there are three of me at the least.
one so young that now he forgets.
he began of a light as joy, although
no name was given it.
this was moving light to dim.
most that followed was middleness.
time was given over in search of what
was never missing anyway.
you say to me otherwise
yet it seems to me that just the
other day we were holding hands.
that endured a long long time.
for all the days of love professed
now life says simply… show me.
now is the transition to being me
with no shape whatsoever.
like tongues written on water.
being closer to words surrendering
their clothes. closer to the beginning
than the middle is.
and dim will hand over all meaning
to one bright face.
words will be all poem again
as light will speak. me too.
gull wings at dawn. slow milk rings
in the sky. for many hours their cries
drew out my listening. now
a silent inhalation till dawn again.
Under this book a shadow is.
Under this book a shadow contains
everything the book is not.
Like night is not day,
and you think you see, but don’t.
Likewise possible is more than meaning is.
Like the bottom of the sea,
like the shadow of a tree.
Meaning was never what is, is about.
Everywhere book does go,
shadow does too. Stars and moons
and owls watching mice, about
like that is the story ladled out.
Not indifferent yet more willing than
any reason we do common call kin.
Between your lips a shadow is.
water is in willingness with what wants moving.
it is not the reason, why.
so it is.
read footnotes about this poem
being a postcard from home
who would live in such a place
but it was pretty normal then.
lots and lots of years ago.
Third Street. the town was only
a little larger than third.
window in the front, that’s me.
when the town slept I’d put my
cheek onto the window screen.
feel. be both outside and in.
the room was only two long strides
across, so not a leap to imagine
outside being inside too,
or the mother possum gnawing
beneath my sleeping floor.
termites said the floors tasted good.
the street out front was harvest
broad and strong. Greyhound buses
used it to circle round.
the smell of diesel was an
aroma of adventure to me.
front door with a skeleton key.
back door, hook and eye, and how
I burgled in when my key was gone.
no bathroom when the house was built.
later they added one. no insulation
so outdoor weather took residence.
clothes off, to shower, then dry
and gone in five minutes flat.
in time ivy came to adore the
in some rural cultures you wear a face mask
backside of your head because you seldom
know when a tiger is about.
borne without limits you live
in-between face and unseen.
joy is no limit, nor loneliness;
intention is no limit, nor fear;
tenderness is no limit, nor serenity.
the true nature of a thing is
in everything you don’t see of it.
each kiss forgiven its mark.
joy is what’s to be.
says the wind ¿who are you?
the low round green-haired maple,
her tresses bobbing as a question would
question-and-response moving swift,
moving faster than eyes can see
no change, hand to hand
¿who are you? says the wind
I am doing you, is who I am.
this isn’t the poem you were
this poem is ill-kept,
ill-mannered, temperamental at best.
this poem hasn’t eaten for days!
that glint in the eye shouldn’t be
mistaken for affectionate wisdom
except as it applies to a dinner plate.
are you someone good to eat?
some truth is best understood from
a distance generously paced away.
don’t tempt with rosebud fingertips
giggling through a wire fence.
sampling is mandatory here.
beneath the bodhi tree
sitting, walking, make no distance.
you choose. your intent.
use your feet like your mouth.
kiss what nurtures you. observe
how you stand.
your silence might meditate, however
notice, everything speaks.
stones, gravel, sand, falling rain,
the cat amusing your feet.
the chorus is as big as everything.
a perfect earth cannot become
more wise than its limbs.
we are fish in shallow water wanting
knowledge but only as we see fit to
receive. surrender wisdom first.
no pockets to fill or keep.
lion tamers are pretty cool. not the ones in cages,
but the ones out on the bare scrub savannah with
full-faced fair regard.
but to say “tamer”, that’s less precise than saying,
a chair or whip would spoil everything!
what more to ask of love?