TENDING MY GARDEN
Everyone wants a
view, larger than life,
The grand scheme, laid out.
Look out across the land
From atop a mountain. See it all.
Yet nothing can be held of its distanced vagueness
And an ubiquitous sense, too incomprehensible,
Permeates the unobtainable longing
To possess it,
To control it.
I imagine they sat her in a chair,
Gathered all the papers around,
Charts, reports, results, a scattered fan
Spreading a barrier to be stared at
So eye contact could be avoided
At crucial times, when eyes brimmed full.
Tears dripping from the edge of the abyss
Where they led her to her view.
I'm tending my garden.
Rows and rows, pulling out the unwanted,
Rearranging, propagating, controlling,
With eyes turned to the ground,
My view, small, here, now.
I need no view
Larger than now.
August is aging--
quietly slipping past her prime.
Days feel longer,
and hotter--and slower.
Along with the over-ripe softness
she now shows the loving,
the understanding that enfolds
in the comfort and enjoyment
of "Right Now,"
holding at bay all
thoughts of the future
or guilt from the past.
A short, indolent period of inertia prevails;
when birds become quiet,
and even the insects
take an afternoon siesta before starting
their night-time symphony performance.
Soon, August will rouse from her reverie
as birds form into flocks
to answer the siren's song of migration
and reptiles contemplate hibernation--
but just for now,
like one fresh from surgery,
without memory of those
masked and marking him in sharp
and gleaming edges.
like a PC off
but for its mindless clock,
counting seconds, thoughtless
to their going
or calendars needing growing. He
was, quite right,
In this state of unknown sleep
in densest deep,
a blade, a word can have its way
when comes the voice:
"Mr. Jones," "Lazarus," whichever,
He groans in earthly black,
stone cold at his back,
Through your eyes,
I read the kindness
of your heart.
And through your eyes,
I pluck your heartstrings
to play lovesongs
for my soul.
I watch your heart beat,
strong and caring.
When our aortas link.
I feel your blood
inside my veins.
I am revived.
A LOVE FOR READING MATTER
The insects I feel sorry for,
Lepisma saccharina named,
are innocent of almost all
the damages for which they're blamed.
"Almost" but not completely clear,
these slender bugs with flat white scales:
one crime they're charged with sticks to them
as tightly as their bristled tails.
They have inordinate love for books
in libraries, stores, and homes world round.
Like scholars they spend night and day
indoors wherever paper's found.
The farinaceous sizing and
the gel with which the binding's glued
make them with Frances Bacon say
some books indeed just must be chewed.
These silverfish live lonely lives
two molting years, and they they're dead.
Not one connects, even for sex--
I guess because of something they read.
A lion with a cub,
the cub a laughing hyena--
the sun rose . . . then he was a zebra.
The lion roared, "Leave me be cub,
I'm full of feast."
In the night . . . the cub now a statuette,
quiet was the vast desert
Red sands lay
in countless numbers,
counted only by paws
and hooves of animals,
by bellies of vipers
and stars up above.
The cub became a rolling desert.
Roar--roar. . . echoes of the hunt.
Then the cub became wispy winds.
Roar--roar . . . "Scent of the wind
is needed to detect
our meals," echoed the lions.
"What shall I do?" rasped the cub.
"Cat-nap for five hundred years,"
echoed the lions
Sleep--sleep . . .
the cub became a dream,
dreaming of eating whole elephants,
waking to find
the desert covered with ocean waves.
The waves fell through the sand.
The desert--normal again.
Then the cub--WAS the KING OF BEASTS.
A DIFFERENT LOVE POEM
I love chocolate, no doubt about that.
Too bad it tends to make one fat.
I love yellow, my favorite color of all.
Unfortunately, yellow just makes me pall.
I love lilacs, no better scent around,
but lilac perfume makes my head pound.
I love books; readingís the best of all pleasures.
With my failing eyes, I must read in small measures.
I love my family; they are the best.
Nothing bad about them; they make up for the rest.
MY BROTHER, SID
When I was just a little kid,
I worshiped my big brother Sid.
So if he burped, then I burped too.
All things he said, I thought, were true.
He swore to me that he could fly.
I never dreamed that he would lie.
He wore Momís old discarded drape
and said it was his magic cape.
Then up the stairs, my brother sped,
dove down and landed on my head.
I figured then, he wasnít cool
to act like such a goofy fool.
I donít believe him anymore.
Iím eight years old, not baby four.
Sid and me? Weíre still best friends,
but this is where my story ends.
A SLIM AFFAIR
My lover is thin.
White wraps her long, lithe form.
I have no greater pleasure than the moments
She's in my grasp, touching my lips,
Sharing her sense, overpowering me.
Silent revelry intoxicates me with her menthol draft
And I long for each fresh look at her attractive packaging.
My lover takes more than she gives--
My breath, my health, my life.
WHEN IT TURNS EIGHTY-FIVE IN
THE MIDDLE OF APRIL
Thereís too much to do all at once.
Youíre using the clothesline instead of the dryer
So youíre bending and stretching too much.
You raise up storm windows to let down the screens
And some flies wander in, in a bunch.
You shop for petunias and buy way too many,
Then get them all planted and mulched.
You hang up the porch swing and unfold the lawn chairs
But thereís no time to sit down too much.
You paw through your warm weather clothes for some short shorts
But they donít zip, you weigh too much.
You look for the sunscreen and put on sunglasses
But itís Ben-Gay you want, thatís enough.
You fix herbed orange roughy and salad for supper,
The chops were too heavy for lunch.
You shop for some skim milk and low-fat plain yogurt
avoiding potato chips and such.
You wash your electric blanket and put it away
All that heat on your bed is too much.
You take your old dog and the cat to the groomer
And they come back, buzz-cut too much.
You move all the houseplants to air in the sunshine
And re-pot some, for theyíve grown too much.
You rearrange furniture and open the windows
For breezes, but youíve got a hunch
That a cold front is coming, the grey clouds are scudding,
The forecast says rain. Itís too much.
What does Earth know of these things?
She transforms blood
into blessings and beauty
with rain at equinox.
Flowers, hummed to birth in moonlight,
lift their faces to the sun.
transforms thunder and terror
from cross and sword
to triumph in grass.
HONEY BEES AND SWEET PEAS
Honey bees and sweet peas
Are good with elderberry tea
Especially made into wine to please
O be careful of stinging bees
When seeking honey from the trees
Elderberry wine may not flow
Over swollen lips all aglow
So please leave to the bees
All my flowering sweet peas
Growing tall beneath the tree
And come on in for elderberry wine
As this afternoon is so fine
John Birks Gillespie born to modern folk
their dwelling home to dad's band instruments
clandestinely John fooled around with them
in time his bullfrog cheeks puff-adder neck
the angled trumpet bent by accident
his trademarks Parker, Calloway & Monk
influenced Dizzy's improv grace notes leaps
unheard of demisemiquavered runs
immensely high notes bluesy idioms
aware alert approachable the Diz
displayed no opulence his Bahai faith
like Shakers' simple free of racial bent
one night so hot the wind had fled he slipped
unnoticed through a back door of the church
where mourners of a colleague praised him home
Diz blew a soft & gentle elegy
so loving tears welled up in gathered eyes
to Shaver's memory Gillespie's prayer
ARE YOU LISTENING?
Tell me, please,
What is it about No
that you don't understand?
Is it the N or the O?
Or the not now,
maybe later, or never?
Nagging, whining, or kvetching
makes the maybe later,