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

Wu Shih / “Nothing Special” [Free Verse]

a steady rain patters
into puddles
far below

i close my eyes,
listening for a
pattern

but it's chaotic -
 a random rhythm that
tugs at my eyelids,

lulling me into 
a dull state of mind

Purposeful Pauper [Free Verse]

a discard pile of lifelines
- money & pseudo-money
- technologies & redundancies

some donated,
some burnt,
&
some left 
to be found 
by the
willing & the grateful

he walked with
a cloak,
a staff,
a satchel,
& a bowl

he walked
until 
it hurt
&
kept walking 
until
his prided died

then took
what was given
&
lived without
what wasn't

everything beyond
food,
water,
&
air
became a burden

while finding
food,
water,
space,
&
the means of
cleanliness
became the sum
of all endeavors

the terror-bliss barrier
took time to break down,
but when it did...

how free he was 

In Praise of Diogenes the Cynic [Free Verse]

Owning only a cloak, 
staff, and satchel,

he broke his bowl
after seeing a child
drink from cupped hands,

feeling the dunce 
for being out-simplified
by a mere child.

When pirates,
eager to sell him off,
asked what skill he had,

he said, "Governing men.

"If you find someone 
interested in buying 
a master,
I'm your man."

He couldn't be driven
away with a stick,
much as the downright-dog,
Antisthenes, tried.

He was expert
at adulterating the currency -
literally and figuratively.

When Alexander the Great
offered him whatever he wished,
A sunbathing Diogenes replied,
"Stand out of my sunlight."

I fear
they don't make 'em like
that anymore.

The Immovable [Free Verse]

The Immovable,
said to lasso evil
& 
vanquish it with
his flaming sword.

And I have so many
questions...

-can one vanquish evil?

-what material must a
sword blade be made of 
to fatally wound something 
so conceptual?

-why don't we see more
vanquishing these days?
[It seems to be an activity 
that's fallen out of favor.]

where can one obtain 
a conceptual blade 
to vanquish
a conceptual fault?

i conclude that it's
all made of mind.

The Taoist [Free Verse]

In the pagoda garden,
the philosopher stares
into the inky darkness,

contemplating its slow
flow into the light,

reflecting upon the light
embedded in all darkness,

light that he sees in
a glint of moonlight 
on still waters.