At the Scene

It’s a breezy dark
day but off and on the scene
is lit up without

warning. The leaves that
shook now shake and shine, the clouds
above them blinding.

Then it’s over. No
one notices. The traffic
itself blazed, metal

and plastic flashing
mercury-like, but drivers,
thank God, kept driving.

The Power of Let

As a newcomer
in old age to these green parts
it’s with disbelief

I confess: power
in the last dimension is
the power of let.

Not quite forgiveness,
what I sense in the rain-washed
Pacific breezes

is old Rabelais’
“do what you will”; but the will
has relaxed into

gratitude. One more
rain-polished day, the “let be”
of a kinder god.

An Ordinary Day in Portland

cold and wet. Today should be
ordinary, and

the ordinary
would include that bus. Two
good Samaritans

dead after trying
to calm a man shouting hate
at two girls who looked

different. He had
a knife. An American
story. Our city

known for its buses
and devotion to the un-
common common good.


Something excessive
attends me as I transfer,
one train to the next,

the commute shorter
and shorter. An awareness
that returning home

to the trees and lawns
of New Jersey involves states
of mind towards mind-

fulness, which is not
a state of mind but a gift,
as home is a gift.


In the dappled shade
of roadside maples the war
dead we pause to praise

this Memorial
Day call in equivocal
voices, some one’s own.

Screaming crows float from
tree to tree, full of themselves.
My father returned,

begat me, made me
doubtful. In his silences
his South Pacific.

Plato at the Beach

The first beach day, sky
cloudless, slate blue all the way
to the coastal towns

of the Pacific.
I sit outside and listen
to the hollow sound

the tires of the cars
make going out of town. It’s
early, still cool. Pla-

to comes to mind, one
foot in the sand, the other
tingling in the waves.

A Prayer in Passing

Summer. Wind-seeded
poppies sprout curbside, sleep rough,
and disappear — flare

out is more like it.
A SUV passes, black-windows
down, base blasting. Some

times I’m ashamed to
be human. O green world of
otherness save us!