The village of my grandfather
still stands amid the fields
adobe walls stained
by soot from the fireplace
birds nesting in the summer
warmed chimney singing.
The ancient scythe leans
against the wall, its blade
embedded in the crusted soil
as the old tractor idles in the field.
Armies have trod this ground
ignoring the small house
smoke curling from its roof
stew bubbling in the iron pot,
for the city hills away,
its brick walls beckoning
the spoils of war hanging
in its galleries and vaults.
My grandfather lies
in the parched soil
roots of plants wrapped
around his fingers.
First appeared in Alchemy Online Literary Magazine 2000/2 Fall-Winter and later in Legal Studies Forum Vol. 32, No. 1 (2008)
I can never fully comprehend
iwhy they never seem able to see
things from my perspective, it really
isn’t the all that hard.
After all, they claim to know me
better than I know myself.
Today they never ask if I liked
what they chose to serve me,
why I left the food, sometimes?
Today think I might really
and I mean truly and deeply,
hate argyle sweaters and hams?
And it isn’t just their blindness
that gets me, is the arrogance
that goes with it, as though no one
but them has ever had a deep thought
well, we’ll see what they think
the hairball I hacked up on their pillow.
“You have to go all the way to Washington,”
he said, “to find decent statuary.”
“Oh, you can find one or two in almost every city.
Its founder, some general or admiral,
some animal that oddly represents
a metropolis that has cast out its animals,
or penned them up in zoos, put them on leashes.
New York has quite a few, Boston as well,
and Chicago, well it likes sculpture,
but spend half an hour in Vienna
and you are overwhelmed with statuary.
Maybe they have lower standards there,
or far more history, but I suspect it is
that they don’t rush about on the winds
of whim, despite our endless example to them.
You are forever seeking
the path, as though
it will give you a sign.
Seeking the Buddha is good
but looking for him
is ultimate futility
for the eyes are incapable
of looking within.
A reflection on Case 30 of the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate)
In so many mythologies
earth is a woman, a mother,
and we arise from within her.
The pure and simple logic
of this assumption cannot
be assailed, for she is
the crux of all nature,
and as it seems in life,
it is all too often
the males that lay siege
and wage wars that
damage her deeply,
and the women whose tears
gently wash her wounds
I am a child of ghosts, my parents
adopted and birth, all visit me,
but only in my dreams, for ghosts
prefer the reality that dreams allow.
Some say that dreams are not real,
but they live in the mind as do
every other reality I experience
each day, my senses merely
inexact lenses for the mind.
Perhaps dreams are more accurate,
a deeper reality in the end,
for they arise without passing
through the lenses of the senses,
whole and complete, and as quickly gone.
I am a child of ghosts, and I
will eventually join them,
haunting the dreams of others.
The packed suitcase
sits on the futon
but neither it nor I
are in any hurry
blanketed in snow
is an orange