Traces

Sometimes I follow ancient
trailing wrinkles, vague traces
of paths untaken, no use
to anyone now
after all the promises
have spilled out through
careless whim, unforeseen
swirls of hope and fury
all hung up to dry without regard
to logic or poetry

The crones of darkness linger
beneath a pointed finger, no singer,
but a low murmur, a thin skulking
wink of a man

Sometimes I sit in an empty room
with a bell and ring it,
trying to pinpoint the moment
it stops its waning tone.

That’s how a life is

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.

How to dance

Always the world tilts dangerously
toward the brink, begging only
a finger’s nudge
–all it would take—
deftly moving aside
at the last moment
like a taiji master

a dance so subtle it fools
no one and everyone alike

the world does not end
does not even refuse to end
but continues out of indifference

–Wait – you say – it ended for me
and perhaps you – and I say
no, we are still here
even as we dispute the very
fact of existence, proof, you see,
of our errors

Awakening

To say my father loved Jesus
is as wrong as saying he feared him.
To him, Jesus was a landlord,
a creditor, someone owed a debt,
which, left unpaid, would end in pain,

not only justified but welcomed,
insisted upon, and in the great
tradition of the spawn of Yahweh,
pass on to children and their children,
the unwanted and unearned burden of birthright.

Good morning, says the baptist, and
slaps you on the butt. It’s time
to be fitted for your chains.