Saturday, December 30, 2006

TAKE THIS AWAY I

don't want it,
she said,
and I knew
exactly what she meant
though it took me a while to
admit it. I'm out
of practice. 80 some years ago
I was the official interpreter
when the grownups couldn't understand
her baby talk.
She would talk to me & I would explain in English
what was on her mind. But a lifetime
of ignoring that connection has
let disappear.

When words on my screen are suddenly not on my screen any more
I say to my daughter, "it disappeared" and she will say
"it hasn't disappeared, you just can't see it now," and so
with this sisterness; it never went away, I just
didn't pay attention any more. I would have said
"and neither did she" but of course I don't know that. Maybe she knew
all along what I've been blind to. Anyway

I don't want to take it away; she's talking
about life, or her life, or any possible life she can
envision. She doesn't want a phone call from her sister
and she doesn't want eyedrops put in her eyes, she
squeezes them out so she has glaucoma now and I suppose
she doesn't really want that; I've heard it's very painful, but
she doesn't really want to see anything any more or try to
read anything. Well, Helen,

in crossword puzzles sisters
are nuns and we've never been
nuns but of sisters we both have none;
still I will call you, too late to help you if I ever could have
but not too late to save me
from despising myself. I'll call,
the way I never called when you could talk,
and I'll say hello and tell you
that I love you. Again. Today
when I said that what did you say?
And what did you mean? I don't
remember but maybe I will know
next time. And I wish you
a safe journey, I do not want to tell you
to rage; you're done with that. You
never wanted it and now
if you don't want it you won't
have to have it much longer.

I
don't want it either; I wish I knew
your secret.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jagannath

Jagannath
looks over us
his white sun eyes
ablaze. He makes sure
no harm will come, he
scares off ill intent, we're
safe. I know at home
he would look out. There is some magic here
in Jagananth transported, turned around.

He looked out,
he looks in,
Jagananth
looking out and in; I sit
cheered in this home far from India
with its resident gods not worshipped but
recalled. I celebrate Yankee
Thanksgiving here
with turkey on the table and
Jagananth above. Hybrid vigor
and universal
white sun eyes. Apocalyptic
horses are not stopped in tracks; roughshod
they may gallop right across us where we sit
giving thanks, but
under these eyes we are safe from
panic and from
ourselves.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

OTHER PEOPLE'S

kitchens inspire me to new heights
of rule-making: clean up as you go along,
never leave dishes in the sink, certain things
should never go in the dishwasher, even though
they can. And more. But somehow looking down from this
bench and pronouncing, I start to wonder
if I could ever follow any of these rules
at home. Well, of course, the one about
not putting certain things in the dishwasher - I
don't have a dishwasher so that's elementary. Then
the one about cleaning up as you go along. I actually
can't do that, not at home, not in other people's
kitchens, I think I will but finally I just
get too tired and don't even try,
which leads to breaking the one
about not leaving stuff in the sink,
too. And I don't have a job, not one
that takes my time away from me, I have
work, work that I can do while doing dishes or
even mopping the floor - or I could, I definitely could,
if it should happen that I ever
mopped the floor. I don't
have kids at home or anyone but myself at home
to take care of. And yet
I can't abide by these rules. So now my new rule is
do
whatever you do
and love it. That's all. If the dishes pile up,
love that. Vincent
saw herself in light of
a neighbor's rules: she rests
before she does her dishes,
she forgets
what she got from you. I do too; from now on
I'll think about who this makes me: A poet? Hardly. A fuckup?
No. Maybe
at core,
human, and aware
that I don't know everything. Oh that's
so hard to accept.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

OLD SAWS, NEW

OLD SAWS, NEW
(for N.H.B. Sahoo)

cuts. Who goes
on 4 legs in the morning, 2
at noon and
3 at night? Man, we know, but who
in the morning walks on 4, then runs at noon
on 2 and in the evening walks again on
5?
Me, that's who,
your grandma and my 3-legged cane
and with it I sometimes sit
on 5 legs too. Some call
the world's 5 legs dirt
breath, fire, water, and metal but I say
they are dirt, breath, fire, water, and
thought.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

FOR MY BIRTHDAY SOME DAY

FOR MY BIRTHDAY SOME DAY
to N.H.B. Sahoo

please,
make me a book
of pictures of dragons,
pictures of all the dragons that you know.
I would like to see a picture of the dragon of sunrise,
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon defender of all frogs and toads
and I would like to see a picture of the dragon of mercy
and one of the dragon of no mercy, too,
and above all I need a picture of
The Dragon of Everything and if there is a Dragon of Nothing
I need that one,
and then to end the book I think there should be a picture
of a dragon of excellent birthday parties and
one of
sweet sleep. Especially yes, I want to see with my own eyes
a picture of the dragon of sweet
sleep.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

THOSE 2

black crows on Grandpa's 78
heard on his big wind-up Victrola
were pretty funny, folk wisdom not offensive to the child me
who did not know yet about stereotypes and had never seen
a Negro. I laughed. We all laughed. As we did at Amos
and Andy. Everything grows and changes, everything
evolves and the 2
black crows I saw this morning when up early on my way
to the dentist, the 2 that flew from a tree to a nice cranny
in the telephone pole and cooed to each other, as if
not crows at all but slightly raucous doves, those 2
caressing each other with bills and shoulders, crooning
"You! You! You" ("there's no one but you, you, you..."),
black true but brighter
than the day's new sun, those 2
handed me a whole new philosophy. First of all I never thought
of female crows before. I suppose because of their dress -
not that men all dress in black but the two fathers I dreamed of last night -
Ralph Nader and Synanon's Chuck Dederich - both wore black where they sat
on the steps of some public building waiting
for me & my buddy Joy to come along: they both wore black. My dream
had to do with leadership. I thought, I believe, in the dream that
if only these 2 would work together Synanon would not collapse the second time around
and the Green Party would prevail. It was because of the singularity
of the One Black Crow. Awake, I know, primates do not organize themselves
around 2, no, never; it's 1, and when that 1 weakens another
1 comes to knock him down, but sometimes the 1
can be she. But don't the birds
suggest
another way? After all,
instead of flying at one another with beak and claw to destroy,
what if our leaders
could just say to each other, "You! You! You!" Or what if we
could? Then there is the whole question of
do we really need
leaders? Who's leading
those 2 black crows?