Lover of Infinite Lands

The world is lonely wherever you are not
(and so lovely wherever you are…)—
The winds that blow across so many Mexican ranches are chilly
Like the bottoms of icy oceans.
The grass is less lovely and less green
When you are not near the grasses to make them as they should be.
The ice caps grow chillier than they should.
They shock the whole world into a blanket of the blackest ice.
The rains that fall across Asian rice fields
Are like pelts of ice that ruin the crops and livelihoods
Of all paupers, everywhere.

The world is lonely where you are not—
When you are beside me, a chill falls over the next county,
And the hills of all the Western mountains miss you, too.
And, then, when you are on the top of some such mountain (as you are bound
To be), not just I, but the whole South, the whole world
Is lonely for you the way they are lonely for heavenly realms.
The stars, too, are cold and jealous
But you cannot touch them, and so
Please, stick to those things you can touch:
Glaciers and streams and oceans and a hill
And me at times and others at times—
For you, my dear darling, will soon be touching all.

So, when you fear for the chill that falls several months behind and before you,
Do not mourn for the people of those icy realms
For they, perhaps in the back or the front of you,
Will have once felt the warmth of your presence and your song.
The world, you see, is all yours, my darling dear,
And though you may not conquer it (the way you conquer
Many and mountains and me),
You will warm it over, from icy to icy pole,
With your warmest songs.

29 December 2007



I maybe fell in love with the sushi bar man.
He stood behind the bar—
A partition to separate the desperate from
The Divine Giver—
As I walked into the quiet, serene, and desperate restaurant.
He was kind, for his eyes and his smile told me as much,
And eager to serve with his elegant, sparkling eyes.
He said, “What can I give you?”—
Ah! those words I love to hear!—
And his eyes sparkled, so I knew he was sincere
And would, sincerely, give me ocean waves and starry nights
If that is what I wanted, if that is what he could give me.
His triangle face
Pointed down to the things he had to give:
To the lovely library of green and white
And the raw red of the raw things he would give.
Everything looked like Christmas
And everything carried with it the scent and taste of raw.
Every pretty piece told a story and history,
And he served me what I wanted
So that we two became a part of the history
For the moments I stood at the bar.

There are times, of course, there are times
When a time of feasting on history and sushi
Must be done—
For there are always other things to do or to eat:
Delicious, decadent things to sink your teeth into
And to set your eyes sparkling and wild with possibilities.
There are always other histories to be had.
And I, belly full and heart content for a time,
Left the bar with a smile and a quick wave,
Happy to leave with all that I came for.
Perhaps I fell in love with the sushi bar man
But I will never think again of it
Until again I need something to fill
My belly up and my senses up.


For Evelyn

We were together once and watching
the young girl, the lovely Sister,
spin wild with wimsy
in a grove of cedar-scented trees.

She spun like a dove in a hail storm
and like so many falling autumn leaves
and like so many petals from the avacado tree.
She giggled like a lunatic
or a lady driven wild with dementia
and by the brilliance of a long-lived life--
the Nature of wisdom proving too much for such a silly little mind.
She giggled, and we giggled as we watched her,
looked at each other and looked at
the Spinning Girl, the Little Petal Lady,
adorned in the splendor of her smiles.
She carried all sorts of fancifcul dresses and dreams
(dreams of autumn or of spring
or the way the sun and the rain likewise shine
through the orchestra of cedar trees)
in her silly little mind.
She smiled, and we smiled in the glorious breath of her wimsy
and in the cascade of her lovely giggles
and in the joy of her spinning petal skirts.

We smiled in our joy of Her,
and we smiled for each other.


I've fallen in love with a man named Etheridge Knight.....

Belly Song

"You have made something
Out of the sea that blew
And rolled you on its salt bitter lips.
It nearly swallowed you
But I hear
That you are tough and harder to swallow than most."
--S. Mansfield

And I and I/must admit
that the sea in you
has sung/to the sea/in me
and I and I/must admit
that the sea in me
has fallen/in love/
with the sea in you
because you have made something
out of the sea
that nearly swallowed you

And this poem
this poem
this poem/I give/to you
this poem/is a song/I sing/to you
from the bottom
of the sea
in my belly

this poem
this poem/is a song/about FEELINGS
about the Bone of feeling
about the Stone of feeling
and the Feather of feeling

And now--in my 40th year
I have come here
to this House of Feelings
to this Singing Sea
and I and I/must admit
that the sea in me
has fallen/in love
with the sea in you
because the sea
that now sings/in you
is the same sea
that nearly swallowed you--
and me too.

--Etheridge Knight


But I don’t know if I can write about
The children dying in the mists of war;
Or death squads, poisons, countries I ignore;
Or people I could learn to live without.
For I don’t know the worth of it—I doubt
Reactions would be won, just as the whores
Of Hiroshima, Prague, and Bangalore
Will not be won with guns, with death, with shouts
Of their Damnation scattered in their homes.
I doubt that words can heal, that words can cease
The orphans crawling through the catacombs,
Searching for a scrap of bread, and peace.
I do not know the worth of words that rhyme
Or medicines or kindness or my dimes.


The Fire and the Fog

I walked one day down sinless streets
To watch the time slip by.
But while there, people in a drove
Did catch my wandering eye.

The darkness swelled around the crowd
Until no face was clear,
When all at once, much like a shroud,
Did rise a fire there.

The smoke that rose then drew my eye
For lovely was its light—
And o, the fire burned and hissed
And lit the dreary night.

But then the smoke did rise again
Just like a ghastly host.
The bodies there did form a den
To house the frightening Ghost.

The fire then was burning fast
And lit up all the earth,
But as the light of morn did come
It dried up all my mirth—

For sun and moon and all the stars
Were shrouded in the blight
Of billowing smoke that rose from flames
That once had shed such light.

I tried to speak, but then a cough
Did wretch my tired voice.
The billows of the smoke did quench
My tongue, my eyes, my choice.

So with the crowd, I hastened on,
Arms raised high in the air
In hopes that some eye might catch mine
And know that I was there.

The people railed and cried and laughed;
My tongue no longer mine.
But for the hideous games smoke plays,
The people thought it fine.

The fire once so docile, sweet,
And lovely and so thin
Did grow in violence and in strength
And ate up all the men.

The children screamed, but not in pain:
They welcomed tragedy;
Because they played among the Ghost,
He was no enemy.

The houses and the wharfs and springs
And children and the dogs
Were swallowed in the billowing strength
Of fire and of fog.

So, many people perished fast,
And all at once the fire
Became not merely light and warmth
But was a funeral pyre.

I know that still the sun will shine
And starry fields still lay,
And since I cannot see them now
They are not in the way.

And though I may not ever see
The stars or sun again,
Perhaps my eyes are better off
Not knowing grace, or sin.

10 December 2007


And now the winter has approached: Our heads
Are covered in the penitential spell;
Gone are birds who boast that all is well;
The leaves have fallen, strewn about us, dead.
It now is winter; now with utmost dread
Now must I cease to write to you. You fell
Like autumn leaves, but now the winter tells
That, like a bare-stripped tree that stands in beds
Of fallen parts, so also must you stand.
You stirred me like warm wind against my face--
In gentler months, you bid me take your hand;
But now for all our comforts, winter in its place.
Forgive me, then, if words or hands now stray--
For now they only slur and drink and pray.
I need no touch to tell me of Romance:
For touch can be a devil or a fool.
It can blindly take charge or can blindly rule
And never give my heart a fighting chance
For all the beating and the throbbing, like a dance.
I need no ribbons, and I need no tule--
Just your set of eyes, set deeper than a jewel.
I need no hand that gropes or lung that pants.

I only ask for fingers that can touch
Though I will touch them not until they're mine.
Your eyes and thoughts will be my one request,
Not mansions, diamonds, starry skies, or much.
I want your all for me, and it is fine
Not to be groped but to be called your Best.


Leaves have a sort of learned helplessness:
In Autumn, they get shaken from their branches
And they lie still upon the ground
To await being stepped upon or sat upon or jumped upon.
They wait (to fall or to be stepped upon), but they do not wait for me.
Those that remain high upon their pedestals
Do not wait to be plucked, to be taken and turned into
Some child’s craft or some teacher’s exhibit or some lover’s gift.
Those that remain only wait to fall and be a part
Of something so much larger and grander: Autumn.
They wait to be a part of the thousands of other leaves that have fallen
Earlier that day or earlier in centuries before.
They wait to be a part. They do not wait for
My hands or the child’s hands or the teacher’s hands or the lover’s hands.
Leaves have a sort of learned helplessness:
They feel the autumn coming nearer to them, and they change—
In one ecstatic wave they become something new,
Some new color and entity that suddenly attracts some new audience.
They feel the autumn coming, and they are prepared.
They do not know the times or the seasons, but in one great
After the long wait from bud to bud, from hand to hand,
They change into some new beauty and then fall to earth
Before their beauty could fully be taken in or grasped by those feeble hands.
They become beautiful only to make more beautiful the great
To which they belong: Autumn.

26 November 2007