Thin Cities [Free Verse]

There are cities where
the veneer of normality 
is so thin

that it feels as though
one could fall through
at any time,
plummeting
into the true city.

Varanasi,
New Orleans,
Tokyo after midnight, 
parts of Prague & Bangkok

I can't say what's beneath
the veneer,
but, oh, does part of me
 want to know!

These are places 
better visited than lived in,
for their magic cannot 
survive extended proximity.

The Forest [Free Verse]

A sprout sprouts from the dirt.

Above, dead leaves keep 
the tender leaf cool & moist.

Below, worms churn the soil --
churn and aerate. 

Fungi decompose the lowest leaf layer,
turning it into nutrients for the sprout.

I'm tapped into all that magic
from afar:

-creation & destruction,
feeding into each other

-energy becoming life,
life becoming matter,
matter that - 
in turn - 
becomes energy.

If there's a forest,
I am the forest.
I'm life and energy
&
 death and decomposition...

all in due time.

Mallick Ghat Market [Free Verse]

Loomed over by Howrah Bridge --
that big steel beast --
the flower market is a world of color,
marigold garlands in orange, yellow,
and alternating orange & yellow.

The odd stack of roses:
white, pink, and -- of course -- red.

White garlands with red accents.

Greenery.

Loose flower heads in piles,
pecked at by tiny birds
that bounce and flit.

Rose petals at risk
of being carried by a gust 
into a swirling cyclone of 
romance --
only to be left littered on
the muddy pavement.

Mind-Breaking Poetry [Free Verse]

I need some mind-breaking poetry -
some Blake, some Dickinson,
some Yeats, some Whitman,
some Langston Hughes.

I need a poem that's a kōan, 
that makes the mind a mackerel fish,
and doesn't mind doing it.

I need a poem that sizzles
inside my bones.

Dreams All the Way Down [Free Verse]

I awaken from a dream
within a dream,
and I'm still dreaming --

dreaming that I'm walking
with the others,
the others that I'm told
are all me,
walking in some vaguely familiar
exotic destination

Of course, I don't know I'm dreaming.

I did wake up after all,
but it turns out that

it's dreams all the way down.

Tea Master [Free Verse]

drink the wisdom --
you'll find it more in the heat
than in the liquid

subtle - 
like the flavor of tea

in drinking it 
you'll discover:

there is no tea,
but the tea --
a tea-less tea

the life in you
the life in me
melted into a mound
of unity

Unclocked Hours [Free Verse]

Stepping out onto a city street
in the cool, unclocked hours
of the morning.

One looks about,
but not as one does in daylight --
i.e. in response to sound.

Instead, one looks about
in response to the lack of sound.

A clawing sound 
from a burrowing rat
isn't worth one's attention.

It's the silence 
that calls upon the mind
as to a sailor on shore leave.

Biodestiny [Free Verse]

linked machine to machine
we're bio-destined to oblivion

we can take our fidget romps,
but we're still turds migrating
through a litterbox called life

among us are sentient volcanoes,
self-aware, but not aware

City as Organism [Free Verse]

There are cities 
that grow upon cities,

piling them up 
and spreading them out;
amoeba-like false feet
reaching down the cold run
corridors of transit

Markets grow up 
through the cracks -
some vast and hardy
tumors of commerce
while others are little 
card table kiosks
kicked into corners

The view becomes 
uniform & undifferentiated -
like an ocean,
sprawling to infinity
in all directions;
more complex than the sea
but equal in its
dispiriting sameness

In some room or another,
in that vast repository of rooms,
everything that can happen
is happening --
loving, killing, praying,
torturing, healing, 
and so on

Rooms are the city's cells;
the buildings - its organs;
the neighborhoods - its systems;
and we are but molecules 
in the city's scheme.