Far or Near

Far or near the dead
will not be denied. Voices
come and go as I
try to concentrate.
We share the universal
impermanence. Far
or near, Tu Fu
or a shrill drifting gull
completes my sentence.

Rage Not Enough

“. . . being true in the
immanence of the practice”:
I copy that down.
The preposition
“in” not “to” — a distinction
lost on me in youth.
The Berkeley plaza
sun-splashed in teargas found me
to a fault. Today
buds tremble in the wind. Words
tremble in my mind.
If true, true to what?
If to the practice of verse,
rage is not enough.

The opening text is from William Desmond, The Intimate Universal, 125.

Palm Sunday

cold this Palm Sunday. Coffee
on the patio,
both hands cup the cup.
God of ironies, double
of human success,
stay awhile as sun-
shine burns through the morning fog
and things flatten out.

The Art of Sinking (Chuang Tzu vi.ii)

You begin to tell
your story, get caught up in
it, and lose your way
to lukewarm applause.
Panic or shifting over-
drive are options or
self-sacrifice. Lose
yourself in the Tao. Sink
into primal mud.

Weird, Religious

Yes, I am a sign
signifying nothing in
particular. True,
it’s taken a while
to come to this conclusion.
I’ve worn many hats,
white hair a bird’s nest
now, my intentions giving
way to laughter, my
own or others’, it
matters not, my art being
weird, religious.


I’m a sucker for
the fine landscapes of Charles
Wright, Hill, and Burnside,
spiritual tourist
that I am. Details gilded
by light and shadow,
poignant and selfless,
pieces cut from the old gods
alive, whole in my
along with Herrick and his
eighteen mistresses.


I sit on the bench.
A field of dandelions
erupts in the screams
of children kicking
a ball between them. A game
with loose rules, a shape
with changing borders.
I close my eyes and listen.
Something free and whole —
as I imagine
it — is the source of all this
fun. I play along.