Plum Garden

For Boris and Miona
 
They find a garden lush with plum-air scents
As spring sun filters through the dew-dust leaves
And subtle sighs arise while fruit ferments,
For Eden enters Earth when minds conceive.
 
Within the garden deep an oak tree grows,
Preserving plum and fruit from sudden squalls
With roots that sink in soil where winds oppose,
To keep the flowers fresh as flurries fall.
 
Emerging from primordial chaos fair,
This Earth now holds the veins where plum wine flows:

Little Red Peach

Red as a peach with a smile on her face,
Face with a smile as a peach in her place.
Willow that hangs and shakes its drapery low,
Low is the willow that hangs as the wind does flow.
Wavers the blossom as wind and hair entwine,
Entwines the hair with wind, this blossom of mine.
Roams the road as the moon sinks west,
West sinks the moon where the road roams best.
 
 
After “Reckless Spirit” (Barbarian Bodhisattva) by Liu Dao (1511-1598)
 

Witch’s Brew

A fern surrounds my life like a hollow maze
In the intricate lattice of love’s first gaze;
Following a pattern that guides me on this road
I reach for her lips beneath the mistletoe.
 
My love comes forth with the apple of desire,
A tangled taste that takes a life to acquire;
Magic and nightshade in a mandrake stew,
I drink the nighttime herbs in a witch’s brew.
 
Seared in my skin like a tattoo of her name,
My cry has faded to a touch without shame;
Pulled by a thread that stains the earth and sky

I Love You More Than All the Windows in New York City

The day turned into the city
and the city turned into the mind
and the moving trucks trumbled along
like loud worries speaking over
the bicycle"s idea
which wove between
the more armored vehicles of expression
and over planks left by the construction workers
on a holiday morning when no work was being done
because no matter the day, we tend towards
remaking parts of it — what we said
or did, or how we looked —
and the buildings were like faces
lining the banks of a parade

The World Is in Pencil

— not pen. It"s got

that same silken
dust about it, doesn"t it,

that same sense of
having been roughed

onto paper even
as it was planned.

It had to be a labor
of love. It must"ve

taken its author some
time, some shove.

I"ll bet it felt good
in the hand — the o

of the ocean, and
the and and the and

of the land.

Easter

is my season
of defeat.

Though all
is green

and death
is done,

I feel alone.
As if the stone

rolled off
from the head

of the tomb
is lodged

in the doorframe
of my room,

and everyone
I"ve ever loved

lives happily
just past

my able reach.
And each time

Jesus rises
I"m reminded

of this marble
fact:

they are not
coming back.

Betrayal

It"s now all about money
about which poetry rarely reaches
transcendence. But love must still fester
even under that. Everyone I know
frets if poetry can still matter,
but what about love? It"s all become
too much for them, and they"re all
on the soma. It makes sense
with these pills when the someone
they thought they loved for years
by never thinking about it says,
" I don"t love you anymore,
but let"s stay friends in that mellow
woebegone way poetry now
sings without singing. " Of course,

Change

Change is the new,

improved

word for god,

lovely enough
to raise a song

or implicate

a sea of wrongs,
mighty enough,

like other gods,

to shelter,
bring together,

and estrange us.

Please, god,
we seem to say,

change us.

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