Category Archives: Samsara

“Transitions”

“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

alzheimers

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

The body’s built for stretch marks, peculiars, indictments drawn from lines
Reserved for bruises, random ancient scars received at childhood,
Subtle abuses leading to arrests, differences in the artificer’s sketches, would-be
Blind catastrophe to a child bound for trial. Etchings, wounds, fine
Byzantine rites of passage penetrate the masses gathered in their schools
Of fantasies as testacies: for the ignoble, pastimes; the chosen, noble death
Certain. Pride of station, booty, brazen badges pinned to what is left
Of that old shirt or those old pants, and in the end, the glass is raised to fools,
And myriad mirrors of Alma Maters. “Yes,” she said, “Lose that baby fat,
She said, but she was lying as she sliced another quarter pound of butter
For the stir fry as dairies churn to pave the way for satisfaction and utter
Joy at dinnertime for the calf, an unction for the stomach, a hardening heart,
Vanitas sanitarium omnia vanitas, and then some for the cat.
All is vanity if clutching at the straws of life,luck and liberty to boot
To generate bravado in hopes that render all his finite questions moot.
Catwalks above his life’s pavilions, sidewalks in a decent neighbourhood,
And nursing homes dot the landscape while all declare,
“You know, the Devil made me do it!”
Who denies the processes of thought, the fine idyllic conduits
From “Why not me?” to “All I am is what I should
Be,” whispered while whistling down alleys and paper routes. The avenues
Conjure images and constructs preserved en bas relief in two dimensions,
Melting icecaps in an ocean of invention and intervention at the mention
Of a third. “To whom and what for?” He wonders at the dews,
Fresh-formed deadlines, spinal taps and tallies, and reams of “Things to Do”
And all before the door is closed and locked, keys deposited at the main wicket.
Who’s survived to say that winter’s haze might raise the need to buy a ticket
To some gilded paradise conspicuous on the fridge, or a cruise for two
Along the coasts or toward the navel of the nation
As he remains at home inured of all such thought and aggravation?
So wide the miles to peace and once again some pompous reconciliation
As the Parthenon limps through yet another year
and cancer strikes the very spirit of the Holy Temple Mount.
In the malls of Washington and London the body count
No longer matters to the kids at dinner while the recapitulation
Of the days’ decapitation give reviews on CNN no rapt attention.
Nolo contendere” say they, the salt of sorrow’s “single spies”
That marshal once again in “battalions”, with no word nor photo from the skies
Above the glass-lined pulpits of the ‘ulamas of cable news scansion
of only slightly less innocuous city gutters, the catacombs of dubious mention
All along the Tigris, the Congo, above Solomon’s mines on the African Horn.
They know their losses simmer silently in the chambers of the heart;
They know their worth in sovereignties and ulcerating boils apart
From what is said of foes on Fox or activists on board the unborn
Born again processions that occupy the parks. Landmines litter, braying gospels
of long’s and short’s, the meretricious glitter scribbled hastily
on chits strewn throughout the bar codes in the canyons of every market floor
Just as surely as autumn leaves attest what may be God’s penultimate bounty,
Blatant warnings in blood atop the sash of every second church door.

“You Own the Year”

“You Own the Year”

You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising, eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect in vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part, imperfectly at present, pursued
By spoils of the war and coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, an acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is and what is not shall never be.*

***

* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.

There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”

–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191

“Study”

studying-boh

“Study”

Study marks all stars to bring a second truth to stand reenforced
By what the doctors know; to second guess
The odds, a capitulation of a second, a consolation prize at best;
To cheat, perhaps, or worse, to change the windless course,
A doldrum of ordination well before conception, even more,
Delight to undermine what primal motives strength
Of certitude command, a reprimand, the breadth and length
Of all creation guided as it were to win, to score
Beyond that something, this someone, those some facts greater
Than the product of a wizard or the clever second-hand
shuffle across the face of clocks and cosmic signs. A man,
A faculty of man, an energy—perhaps an enterprising satyr—
Quickening the insight and knowing just how much the gathering clouds
Have missed the point will gorge himself on fate, and blaspheme right out loud.

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather this evening within the First Day of the Month of Asmá [Names]

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Greatness, the maw and gulf of differences between
Recipients of names and the manifestation of the same
In full-blown sail, vain imagining; objective oversight’s the blame,
The ark in any given second. A constant stream,
The crown of transformation comes in time to weave
From strands of gravity the produce and press of what is never really seen.
Within the visible, a name resides, the hidden thread of dreams,
Confirmation of life and being—in bas-relief,
Or so The Buddha warned—the reliquary of  lethal trust. Between the name
And its receipt abide the seeds of pernicious doubt and protestation,
Manifest but without form beyond all timely attestation,
More an emanation than anything in revelation. In every atom reigns
The distance and sweet velocities of change. The many tools
Of blind belief in Adam’s gift seek rest somewhere within reach of fools
Embracing blasphemy in luminous dichotomies, dilemma’s
Punctuation marks’ delusions born of natural mental sedition. Litanies–
The outward beads of faith and understanding–are crystals of epiphany
Drawn from rich deposits of deep enigma
  In which mystery serves as providence and a farce of perpetual plebiscites.
Their greatest acumen is servitude bestowed
By human justice whose tragic flaw is banal integrity, whose goal
Before the cock crows thrice must beg the question of myriad rites
Born in mortal time like Sisyphus in spite of all he knew and knows.
And when denial and prayer are in arrears,
When needs and resignation outweigh a sum of means,
Words gone bankrupt erupt and deeds are stripped clean of fat and lean.
Perpetual hopelessness finds remission in an average skein of years
With all that overwhelms the truth at sunrise
In redemption in the simple phrase, “I’m still alive!”

 

“By Day, the Toil!”

Wrting

“By Day, the Toil!”

By day, the toil.  Just so. At times the ache
Returns, but somehow, nightfall must come. Perhaps
It is the hour, or something in the newly evening breeze, but laps
Throughout the day are then for someone’s sake
Forgotten, and he simply sits before the fire,
Or there, outside beneath the bluer, richer hues
Of cares and harsher edges of desire
To carve, to whittle, to embrace a life at once recused
In poetry, metre askew with so  little harmony, alone
Not so much in sparks, but in the riot of results.
He waves his hand and even owls listen; bolts
Of lightning in his voice again do not groan
But gently call to sit beside him in the light
Of distant days remembered in the call
to rest with him through the vanity of his night.

 

“Yes, We’ve Seen This Rain Before”

ferguson

“Yes, We’ve Seen This Rain Before”

Yes, we’ve seen this rain before and now we see it every day;
Umbrellas up, umbrellas down, yet all these expose
Themselves as useless as the refugees keep running, hoping, close
To bolting at the slightest sign of teardrops for their pain.
And what is gained in either case, the with
Or the without? The question here is moot..
Is moisture poison to the man who values silks in suits,
Or to the woman bound to shake her fist
At every incident that renders hairspray a total waste?
But these are questions for the sophist’s notepad, fodder
For prevarication while what is relevant to the journey— blotters
For but a mere veneer of life—disclaimers, discounts which so easily make haste
To negate what is evident in a common tin of oysters or a jar of lox:
The end of every one of us is six feet under in a box.

“They Told Me Often”

“They Told Me Often”

They told me often, always boisterous, boasting loudly, nights
Would come when I would feel the season’s counterfeits rally round
Ten thousand thousand fresh laconic smiles, duly marinating in their sweet obscenities while chasing tails, and bound
For fiscal glory, yes! I knew they knew it could not last, nor might
Not, could not more than minutes in an icecube’s stand, this half hour, or that,…and yet…
They always raise their fists on high, and swear to God
despite their losses surely, yes, they’d do it all again and lay in flight
Their life’s breath’s coin conjoined where once their wit was hatched to stay
The course and never once betray or even reconsider whom or what they are with no regrets.
Their joy is in the print and watermarks and all that shredding….No! By God! They that were sincere are sweating, and all those shirts will never dry. Standards to the clan, they are,and even after desperate stares
Surround their own deductions, loopholes, distorted egos all aware
They scribble texts, graffitied mountain tailings, organs failing, seal their space:
“A hand! Extend a hand” they cry, “and deal the cards again for as we live
We die together… “Well, the hell you say! In the Fed we trust; the government forgives,
for goodness sake!”:…Mae West my friend, she’ll tell ya bluntly: “…goodness’s got nothin’ to do with it!”

“Did Ever Peace in Motion Come”

runner

“Did Ever Peace in Motion Come”

Did ever peace in motion come to mind while living still,
Or what’s an ego for? We do not cease; we know we die
But, what hopes are hung there in the clocks, the early cries
Of “Quickly!”or “Grant me time that I may kill,”
And whether there is joy in sunrise there beyond that hill
Or here behind this present place within the wall we occupy.
The only guarantee we have testifies
To purpose, patience that we have lived to see what fulfils
A destiny, no mere approbation, positive as this may be,
But willing prophesy and added acquiescence to the turning
Of the page, the further reading, the greater goal
To ascertain than to achieve. Then on beyond the poles
Whither to the north or south, to encompass greater than the seas,
Further than consumption; such limitless forests as are beyond all learning.

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hour’s mourned, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth;
Veiled her expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
She knows that somewhere in between this king contrives
Within himself to build a wall. He practices precision; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Three who only recently made queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies beyond the Jordan. Casually they’ve inquired,
“What are these walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, the vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again stalled between the steeples,
Barred, forbidden. Then again, their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in vain and find the answers come as no surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.