Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goodnight, Gita

At night, Lord, when I go to rest,
remind me that I did my best.
Remind me always: every day
—in work or leisure, pain or play—
that everything I’ve done I do
so I can give it back to You.

Help me see that all my actions
(taken wholly, or in fractions)
are just simply mine to do—
results of them are up to You.
Then even when I’m in the act,
I’ll feel Your presence as a fact.

Today’s behind me: bad or good,
honored or misunderstood,
all of it I now release,
relaxing, and then finding peace
here in the thought that if I could
have done it differently, I would.

There’s one more bucket under bridge,
one less pudding in the fridge,
one more mistake I won’t replay
(or, not in that specific way),
and maybe one more good deed done,
a smiling glance that cheered someone.

So there You go, and welcome to it.
That’s my day, and it’s the truest
thing to say that I don’t mind
You taking credit for the kind
of things that every day I do:
they’re all just stepping stones to You.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today's Poem

I could write a poem today,
assuming it included
computers, routers, printers,
and credit card terminals.
Or perhaps what I mean is
that the inanities of
technology would have made
more sense today had they been
in verse. Though perhaps that is
not saying much, as very
often they make as much sense
in Swahili.

                     Yet, somehow,
everything works again, and,
somehow, a poem of sorts is

              Though I’m not sure which
part I managed to write down.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Villanelle. Really, Just a Villanelle.

All month I’ve tried to write a villanelle.
The thought has pestered me now every night.
No matter what, it doesn’t turn out well.

My mind will visit every day this cell,
wherein it frets upon its self-made plight:
a month now looking for a villanelle.

It seems a pleasant verse in which to dwell,
where thoughts can bed down cozy overnight,
but somehow still, it never turns out well.

I try to conjure up the proper spell,
the one that makes the words align just right.
Once more I try to write a villanelle,

but lines with funny colors, awkward smells,
and itchy skin descend on it like blight.
No matter what, it doesn’t turn out well.

I swear this strange desire I will quell!
I’ll squeeze the poem out in black and white!
All month I tried to write a villanelle,
and now I have… though really not that well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


A black piece of paper
held in sunshine
will reflect more light to the eye
than a white one
kept in a dimly-lit room.

Never mind your faults.
Just keep turning up the light.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What Is Left

What is left when my hair turns gray, falls out?
          when my skin wrinkles?
          when my eyesight dims,
          and hearing fades?

What is left when the poems,
          the songs, the melodies
          no longer come to me?
          are no longer needed from me?

What is left when memory blurs?
          when I’ve forgotten even my youthful body?
          my sparkling mind?
          my loved ones’ names?

What is left when I can no more remember
          what upset me?
          what delighted me?
          what I allowed to define me?

What is left when all that was not me
          is gone?
          and all that I thought was me
          has followed?

What is left when that single remaining
          point of consciousness
          is surrounded by nothing
          but the universe?

What is left is

Friday, April 25, 2014


The dreams begin already underwater,
no lead-up plot line to offer hints
as to how I got here, why the glinting
non-air now surrounds me, blotting
out my lungs as my heart begins to flutter
and then pound, sprinting.
I struggle with competing instincts,
and then, surrendering to what matters
most, at last I breathe.
And thickly though the water flows,
I do breathe, and in the breathing find
a wonder, one that helps me to believe
a truth submerged beneath life’s woes:
that open, trusting faith will bring rewards in kind.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Teacher's Triolet

As teacher, you can’t really teach:
All that you can do is share.
For howsoever much you preach,
As teacher, you can’t really teach
Till student steps into the breach,
And matches his experience there.
As teacher, you can’t really teach:
All that you can do is share.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Music and Laughter: A Blitz Poem

Play with me
Play music
Music soothes and
Music stirs
Stirs our hearts and
Stirs our minds
Mind the gap that
Minds create
Create a poem
Create a world
World enough
World unending
End of time
End this nonsense
Nonsense rhymes in
Nonsense verses
Verses sung and
Verses chorused
Chorus gathers
Chorus repeats
Repeat the words
Repeat the notes
Note the accents
Notes in scales
Scaled fishes
Scaling mountains
Mountains climbing
Mountainous peaks
Piquing our interest
Peek at the top
Top of the world
Top of the morning
Morning of gladness
Mourning in sadness
Sadness shared
Sadness changes
Changes mood
Changes key
Keys us in to the
Key to be happy
Happiness sought is
Happiness found
Found in music
Found in joy
Joy within and
Joyful laughter a
Laughing soul a
Laughing master a

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Transmission 314.27a


Ongoing study of human customs and rituals.


1. APARTMENT BUILDING: Large, segmented structure providing living quarters to multiple humans.

2. APARTMENT: An individual segment of item [1]. So designated due to its function in keeping residents "apart" from one another.

3. MAILBOX: Receptacle for paper items. Often arranged in an array external but adjacent to instances of item [1]. In spite of designation, appears to be used equally by both genders.


1. That a single, non-resident human will regularly arrive at an APARTMENT BUILDING and fill an array of MAILBOXES with large amounts of paper.

2. That this occurs no more than six days out of every seven.

3. That this human will then depart.

4. That residents of the APARTMENTS will arrive singly or in small groups throughout the day.

5. That each resident will visit a single MAILBOX and remove its contents.

6. That these contents are placed directly in a secondary receptacle, adjacent to the array of MAILBOXES.

7. That this secondary receptacle is periodically emptied into a third, larger receptacle, which is later removed off-site. [This to be the subject of future observations.]

8. That both secondary and tertiary receptacles are visible and accessible to, yet ignored by, the non-resident human from observation [1].


a. The luxury of inefficiency and waste is an indicator of human social status.

b. Paper is imbued with a pleasurable but short-lived pheromone detectable only by humans.

c. None at this time.

d. All of the above.

Monday, April 21, 2014


for Swamiji

Like a window you showed us,
not yourself,
but truth.
With the frame no longer visible,
the view
is infinite.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What was the question again?

Absolutely, positively,
    You betcha, it’s a go,
Affirmatively, definitely,
    Yes ma’am, no problemo.
Do bears go catholic in the woods?
    Mm hmm, sure thing, why not?
I’d love to, bet your boots (or life),
    Of course, that’s what I thought.
Okey dokey artichokey,
    Yes indeedy, yeah,
Indubitably, by all means,
    Yes siree Bob, ja.
Aye aye sir, por supuesto,
    As you wish, mais oui,
Roger that, 10-4, amen,
    It’s sure okay by me.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On Elation

What can be said about elation
that the elated, seeking consolation
from their joy, will go to books for?
-Adrienne Su, “On Writing

What can be said about elation
is less of joy than of vacillation

between itself and its opposite.
A strange fact of life is that

it’s a rollercoaster: if you seek
its pleasures, you’ll have also to take

its pains, the downs with the ups.
The need for consolation erupts

later, lower, past the laughter.
So why does so much “Art” try to plaster

the dark side of life on its billboards?
That is not the truth any more

than a false picture of everlasting
elation. The art we must master

is to find the joy within the sorrow,
that ever-present thread we can follow

that guides us to a state of oneness,
where opposites merge into fathomless

peace. Any state can be uplifted,
thus—and Art can be the catalyst

that carries us, reminds us in our fears:
this life is more than it appears.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Sijo

Darkness comes. To days, to men, to years, to Kings who are not kings.
But darkness is nothing without Light. It exists to be transcended.
The world holds its breath and waits: not yet, not today, but Yes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shifting Gears

The morning started in Portland, homemade
biscotti snuck in before Guy could make
his way from bedroom to the breakfast table.
The toddler-consciousness of living with
a two-year-old gets into everything—
from when to sneak the sugar to the choice
of mealtime entertainment (this time it
was peck peck, peck peck, peck peck, peck peck goes
the woodpecker’s book). Bowls of porridge with
the home’s best homemade home-grown pear sauce that
was sweeter than you’d think with nothing but
pears in it. A rainy day—perfect for
a book, a cup of hot chocolate, or a
drive to the airport forgetting the bag
of cookies set aside for the journey.
Transition to airport mind: baggage, crowds,
Las Vegas-consciousness wafting like smoke
from seats just to the right in front of me.
Then home again, through shuttles, trains, and doorway.
A three o'clock what? Dinner, lunch or dunch?
Regardless, quesadilla, because the
ingredients were in the fridge, and also
because a two-year-old would like it and
yes, a chunk of my mind is still on Guy.
Then to the temple, flower-consciousness
pervading, altar preparations for
Good Friday coloring my meditation.
I finally begin to focus, in
time for our class. We meditate, and talk
of karma, lofty subjects, and not once (I think)
did I ask them what sound a kitty makes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Volunteered: The True Story of My First Attempt at Rapper Sword Dancing

I went out with a mandolin to watch my sister dance,
Perhaps to play, for she’d said they on tunes were often short.
But as it happened, that one night, entirely by chance,
Attendance problems threatened them their practice for to thwart.

Performing rapper sword dances is something I’ve not done,
But a single glance around the room made clear they lacked but one.
So into service I was pressed, and sword into my hand,
And found myself a member of that merry little band.

I always like to help, and so I went in with a grin,
Little knowing how soon I would take it on the chin,
For rehearsing all these figures was a tricky task wherein
All the custom terminology just set my head a-spin!

We start in “guard” and that’s not hard—I just wait at the back—
And then the “curly” part is surely started without stress:
I followed Tee and she led me to loop around the track,
But then it all began to fall into a silly mess.

The ups and downs and turn-arounds were called the “ins-and-outs,”
But if you know the way to turn you’ll not get knocked about.
Then “plow through” to “over your neighbor” (“-’s sword” I think they mean),
And the “diddle-diddle-dees” are making quite the flashy scene.

When “dummers” came they swore that it did not refer to me,
But as I said, “just shove me on to where I need to be.”
“Maryann’s” identity they never did reveal,
But apparently she frolics with a “jump-rope” made of steel.

The “princess” part was someone else, and had to do with “lines,”
The “fiddler” bit was “fast and loose” and could have used some signs.
By “popcorn” I had lost it, and the “basket” that we “spin,”
I wished was something they would use to carry me home in.

’Twas but one dance! It could have been an even weirder trip,
With “twisted fixies,” “double guards,” and “prince of Wales” flips,
Or “puking fiddlers,” “open rings,” or “breastplates” and “odd slides,”
But ’twas enough for my poor feet and my poor brain besides.

All the figures ended with a “nut” for all to see,
But the nuttiest of all was the nut they made of me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Everything I Know

Or: A Solipsist Creates the Universe

When I
was born,
the universe
was small,
vaguely hazy.

As it gradually expanded,
I tracked every change,
eyes, ears missing nothing,
senses etched into memory.

I know everything there is to know,
as clearly evidenced by the fact that
I cannot tell you anything I don’t
know. Is my knowledge accurate? Certainly. Why
would I believe anything that wasn’t true?

But the universe of existent facts continues to expand.
I create new ones every day, fashioning them from
books, from my senses, and occasionally with help from
various people—professors, scientists, etc.—whose work I oversee.
Creation occurs in two stages: first as something to be
known, and then secondarily achieving full manifestation into known reality.

I do not know when this expansion—of reality, of awareness—will end,
and therefore I can tell you for a fact that it will not.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Do Not Know English

“I do not know English.”
—Michael Palmer

I do not know English.
I write words as they call to me,
pleading to be given birth,
to be put to work.
I trust them. I want to help.

I choose a likely fellow, open the door, invite him in.
And before I know it
his friend has slipped in after him,
another has her foot in the door, and a fourth,
with a distinctly foreign cast to his features,
peers over her shoulder.

Before long I am surrounded.
What was to be a quiet tête-à-tête
(there’s one of them now)
over tea, has become an all-night rave
(which should really have stayed home as a verb).
Words I have never met before are
raiding my pantry, turning up my stereo,
and generally scoffing at my taste in decor.

I run about, fussing, but generally ignored.
When I finally corner my original guest,
he seems surprised: “I thought,” he says,
“that this was what you wanted. There’s nothing
we can do about it now. And besides,
see what fun we’re having!”

I go out into the yard, to clear my head.
Words continue to stream in and out of my house,
front and back doors both off their hinges by now.

I breathe deep the night air. I look down the street.
Every window in every house
blazes with light. A different music
flows from every angle, blending
into a single river of language
that moves with a sense and purpose of its own,
a rhythm of chaos and majesty,
of words,
and poets,
and me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Christ Lives: An Oratorio in Terza Rima

Palm Sunday is the day we sing and praise,
—with voices pouring joyful from our hearts—
the life of Christ, his teachings and his ways.

From long, devoted practice on our parts
—the notes, the harmonies that join and blend,
the exits, entrances, and seating charts—

the music that we offer will ascend
and carry with it all we think we are,
until at last we come to comprehend

the Object of our love is not so far
off as we think—for now we sense the rays
are shining round us: Bethlehem’s bright star.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Rehearsal Sestina

Rehearsals always cluster at the end,
in days and hours before the concert starts,
a mild panic spurring us to move,
to finally learn and memorize the lines
that by tomorrow will become a sound
we hope will not embarrass us to sing.

And so we, with our morning voices, sing
in squeaky croaks we hope will not portend
defects or painful flinch-inducing sounds
that cause our trusting audience to start,
then queue up in a fast-departing line,
successfully—though incorrectly—moved.

So from our throats all roughness we remove,
our confidence and spirits slowly rising,
slowly becoming something more in line
with what we all imagine and intend.
In spite of the occasional restart
we know we’re getting closer to the sound

that fills us, sound that makes the hall resound.
We feel it now: a twitch, the slightest movement,
almost a flutter, joyful little upstart
wanting to join us, to help us sing
itself. Faintly at first, but if we tend
it well, then soon our every note and line

will resonate in ways that underline
the meanings, not just glib and pretty sounds,
but feelings, thoughts, and aspirations blending
into the truest power of song to move
our hearts, to teach our very souls to sing,
to make each moment shine like a fresh start.

On Sunday we will gather then, to start
our voices, form ourselves into our lines—
and then at last the moment comes to sing.
And if from higher realms we hear a sound
like resonating grace, we will be moved
to offer thanks to our Beloved Friend.

So let the music start!—and let the sound
of interweaving lines our spirits move.
We’ll sing with hearts uplifted to the end.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Battle Hymn of the Opticals

Mine eyes have known the glory that is 20/20 sight,
They could pick out every maple leaf and every traffic light,
But astigmatism came back in the face of LASIK’s might,
So I’m putting glasses on.

Glory, glory, I can see ya,
Glory, glory, I can see ya,
Glory, glory, I can see ya,
When I put my glasses on.

No more will I feel headaches from the bright computer’s glare,
No longer feel the strain of squinting at my book of prayers,
Mine eyes will now recover from their feel of wear and tear,
I’m putting glasses on.


So when you see me coming you can grin and shout “Hooray!”
For you know I’ll recognize you and you will not have to say,
That your name is Billy Joe Bob and we just met yesterday,
For I’ve got my glasses on.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Things I Have Replaced So Far This Month

Everything seems to be falling apart.
You want a list? Well, here’s a start:

The water heater sprung a leak.
A plumber fixed that just last week.

The public toilet also cracked,
so he did that too, and then went back.

A printer for receipts had lost
a crucial part, so it was tossed.

Two overhead fluorescent lights
impersonated gloomy nights.

The new A/C at least was meant
to be replaced, and so it went.

My laptop went insane before it died;
I couldn’t revive it, however I tried.

New MacBooks have no CD drive;
the SuperDrive broke when it arrived.

My router took its wireless cue,
and did the worst that it could do.

The one at work took up the theme,
and now is turning slightly green.

My apartment had its pipes replaced.
The walls are finally now refaced.

My LASIK-ed eyes of perfect glance,
Again need extra assistánce.

I’d like to swap my guitar strings…
But if things ain’t broke, then don’t fix things!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When I Am Young Again

for Asha

When I am young again,
I will be old.

Born wrinkled,
gray by kindergarten,
a different kind of unsteadiness
in my first toddling steps.

Or, perhaps,
I will look like other children.
Until you look into my eyes.

My eyes will remember before my voice can tell.
Remember the long road
of learning to use a body,
and then learning how not to use it,
and then letting it go.

When I am young again,
my mind and my heart
will seem two separate beings.
But I will remember the truth,
and I will remind them.

When I am young again,
I will play politely with toys,
my parents smiling over me,
but I will not cry
if they take the toys away.

I will look ahead into the memory
of my earlier later years,
and see the long procession of toys,
of jobs, relationships, challenges, glories—
I will see them come,
and I will see them go.
And I will be free to laugh.

When I am young again,
the distance in my eyes
will not seem far away,
but will offer us space
for our souls to meet.

When I am young again,
I will not hesitate
to grow older,
greeting each year as an old friend.

And as I grow older
I will marvel.

I will marvel at God’s play in the world,
and at His expanding light within me,
drawing me ever more joyfully onward,
until that final, blessed moment of freedom,

when I am young again,

when I am eternal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Three Clerihews

for Guy’s birthday

Guy Stephen Glanville
Went to the park to play on a sandhill.
In order to excavate the low strata
He had to use a “bo-da-da.”

Guy Stephen Glanville
Will someday be thankful
That I never gave up my vision
Of teaching him to say “euphemism.”

Lacey Elisabeth Rose
Is the best sister I could have chose.
And for being an exemplary mother to her son,
I hereby award her a bun.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Seasonal Reverso

Spring is here
The celebrations happened
so quickly,
rushing us through winter,
that we hardly notice
the lost months.
the garden waits
for attention.

* * * * *

For attention,
the garden waits
The lost months
rushing us through winter
so quickly
that we hardly notice:
the celebration’s happened
Spring is here!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chakra Lunes

I grip mountains
With my roots, my truth
lifting me up.

Trickling, the creek’s
Crickle brings us blessings then
Carries them onward.

Old wood offered
into burning, blazing, smoke, ashes,
New green life.

I breathe you
Breathe the air where we
All share breath.

Mind beyond thought
Connecting, extending, expanding, reaching into
Space between space.

Who am I?
Son of Man? Of God?
I choose light.

Everything reaches enlightenment.
So when I get there,
I’ll tell you!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Two Dactyls for a Hip

for my grandfather

Raggada Baggada
Leonard C. Boone had a
hip replaced yester—no,
Tuesday—at noon.

Good metallurgical
amplification’s a
definite boon!

Friday, April 4, 2014


What is 4/4 time in time for?
Metered time for formal meetings.
Meet her mother’s former farmers,
Forking thyme on meat or greens.

A440 forms forthwith a
Matter most unfortunately
Forward, framing now a pitch and
Not a forthright metered format.

Hermits’ matters from the farm are
Most straightforward, but they say your
Meter for the time machine was
Found in 1444.

Finally your fitful fortune
Meted out your timely furlough.
Take your free time in a meter
Four by four by four by four-o.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Third of April

for Quena

The world is fiddling now, on April Third:
      Twiddling its tendrils, weaving through the air
The notes, the thrilling trills and rills that stirred
      A soul to dance its life here as a prayer.
The world is singing now, on April Third:
      Sanctified songs of glory, songs that dare
To tickle pixies -- trickling laughs conferred
      To lift us prickling up and show us where
The world is dancing now, on April Third:
      Fox-trotting, dove-tailing, sky-leaping spheres
            Spinning beneath the smile-winged feet that run,
Bringing miles that watch the world turning, blurred
      Between her living loving laughing years:
            Another waltzing whirl around the sun.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Celestial Sijo

The blackness of night blazes, emptiness filled with endless stars
Dancing their elegant patterns, in vast, eonic waves.
All this I behold, seated, reverential, my two eyes closed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Double Dactyl for Gilbert & Sullivan

Julligan Mulligan,
Gilbert and Sullivan
Went to the palace for
Tea with the queen.

Singing dramatically,
Earned them their knighthoods, and
Chocolate creams.