October 20, 2008 at 11:17pm (Poetry)

(For A.J.)
             “And you are waiting for the one thing that will eternally change your life: an awakening of stones.”  — Rainer Maria Rilke
Awakening stones; shuffling rocks;
and above them all:
clocks. clocks. clocks.
And we who have no time,
are out of time
time after time,
for whom past and present
have neither rhyme
nor reason,
nor season of the year,
but only this unreasonable fear
of touching —
                     we know nothing.
But the stones know;
the rocks know;
the clocks know
what we do not
and never will:
be still.

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May 6, 2008 at 6:43pm (Poetry)


Telling secrets

in the secret places of the stairs:


Fingertips, like lighted candles,

reaching out, from the dark


                       (O my dove, thou art

in the secret places of the stairs)


reaching out from the clefts of the rock,

from the secret places of the stairs;

reaching out, going out, going dark

in the secret places of the stairs.


O daughters of Jerusalem,

I am black but comely,

like a tent at midnight

with a lion crouching at its door,

sniffing at its door,

under a full moon in an empty sky

on a black night of a blacker god

who whispers secrets to the lost men

giggling in the secret places of the stairs –

the congregation of the lost men, the broken men,

the men sans hair, sans teeth, sans everything.


I cannot bear to keep them anymore,

these secrets of the secret places of the stairs,

nor dare I speak them

even though you question me incessantly,


                              “Speak! Why do you never speak?”


I never speak because I lost my tongue

where the dead men left their bones

and the living pick at them.


I dare not speak

except to those who cannot hear,

who have no ears to hear,

but hide in fear

among the secret places of the stairs,

squatting in the dust

and muttering their prayers

to a black god in a blacker sky

surrounding a dead moon

on a still night


in the secret places of the stairs.

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January 4, 2008 at 3:17pm (Poetry)

There are dragons
at the bottom of the river,
and the blood of demons
in the sky.
And to our left and right
the virgins fly
through that open window
that opens to the sky.
And in the blink of Shiva’s eye,
a dark mountain
rises to an even darker sky.
           (and pierces Shiva’s eye)
Make no mistake:
the secret is the eye:
the eye that sees
and does not see;
the eye looking at the eye
looking back at me
right before we die,
when there is neither you nor I
but only a far-off speck
in a far-off corner
of Shiva’s far-off eye.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti Om.

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December 31, 2007 at 10:22pm (Poetry)

Paper, scissors, rock
crows the cock.
Look, look
caws the rook.

The one-eyed man
in seven-league boots
and four-and-twenty maidens
in four-and-twenty rows

wiggles his fingers
and nibbles their toes.

          Nibble, nibble
          little mousey;
          nibble, nibble
          at my housey.

Of gingerbread said
the one-eyed man;
try and catch me, if you can.

               * * * *

Time at the speed of light stands still.
So, hurry up please, it’s time.
Hurry up at the speed of light,
at the speed of light, hurry

up the hill to the broken crown,
up the hill where they all fall down,
up the hill where the fathers say,

“Come what may!
                          I’m going!
                                        God help me!”

and vanish
                    (first their fingers, then their toes)
into the night at the speed of light,
into the night at the speed of repose.

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December 27, 2007 at 2:05pm (Poetry)

October’s hungry sparrows
                               (weary like the heart is)
fetch and carry nesting,
resting occasionally in the sun.
I, however, have no house
                                 (neither do I build one)
this chilly Tuesday
when restless birds pipe and call
among the thinning branches
and Winter, crouching on its haunches,
stalks the Fall

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AUTUMNAL 1 (In Memory of Rainer Maria Rilke)

November 17, 2007 at 7:54pm (Poetry)

“O lost, and by the wind grieved, Ghost, come back again.” Thomas Wolfe

These leaves,
they all fall down;

are falling down
with the sound of falling leaves
they fall, silent, to the ground.

And all are falling;
this hand, too, it falls:
it falls upon the page.
        upon the word.
                upon the stone.
                        upon the leaf.
                                upon the door.

It falls;
and having fallen,

falls no more.

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November 10, 2007 at 10:30pm (Poetry)

King Wu Wen presented me

            with a hundred tortoises.

I fed the flesh to a hundred beggars,

              and the shells I used for divination —

cast them into fire and read the cracks

               the fire made along their backs.

Nothing furthers, they said. Also,

               Every ending is a new beginning.

Such nonsense!” I spat,

              and beheaded the cat.

But what can one expect from empty tortoise shells?

             Or old wise men like King Wu Wen? 

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November 10, 2007 at 10:19pm (Poetry)

Under the surface,

under the slick of oil

spreading over the slick

of conceit;

                     under the tock

of the me. me. me.

ticks the I. I. I.

that watches, watches, watches

as we die, die, die.

                          Waits and watches, watches and waits —

this unseen, unwatched, watching Seer.

               And we who have no house,

no house at all

                      (nor do we build one

on this chilly Tuesday

when Winter, crouching on its haunches,

stalks the Fall)

                      we, too, wait and watch,

watch and wait;

                        paint our lips with blood,

our eyes with death,

pucker up and hold our breath

in hot anticipation.

                            But, lacking inspiration,

mistake the mustard seed

between our teeth

for a bit of food

and spit it out lest we offend.

The end.

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November 10, 2007 at 12:56am (Poetry)


          Here, in the Valley of Bones,

where the scorpion mocks the turtle

as the turtle dies

and curses the scorpion

for its lies;

           where dead men return,

and stones return,

and children’s teeth return;

here, at Elephant’s End,

we play cat’s cradle in the dirt,

where a little dog laughs

to see such sport,

and the wayward dish


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October 25, 2007 at 8:21pm (Poetry)


     Three went into the garden dark

where secrets are kept for keeping;

one returned and one went mad,

and one remains there, sleeping.


But who is the fourth who walks through flames

around the garden wall,

weaving forbidden holy names

into the fringes of his shawl?


      In the beginning was the word,

and by the word all things created;

yet it is said (and I have heard)

that by the word shall the word

itself be abrogated.


So ’round and ’round the garden wall

walks the one who walks in flames,

listening for the third to call,

from inside that garden wall,


when he hears the waiting word

spoken from among his names.

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