Dangerous companions

A child finds himself wandering alone
In a forest, seeing a campfire and, drawn to it,

Finds dangerous companions, thinks,
What is it I am afraid they will take from me?

Not the place of my birth, or of my rearing,
Or the place from which my ancestors sought refuge

Not the things I’ve inherited –
Blue eyes, brown hair, big feet and a guilty conscience –

Or the illusion of permanence that is itself
The only permanent thing I know.

My life? Such a fragile thread!

Paralysis

Nothing out, nothing in,
just some vague breeze,
a distant flapping,
not clear, not near,

A reminder
of something unremembered …

Is it time to go?

Is it time to pack
my pockets with
bits of string,
mysterious faded notes,
strange fragments of
other lives?

Or start over,
let the past remain aloft
overhanging
skin and blood alike,
no denial,
no justification,
no recourse to fame and fortune
or disgrace?

Elegy for two lives

In my mind’s lens, my father’s
Face is smooth and petrified
Like an ancient lake
Steeped in mountains

It’s true, isn’t it,
There can be only one infinity
This is impossible:
Life without limits

Moons exist for no one
Though everyone thinks
They’re just
For dreaming

Question, they say, all of it,
Take nothing as given,
Give nothing up, erase all
Boundaries, be eternal.

He tried, and I tried after him.
Only we didn’t know
His freedom was my razor wire,
My freedom was his failure.

A face, tall

a face, tall, engaging
flickers in and out
of consciousness
strong and fragile
here and gone,
all the years and minutes
piled up against the door,
a window not open,
just cracked, the strain
too much

for a poor sparrow of a man
to peck at like some lonely
grass filled afternoon
misted edgewise into memory
out of reach, out of reach

these years have brought me here
I can’t say it’s much to look at
but here I am, regretting
nothing and everything at once

and still…
that face

Relics

Already obsolete
before we know it
like white-haired gramps
parading hot rods

toys lovingly restored
by the unrestored.

Oleg shines his car
lives in a world of
Naugahyde and
cherry red paint.

Today a barista
poured an exact replica
of a certain mountain
in Japan.

I drank it.
Goodbye to my
dreams of Basho.