Wandering in Rome
we’d come upon a fountain
spilling level to

level sweet music.
Today the blank page, source of
forms full of surprise

remains quite empty
until you turn, smile, wave and
fade into the crowd.

Your Birthday Ode

Tomorrow is your
birthday. You would have been not
old — sixty-seven —-

but who’s counting now.
The point is you came to be.
Beauty and Justice

became your causes.
Alabama, the Fifties,
Amurika you

never made peace with.
You scorned Metaphysics but
Beauty and Justice

will burn brightly a-
amongst the candles on your
cake and won’t blow out.

My Dog

As I hesitate
to go back into the rain
having written my

poem, I observe
through the foggy glass door a
shape waiting there for

someone like me. Not
my dog, I say on my way
out, not my three-legged

pooch. It waits calmly.
It doesn’t need a poem
to accept its fate.

The New Day

Nothing moved over-
night but this morning there’s more
light everywhere,

more space between us
on the street, canyons between
cars, the horizon

touched by Mt Hood’s fresh
dab of new snow. Mind circles
itself for a while,

but the circle breaks
open as the will’s white flag
accepts the new day.

Street Life

In this neighborhood
people stay indoors on hol-
idays, curtains drawn,

leaving the streets to
themselves, empty or full of
silence. A stiff breeze

may push a dead leaf
down the street, breaking the si-
lence with hollow sounds.

A child on the curb
refuses to go back in,
startled by the life.

Walk and See

A few hangers-on,
maple and ginkgo, bright on
the black branches. So

many more under-
foot, vague after weeks of rain.
Everything selves,

the way thick with what
was once filled with purpose. Keep
walking and you’ll see

what our finitude
shows: the surplus beyond
such an opening.