POEM: Maitreya

Future Buddha, sitting in the valley,
peering over low dunes, in the waning sun.
Oh, those low dunes recall peace gone badly.
Tanks in columns, aiming their big guns.

Will they? Won’t they? Run them toward lowlands.
Speed them down the valley, til they hit the pass?
What’s your future, if they charge the homeland?
Huge peace icons seldom deter the brass.

But I suppose being a peace symbol
cannot work at the size of a thimble.

POEM: Judgment Day

two eye whites through a slit
shifting from side to side
standing in this alley
no sounds heard far or wide

it’s quiet out tonight
it never was before
this silent mode of flight
mute rumble in my core

if I should die before
I sleep, I pray, this day,
not for a one to mourn,
but, please, carry me away

Wu Wei Haiku

don’t debate dolts
they’ll remain half-wits
after you’re spent

flex in wind
and rebound in calm
all in time

glide to dive
the hawk’s fearsome show?
gravity’s work

wise farmers
wait to do watering
eyes to clouds

mute traders
get extra carrots
for silence

POEM: Black Kite Over Bangalore

The predator commands a post atop a monolithic chimney, which it defends from swooping competitors with a hop, a wing flare, all while going talons up. Its trilling whistle call signals I know not what to I know not whom, but it’s persistent. Its head swivel-snaps around in precise jerks — a clockwork motion. The kite is peering more across the building tops toward the incoming weather than down into the urban valley where it might find a meal. Monsoon season is coming, and it intends to get in some preemptive showers — just to make certain all know that Mother Nature consults no calendars. When a gust hits, the kite beak aligns on the wind direction, but wind shear catches its back feathers, giving it a shabby look.

In the background, I watch its comrades in flight. To say “circling” would be to impose more order than these birds’ chaotic aerial dance warrants. Mostly they glide, each to its own flight plan — occasionally flapping for altitude or making a brief, awkward plummet.

POEM: Garden of the Strange

Garden of the strange, you’ve grown quite a crop.
I look up, feel my heart thrum, and dead stop.
Surrounded by a thousand eyes and feet,
I feel a prickle of nerves more than of heat.

It’s madness to halt before this army
who are armed with stance, and grins etched smarmy.
Fine. You say I’ve read too much King and Poe,
but I’m backing out of your horror show.

POEM: Olfactory Teleportation

sitting in a Thai food joint,

couched in the atrium of a Bavarian-themed mall

in Bangalore, India

I smelt a scent —

obviously not fish sauce or coconut curry —

rather some kind of plastic, maybe in the menu lamination,

that transported me back to elementary school,

a parochial school in the Midwest in the 1970’s,

it was a plastic I’d have guessed had long ago ceased being made, 

given the lack of such spontaneous dislocation,

I squeezed my eyes shut because travel is expensive,

but olfactory teleportation is free.

POEM: Gazing Abyss

I rode out to the land that lay beyond.
Past the forest of dense, dark canopy.
I saw a rippled reflection in the pond,
but knew the eyes below were not of me.

Impostor in the water peering back?
Maybe Nietzsche’s abyss seeking my mind?
But how? Those eyes were blind as they were black.
The abyss and I were somehow entwined.

I felt the lull as time began to fail.
Quiet panic rose deep within my soul,
but paralyzed panic allowed no wail.
How’d I find myself out beyond the shoal?

And, as I submerged into that abyss,
the final flicker was a spark of bliss.

POEM: Silence

the scream spiked into existence,
fully formed but unheard,
as from the victim of a slasher film
caught fresh out of the shower

but it couldn’t escape
not one chirp or squeak of it

it tried to ice pick its way out through the chest — “Alien” style
but just became a sharp pain
and a pulse heard in the head