Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Golden Pathways In the Skin

Golden lines run beneath your skin,
directing and yearning; we must have melted the ore,
for now the treasure runs like laughter in a child's lips,
the stream billows like a flag in the wind,
the lily entices the air and is moved.
Movement becomes dance,
one heart is gone and fills the soul,
the emptiness pools gold.

In martial practice, play push-hands
and greet what arrives, escort what leaves,
rush upon loss of contact.

Learn to play thus, learn to kiss.

Learn to love and teach the body all
the golden pathways in the skin.

Endless Red Field

Every time I touch that passage, I have to read it again,
and every time the wind blows by it investigates
that one deep crevice in the face of the high cliff.

When I see those blooms, I must inhale,
when I count the petals I must forget,
when I stir the waters they must rise
and ask me in a burbling tongue who I am.

If I reach that valley, I must run into it
and make some noise; if I hold back, what am I?
If once I hear the rustle like pages
of you, I am compelled to
I will never know, but I must, I must, I must.

When you drink warm milk with a golden strand of clover honey
swirled into it, spiraled, doesn't it slip down your throat
and land in the endless red field?

You Come To

You come to the home of Lao Tzu, where
even though there are no ornaments
you're weeping about the beauty.
You come to a very wide place,
to the One whose face you don't see,
and you're weeping.

You come to a mountainous peak
when the moon has waned
and waned and the circle of her visage breaks
at your weeping. You come to feel
what T'ai Chi calls dan tien,
the warmness and the full, close body;
being pregnant with your weeping,
like a many-petalled constellation of soft red suns
lifting their feet
and turning into the sea.

You come to realize that love is a void
into which is drawn the world;
again, weeping.

You come so close to the edge of you that, O!
the tension aches pleasure and the loss
shines momentously, but you retain
your balance for sake of your weeping.

You're sitting beneath the parkway
on a long piece of ratty carpeting
beside a concrete shelf on which a cabinet rests,
one empty drawer marked Clothes,
the other Books;

you're weeping


"Where was this when I was homeless?"


Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Big Cats (of Autumn)

Tigers orange and red
and lions, lions golden,
climbing headfirst down the long soft trunks
of summer, vibrant into autumn,
fast-beholding hoary winter's encroach;
like a hand with a collar,
stiffening bark.

Claws like the claws
on the hands of a clock-face
telling time's dull toll, minute to hour;
the last laugh of the last partygoer
downing his drink in an empty room
of pale, pale trees.

Trees with trunks so high, who can tell
if the tigers started from the top before the lions,
kicking off the sky like the bottom of a lake
and racing the big cats down
to see who'd first be swept in piles
and pounced on?

Words for Abraham from a Descendant of the Sky

What a lovely, lonely-wondrous city
where Abraham's descendants would have been approximately
five or seven by the count of stars,
like blindly bought celestial cigarettes and match heads
circling around behind the clouds of rancid smoke
as this old sky pontificates and gestures.

Better, more beautiful to stare into the only working streetlamp
and pretend that it's the moon that isn't up there anyplace.
It flickers and burns, but it hasn't gone out yet;
hope it does, though: I'd turn and weep on no one's distant shoulder,
whisper at the empty crowded ocean of a city sky:

How the hell do I, do I get out of
sitting on the outside?


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sweet Old Vintage

Floorboards creaking in an old porch
sound like an omen to these ears
when coupled with the rippling rush of children
laughing as they run towards home,
their feet treading the wind,
pursued by leaves.

I say let the old pines groan,
to hell with wooden prophecies!
They'll support our weight until the spring,
just as the grasping, naked branches of the oaks hold up the sky
when the year grows heavy as a thick warm blanket,
cold as nights without you.

We'll cap our heads with wool, I'll stop your mouth with mine;
we'll bottle up this passing summer like it's wine
so not a single drop escapes us.

Then, love, when the thawing thunderstorms
and bright stars roll back round to us,
we'll wave at them and shout for joy
with hands full of the sweet old vintage,
the only leaves still bright upon the branches!