Polished

Among the things on
my bedside table is a
coin. I kept it in

my suit pocket. I’d
rub it waiting for trains or
outside offices.

Impassivity
didn’t come easily so
the coin got polished.

Now the blank faces
remind me every hour is
a gift of some kind.

Grief’s Question

So what is love, Grief
asks. Grief asks the same question
to make you doubtful.

Grief is boring and
doesn’t let you remember
the first time she o-

pened the door or the
smell of her kitchen, how she
used the back burner

so you could go on.
No love without pleasure, which
is deeper than grief.

On College Hill

There are no neutral
facts. True, some facts —- sparrows
taking a mid-win-

ter dust bath—-have no
value in our schemes. Near the
new high rises they

roll and chirp, raising
the thirsty dust. I stop and
watch. My meeting can

wait. A fertile no-
thing is just the other side
of every thing.

A Smile in Passing

My songs last but a
minute, which is long enough.
The rest of the day

takes care of itself
once the song is in my head.
Eternity names

where my songs come from,
a smile in passing, a scream
of gulls on the wind.

Cat Wang’s Window

I watch my master
leave from my window. Ice on
the walk, dawn-glow on

him going. It’s slow
going. An eternity
watching him go.

The Tao is in all
original eternal
energy. He’ll fall.

The Tao is in all
things, high and low. He’ll get up;
he won’t be gone long.

Final Feelings

Autumn sunshine floods
my small room. It washes the
things—-the bed, the chair—-

dissolving them. Is
it more than feeling if I
say goodbye to it?

I’ll be back, room; be
good! ‘Any feeling after
final must be home’

(Les Murray). True, that
small room and all that happens
in it homes me home.

A Piece of Toast

This place goes quiet
after the breakfast rush. Food
settles the stomach.

Want no longer de-
fines me. Flesh communicates
in words I can’t write

but poets live off.
Bits of muffin and jam stick
to chipped crockery.