Enantiomers

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza enantiomers of a single compound   the right handed version and the left handed version   the same in chemical composition but breaking light differently   Myself, I’m a racemic mixture, Don and Sancho,...

Words For Waves

Words For Waves     If I were to compose words for waves, I’d wander the shore, mile after mile, month after month year after year as I changed ages, letting the sun set on me and the moon rise on me sometimes a scimitar, sometimes a golden eye, and the stars stick their fierce pins into the sky, letting the sun rise pink again on my pink flesh   I’d wander the shore and let my feet be familiar of the wear of sand and of rock, listening, listening, listening, for I’m certain that the waves have a language all their own, a way of speaking and making themselves understood and I have always aspired to be their translator. the importer of their ancient virgin truth   I’d leave the clouds to others, even though cloud and waves are intimately connected as both are water I’d leave the land, too, its vast barrens, and strange hewn grotesque overweening ranges of mountains all to others I’d keep my feet walking, listening, listening, listening for the hint of a word in the thunder rumble of huge breakers minted on the open ocean   Or perhaps it would be the fan of surf spray that betrayed a clue in a random moment, a first word confident of what came after though yet without form the waves are connected to the deep, to the hidden skin of the earth that was once surface, perhaps, then dove deep into a soothing darkness, an immense quiet, a place to wait and keep on waiting for whatever might come next   But suppose, after all...

In My Appointment Book

In my appointment book, in my own handwriting,the obligatory medical illegible scrawl, a notation,for 1:30 PM October 10, 2011, Columbus Day, onlyI can not read it. I discern something like M__id___,but can not attach a name to this awkward rune At 1:30 PM October 10, 2011, Columbus Day, I waiteagerly for help in deciphering my own scrawlto arrive in the form of a particular patient, solutionin the flesh to the mystery I have made for myself,but no one, no one at all comes and mystery deepens It is an unknown no one who comes, who fails mein unraveling the knot I have tied for myself, the “not”with which I have filled this particular time slot.In more than a quarter century of practice I’ve notdone the like, never invented such a loose...

Old Maps

When I was six, open air book stalls along the banksof the gray green Seine, sold old maps, exotic, all fake,that fascinated me for whom they were the genuinedoorways to an imaginary geography, the presenceof other places much more interesting than here My father tolerated the spell I was under with mixedindulgence and disdain, he let me look and lookand look and ask questions – “What language is this?”“Do ships still sail here?” Does this island still exist?“Why not?” he would ask, puffing out white smoke Despite many trips, despite my yearning for thesetalismans of voyages, despite hours spent looking,spent comparing, spent investigating, we neverbought one of these maps, which made them evermore precious, lodged as they were deep in my mind Not only much older now than I was then, but mucholder now than my father was then, I hold it allas something ordinary, imperfect, yet magical,the way we were together then along the banksof the gray green Seine, as I imagined...

Your Mother

Your motherwhom you hardly knew whether she withdrew just after your birthor died before you were two or twenty or forty or fifty-four or even sixty or moreshe gave you so much of you but was the origin of riddleseven if you know yourself as a riddle your fingers can’t reach out and brushwho she was, what she meant, what she held I know there are vast rivers of sentimentthat run in the other direction celebrating unions however imperfect,exalting mother and child together I can’t help that I stand for the truthof a lonelier life, one full of destinations we never reach whether by the seaor in the vast unsettling...

Beyond Dreaming

I want to dream beyond dreaming,to be convinced by worlds that exist onlyinside me like pearl planets inside oysters of sleeptethered to the flickering electrical reefsthat invent me both when I’m snoring and when I’m awake who can dive for these pearl planets, bring oystersback to the surface for examination, for interrogation,so that they can be asked to state what they might knowabout their circumstances, about my own circumstances,how we’re all accidental, even if round and smooth? the border of dream is not waking,not a line of fence posts and barbed wireor even wishing with all its exotic barbs,the border of dream is hard to reach because dream keeps springing up under all feet, five toed, poetic nor is there any going back to the beginning,when I dreamt I had arrived at origin, suddenly a wild buffalo appeared and I had to run for my life,humiliated that what I thought was an idyll wasinstead something so other and in sleep that was mine I want to get in my dreams beyond seeking approval,beyond asking acceptance, even my own, beyond tryingto amount to someone, but just to float and glow liketiny phosphorescent plankton awaiting the whale’s maw,but without knowing that they are awaiting… In my thinking about my dreaming, how it is satisfactoryand unsatisfactory, there is more than a hint of jazz,of improvisation, of never putting my tongue in the samestream of mind twice, even when I want to and when I try,it’s no dream I’m always finding and losing myself, all...