Monday, April 11, 2022

[after Pablo Neruda]

“Once again my words / turn to the waves.”
—Pablo Neruda, “Ode to Waves”


I took inspiration, once,
from the sea, and once again
from the sky, my
poems, my words
offered back to them in turn,
shyly, humbly, hoping merely to
see, if only from afar, the
muse as she turns, and waves.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Krishna’s Tritina

based on three words from a random word generator

I have no opposite.
In Me all things expand
in joyful abandon.

Seek to abandon
all that is opposite
to your will to expand,

then grow, reach, expand
until you are abandoned
by Delusion into its opposite.

The opposite of abandonment is expansion.

Tritina on a Tragedy of Toast

based on three words from a random word generator

The case has been established:
There has been a death
here, a man who was once the toast

of the town, is now just toast.
And this establishment
was the scene of his death:

an all-night diner, in which death
lurked among the eggs and toast,
in its poisonous patience established.

We have established that the cause of death was toast.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Nine Ways of Looking at a Pebble

after Wallace Stevens

          I
A pebble on a beach:
one galaxy among many,
in a universe of sand.

          II
What do you see under your feet?
The gravel, or the quartz?

          III
A pebble on the ground
is a rock.
A pebble in a sling
is the fall of a mighty warrior.

          IV
The eye of the mountain
watches each of us
through the pebble.

          V
Within each seed
lies hidden the mighty oak
of a boulder.

          VI
Infinite shades of gray
in an infinitesimal space.

          VII
Erosion,
the ultimate egalitarian,
reduces us all,
in the end,
to pebbles.

          VIII
Fully present in every moment,
I am held in complete awareness
by the mere existence of a pebble
beneath a thousand mattresses.

          IX
From what mountain,
what lofty peak,
has this pebble fallen?
From what heights
has my own soul
descended?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Middle School Pantoum

Our schedule is very easy:
Each minute is precisely timed,
and just in case it makes you queasy,
we’ve found a way to make it rhyme.

Each minute is precisely timed:
We’re doing Language Arts today,
and finding ways to make it rhyme.
At snack time we go out to play,

We’re doing Language Arts today,
and might just take a vocab test.
At snack time we go out to play,
then Understanding People’s next.

We might just take a vocab test,
but first we have to do some Art,
then Understanding People’s next.
Guitar and keyboard classes start,

but only after we have Art,
and Spanish also, once a week.
Guitar and keyboard classes start
to make my Math class sound like Greek.

Our Spanish class is once a week,
and though it might just make you queasy,
our Math class sounds a bit like Greek,
but the schedule’s really very easy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Negative Space

Who can fathom a heart’s fixations? There is a squirrel—one particular squirrel, I am convinced—whose coordinates of desire are precisely calibrated to a perennial and unsightly gash in the windowbox, a ragged rupture of soil just between the kalanchoe and the fuschia. Only his obsession grows there. Seedlings, ground cover, weeds—whatever might fill the gap is torn out mercilessly, desperately. Nothing is left in its place—no nut set lovingly aside for winter, no hoarded chest of gold doubloons. Only a hole—a hollow neither man nor squirrel can fill, but which remains, waiting, longing, wondering what jewel may someday be found whose every facet fits.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ode to the “S” Key on my Keyboard

after Pablo Neruda’s “Odes to Common Things”

Do you know,
brave captain,
what is in store for you?
Both leading
and following your
soldiers
into battle,
you will be
the first to fall
beneath
the hammering blows
of the enemy,
your face
worn away,
unrecognizable,
slain,
since you never
surrendered.

I would
save you from
sacrifice,
and yet
cannot
do even this
without
your help,
my steadfast
scribe.
What can I
say
without you,
or how even
say
that I
say it?

Your sound,
so sibilant,
soft as a
snake’s sneakers,
a susurration
of simple
sequences,
sliding and slippery,
snows gently
upon
my senses.
And yet, too,
you scintillate,
a sequined soloist
shining
in splendor,
seeming to
surprise
even
the startled
stars.

And so…
and so
you see
that even here
at the
end
of all things,
of all plurals,
of all ones
that would be
twos
and threes,
I need you,
I savor you,
I seek your
supreme
summation of all
the seeds of life
into the
superlative
super-plurality
of the cosmos.