It played out slow, like danced-out
Music, a trace of smoke from
A years-old fire, like doubts sneaking
Peeks at a once-proud confidence
I’ve had my encounter with the covid-19, or at least suspect I did. One night of fever and feeling quite ill, followed by a week of mild flu-like symptoms. I was already in self-isolate mode and well stocked for supplies so no biggie. At day five I called Family Medicine at UTMB and they got me right in for the test. Being aged sixty-five gets you something like a senior discount in this particular pandemic. During my examination I got to revisit my blood pressure issue and got a new stronger scrip right there on the spot. The covid test came back the next day, negative, but with the caveat that they’re seeing a lot of false negatives.
Two weeks out and I’m feeling back to normal, newly resigned from my job, looking at a thin gruel of future to sustain me. The new blood pressure meds are working great though. About the only good set of numbers I’m seeing these days.
Stability is sodded
with an eagerness to perceive
that things aren’t changing.
aging: —a gradual dissipation of vanity, by force if necessary. Resistance is possible, though the subject’s levels of self-absorption must increase four-fold in proportion to the level of sustained mirror gazing desired.
Being is the tiger’s tail
these bodies come and go
Being is the monkey’s grin
if only it weren’t so
Notebook, April 2020
A housefly caught
in the bedroom buzzes
between the two lamps, back
And forth, the cat
watching: fly has no clue
where it is, how
it got here.
Come morning, up
and out: I will buzz
around among the lamps
of my world, the cat
photo by me, 2014
Always check that the cause of the puncture
be it a nail, a thorn, a shard of glass
An inconsiderate remark, a petty theft
a selfish motive, a hankering for revenge
Has been removed from the treads
before changing the tube. If not, the air
Of all your effort will burst and flee
with a pish and a slew, ardently pressed
To get even with your atmosphere, and
there you’ll be, a lump on the shoulder
In a cloud of gnats, that proud upper hand
grips the frame, this bicycle built for none
Your former comrade in the righteous cause
of flight and mobility, now a fanged partisan
For the higher truth of gravity, you let a
recalled sense of decency bid you be humble
Well, it’s a tough row to hoe, to walk
it all back, in the heat of disguised blessings
Image by Etienne Marais from Pixabay
I host little parties for
the ants and the flowers and we
talk and we talk, for hours and hours
the madness can’t vex us in the way
it does some, it follows and listens
to the songs that we hum.
And we forget everything that we
hear and we say, the minute we hear it
all giggled away, and that’s how
we roll, we won’t let a madness
become such a thing or take
hold, like a sadness.
pain lodges in a shoulder
weary and aware
wonder at the cause of kinks
life of a mischief-maker
being this and that
vast gathering of causes
wind tickling leaves
gusty augury of rain
weather precedes the weather
pebble in a shoe
statue chipped and crumbling
earth touching mudra
we all circumambulate
offer mantra and blisters
fever dreams at night
in the daytime distracted
prayers muttered, beads fingered
moon eclipsed by this fat head
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.
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?
The world is the hole
we did into, the whole that
likes out, drenched in starlight
the whole, the world about
sponges soaked in light
The world is of us, hill
over bone, a coinage of the rain
a pose, a lick, a dash
from born to bye
clueless as to what
came before, or comes after
but the big game is something
that others play, we watch
or, real as a
boulder clutched by five
in the fluid of a mountain’s
or, our own
clutched by continuity
in the fluid of a moment’s
crest fall, and