Age of Decline

At the age of decline my heart is largest.
If a cardiologist could measure it
He’d have to open all the windows and doors.
At the age of decline my mind is most pliant.
If neurologists could know it
They’d slip into a plant-like state.
At the age of decline my dead parts are waking.
It’s a mystery to me.
There will be more of me where I’m going
Than where I’ve been.

Travel Size

Plum tree flowers!
Someone shouts “cherry blossoms!”
The whole is the false.

Beyond a thousand gates
a thousand gates of rain.
Who will hear our goodbyes?

A thousand gates:
turning back
not giving up.

Mount Fuji:
in such a clear sky
such a clearer grandeur.

Retired sumo:
his immense sadness
crushes me.

The Ball Machine

                Cranbrook Science Museum

Sun moon and earth in its orbit of pain.
Vast togetherness of alien clusters–
But for the laws of motion, love.
But for love, the laws of motion.

Listen, ancestors speak through us,
Counterbalance to perpetual motion.
Words rasp against breath
Like being’s transparent barrier.

Sunrise to sunrise the ball machine,
Eternally recurring consecration
To perpetual space and inertia,
Building its demolition museum.

Human energy engenders, smashes,
Exists in the antimatter of traffic.
Funeral processions proceed
Through interminable pageants.

If we understood perpetual motion,
We’d hate with less hate, less war–
Dream with more dreams, fulfilled–
The ball machine in perpetual motion.


Farmhouse Fire

Off I 97 north through Ohio,
A farmhouse was like a doll house on fire.
A family looked on, frozen where they stood,
As though they’d been arranged
By the hand of a child playing with fate.
As traffic slowed, time accelerated.
The conflagration grew life-size.
Firefighters fought back an inferno
And even the light of the fields
Was aflame with radiant treetops.
As traffic slowed, time accelerated.
The red glow on doll faces, a pink sunset,
It all became rekindled memory
Cast beyond farmhouse flames,
Forever fused, the fire’s reflection
In the window of my dad’s car
Burns on and on, as we drive north
Through fire into flammable snow.

Crow Feather Totem IX

I see many feathers on the road
But not all come with messages
From sky roads, tree paths,
Cloud highways
And mountain turnarounds.
This one nests in my thoughts,
This one swings in my mind
Like the trees,
This one is a black arrowhead,
A ceremonial blade,
Just picking it up I am elevated,
Ennobled by an older spirit
Attune to wind and space
And the landscape falling away
From worry, from time.

Call and Response

with so much light            shadows are bright
the color of sound             roots in neutral ground
white goods                      or the mist of wolves
mourners dance                  in a voodoo trance
the end of truth                  the death of youth
wealthy preachers                  modest teachers
streetcar named desire           flood and fire
a gulf storm                            wet and warm
a green wine                       followed by a black vine
like swaying palms              the dripping calm
like the blues                        flesh of the bruise
like the rain                       crisscrossed the train
who’s got trouble            all the trouble
over the river                     the deep river
canopies drying                   horses flying
cannabis smoke                  like incense and hope
love and peace                  lies and police
musty rooms                   floating tombs
a lizard call                  wakes a shadow doll

The Soccer Ball