Balanced

The fences were in need,

as always, of repair, 

not mended like Frost’s, 

but more of a courtesy

to recognize an accord

with a tone of enmity

slipped in like mortar, 

or a knife beneath bone,

as an acknowledgement

of a division where X 

does not equal Y, 

even in the abstract.

(July 27, 2022)

Self-Portrait as Someone Else

Late at night when you cannot sleep

and you step silently through the house;

or lost in thought driving to work

and you do not notice your normal exit,

then the niggling whispers gain a clarity

that cannot be partitioned or pardoned.

No little boxes filled with secrets to be

placed locked in other larger boxes

appear to safely hide your face within. 

When all your variant stories disentangle,

and fall away like petals on a dying rose,

how do you begin to confess the lies

manifested through accidental negligence?

How do you begin to open the sarcophagus 

you have for so long hidden within? How do 

you even begin to begin to live again?

(July 23, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: As Above

There is no truth to face;

these circles are closed and reflexive.

War is endless: we walk blindly

through one blooded field or another.

Nothing matters. Her one endless song

is too full of flowers and mockery.


*


I float between sleep

and dreams of sleep. 

With no other joys,

no other pleasures,

I sink beneath

waves of dry tears.


(July 18, 2022)

There Then Here Now

I talked too much, saying little.

Then a decade of unbroken silence

followed without your laughter.


Yet, I still felt the silent trace

of your fingertips along the length 

of my bare arm, as you spoke.


Our intentions were never clear.

Then we left, each to our ways;

and, I became a ghost to you.

(July 10, 2022)

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: The Sacred and Profane

Summoned from Shaman Mountain

as his lover for the night, she steps 

lightly from dream rising on waves 

surging from a storm. The flowers 

give way beneath the plum tree’s 

branches; and, the scent of narcissus 

lingers like the moon before the dawn, 

as she wraps her thighs around his hips.

(July 7, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: Practice

“If I knew what I was doing, I’d be doing it right now…”

—Radney Foster

Another morning sun trickles

through the cottonwoods. Today,

I have time to write. Instead,

I watch the cardinal pair twitter 

from branch to branch, fluttering 

like drunken dancers in love.

I have nothing to say; yet, today

that is enough. The cottonwoods

slowly clatter in the soft breeze,

while the grey cat purrs at my feet.

(July 1, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: Samadhi (2)

Each day I shuffle about the house

lost within the duties of the day.

I wonder: all these poets with their advice

full of absolutes and disdain for others—

when do they find time to write;

to sit alone with their words;

to scrape the burnt rice from the pan?

(June 30, 2022)