Veiled

you will come to know it
at the very moment you are
putting off thinking about it

but it will happen to you

and you will try to think
your way out of it, too
or think your way through

as you go, as you actually go

Photo: the window by my desk at home.

Half Mast

No sunset ever called for the
evening’s dim passage, not one, but this:
good ones, they die every day
every day someone’s son, someone’s
mother, or a distant aunt—passes away
many times every day, away, away
the low and the high, kind, selfish, no matter
they’re suddenly gone, just like that
and then their friends and relations
   | are left to grieve |
I cannot fathom how it is we ever
raise a flag above half mast.

Clench

A flag of fingers, coiled up
like a nest of adders
in a crowd, blunt of purpose
they are bolstered in a
solidarity that the individual tips
cannot know by touch.

And blow by blow, the fingers
receive them each his own, one fifth
of the trauma, wary draftees
to this militant clan.

Once swinging, arms now dangle aside
dear senses, please return intact
some part of what was abandoned:

A decoded texture, a balanced spoon
the almost unknowable softness
of a rose petal.

Root

in root love, in fulfillment
sudo untether the world
and its conceptions of you, me, of places
we might withdraw, finally together
never apart, it will shake space and time
free of its dreamy, contrived bandwidth
of heartbreaking denials, and let us
download all the forevers that have
so beguiled us lovebirds

Making It

If thinking is what makes the world
then fish thought up the sea.
And earth worms thought about the soil
that’s how it came to be.

When monkeys put their minds to it
they thought up all the trees.
And flowers spread their pollen wide
by thinking up some bees.

The air itself, it drifted in when
lungs began to swell.
Then eardrums, bored with all the silence
thought us up a bell.

Then humans got their bellies full and
crafty, they construed:
They started thinking “what if we,” and
now we’re nearly screwed.

The Days, They Fall Upon

the kitchen light goes on, in
the pre-dawn, and outside the cicadas
fly in dizzy rafts, they thump against
the window glass, I draw water
in fizzy drafts, my head, it slumps
whence, the craving pillow, alas

the days, they fall upon
like Keystone Cops, yet unfunny
these antics in the fog, I once
was taught the art of sleep
by a silent, fallen log

The Chameleon’s Dish

At Breakfast
I interrogate objects
for their hidden meanings
suspecting that everything is
a sham, though not to
the point of paranoia
I forget to eat

By Lunchtime
the objects no longer appear
as an organized effort to
accomplish existence, more
a plate tectonics masquerading
as real estate, a hint of confession
in the chaos yet not enough
to justify a declaration of suchness
I am, by now, very hungry

In Midday
my need for food is sounding
peculiar song-like drones
but there’s silence as well
like a cosigner to the deed
conspiring with a growling gut
this calling, this appetite is making
arguments that seem capricious
and I wonder if the eating
might not cause more problems
than it solves

At Dinner Bell
my stomach is a gust of craven mara
despot of my being, and I yield
ladle out some stew
sitting in the sand upwind
of the cook fire, where
all these elaborations dissolve
under waves of taste sensation
I know I must realize precisely
this, or I’ll have to get up
and do it all over again
probably, tomorrow

Come Evening
a pine branch pops
in the embers and the sparks fly
up, absorbed like nourishment
into the hungry black
belly of night

Title is from Shakespeare, Hamlet III.2 :

CLAUDIUS
How fares our cousin Hamlet?

HAMLET
Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I eat the air,
promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

Alternate title: A Day in the Life of a Neophyte Yogin