As If It Is – (four tanka)

AS

beautiful sunshine
pain lodges in a shoulder
weary and aware
wonder at the cause of kinks
life of a mischief-maker

IF

being this and that
vast gathering of causes
wind tickling leaves
gusty augury of rain
weather precedes the weather

IT

pebble in a shoe
statue chipped and crumbling
earth touching mudra
we all circumambulate
offer mantra and blisters

IS

fever dreams at night
in the daytime distracted
single-use body
prayers muttered, beads fingered
moon eclipsed by this fat head

Pauses the Fly

A restaurant patio under a shady oak, the sun beaming, a fence laboring under a mass of Star Jasmine in fragrant bloom. I’m lunching with a buddy. Our waiter, a bit too eager to please. A salad, now dispatched. What’s left of a glass of wine. What now. A soft lump appears on the tip of my tongue, in with a sip of pinot. I deliver the lump to my finger discreetly, a wine-soaked wiggly black blob on my finger.

I almost swallowed a fly
and that housefly and I
I guess we’ll die.

Was it the same fly? The one so infatuated with a strip of my grilled chicken? I wondered for a moment if I could pick him out of a line-up. I wonder what it might mean, this intimate contact between tongue and such a thing. The black blob struggles within its liquidy dwelling. My fingerprint is under there somewhere.

It vibrates and shakes the liquid away and scampers around on my fingertips and knuckles. I look at my friend, and he looks at me. This is the way it had to be.

Pauses the fly for a moment
on my nail, then away. A little like us
happy, good with food and wine.

Every thoughtless moment a harrowing postponement of death. We split the check. Our nervous rookie waiter is oblivious to the depths, and obsequious to the end.

Flier, Flier, Pants on Fire

The air doesn’t need to have cracks in it. You can fall right through the thing itself. It plays with pressure and motion, mussing your hair or pulling your boat against currents on a shifty sea. Cup it in your hand, out of the car window. Blow it. It makes shapes you can hear. It’s there when you laugh, the material of your voice. You suck it in when you’re shocked. Release it slowly and the world becomes relaxed. Breathe it, if you want to stick around to see how this all ends.

The airfoil hypnotizes the sky and we ground-dwellers, with a cocky new take on gravity, call it flight. Aloft, we hold ourselves in a makeshift certainty where heavier-than-air flight is possible, our nerves as jumpy about being seated in the sky as they are when a nagging fear gets us to doubting. The cabin is pressurized, the air outside losing interest in the meaning of weight. Travelers impatient, we race ahead through time, out of this purgatory, rehearsing in our imaginations the getting on with it. But objects are always stationary to the geometry of their own locus. The X and the Y form a point on a plane where the pilot admits, through a crackling intercom, that we’re all hurtling to our destinies.

And she even knows the temperature on the ground for when we get there, but for now, the clouds make faces at us through the windows, and the turbulence flexes our wingtips. Intrepid goers and comers with our itineraries and phones, minds in airplane mode, we submit to continuity and see landing as a kind of taking off into an alternate, less valiant sort of sky. Back on earth we breathe each other’s air with a sense of autonomy, a sense of privacy that is groundless. Meeting and parting, crossing time zones, our connecting flight is the unshuttered air above, the midwife of all our doings. Terminals, they are called, and we keep passing through them.

Airport now in the rear view mirror, flying down the highway, who can ever see how this all ends? It’s all just beginning, is it not?

(w)hole

The world is the hole
we did into, the whole that
likes out, drenched in starlight
the whole, the world about

Star-stuffed parentheses
sponges soaked in light

The world is of us, hill
over bone, a coinage of the rain
a pose, a lick, a dash

What All

or, real as a
boulder clutched by five
hundred-year-old roots
in the fluid of a mountain’s
gradual crest

or, our own
skeletons remain
clutched by continuity
in the fluid of a moment’s
gradual assumption

assume rise
crest fall, and
what all

Clueful

Debate

A conflict settled
by debate, away
will rise in appeal
some other day.

A Hybrid of Life and Death

The disease will not settle
for medicine, nor will the
remedy quarter the disease
doctor bills, they are piling up
a shot of whiskey, please.

Continuance

Things appear
to die, and I appear
to keep living
the welders are in dry dock
assembling the hulls
of sunken ships
at what point in the
figure eight of continuance
can one say end, or begin
at all points
amazing, how gracious
how sweet it is.

Clueful

I’m feeling clueful
today, little hints peeking
out from under bushes
the neighborhood jingling
like a phone full of urgent texts
bits of the crux of all matters
sparkling here and there
like gems tossed out
over beach sand.

Epitaph

Long in the hair and
gray in the tooth
he learned how to dodder
then he died, forsooth.

Pray (sol dep)

In the six regions
throughout the three times
under the one sky
peaceful, happy.


An incoherent notebook-dump from October 2018

Tonic

we shouldn’t be surprised
when, sometimes things
they fall together

since fall is how they
came apart, in season
cycles, moult and feather

adopt a tune, sing
rain or shine, what is it
after all, but weather

Externality TV

we sentient beings
following our impulses
meeting and parting

~

enchanting display
conjoined with experience
sterile, yet pregnant

~

externalities
are appearance as the mind
they do not persist

 
 
 

(illustration by me, 1990s)