Ikkyu Reiterations: Late Autumn Night

Returning to the mountain, I ignore 

the bitter taste in my mouth. Forgetting

my grey beard again, I shamefully fall 

in love again, as I listen to her sad songs 

late into the lengthening autumn night.

(July 8, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: Pause

As I cut onions for dinner,

I listen to Lisa complain

about a fellow teacher

who loves drama more

than teaching. I wonder

why we make things

so complicated. I stop

chopping, and listen

to the stereo where

Allison Krause sings

of love and heartbreak.

(April 19, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: Compassion

to kill

without love

without hate

(the mother,

the father,

the monk,

the god,

the city)

is to burn

(nowhere, and

everywhere) and

then be free:

one’s mouth filled

with bloodied words

(April 14, 2022)

Valentine

to Lisa

What I have to give

is this: this poem.

For it is poetry

which is the gift

worth giving to you,

my love, my life.

(February 3, 2022)

then, an ever present now

The shuttlecock flits nimbly across the loom with a soft clacking beat. “For every time I’ve told this tale, I’ve told it twice again,” she implies with a sigh as she begins. She speaks of patience and home, and slow unsolicited seductions, as time unravels across the floor like red pools of forgetfulness at her feet.

He watches her hands shift the threads as if playing upon a lyre. He thinks, “There are so many ways through the woods; so many rivers and creeks to cross;  so many hollows and caves to wander lost, always different, always the same as the ones crossed before.”

For years and years as he wandered, he watched the waves pulse repetitive hallucinations and horrors towards a horizon he could no longer see. Unearthly monsters churned the waters feeding one upon the other; the past devoured the past with a ceaseless hunger for more. While elsewhere late at night, she walked the halls without a light, leaned against a shuttered door, and listened to the incessant voices muttering their plots and plans for a life she abhorred.

As the story faltered to its close, there was no soft landfall upon the strand, no wreck scattered upon a beach; no violence in their reunion, nor familial embrace. What had grown between them, tangled like olive tree roots upon a cliff, could not be troubled enough to be called love, if it could be called anything at all.

Reflection’s Projections

“the other is the figure of my truth, and cannot be imprisoned in any stereotype (which is the truth of others).”

                        –Roland Barthes

He is no more this, than she

Permits outside the walls

He hides behind. No trope

To be conjured within, she

Vaguely files her nails,

And thinks of him less

Than what to have done

At the spa. He knows

Her as he imagines,

Not as she is told. She

Believes she does not

Change outside herself,

As much as he desires

Her to be more than both.

(June 15, 2017)