In the Temple [Free Verse]

i enter an empty temple. 

it’s not silent.

footfalls resonate
&
floorboards creak.

but flickering flames
&
sleepy-eyed Buddhas
are quiet enough

in an hour,
the monks will filter in
with great punctuality:
monks, young and old.
(i would say, “and ages in-between,”
but they all seem young or old.)

there will be chanting,
and the din of finger cymbals
and deep-toned drums.

and i will leave
for the solace
of the world
outside the temple.

Hawk, Psych! [Free Verse]

the hawk's head-shifts are precise
and follow in rapid succession...
and then cease

it lifts one feather at a time
as if sniffing its pits

it shifts from talon to talon,
and then once more

it seems to be settling in,
getting comfortable 
for a long stakeout...

and then it's gone,
diving off the ledge,
disappearing into the city valley

Weightless Birds [Free Verse]

tweets & cheeps

i hear them all:
dainty expressions 
of tiny birds

i hear them amid
the neck-stretched caws
of jungle crows
& amid
the circling 
screech hawks

weightless birds:
flitting & jumping, 

flitting with wings
blurred to invisibility 
&
jumping:
bounce - bounce - bounce

Stand [Free Verse]

Feet feeling rock,
until one loses
the ability to tell
where the sole ends
and the mountain begins.

If one were rooted
like a gnarly cedar,
it would feel no different.

When there is nothing but mind, 
there is no longer anything 
to differentiate...

The Flow of Wild Ideas [Free Verse]

We need a flow of wild ideas,
though some will drift ever onward,
into the vast nowhere:
beyond application or reason.

One will catch on the shore,
others will pile into it,
becoming a beaver dam of bad ideas.

Unstable?

Maybe.

But the flood will rise, 
and lift that stuck idea,
and send the whole logjam
spiraling out to the deeps
where maybe one idea 
will float apart,
and find the light 
that makes it look worth chasing.

Cattails [Free Verse]

In a patch of Deccan wetlands,
I see the cattails of my Hoosier youth.

Half a world away,
and nature grants me continuity
that culture can't provide.

I am transported to my youth
by a common landscape.

Indiana -- India,
names almost the same, 
but ever so different...

except the cattails.

Rocky Shores [Free Verse]

a rocky monolith,
jutting from the sea,
is smashed by waves.

overgrown with moss
& gnarled trees.

battered brutally
& unrelentingly,

and yet unchanged 
& unmoved.

 birds confidently
settle upon the rocks
&
take off again,
leisurely.

Victory Mythologized [Free Verse]

victory in the palm of the hand
(specifically, 
the winged, laurel-bearing Nike --
goddess who personifies victory)

it's a bit on the nose
as is the bent front leg
as if standing on the chest 
of a vanquished foe

as is the looming,
nothing says victory
like looming
(unless you're a weaver) 

but victory is never so 
unambiguously glorious
as it's mythologized

Nine Miles Deep [Free Verse]

nine miles down
an old dirt road 
that runs the valley,

the road disappearing
before the pass,

fading into a footpath,
and then into a vague notion

in a rare turn of events,
i can see - but not hear -
the whitewater 
that's running back toward 
from whence i came,
and then on to a sea
in some distant country

i sit on a grassy hilltop,
feeling i'm far enough 
down the road 
to be at peace

Stone Guard [Free Verse]

arrayed in pairs,
mythical guardians
stand aside a stone staircase

the tourists seem
undissuaded by the figures -
be they freakish, grotesque,
or mean

the most dismaying of them
may be the ones with a
warm, polite 
grin...

and a lion's body