Saturday, November 26, 2016


for Sylvia

How many buildings have seen you
the way I've seen you? Do palaces view
your golden crown? Do churches
behold the glittering diamond

above your head? Do skyscrapers
know your ladder to the eternal? Have
observatories observed your sun? Do
studios capture the rainbow flowers
of your aura, the soft pink
of your heart? Do stores order
your golden cups and plates
or your pure white tablecloths?

Do doctors' offices examine
your golden caduceus or the light
of your sword? Have any
work spaces ever noticed

your golden, equal-armed cross
or the golden threads of your voice?
Have any, any at all, glimpsed
your eye that somehow sees me?

Monday, November 21, 2016


For Sylvia

We've spent thirty years together gazing
through our windows. Before it's too late, I
want us to peek into a deep pool bordered
by fairy lanterns, walley baskets, larkspur,

and Chinese houses, where a snake glides,
eyes above water, and frogs, face-down, cling
to stone, where orioles and tanagers flash
through branches, where a deer peers at us

from behind ferns and a wildcat crouches
in grass near an outcropping of rock. Perhaps
a golden palace looms on some far-off cliff,
but the treasure we want abides in this window:

Path 12

a golden, equal-armed cross; golden cups
and plates on a brilliant, white tablecloth;
an invisible sun rising through a lemniscate;
a glittering diamond rooted in the depths.

This window remains too deep to fathom.
In some windows we have witnessed strife
and sickness, tawdriness and horror, reflections
and extinctions, yet in this pool, our souls,

with birds and massive trees and rocks, rise
into exaltations of the sun. If some day
I am gone, seemingly nowhere to be found,
remember, I will be there, waiting for you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Ithuriel's Spears, Fiesta Flowers, Fiddleneck

The day had come to say goodbye,
the rooms gathering their endings,
eyelids closed near worn-out paths,
my body a discordant, ravaged hive.

When I closed my eyes, buildings
emptied themselves of me, decades
of webs cleared in a moment. Free,
I found a path near a looming tree.

Leaving my knife on the shore, I
stepped on slippery, unstable stones
and plunged into a river. Pulled toward
its strongest current, I knew no lifeguard

nor doctor could save me, so I drifted,
still as a Buddha, free of thought, toward
slow currents in the crust of oblivion,
toward threads of the soil, tangled

Fiesta Flowers, Chinese Purple Houses

in light, in a flowing tapestry
of petals and tongues and wings,
my body tumbling and rising
to a simple mantra of creation:

Let go, let go, only know the sun—
In the void a great tree sighing
that I was climbing, like a child,
away from toil and destinations,

a tree with watery roots and branches
in a sky of water, a sea with stampeding
herds and creatures glowing in blackness,
each following their own paths.

Immobile, in a sunken bank
without currency, I could see
treasures that no one else
could see, a golden pentacle,

an equal-armed cross, a lemniscate,
a golden plate and chalice on a pure,
white tablecloth. In a deeper cavern,
I glimpsed the sun at midnight. 

Wind Poppies

In the deepest recesses, I drained
all darkness in myself away
and peered into—then out of—
a diamond, the jewel in the lotus.

I wanted to show all eternal children
these wonders that cannot be touched,
but I was anchored, alone in the sea.
In the last vision, far below mouths

opening and closing on the flowing
surface of the water, I could see
threads everywhere dissolving.
Not knowing if I was disintegrating

or approaching unity in a blazing light
of negative existence, I opened
my eyes, still breathing,
my hands together, my legs stiff,

returning to an incurable illness
in a failing body, knowing light
in the earth, light in each cell, light
in the deepest roots of the mind.