Thursday, January 28, 2010

new poem

Thought to offer a poem that just arrived;
will likely take at least twenty years to
believe with some assurance that it's
"right," in so-called final form.


I wrote 206 words today, took
22,000 breaths of air
and released every one of them
back to the Commons.

I ate various creatures with my white teeth,
smiled twice meaningfully, 83 times for sake of diplomacy,
fell in love with my usual ration, 9,
and tried manfully to keep this letter brief

and I nominate for Notion of the Week
the fact that death is perfectly safe,
you can give yourself there with all your might
and off you'll drift, unendable ride.

Plus also I washed the dishes twice
managed to let 7 heart-knots slip...
the daily stuff, cat's dish, quip,
wended its way like Thy Will Be Done.

I remembered some goodnesses, also times
I played the prick; endured regret;
thought of this or that with no purpose or reason,
thought of you, and you. And sat like a mountain.


Friday, January 8, 2010

A Gist Poem

Can't remember if I've already posted this
short poem on the blog before -- if so, it's
time seems to have come round again.

Very plain, it attempts with a certain
playfulness to summarize the gist of
Buddhist practice as I've experienced it
after close to twenty years of study.

Its most immediate reference to the
teachings would be the challenging and
quintessential Heart Sutra.


understanding overcoming
understanding understanding
overcoming understanding
overcoming overcoming


Saturday, January 2, 2010

poems about poem-making

An abiding weakness for many poets
is the poem-about-itself. Often seen
as a sort of vice -- oh no, not another
one! -- we strive to avoid this subject
because it's so common, insular,
in consequence many poems about
poem-making turning out rather
playful as they try to find fresh
ways of saying "it's what we do."

Another offering of a piece from
way back:


Dear Madam:

I'm a creature like your cat,
a sort of mini-muscled acrobat;
not flesh and fur, and yet I purr like her.

When you're obsessed, some project all astir,
a pencil in your teeth, books on the floor,
no room for even elbows anymore,

it's then cat leaps – "It must be time for love!" --
and settles on your lap. Well, I'm like that:
I lick your squiggly brain, my habitat.

I'm unheard music coiled in soft cat-sleep
gone yearning up toward sound through breath and heart.
You'll come awake with whiskers in your throat,

a little face intent behind your eyes
that stares and stares and wants its nice surprise:
some food for thought, a stroke, a scratch, a pat.

It's me!
Yours felinely,

The Poem-Cat.