Thoughts As I Wait for the Thunder Moon to Appear

Thoughts As I Wait for the Thunder Moon to Appear

Chuang Tzu asked, why is what the world does worth doing?
The thunder moon which I cannot see teaches me that it is unavoidable.

Regardless of all that I know and do not know,  it is launched without slowing
over the clouds. As the arrival of clouds cannot be avoided, neither can the departure

of clouds. It may not be worth doing, Chuang Tzu said. And yet
it cannot be left undone. I am looking without seeing, Chuang Tzu,

and it may be enough that I am no longer looking for the moon.
In the quiet, unseeable, the small chicory flower unfolds towards dawn.

As the departure of life cannot be avoided, neither can its arrival.
When the moon’s no longer needed, clouds break open like blue petals.

Dog Days

Dog Days

Nothing sturdy in the stem.
Nor of legacy in the one-season leaf.

All dogs must die, but not at once.
Like grass, let’s grow monuments

too numerous to be destroyed
in a single death. We’ll sit with this one

through the moments
we’ll not remember in a year

to remember we can build
what matters from pure light

recognize love same as we know
the texture of both sides

of this summer leaf waving
welcome and farewell

in the single breeze passing
from invisible past

to invisible future. All dogs
like summers will pass

but not before we live them
through. Let’s leap into

the coming stillness.
Let’s make the favorite meal.

Let’s sit with this one, no more
special than a blade of grass,

great as any dog or summer ever lost,
and let it last as long as it lasts

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Last Poem of Spring

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Last Poem of Spring

Boxing up books. It is almost summer.
So many different flowers are packed in

the small flower garden. Gin and tonic
in a jar with ice, as light leaks away.

There are the dead, the lost,
the memories floating in patterns

like fireflies, their season starting
with a wild inland storm, mountains

disappearing behind the gray wall

Inside Outside

Inside Outside

In my son’s room at dusk a firefly floats to the ceiling
I know outside they are rising to the thick canopy

in the backyard where even the night barely gets through
When I walk out the fireflies are re-arranging the constellations

as if they are not sure what shapes to believe in
Here I am at fifty recognizing no shapes of belief but noticing

the vectors of illumination   There are crickets
in the high grass near the fence I haven’t had the heart

to cut back in this yard I will not see next spring

Readings Recorded: Robert Okaji at Malvern Books in Austin TX

If only Len had stopped by on his way from Turkey to pick me up in his private jet, I might have made it out to this reading in Austin a few days ago. Luckily, the poet was recorded sharing his work with a responsive crowd. There are too many great lines and great poems squeezed into fifteen minutes for me to quote, but there is talk of snail sex, love darts, spreadsheets, rain forest bridges, wind, trust, love, and the moon. Thanks to all the folks at Malvern Books who I will never meet for recording the reading and posting it here. Robert’s own website, O at the Edges, is also well worth traveling to. Enjoy!

Translational Velocity, Full Moon, Mid-Afternoon in Early June

Translational Velocity, Full Moon, Mid-Afternoon in Early June

It is more than how quickly these lines reach you.
It is that they move you. How through them

You change position in time. I used to think love
was the measure of an object’s rotational inertia,

Well not exactly in those words, but how things
in a given state should stay in that state without end

But I was mistaken, that measure is simply mass
as it spins or doesn’t, assuming further it has a center

Around which to spin and absolutely nothing
that could make it wobble or twist. Your hands

And wrist gently, impossibly, your neck and jaw
set the stillness spinning, under the hidden moon

And the leaves with their riot of turning stems
in the slight breeze and the alternating paths

They allow the light to the pavement
beneath the sycamore limbs, as we stand still

Moving on the inside, or move over time, love is the change
In direction or speed, love is the inconsistent

liveliness, the moving picture, projected on any surface,
love is just keeping up with it, keeping up.

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