Morning is a swimming pool,
Floating water molecules
Ice cube splashing into a glass,
I dive, do six laps,
Six laps more,
This time backstroke,
Right arm, left arm,
Gazing upward at a cloudless sky,
Stroke, stroke, stroke—
Glide forward, turn,
Push the wall,
Feeling flushed, exhilarated.
No one else here,
I am first one in.
Only turbulence, spume generated by
Slashing arms, windmill,
Churning legs, waterwheel.
V-shaped wake, widening,
Tracks a streamlined hull, torpedo
Guided by black tiles, laser
Aimed at white tiles, target.
Beneath the surface tumult,
Water, transparent backwards, forwards,
Tranquil as a pipe
Fuming wispy aphorisms
Or dolphins wondrously examining
Mirror images of themselves
By visual deformations,
Akin to optical effects wrought by
Heat waves rising above
Desert stretches, or
Asphalt roads, disappearing.
Touching the wall,
I stop, pop my head
Dripping like a dog,
Sine waves, low amplitude,
Rising, happy balloon.
Life is water—
Cold, fresh, clean.
Dark-headed coffee is a keen companion
Of depth and wit,
Finely calibrated scientific instrument.
Swinging his censer just below my nostrils,
He slays my logic with perfume.
“What crow has stolen your words?”
He asks. “Has your eloquence
Turned into baubles in his nest?”
I pay no attention to the ribbing.
He is too valuable a vizier.
I mine gold every morning.
I take my breakfast like a king—
To my right salted fish,
To my left steaming rice,
Fresh egg is the jester.
Butter, a bird, is eyeing the bread.
Milk dives smoothly into coffee.
Sugar disappears, memory of a dream.
A cock crosses swords with the day.
A cock crosses swords with the day.
Things to do arrange themselves,
Tallest to shortest.
Digesting a bolus,
I rise ready to run the next marathon,
Wakeful as a bat, electric as a hawk.
You, slight, alight,
Switch your head,
Tuck your arms tight,
Preen, puff, shiver…
Burst in flight,
Bullet of feathers, wings, tail—
Prodigy of creation,
|Eurasian tree sparrow|
The sky is clarity,
The wind, perfume,
You, a comely valley
In a sunlit room.
The sun arranges flowers
Along a window sill.
Your vine ascends, curling
About an iron grill.
|Rooms by the Sea (1951) by Edward Hopper|
The words of a rainy day
Drift incessantly, sighing.
Clouds wander about, homeless.
Soughing water vanishes.
The earth melts, insensate.
Shiny rocks rise in assembly.
Silence bends a strong arm.
Belief sits, quiet as bread.
|Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1914) by Giorgio de Chirico|
Is There No Balm in Gilead?
“You’re allergic to coffee,” the specialist says.
I had been wondering about those skin rashes—roseate, swollen, itchy.
I thought I had been bitten by a tarantula.
Blister clusters filled with aqueous liquid,
They popped painfully.
Morbidly, I had imagined I was leprous, beseeching
St. Damien of Molokai to deliver me.
“Take this pill after breakfast, this one twice a day.” He adds,
“Apply this cream after your bath.”
Pausing as if to ponder the fallibility of medicine,
“Come back to see me after two weeks.”
I muse that capricious Nature would be tamed
By Science, no less, methodical knife
That is as much the geyser of serendipity
Or Providence’s boon as it is purported genius.
I console myself that descending clouds
Hide blessings. Afflictions work miracles…
A broken leg is the first step of a spiritual journey…
An ambitious man turns into a holy fool…
A widow in penury transforms into a horn of plenty.
Reversals abound. A bold man serves lepers,
Is himself ravaged by leprosy—blamelessly, ostensibly.
His pustules and ulcers, like rutted soil,
Bear fruit, nourishing ears of generosity, sweet stalks
Of charity, miracles wrought by the dying.
Hapless in life, he works miracles after death…
A woman prays to the saint, her cancer vanishes.
Turning a corner sharply, a nurse, smartly pressed,
Head-to-toe white, pushes a wheelchair, smoothly gliding. Riding,
Unshaven, a befuddled old man wrapped in a moist bathrobe.
Fronting the glass doorway, his limousine pulls up, gleaming.
He rises, his back twisted, a drooping flower.
Drooling, his head bobs uncontrollably.
Pierced by unspeakable mystery, wounded, stricken bird,
I shuffle outside, sky neither gray nor blue.
Sighing, “I guess I’ll have to drink tea instead.”
Snake swallows frog.
Marten bites snake.
Snake coughs up frog.
Snake wriggles free.
Frog swims away.
Frog snares dragonfly.
Frog swallows dragonfly.
Snake goes hungry.
Marten goes hungry.
Frog is gratified.