Saturday, March 17, 2012


My hair is gray, almost white.
My left knee is shot; the right dubious.
My upper teeth went south years ago.
The six lower ones remaining need fillings and crowns;
When I eat something sweet they ache.
My ears are plugged up with wax.
I keep asking people to repeat themselves
And thus everyone assumes my mind is wandering.
My taste buds are ten percent of what they once were.
After two hours of reading my eyes mist up;
In the evenings my back aches,
Along with my calves, toes and wrists.
My tent pole still works but rather erratically,
Not to be relied upon and when it blows its bugle
The note is muted, sometimes barely registering.
My face is caving in, my neck waddling.
Even my ears are shrivelling up
Like lettuce plants left unwatered.

In short I’m a wreck, an old pumpkin
About to be thrown on the compost heap.

Yet I sit zazen as steady as a granite boulder.
I can sing fourteen love songs in a row
Without missing a single word or a note.
I can chase my grandson around almost as fast as my sons can.
I can stay up late at night talking ideas and gossiping.
I can concentrate for twelve straight hours
Painting a picture or writing poems.

So why complain?
Well, it’s traditional;
It’s what people do when they get old, isn’t it?

Friday, March 9, 2012


Are drinkers of mulled wine
Mints to disguise the alcohol breath
In the backs of roman churches you will find them
Lighting votive candles

Die and yet they don’t die
Nests ludicrously untidy
All humans who worked in vaudeville
Are related to crows
But they won’t admit it
Claiming originality as the original sin

Crows have a gigantic body,
Composed of thousands,
Moving like an inky cloud of pumping crow’s hearts,
Like a text balloon moving forth from the lips of god,
Here and then gone,
Like all miraculous revelations,
Chopped into tiny pieces by the scientists,
Who never smile in public for if they do,
Between their teeth,
The remnants of crow feathers,
Fingers stained with the orange of beaks.
Their wives have left them
For their habit of inhaling raw meat,
Cawing in the basement,
Moving their arms as if they were feathered wings,
Hooking the backs of their knees over branches when the children are watching.

Humans also have a gigantic body,
Composed of thousands,
Moving like an inky cloud,
Wars for instance, rock concerts.
That’s why crows are studying us,
To find out why we watch pictures of other people copulating,
Stick bayonets into one another
Or walk about in public with things stuck in our ears.
Crow scientists have long lists of our wierd behavior
And seek to find crow reasons for them, one by one,
Until humans are fully known,
And thus unable to blow crows up with dynamite,
Or inject them with noxious substances,
Or shoot them with steel pellets,
And they store all these things in their crow brains,
Which are small, yes, but that’s because
They serve as portals to the entire universe,
Which is where crows live, connected to everything,
Intoxicated with sun and air and moon,
Especially the moon, loved extravagantly by crows,
Who murmur appreciatively when it hangs in their trees
And whose favorite legend is of a crow,
Wearing a veil of moonlight,
Breast filled with radiant sun,
Who knows all about crows and all about humans and all about god
But she won’t tell anyone
For she knows such knowledge would destroy them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sleeping in the Hammock

One could mention the moon
Hung like a party favor above the black trees,
Or the horses laved in breezes,
Lost in reveries among the shadows.

A human life doesn’t last long.
A few significant celebrations,
Then old age and gone.
Where nobody knows, not even God or Buddha
And the sun rolls its yellow wheel across the sky
To sink, a red stone, into the horizon.

It has always been so, hasn’t it?
Even the philosophies of the young touch on the matter;
You’ll remember the philosophies of the young
Spent on summer porches, among the green of gardens.

A cup of tea is a world in itself,
And the spine curved in the hammock is not so different
from the snailed spine of a fetus,
Forehead nestled into its supplicant knees.