Island [Free Verse]

I've lived on islands -
some surrounded by sea,
and some not,

islands of isolation -
cut off and cut out -
fringed with nothingness.

In the quiet of a cave
inside a mountain
on that island
amid the ocean vast,

I found myself 
both on an island
&
being an island.

In Praise of Multiplicity [Free Verse]

Everybody seeks oneness,
but maybe one with everything
is too much,

it's a state in which one is
lost, irrelevant, and unloved -
all at once.

Maybe it's better to be tied
to the mast -
like Odysseus - 
straining to make that dangerous 
connection, 
but unable to, 

the connection of non-connection,
the love of longing,
of trying,
but not of being plugged in --

air-gapped to prevent 
resonance at a frequency
that would shatter one's soul.

Sea Gate [Free Verse]

The gate faced the sea.

It seemed like
a strange place
for a gate.

The sea spray
of crashing waves
flew up to douse
those who passed through.

Which way was in?

Which way was out?

And then I accepted 
that "in" & "out"
were meaningless constructs, 
and that it was a portal
between infinities.

Wide Open Spaces [Free Verse]

out of my cell 
&
onto the trail

i walk the vast expanse,
the vault of heaven above
&
hills of rolling green
beneath my feet

and clouds barge through
blue skies
like thoughts barge through
my mind -

sluggishly
but
inevitably

Those Who Bled for the City [Free Verse]

blood runs to the gutters,
flowing and whirling,
a sluicing pink juice
that circles and sloshes
down the drain

most did not feel
the missing blood,
but it came from 
each and every one 
of them -

the locals, the exiled,
the travelers, and
the ne'er-do-wells -

all bled into the city,
and something grew 
from that protein slurry

most contributed only
drips & drops,
but some hemorrhaged,
giving their liquid selves 
for something 
they couldn't 
anticipate 

Chiaroscuro Green [Free Verse]

densely packed stands of pine,
the dark green 
insinuating black shadow

set against the verdant
grassy meadows
and shaggy scrubland

it makes the mountain 
look angular,
 with sharp edges
pounded into shape

the pine-writ shadows
steal depth,
suggesting absence,
creating the impression
of emptiness,

a false void...

or so it seems

Long Shadows [Free Verse]

long autumn shadows stretch
across the pavement

and it might just be that
everything has stretched out

time and thought and hope
and love and life and mystique

all smeared across the day like
shadows smear across the ground

it's a slowing of the mundane
as the mood grows sadder

winter's melancholy is moving
on the wing 

Confluence [Free Verse]

with each breath
and each step
you feel yourself
merge with the world

pulling the outside in
pressing into the planet

each breath brings oxygen
used by Buddha or Socrates

grit granules that were 
part of mighty mountains
press into your flesh
or become your bones

the world flows through you
as you flow through the world

Necropolis [Free Verse]

a city of the dead
tunneled under the living,

awaiting the flip,
a shift in who's who

-the living & the dead,
-the dead & the living
-the alive and the existent
-the living dead &
those dying alive

all jumbled together
in a sea of inhumanity,
tumbling past each other,

scrambling for humanity -
for the breath of life,
for life in a breath

the musty scent of decay
in the living city
was the first sign...

those in the necropolis 
smelled flowery scents --
clean and bright --
and found those fragrant
perfumes
as revolting as the
living found the rot stench

in the brief time it took
to become acclimated to the stink,
all found themselves in the churn,
struggling for more
of something they
didn't understand

Mountain Fog [Free Verse]

fogged in at a teahouse,
a growing gray of view,

this world lacks 
sharp lines,
excepting the hint of:

-a sloping roofline
&
-a building's corner

 these lines are 
sharp relative to
the amorphous gray;

but fuzzy compared to 
the same line's clarity 
on a blue sky day

now,
they're blurred, 
as if the village
had been painted by a
skilled - but lazy -
painter,

a sumi-e master
with a melancholy soul