The Hordes

I understand very little

but the hordes coming

behind me know so much

 

I admire them and fear them

perhaps a few have kinship to me

are baffled as I was, as I am

 

I count myself fortunate

to see the light that I see,

to see by my own lights

 

The illusion of ownership

barely lingers in me, I belong

to my body, not the reverse

 

There is tenderness for what

is and can be easily abolished.

The dark of violence frightens me

 

The hordes coming behind me

know so much, but do not yet

know how little it is, we are

One Note

In the night he played the organ of sorrows

whose vast pipes spanned continents

and whose music was time, the sea

in which he swam and dissolved

to become a wail sounding the deep

where beginning and end are one note

 

You – Point Reyes, April 2015

This April we have brought you along with us

hiking these headlands you never knew

 

you have been with us each step of the way,

sometimes light, sometimes heavy, sometimes

 

a dance of variegated shapes in the fog’s sheen,

sometimes transparent, sometimes a suggestion;

 

you have been here and you have been not here,

both at once, so I have tried with each footfall

 

to reconcile the two, failing as I knew I would

the wildflowers are out celebrating the first spring

 

after you and so many tule elk have gone

to join you in this great drought and beauty

 

is everywhere all around including the black hawks

that dot the fog and also my joy in each breath

 

we’ll walk some more, then more and then no more,

but, while we walk, we’ll bring, sing you with us

All At Once

The cat

licks her paw

 

to a Beethoven

piano sonata

 

then lowers her cheek

and goes to sleep

 

I sit and wrestle

with my strangeness

 

I am and am not

all at once

 

and the piano

keeps on playing

An Undeclared Mystic

Strange anything at all exists.

 

What is, is!

 

Profound tautology,

but I can’t find a curtain to pull

to let me see behind “is”

 

Wittgenstein snorts like an impatient horse,

 

“Haven’t you ever heard of getting snared in a language game?”

 

This is the form fashionable in the West

of what in Indo-Persian lore once was called a “tilism” *

a magical landscape that can pass for real and hold you

for a very long time, even your whole life.

 

A substantial part of the beam of my attention,

is always held in wonder that a pen can be, that I am,

that a green shirt can be, that light and robins can be…

 

I’m dazed by what other people take for granted.

 

I’m a child or a fool or both mixed up together.

 

The wonder of water and palm trees and the blue of sky

 

And dark and stars and the ever unrolling scroll of dreams.

 

I admit it: I’ve been lost all my life and this

is where I’ve lived and this is who I’ve been

 

An undeclared mystic

 

 

 

*See the “Adventures of Amir Hamza”

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