Silly Thing!

There is no line be-
tween heaven and earth, Mr. Wright.
Even a grass blade
is too much. The owl
in Chuang Tzu hides his dinner–
a decayed squirrel–
when the shadow of
Phoenix passing overhead
darkens his world.
Silly thing! Heaven
appeals to those at home with
not being at home.

— Charles Wright, Littlefoot, #23

The Cut

The end is in sight.
Emerald broken in sun-
shine where daffodils,
generations old,
turn the disused lot festive.
The shock is the same.
And I? Visitor,
passerby, elegist — no,
witness in the cut.

For Eamonn

I was singing one
of my songs and my good friend
broke the silence: “Bach!
Bach!” he cried, stopping
the show. Perfection is like
that. I looked at him,
the perfectionist,
and my otherness and in-
tegrity — my self —
took a hike. I knew
then as now I am sustained,
if at all, as gift.

Desmond, G&B, 274; Eamonn T. O’Neill

Poetry Second Home

It’s snowing at home
again. Each time it grows less
recognizable,
the pocket gardens
locked in winter’s excess, paths
invisible, no
way out. Is there, then,
a second home? Wang Wei looked
back, wide water, clouds.

Procol Harum

Giving myself up
to the music’s whiter shade
of pale, the lyrics
forgotten, organ
part tapped out on the table
at Bread & Honey.
That Hammond organ,
my hand on a loved one’s face.
Time’s companionship.
My head in my hand,
ecstasy both now and then,
ahead of the beat.

Adjectives Adjust the Hours

On waking, sunlight
and the clock’s dragging of hands
in yesterday’s flow.
My body resists
DST’s official now.
I stumble into
a poem — its time,
its flow, its light, which is dark,
intimate, strange, kind.

Child Care

Rainy Saturday,
the cafe jammed with children
and paler parents.
My dad would maintain
his lead on the mountain trail
to the timberline,
his back glistening
with sweat and bronze in the sun.
I can’t say I cared
about getting there,
which left him cold, but I cared
about him, still do.