body

Dream Song 28

It was wet & white & swift and where I am
we don't know. It was dark and then
it isn't.
I wish the barker would come. There seems to be to eat
nothing. I am unusually tired.
I'm alone too.

If only the strange one with so few legs would come,
I'd say my prayers out of my mouth, as usual.
Where are his notes I loved?
There may be horribles; it's hard to tell.
The barker nips me but somehow I feel
he too is on my side.

I'm too alone. I see no end. If we could all
run, even that would be better. I am hungry.
The sun is not hot.
It's not a good position I am in.
If I had to do the whole thing over again
I wouldn't.
body

from 'Leap'

this is the second shower
I've taken today I didn't
need to take this one
all I did today was
wake up and watch TV

at one point I walked
to the grocery store and
bought a pound of strawberries
for 99 cents they weren't
too tart if my body

is found I want them
to pack it with strawberries
I want my casket lined
with strawberries I want them
to bulldoze strawberries over me
body

Sutra

Looking back now, I see
I was dispassionate too often,
dismissing the robin as common,
and now can't remember what
robin song sounds like. I hoarded
my days, as though to keep them
safe from depletion, and meantime
I kept busy being lonely. This
took up the bulk of my time,
and I did not speak to strangers
because they might be boring,
and there were those I feared

would ask me for money. I was
clumsy around the confident,
and the well bred, standing on
their parapets, enthralled me,
but when one approached, I
fled. I also feared the street's
down and outs, anxious lest
they look at me closely, and
afraid I would see their misery.

I feared my father who feared
me and did not touch me,
which made me more afraid.
My mother feared him too,
and as I grew to be like him,
she became afraid of me also.
I kept busy avoiding dangers
of many colors, fleeing from
those with whom I had much

in common. Now afternoon,
one chair in the garden. Late
low light, the lilies still open,
sky beyond them preparing
to close for the night. I'd
made money, but had I kissed

a single lily? On the chair's
arm my empty cup. Its curved
lip struck, bright in late light.
I watch that last light going,
leaving behind its brief burning
which will come to nothing.

The lilies still open, waiting.

Let me be that last sliver of light.
Let me be that last gleaming sliver of silver,
there for an instant on the lily's petal,

light speaking in tongues, tongues of flame.
body

Chester

Another day, which is usually how they come:
A cat at the foot of the bed, noncommittal
In its blankness of mind, with the morning light
Slowly filling the room, and fragmentary
Memories of last night's video and phone calls.
It is a feeling of sufficiency, one menaced
By the fear of some vague lack, of a simplicity
Of self, a self without a soul, the nagging fear
Of being someone to whom nothing ever happens.
Thus the fantasy of the narrative behind the story,
Of the half-concealed life that lies beneath
The ordinary one, made up of ordinary mornings
More alike in how they feel than what they say.
They seem like luxuries of consciousness,
Like second thoughts that complicate the time
One simply wastes. And why not? Mere being
Is supposed to be enough, without the intricate
Evasions of a mystery or offstage tragedy.
Evenings follow on the afternoons, lingering in
The living room and listening to the stereo
While Peggy Lee sings "Is That All There Is?"
Amid the morning papers and the usual
Ghosts keeping you company, but just for a while.
The true soul is the one that flickers in the eyes
Of an animal, like a cat that lifts its head and yawns
And looks at you, and then goes back to sleep.
body

Virgin

After the dance I kept quiet for a long time. A storm came and I was coatless. I took the alley to the museum but did not go in. I’d seen the moss in nooks no one bothered and crabgrass and cinderblocks and chair parts where everyone lives but us. The main bird chants and the faint bird mocks back. It’s my mind, christ, the leaking between them.

My minds compete lightly in a footrace and I win least of all. A knotted stocking just like mine hung from a branch. I had been ridiculous all day. Not a coward.
body

Strategy for a Marathon

I will start
when the gun goes off.
I will run
for five miles.
Feeling good,
I will run
to the tenth mile.
At the tenth
I will say,
Only three more
to the halfway.”
At the halfway mark,
13.1 miles,
I will know
fifteen is in reach.
At fifteen miles
I will say,
‘You’ve run twenty before,
keep going.
At twenty
I will say,
’Run home.”
body

Epilogue to The Tempest

Prospero -

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint. Now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardoned the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell,
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands.
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

(Exit)
body

All Things Pass

All things pass
A sunrise does not last all morning
All things pass
A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night
All things pass
What always changes?

Earth...sky...thunder...
mountain...water...
wind...fire...lake...

These change
And if these do not last

Do man's visions last?
Do man's illusions?

Take things as they come

All things pass
body

Hope

Old spirit, in and beyond me,
keep and extend me. Amid strangers
friends, great trees and big seas breaking,
let love move me. Let me hear the whole music,
see clear, reach deep. Open me to find due words,
that I may shape them to ploughshares of my own making.
After such luck, however late, give me to give to
the oldest dance.... Then to good sleep,
and - if it happens - glad waking.