Fit And Counterfeit

I am my own true fit and counterfeit, true gold and fool’s gold, their opposition not surviving this life’s intricacy, neither driving out each other’s other   What am I to make of myself but ceaseless forming of unresolvable formlessness, sometimes shameless in its heated heaving sometimes weighted with patient blind waiting?   In possessing myself, I dispossess myself of myself, pass into passing, leaving behind trinkets that mark a path beyond my own way of remembrances   “Am I or am I not?” becomes the sea of “was” or “was not,”,  time’s own shoreless “be”  ...

Slant

Slant is how best it goes when it knows not wither or why it goes, truth or not ruth, entertainment or catastrophe, yet slant’s elusive as firmament’s first fire   was there a first photon or were all and awe then self-entangled, then, as now , caught in the net of nothing stretched impossibly to bear being beyond themselves, ah, light   yes light, this light, slant, makes sight and shadow the worrisome wisdom of our delight, the fierce fervor of our burgeoning fright as climate changes, so our climax, too   my self, illusion, to itself is slight and slant as well, star, lost in its own...

In Brazilian Portuguese

In Brazilian Portuguese the samba is the sonnet, lovely lazy lively lilt slipping through shoulders, hips, lips, toes, hands to be breath and so smooth how time flowers   Before there were any words, Jobim made sun, sand, sea, saudade, me, and the girl who was completely sound without need of  flesh, she of the slightest  stirrings  of our air   No knowing now, ever,  how samba means outside itself, except it lilts us  let go grip of grasping selves, dance with shadows sculpted from blocking light of this, this… life   ah, sway, syncopated, counting deeper sweeter than any beat,  more…less...

Envy

Envy is a pygmy with a blow gun shooting venomous darts.  Often these are words that take aim at the heat and try to stop it from beating.

Our Responsibility To The Dead

What is our responsibility to the dead?  Only the care of all that lives.  This is a sentiment that strikes me as strange but true, not one  that I would have expected to discover within my breast in my heart when I was younger.  It connects me with the ancestor worship that is so fundamental because we owe everything to our ancestors without whom we would not be.  The sun, too, is our ancestor, that young star by whose light we...

“The Russian Likes To Remember…

“The Russian likes to remember, he does not like to live.”  Chekhov   Living is fraught with uncertainty.  Living is fraught with peril.   Living is nothing if not a stew of ambiguities.  Living demands effort.  Living is work.  Living is always poised near the cliff of annihilation even on a sunny spring afternoon of a near ideal temperature.  Living is fleeting, always charged with the dynamic bodily necessities of tomorrow and the day after.  Living involves real other people who are endlessly disappointed and disappointing and who are never quite what they seem, so we are always shaking our heads over what poor judges of character we have been   I think that I may be more Russian than I have ever realized.   The one who remembers fashions the memories according to his nature, his predilections, his whims.  Viridical memory may be an oxymoron.  Memory can smooth or exaggerate bumps and lumps, as suits its purposes.  Memory is gossamer.   Memory can counterfeit pleasures and pains and passions so perfectly as to make them pass for real, even to the point of supplanting other claimants to the mantle of reality.  Memory is a vamp and a tramp.   It helps weave the dreams that live us.   Memory is a river whose shifting banks we are so that we can choose its course until it drains into the sea of conceit and deceit.   Who can fault the Russian for preferring to remember what never was around a warm campfire rather than to live?  Yet live he must and does and so must we and do we.   Liking is another matter. ...

Baby

Baby   A baby rabbit flushed from the liriope, still, stares, slips back in   The baby rabbit was the Buddha whom I flushed from liriope   All encompassing baby Buddha rabbit gaze summoned me awake   This is everything and nothing, baby rabbit as still as a stone...

The Morning Dew

In pride my bare feet crushed the dew of the morning field, before life taught me   I was as the dew, nothing more than mist that had cooled into a tiny reflective globe   I apologize for who I used to be, fleeting marauder of what I failed to understand   Remorse is not the end of wisdom, but yet it seems a beginning, as I walk mornings   That I never imagined, my feet more worn and yet more tender as I’m beside the...

1591 Compton Road

1591 Compton Road   When you  live in a house, you hardly see it.  Of course, you see it, but you take seeing it for granted,  It becomes a habit.  You see it automatically, but without intention, without attention, without appetite or invention.  It is just there which approximates not being there.  Then you add time and distance, all the accumulated incidents, accidents, passions and pleasures and defeats of living.  It is submerged.  Or better yet, it is buried in your life.   Then a friend shows you a picture he has taken in the far off city of your birth.  A picture of the house, changed but recognizably itself.  The hundred year old elms are gone.  The luxuriant rhododendrons and mountain laurels flanking the steps up to the front porch are gone.  But the house, with its two dour gray wings, one a library, one a screened in porch, is more than reminiscent.    There is a shock  of recognition, like a depth charge in my mind.  Not only is the house reanimated, rescued from the accustomed dullness of habit, but so many memories come flooding back of when I lived in that house and all that I lived in that house.  The house is suddenly living and ferociously so.  I have trouble sleeping the night after I see the picture, this portrait of a being with whom I was intimate.  Or perhaps the tense is wrong : this portrait of a being with whom I am intimate.   I do not simply wander the house and the yard, but also the halls of time.  I smell the...

Fear

I do not remember my childhood with fondness.  Of course, it was not all of a piece.  Some pieces were better than the rest and better in different ways.   There were moments of delight, moments of sensory discovery, moments of absorbing mystery even before I discovered books.    I was immersed in it.  In a non-trivial way, too, I have remained immersed in it throughout the course of my  life   It is a puzzle to me why I do not remember my childhood with fondness.   My first thought  is that there was so much fear.   Unspoken fear was part of the atmosphere.    I inhaled it without knowing its name, let alone what it was or why it was.    I do not know if the unspoken becomes unspeakable or if the unspeakable permeates as the unspoken. But these are presences.  I was permeated by the unspoken fearfulness and so became afraid myself.   I was born very shortly after the end of the Second World War into a Jewish family.  I was a new hope and a new hazard,   What language does fear speak?  How does it communicate?  How does it infect?  Fear speaks in the eyes.  It speaks through  the eyes.  It speaks in  a whole range of gazes, some that look penetratingly, some that look away so as not to see what is there to be seen.  It speaks in the throat, in the music that the voice composes.  It speaks in the jaw, in the neck,  in the set of the shoulders, down the arms into the hands and their postures,  imploring  and deploring.   It sneaks...