Early this morning as I drove through the mist that clings to Portland in March like a child’s yellow slicker, I thought of you, home, asleep on our bed, my side tidy, no faint indentation of life, and I thought of the thousands who have died to date in Iraq, who never again will leave a faint indentation in any bed. It is far easier thinking of you, of regretting the miles between us at this moment, but knowing that I will shortly bridge those miles and we will tonight indent our bed, that two thousand miles is little more than an inconvenience, while many of them are no more that a dozen miles outside of countless towns; but the effect of that short distance is infinite and they can only indent the thawing earth beneath the granite stones.
For a while, I will be using Thursday’s posts to feature poems I previously had published. Today’s, Early Morning previously appeared in The Right to Depart, Plainview Press, (2008).
It’s a fading memory now, a hole in the wall then, CBGB’s, loud, but nothing happening at Tommy Makem’s and here the cop and his pals play angry Irish with a foot in reggae and ska. I’m too old to be here, but no one really cares as long as I buy my Bushmills or Anchor Steam, and sit quietly. It isn’t 1847 but it’s just as black and when I step out in the night and flap like a bird for a cab, I hope the reverberation of the pipes will fade by morning.
The oddest thing about Texas isn’t that nothing is really bigger, other than the imaginations and wishes of those who have spent far too much time there, no, the oddest thing is that we outsiders actually look to see if things are bigger. Well that and the fact that the locals can so easily get into our heads and have us doing things we would never even think of doing at home. Bigger, indeed, and yet I look and glancing down, wonder why in the world I am now wearing Tony Lama boots.
You want it spicy, but just so that the tongue remembers it a moment after the mouth has moved on, a lingering sense of having been present. It should be a mantilla, a shawl, not the blanket some claim, gently caressing, lighting up the plate. Its host, freshly from the rollers, was born for this moment, and welcomes its friend, and the teeth of its visitors, accompanied by the grapes carefully pressed and aged for this occasion. The tomatoes sigh as the last of the arrabiatta is consumed and evening slips quietly into dreams.
Walking down this road I would like to see a rice field golden in the morning sun with a great mountain rising behind it just around the next bend. I would settle for a town its lone Temple quiet, awaiting the morning bell, the call to sit, with maybe a cat at the base of a statue the Bodhisattva. I am ready to bow deeply to the first monk I see this day, but my reverie is broken by the barely dodged wave thrown up by city bus running late and fast down the crowded street of this upstate New York city.
The lake in Central Park and its cousin rivers reflect the gray of a cold sky, an April afternoon. None of this is seen by the multitudes traversing the streets and avenues, a people who barely remember the sky.