MY RABBI (PART 2)

I tell him I am thinking of becoming
a rabbi, someone just like him,
a man who saw so many through
all manner of crises, joyous events.

He sits back in his unsteady chair,
one he refuses to replace, this one
finally broken in, he says with that
gentle smile that melts anger, anxiety.

You would do well at it, I know, he says,
and I will gladly write you a recommendation
but think about this carefully, it is
not the life you might imagine it to be.

But before you decide, he adds,
reaching among a stack of books,
read these, handing me two volumes
that I did not imagine would change my life.

And somewhere, I have my own copies
of Alan Watt’s “Beat Zen, Square Zen and Zen”
and “The Book:On the Taboo Against
Knowing Who You Are?”, and I then knew.

HOPE ETERNAL

First day of the new year
and there seems an almost
palpable malaise that things
are not suddenly different,
as though the turning of a page
on the calendar might somehow
set us and world events
on a radically different course:
the fool would become wise,
the sage would smile knowingly
and all that to which
we have grown so accustomed
would morph or disappear.
But there is a full moon tonight,
so perhaps tomorrow
will be the day we all
eagerly anticipated today,
or, just perhaps, a black cat
will lead us beneath the ladder
and down the thirteen steps
to the ever-present home
of misbegotten expectations.