Nature, too, is boring— a wave fondling a beach, perfecting its essential imperfections, saw grass nodding like anorexic nuns.
We must not, as the saying says, say so—but see how the wind gets snagged like old stockings in the stunted pines? Or how the flight of fifty thousand monarchs invade our fragile privacies?
You could ask the moon a question: where are you going, all gimlet-eyed and pouty? Where did you come from, with no satchel for your poems, no rouge for your sallow cheeks?
Mr. Bashō whittles a walking stick for Mr. Bones, tosses the shavings into the fire. Their poems rise through the dark like pinwheels, broadcasting spot fires over the desiccated hills.
See what I mean? I blame the philosophers with their maudlin candles, the seaglass shine of river pebbles scrolled along the windowsill. I blame the coyotes, with their raffish good looks, snuffling up truffles and wedding bands, thimbles packed with spider eggs.
I’m smitten by the sun’s glaring headlines same as the next guy—the way the drumroll heartbeat of a shrew vies with the hummingbird’s wingblur. I admit my weaknesses—the shallow pool of my inner resources.
Nature, friends, is all dolled up, poised to crash the party. No good fighting it. Better to set another place at the table, fold the napkins into prayer flags and sails.
Better to pry the windows wide, popping the roof like a beer keg, letting in everything the daft wind carries in its cheeks—honeybee and lichen, thistle seed and locust husk, spider silk spelling out another untranslatable epic—
the swelling chorus of an unadorned hour that might yet stave off this wagging hunger.
Love Poem with Construction Site
This town above a river, below a cowl of peaks, this stacked and hammered assemblage— beribboned tin, floating voices, orange moons, is revision revised. Every house is going up or falling into itself, imploding cusp, tumbling clapboard, lintel and post, except for the one next door, which is being dismantled and carted off by men with hammers and scarves, levers and woven baskets, strut by elegant strut, even the interlapped bamboo mats that once were walls are clipped and stacked, even the hand-hewn beams that kept the floors afloat, invisible for six or eight generations are hauled into dusty light to become some new unfolded corner of the town. A window that has watched every season drift into view is tacked into another blank canvas of wall, framing someone else’s ordinary day. Your face is a trick of light hovering in the panes. Only the mist sifting through the green notch slung across the valley is the same mist, torn each morning like parchment from the body of toppling clouds. Your name is seeded in the folds. And my hands are the same hands, chipped like old paint as they are pried from the front door and tossed like a pair of dry-rot gloves onto a heap of shingles and rusted hinges. They lie there still, palms toward the sifted light, opening and closing like canvas moths, cardboard trinkets patient for scraps of your voice in the wind, and the hundred thousand kisses promised by the coming rain.