POEM: Gravity’s Conspirator

trunk bent at a right angle
and leaning to the south

yet, that tree shows no struggle

every second — day and night
gravity summons it to the ground

it’s survived more than a few monsoons
puddles and soggy soil
have conspired with gravity
the wind has conspired
climbing animals have conspired
alighting hawks and crows have conspired
the boy who crawled out the horizontal limb and swung conspired

for years they have conspired

but the tree rarely so much as trembles

it’s doomed, but that knowledge holds no sway

and when i sit,
centered to thwart gravity,
i still feel the dogged pull
though its only conspirator is
my mind

POEM: Unfortunate Circumstance

some will speak of loneliness
like a knife tip stuck in bone
some will tell their fever dreams,
that summer they had no home

 

some have never walked barefoot
through streets strewn with broken glass
but yet they still found themselves
waking, rolled in fresh mown grass

 

if you gave them each one wish
some would wish it never was
others wish they hadn’t been seen
but see he who saves it “just because”

POEM: Budapest

I know you best by the gray of your winters

when road salt coats the sidewalks

and a witch of wind rides down the Danube

whistling around pedestrians on your broad bridges

      — except there are no pedestrians

                  — save for me —

river crossers huddle in yellow trams

or pack into the Metro that rolls under the river

I know your beauty can be unsullied

I’ve seen a Budapest in bloom,

under blue skies and cotton clouds

But your gray days lend a distinguished air

a melancholic miracle is birthed from gloom

a sweep of story,

 a piece of poetry,

that would move a stoic to tears

And escape is always close at hand

for Kürtőskalács fires sunshine in my mind

POEM: Consciousness

it’s a lighthouse in the wilderness

shining a spray of consciousness

over all that is surveyed

 

experiencing the world through a window

framed by this meat machine,

which is optimized for chasing down prey

over long stretches of African savanna

 

maybe there is so much more

as so many boldly claim to know

but neither they nor i have the mechanism to know it

— even if we have a masterpiece mechanism for believing it —

so, i’ll not yet extend my footings into the darkness

POEM: Hanoi

of egg coffee and banh mi

to rocky islands in the sea

tiny, tidy market stalls

to the mammoth shopping malls

once a town in ruin and rubble

I saw not an ounce of past troubles

maybe a bullet-pocked citadel

though it be true that war is hell

it’s also a terrible liar

as if the world could be remade through blood and fire.

POEM: Dark River


sitting beside the dark river
watching the inky water flow
though balmy, i feel a shiver
abyss, but for a moon lit glow

in the rippling liquid metal
aside blinding light from the moon
i see loping letters settle
in lyrics of an unsung tune

i don’t fear the talking waters
nor the dirge they write for me
for in life we’re all but squatters
i dread the river’s gift lost to a cold sea

POEM: Rambling on a Koan

“What is your original face?”

Original? Does that mean I have one now?

Perhaps when I mirror gaze.

Otherwise, if I have a face, it resides in the minds of those who look upon it.

He who takes a scaffold built of patches of matter, varying distances from his eye

and reflecting various spectra of light, and fleshes it out in subjectivity owns the face.

That mean thing,

thing of glee,

that by which cantankerousness is displayed

thing of sorrow,

thing of madness,

that ugly-pretty, disheveled topography of flesh

is a faceless face,

or — perhaps — a thoughtless thought.

POEM: The Endrow, or: How To Survive a Cornfield

I was once a kid in the corn.

News at Eleven ran a story
about a child found dehydrated
and on death’s door — deep in a field.

Any farm-boy will tell you,
you can’t get lost in a cornfield —
not truly lost.

Pick one of the two directions
that your row runs,
and walk.

When the rows re-align at right angles,
that’s the endrow —
you’re almost out.

Sure, it sucks if you hit the river,
because then you’ve got to walk
all the way back past where you started,
moving in the opposite direction.

But a kid has a lot of walk in him.

The only way to get lost in a cornfield
is to panic, and lose all faith
in the logic of a field.

In nature, one may walk oneself in circles
’cause one leg is stronger than the other,
and nature’s chaos is omnisymmetric
to an order-loving human brain.

But, in a field, the rows run true,
and the only way to walk in circles
is to feed your fear
and lose faith in the straightness of rows.

One can’t teleport a harvester into a field,
it needs to be driven there on a road.

Find your endrow, find your road.

POEM: Cancer

The crab! Oh, so apropos.
Claw, grotesque and over-sized.
This death won’t know pain or throe.
It’s tyrannically civilized.

Like a crust of frozen snow,
it girds drift, and melt ‘s unseen,
but still will grow into a floe
as host grows weak and lean.
Later becoming gaunt and sallow,
it starts work deep inside,
building out toward the shallows.
And like all who succumb to pride,
the crab builds in its own image.
It makes its host low and hard —
a fearsome face of scrimmage,
with a shell well battle-scarred.

If you can make those scars your own,
facing that hard shell the right way —
deny cold access to the bone —
the crab may be kept at bay.