It is, I think her lips I miss most their butterfly flutter across my cheek then her eyes, almost feline that see within behind walls hastily erected that fall to her sight. It is all of that and the whispered words linking hearts that still echo as she slides into sleep. I cry out to Morpheus my words are swallowed by the drone of the engines that fall as rain into the Sea of Okhotsk to wash onto the shore of Khabarovsk.
The fortune cookies of my childhood were far more interesting, or so my memory would have it. The cookies offered wisdom of the East, or so it seemed to a 10-year-old, but perhaps it was the same mumbo-jumbo in the bulk print today, now that the cookies, which once tasted good, unlike today’s origami cardboard, were folded by hand, and there were no lotteries then, so there was no need for lucky numbers nor did they make a foolish attempt to teach me words in Chinese that I will never have a reason to use.
Someone once told me that pain is a good way of knowing that you are still alive. I did want to kill that person, but thought better of it, why not simply smile and leave him in a life of pain. More recently I was told that I would get used to my chronic pain and over time it would seem to hurt less if I just live with it, accept that it is always there. So now I have an always angry roommate who speaks only in single words, who explains nothing when questioned but appears when I least want to see him, jabbing and stabbing until I want to scream “I’m alive, so go to hell, you’re needed there.”
You probably imagine that the life of the poet is one of great excitement and adventure. There are moments that might be deemed exciting or adventurous but those happen just as often in the lives of those who despise poetry. And believe me, poetry is not only not a career, it’s not a job unless you sit in some city square and offer to write a short poem for anyone offering you a dollar, a prescription for homelessness and starvation. The life of a poet is setting aside time to stare at a blank page of a journal trying hard to imagine words appearing and organizing themselves into neat lines and stanzas, then you put the Journal away in frustration promising yourself to try again tomorrow.
Open to page 147 of your hymnals. There is nothing to sing there for the words of promise once found there have withered and faded, carried off on now toxic winds, so hold your breath or whatever heaven you imagine will be too soon be approaching at a speed exceeding imagination.
You don’t remember how you got here, things happened around you when you weren’t paying attention but, you say, what can you do about it, it’s not your problem so you are happy to let someone else deal with it, you are sure it will be dealt with if you stay out of the way, do nothing.
So while you are blindly waiting perhaps you can join the others just like you, in your final prayers.
How often have we sat in pews, on the zafu and heard an enrobed man or woman say “Let me describe for you” that which cannot be described, that which is beyond mere words.
We would be better served to just sit in silence and hear deeply what we need, not empty words meant to lead, to mislead, for you God does not speak and you cannot claim to be enlightened, for both are delusion, but both can be experienced if only you look deeply within.
I am just wondering what you would say if you were called to testify about all that you had seen, all that had disgusted you, all that you condemned but did and said nothing while it occurred. What would you say if you had no choice but truth, no shading, no mincing of words, just the harsh light and you in a chair in an empty room, a disembodied voice asking endless questions? It is best that you remain silent, say nothing at all, for we have already judged you, and you know your own guilt.
When I was a child . . . God, how many times have you heard something prefaced by those ever frightening words, not scary themselves but what painful story they promised.
When I was a child we had a milkman who brought the glass bottles twice a week, took the empties and envelope with his payment from the shelf built in the wall just for deliveries.
We also had an egg man who’d leave a dozen eggs in a little metal basket on the same shelf. He had a great mustache, almost walrus-like, and he may have been an eggman but he was defnitely not a walrus, goo goo gajoob.
He arrived today although none saw him coming. He had been here before, been quickly ignored, despite his pleas and prayers, they twisted his words to suit their venal desires, his message forever lost in translation. They were not ready, and in their hate fueled world, they might never be.