Honor beyond reaching for
and after all these years of quoting Falstaff,
saying, Pshh, Pshh, spittle coming
from my mouth on friends' floors,
I know something of what he was trying to say
pulling the bottle of wine from his holster.
Humbled comes next, by your friends.
Graced by Yanos Pilinszky's splinters,
your spikes in my heart
washed into the ancient patina
of stone. Honor beyond reaching,
unlike Jeffersonian reason. The eschaton
mocks Newton and Rousseau,
waving banners raised by Blake.
28 June 2019
My neighbor next door
is having a cigarette
I can't see him
here on the porch
where I sit reading
His smoke comes over
and turns in
to the garden room
and he doesn't know
we share part
of every cigarette
he smokes out front
of his house
We never talk
about the suffering
14 July 2019
LINES WRITTEN WHILE BREWING ESPRESSO
Karen painting with water colors
Turkish coffee in stove-top machine
Reading Grossman's Life & Work
Dozing on front porch
The richest brew I know
Season salmon for grill
at Karen's return
Taste of banana pancake
in mouth picked up from plate
left on counter two day's old
moist in center
Old truths moist
and declared errors
Someone like myself
would have turned over their mother
to authorities in other times
for this treat
surviving another day
Why we now
Other times, other times
14 July 2019
LATE SUMMER AFTERNOON
for Pastor Ron Marshall
She lands on the white pine bonsai,
a female robin as we watch from kitchen table.
Soon joined by her mate bouncing the limb
adding joy to our meal. Karen grabs her phone
for photos, then sees she's injured.
He leaves and returns as we wash dishes.
For two days we listen to his calling
as he returns with food, beak filled
with worm, being emptying his grief-song.
Karen's love knows this suffering.
I found the bird under the half-moon maple.
Karen knows the child's need for ceremony.
I understood nothing until
I had been reduced to writing.
8 July 2019
READING BOB ROSE* AROUND THE CAMP FIRE
Living on islands Bob rose
the road outward as the road home,
initiated. Learning simplest things last.
Quiet voice around the fire
with blues harp and piano.
Crossing arms with a circle of men
in their 70s passing candles
I walk through those roses
of Lorca's family in Granada.
They greet me waiting for the taxi
that will take me to his fenced memorial.
I love Hannigan Pass, its sap boil
from the first shaman
machi curandero--did he read your urine?
Gratitude for the four twice four.
Pine sap bound him to the rock--
no mind no goal a partridge point.
Singing repetitions of songlines
dewey beach blackberries
dewey beach blackberries
digging in the sacred steam
answering the phone
it's ringing it's ringing
the baptism local
One time Karen and I
climbed the tree
and slept in Clifford Burke's tree house.
I carried my first broadside
locked in the chase
we printed copies at home for a month, practicing.
Make ready. Make ready. Tissue-thin shims.
It's beautiful, he said, but fix
that upside down o.
You missed the last ferry
but another one's coming
the practice is all
count on it the fire's burning
5-6 July 2019
*Bob Rose, handset the type to Living on Islands, and it was published in 1980 by Co-op Press in an edition of 300 copies. My reading of Bob Rose around the campfire is literal and factual, involving close textual reading and listening. jb
RESETTING THE STONES
Each stone follows where ceremony
sets itself from the center stone
where memory touches all that is fragile.
Mistakes made with heavy stones.
No setters here to slide poles underneath
to aid in movement. Old bones
flat out stretched. Knees in dirt
attempting a rolling sea-like motion,
a back-and-forth waving of water
against rock, back and forth,
back and forth, a re-set of vision.
2-7 July 2019
POST CARD TO WILLIAM T. VOLLMANN
"this is all we will ever have to love"
We've had you with us
on the beach at Shi Shi
with Robert, reading poems
calling out your name
with those who sing the song
of nothing-held back. You're around
the fire, plenty of room, you
don't have to write another word.
Borderlands is shack work, too.
Walking, hiking, looking around.
Fully engaged, finding color
and texture in stones, working
the patina rubbing stones
in their patient witness.
This note of thanks, confirmation
of your presence in the circle.
Jim Bodeen29 June 2019