Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Prickly Edge

There is a tang of saline and
It runs in the gutters of my mouth
Reminding me that I am thirsty
And although fresh water is nearby
I do not drink,
Choosing rather the prickly edge of desire
Over momentary satisfaction 
Choosing to abstain
With its yearnings and keening
Because it fills a different void
Elementally separate and distinct
That no simple sip of water can quench.

Friday, February 24, 2012


    When I finally decided to close out the house that I’d lived in for more than twenty-five years and move to a distant state, I had to determine what to do with my accumulated earthly belongings.  The task was daunting.  It boiled down to a challenging list of choices: move the object, store it, sell it, give it away, or throw it out.
    Items to be stored ultimately would go into a 10’ by 15’ storage unit; a clean dry vault composed of a concrete floor, steel walls, and a roll-up door.  To make best use of this limited space, I packed many smaller objects into boxes purchased at Home Depot.   Dutifully I wrote on the box tops the generic nature of their contents: winter clothes, family photos, pots and pans, etc.    Ultimately it became a stacking task, like a game of Tetris, fitting boxes of several shapes into tightly fitting walls of artifacts.  A narrow isle gave limited access and offered a vague promise to return and retrieve.  
     As I taped box after box shut the finality of my move began to hit home.  Storing the boxes temporarily freed me from the burden of possessions.  I was trending back to the foot loose days of my youth, where everything I owned fit into the trunk of a ’62 Chevy, with room for a couple of dogs and a hitchhiker in the back seat.  But depressingly, I began to feel that I was losing these objects, as if the cardboard cartons somehow had the power to swallow them whole and render the contents sterile.  I was losing my visual and tactile connection to them, that up to now I had always taken for granted.   I could no longer slip-on my well-worn baseball glove, chop veggies with a favorite shape knife, or hold the smooth grey rock collected  from a favorite secret shore.    It was disorienting and disconcerting.
     Articles of some monetary value I sold at a moving sale, held two weekends before my departure.  I announced to each arriving visitor, “This is a moving sale, and I’d appreciate if you’d help me by moving some of these things down the driveway and into your vehicle.”  I was generous with the pricing and offered a story, when requested, for each item.   The event had a festive tone.  The shoppers were generous with their stories in return as they picked though the relics of my times.  Many customers came back a second day, tempted to buy more (I mean who could resist a half bag of cement or a remote controlled gorilla head?) and perhaps pick up on previous conversations.
     It felt good knowing that these objects would have a second life, bringing pleasure and utility as they were repurposed.  They too were being separated from me, gone but not sterilized, gone to bear new meaning.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Questions I Would Ask

To the two Cane Toads, hopping through the greenhouse
One dark and rainy Hawaiian night:
How long do you need to exist as an unwitting invader,
Until you belong?
Are you a team, hunting the recesses of your own
Private Serengeti?
Do you get high licking your lips?

To the Dragonfly caught in a web high above, then dried
And mummified that tumbled to the floor:
Did you know the beauty of the lacework of your wings?
What is a life like, being half aquatic and half aerial?
Were you done when the web snared you, were you done living?

To the Orb weaving spider, whose web I knocked down:
Do you know that I know what that web really meant to you,
And that I am sorry?
Did you see that your fly shuttle weavings catches the morning magic hour of light
Sometimes shimmering with strands bejeweled, sometimes glowing luminescent,
Billowing in the onshore breeze?
And that I don’t like flies as much as you?

And how is it with you today, if could we chat
Toad, dragonfly and spider?
How is it with you…

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Have Sun

   I have sun
It seeks me as the day begins
And clarifies the night within
   I have water
And there is a cool stream nearby
That runs although it now is dry
   I have food
That gives me pleasure, fire and form
And strength to weather every storm
   I have friends
Who kindly share and do inspire
Another kind of form and fire
   I have night
That offers up its dark retreat
And so for now I am complete.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Son on the Slope

I am your son on the slope
And I am here to learn
From you father Kea
Of your cold night winds
Of your strong heat held dark
And of your old ways rumbling and stretching towards
The night sky
Filled with stars burning with the ancient light
That offers little cheer but great hope.
I am your son on the slope
And gravity calls me to you
Mother sea calm and pacific
Reaching farther than I can imagine,
You measure out storm and cloud
And most wanted portions of the sun
Newborn in the darkness
Loving us all in that way,
Whale and woman
Marlin and man
Rounding the ever changing corner
Filling our hearts with one more day.

A Clear Prejuduce

It was just a moment
A flash of movement
And glancing down the waiting room sofa
Paisley and vacant
I saw the female figures, one upright and still
One seated and slumped slightly in
The wheelchair.
It was then I detected
And soon self-corrected
A slight revulsion
A clear prejudice
And in an instance more
I reprocessed rethought and
Reoriented my attitude
Perhaps for better or at least more appropriately
To one of acceptance, or condolence
Or pity…
And then finally
Dropping my reading glasses down my nose
I saw the infant, the child, the joy
And knew the story more clearly,
Yet questioned mine more completely:
Why be repulsed, by prejudice?
Why rejoice due to circumstance?