Monday, July 13, 2009


The weather turns and the way we hold our faces shifts.
If I called life a parade of moods, would that suffice?
Perhaps the numbers—the scores, the accounts, the taxes—
are keeping us too tight, too inward and false.
Perhaps the weather doesn't surprise us enough.
Why else would we build our worlds so small and fearfully?

It’s the wind through the leaves
and the speckled shadows on the concrete sidewalk
that turn all ideas loose into a playpen of our own making.
What I’m saying is when the weeklong rains finally disperse,
leaving the city basking in its verve and sunshine,
something of the communal does seep into our day,
reintroducing itself as that famed Something Greater
than ourselves...

Meanwhile, birdsong is greater than myself,
in fact, I’d like to say everything is always greater than myself,
but it’s more complicated, or less simple, than that.

In other words, the gardener of this West 12th St. greenspace,
a cheerful old woman in a blue plaid shirt and baseball cap,
with whom I have discussed the tricks of teaching kids math,
is part of this larger portal that I’m trying to get at,
the one through which we sometimes choose to pass,
more easily on a sunny day

and easiest in that moment when the weather shifts,
revealing the blue sky and a kaleidoscope of shadow
and light dances before our eyes,
phenomena forever passing itself off as self.

Seven Ways to Synchronize

A wink from a stranger is one way
to bring my breath and thought back into a kind of focus
that might better be characterized
as a kind of acceptance of chaos, a letting go
into a place where the frames fall off all the paintings
and even my fictions digress into endless outward spirals.

The page is always too deep,
the history always right over those trees.

There are other ways such as a sneeze
or an orgasm or a good long drink or a point in conversation where
my interlocutor and I are on the same proverbial page
of the vast and immeasurable text that we seem to be both reading
and writing, and in that moment, we really care who says what next
and why—and how!

Look, somewhere along the line, you accept
that the song on the radio is one you love,
one you know all the lyrics to, one that is going to work on you
and your recollection for the next few minutes no matter what.

“You said watch my head about it.”

It’s the Chariot, baby, it’s the Chariot, it’s the Chariot
of Now. And while one way in is a wink,
and another is hard word or constant prayer or meditation,
yet another is just giving up and moving on, meaning,
when the singer himself forgets the lyrics, you realize
that there is still something to say,
still the rhythm to keep.