Tag Archives: JS

‘Being Without Bent’

July walnut

‘Being Without Bent’

Light and shadow leaf out from the same tree
I sit under the roots of the sky grateful for absence

Because I know its shapes make the present
Present itself against this blue sincerity

It is too early for the crickets to give advice
The hornets of time find another corner of wood

As the porch shadow turns east and I sit in my new self

The climbing moon pauses on a mulberry leaf
And later on the neighbor’s roof unnoticed

The pale afternoon ladder has no rungs
But the moon turns slowly until upside

Down it can fall up the sky

Summer Midnight

cactus1

Summer Midnight

A man wakes in a hotel room
In an unfamiliar time zone. He has all his memory

and yet he carries nothing with him from that time.
Like the new summer from the spring he is all effect and no cause.

Outside in the dark he walks as if on the floor of a great sea.
But the ground plants have sucked all the water from the place

And have taken on a strange bristly beauty as if floating upwards.
Opening his mouth to say a name the word dries on his tongue.

One hundred and eleven degrees: three above auspicious.
Of the river his lover grew up alongside and the low-tide’s waves

Of the bay he knew as a child he hears nothing. But he hears
a message as when a great wave has washed over you

And floating in the foam you find a scrawled message
from the past forecasting that a wave is about to crash.

The hotel swallows the moon like a horizon.
One lizard on a row of stones.

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

mantis1

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered

Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away

After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping

It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more

On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now

For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing

And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer

One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down

The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada

Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything

That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days

We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again

 

mantis2

Song Sung to The Mothers

flowermoon

Song Sung to The Mothers

You are the gate and the path leading away.
Not the nest but the many things

The nest was made from. Built of mud
And moonlight. Without you nothing

Can bond or find its way through darkness.
The mistakes of recognition were all ours:

That you are immortal and unchanging.
The nest by our feet on the path

Is the one we built of such dead twigs.
At night when I sleep it is to the song

My mother sang in the trees before
I was born as the moon pulled

My empty soul across the water

Before the Moon

Before the Moon

My boy’s breathing is fine. The moon is late rising,
The palm of night presses down. A few stars.

As eyes close the pressure inside and outside
The eyelid equalizes like the pressure inside

And outside the house. The house sees nothing too.
The wind like Zhu Xi sees nothing and begins

To investigate things with clarity. A few windy
Mornings ago I drove my son to the hospital

After he could not stand up because of the pain.
The night pressed in on the windows of the car.

Though it was perfectly still outside my panic
Drove the air into my resisting frame.

Zhu Xi was so still and undisturbed
He could have been lying against my windshield

And I would have seen right through
Him whispering knowledge and action

Are indivisible. After morphine and the three
Incisions, after the handcuffed prisoner

Who swallowed metal things was rolled out
Of the ER, after the appendix, vestigial

Like a scholarly appendix, was removed
Zhu Xi was an untouched cup of coffee.

A still Saturday morning parking lot.
Days later I am still there. Zhu Xi

In the back seat because you are
Beside me. Zhu Xi pressed against

The bedroom window like a giant moth
We look through waiting for the moon

Through closed eyelids to appear on
His wing. My son’s breathing is fine.

Late Winter Dream

Late Winter Dream

How long has it been since the mail has delivered your thoughts to me?
Now in a package no larger than a driver’s license I find

Hundreds of small notes pressed together into a block of paper, a sediment
Like stamps stuck together. It has been at least seven years since

I drove 700 miles to take your car keys away after you got lost driving home
From a church ten minutes from your house and beached your car

On a concrete island between lanes of traffic.Safe but too shaken to be sorry.
Pop couldn’t do it, my brother and sister couldn’t do it, they were too close.

They all stayed in RI. You would not have given those keys to anyone else
And we all knew that and it’s why I love you. Because when I asked you knew,

Some part of you, that it was the beginning of losing everything.
I remind myself that this is a dream, this package of your words, but I know that

Everything you haven’t been able to say, your language slowly leaking from you,
Is in this small block of handwriting, and I know that as I begin to cry

Surely it will wake up my wife, who will then wake me in order to pull me
Out of a nightmare, and with my waking I will leave behind that palm

Full of your words, which I will never get a chance to read.
It would not matter if they made no sense. I would understand them.