Tu Fu at Midnight

It begins to rain
around midnight and the trees
say nothing about

losing the day’s dust.
Tu Fu comes to mind. With no
credentials, money,

or connections, he
wandered. He saw how people
suffer. “Heaven’s ways

include human ways.”
He wrote ten-thousand poems,
one-tenth surviving.

In a rare quatrain
he says he feels young again.
The rain in the trees.


To my daily tasks:
fold the laundry, piece by piece;
scrub the toilet with

abandon; using
wave-like motion mop the floor.
Be a servant to

the greater good. This
way terror drains from body
and mind. At least for

a spell, the place shines
with lights and darks, welcoming
friend and enemy.

Our Cat

Our cat is either
ardent, serious, unmoved,
or all nimble play.

She licks the bottoms
of my wife’s feet as she sleeps.
Such pretty, pretty feet.

She lands in my lap
out of nowhere, shuts her eyes,
and shrugs when I rise.

She challenges me:
“Copy me in your silly
verse, my quick changes!”

The White Moth

A pure white moth zig-
zags above the parking lot
this hot afternoon.

It’s hard not to look.
Something about its wayward
passage, that it is

at all – a mere ob-
ject, fellow creature, sign – all
as it disappears.

Love in the Berkeley Hills

We woke still in love,
the wall behind our bed layered
with ice. A few streets

away, on Grizzly
Peak, Milosz, great poet of
guilt and grace, unknown

to me at the time.
And his friends, later my friends –
Arthur and Leonard.

Spring came, the Golden
Gate red at sunset, Eros
holding friends at bay.

Once in a grove of
Eucalyptus, we spoke and
I knew Agape.

Now in their absence,
we pick up where we broke off,
talking and laughing.

Prospect Park, Providence

In one of my job-
less interludes, Providence
rebuilt itself. It

showed its river off,
raised highrises between us
and the green beyond.

Emptiness has mixed
uses. I watch with others
from Prospect Park. From

now on the use that
has no use is my study
as the dust rises.


It happened once. Stars
snapped at me, a child, bare feet
tingled by the grass.

A single blow, like
an old-fashioned camera
flash: did it record

me, as other, or
as now seems, communicate
“Please leave us alone.”