the bulls begin
their slow descent
down the narrow streets
muscle and sinews taut
they forge ahead
a white wave
in their mad dash
and each year
there is one,
some years two
who, by slip of foot
or lapse of judgment
meet the horns
of the lead bull
who in disgust
First published in Defenestration ,Vol XVI Issue 2 August 2019
Staring out, watch the bull
walk slowly past
along the old road.
Marvel at his horns,
the flare of his nostrils
in his massive head,
his breath hanging
in the early morning chill.
Mark each leg, its
muscles rippling, as it passes.
You feel you know the beast
but only if you close your eyes
can you grasp its tail.
A reflection on Case 38 of the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate Koans)
This morning arrived
with a painful slowness, the sloth
of irregular dreams refusing to concede
to the light struggling to creep around
the blinds that hide the oversize windows.
It had been that sort of night,
sleep arriving and departing with
a frustrating lack of constancy, my body
uncertain of its proper placement ,
the mattress offering no easy solutions.
Conceding the failure of the night
to provide shelter to an overactive mind,
I roll to my side, note the response
of sinew and muscles forced
into unaccustomed forms, and reach
out an arm which snakes across
your waist, as I press in more tightly,
squeezing out the last vestiges
of remorse, and I pull you close as you
reach back and stroke my thigh,
and we give ourselves over to a new day.