
they know
their destiny

They undergo all kinds
of hardships
to bathe in the
golden light

I see this green
amidst the snow
touch its velvet petal
speak in wonder

In its sleeping
it only hears me in
its dreaming passage

I ask the nun
what is the hardest part
about retreat
what should I prepare for

She says "the perseverance"
there is nowhere else to go
just sitting
then the tormas to make

Always some work
some activity
prayer and study
very little free time

I understand that
kind of practice
but maybe not as well
as the plants.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Bouncing molecules
upon the planet

Ripples of uncertainty
land in random order
internal patterns

Limited only by
dimensions of
light follicles

An old wound
has erupted
I stem the flow
I know the steps to take
but it still hurts

Haiti is a
torn hem
of the mother's

I am less
than a bacteria

There is a
certain measure
of content
in not being