quarta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2009


Imagem: Óleo de CHRISTINE ZACHARY - "VILLA WITH BLUE TREES", Encaustic on masonite



Some plants you can clip
Korean boxwood, e.g.
others quit blooming
when stray fronds are snipped unnecessarily.
My mother always dug fresh ground.
our childhood friend the willow tree came out
as did the fruit trees
needing spray she said
the grape arbors left by the previous owners went too
The riding mower reigned during my Mother’s day.
Vast expanses of weed free grass
thanks to Dow Chemical
bent its collective back to be cut by vicious blades
in weekly rituals
And no secret sound under the grass blades.
An untidy woods full of dreams
and a small stream lay nearby
this vast green empire of the riding mower
A tiny woods, waiting for the big machinery and new houses to displace it.
I went there often looking for something, dreaming among the vines.
I see that empty lawn
with no center
gazing out at it
from an unknown point
in the uncultivated woods.


A formal garden pool
with brackish water and a bronze statue of Pan
dolphins arranged around a globe beneath his shapely feet
and bright blue wasps bask to drink
and stretch their wings
making bows as I bathe in the dead water
and I too occasionally drink
the tepid streams falling in graceful arches
from the mouths of the dolphin retinue of great young Pan
playing a pair of silent pipes in burning Ohio heat.
And locusts sing a rasping tune at dusk
near the smell of rough hemp carpets
damp canvas cushions on the metal glider. Cole Street.
I try to catch fireflies but learn young
the light goes quickly
when you put them in a jar.

Backyard Bodhicitta

In hot sun today I clip the back hedge thick with laurels
the high barrier between me and the neighbor
the one who has screamed at me.
She’s a bottle blonde whose voice pierces my serenity,
the neighbor who came into my yard and blasted weedkiller
which ruined the tomatoes and made me hysterical a few years ago --,
the enemy.
I clip discreetly, and remember
I have just returned from a Buddhist retreat
where I worked on my mind to see my hatreds
for what they are, projections of my own aversion.
Clip, clip. I hear the neighbor through the hedge
saying a bike was stolen from her yard,
and unannounced the thought climbs into my mind
like an unruly morning glory vine:
“it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person,”
and I smile a little, musing also that her recent weedkiller
hasn’t quite gotten to my special aggressive garden
of blackberry vines now planted just up against the laurel hedge
separating her yard from my yard.
Then thoughts of Karma start coming to me,
again unannounced as I stand among innocent weeds and fronds
clipping and shaping it all to my own design: the Karma
that maybe somehow I deserve her and her loud rasping voice
that makes me turn and flee to the front yard,
and her unwanted music when she parties in her hot-tub.
She too will die alone, just like me, taking nothing.
Why did I spend six weeks in retreat listening to teachings on
The Way? To watch my teacher smile with no aversion at all
at the one person there whom I had come to detest for reasons of my own,
loving toward this person as to an only child,
and realize this teaching alone was what I traveled so far to learn,
to stop judging others and change myself, slowly change,
so I really understand the bottle blonde is a part of the whole,
so I can understand her suffering is not so different from my own
or the suffering of those I love,
and wish, from the bottom of my heart,
that she too may be happy.


Derelicts push metal shopping carts in the park
pick bottles from trash cans, street people with cheeks red
from cold or alcohol. They talk together smiling at curbside
with eyes one would, in Tibet, mistake for bliss.
I always believe it is intoxication as I walk quickly by.
Those eyes which never quite light on you
even when panhandling or laughing
with Thunderbird concealed in a well wrinkled brown bag.
Thunderbird, name for native power.
And I, now older, am still afraid of them as I walk by,
avoid them with a sort of hatred for their swollen hands
for their urinating in public places. One was in Vietnam.
He lives on the street days, used to sleep hidden under a bridge
until the cops came and cleaned them all out,
as they reported on the news. Where did they go, I wondered.
Once the Vietnam vet appeared in dirty camouflage
in Powells bookstore, his face bruised and bloody
and he caught my eye for a tiny moment, a glimmer which
reminded me of the secret glances of my own father
who sometimes revealed a tiny piece of his own tragedy
from the bluishcorner of his own eye,
another veteran on a different sort of war
with the manly stoicism of just taking it
and then going on and on,
heroism for a certain kind of man.

*Thunderbird - Bebida forte e barata comumente consumida pelos mendigos que moram nas ruas.


Once I was a tree
dreams wafting through my golden leaves
as I stood rooted in the stillness of the earth.
Once I was a rock
grey and round
rubbing against the shore
until I was gone
Once I was a mare
foaling, eating grass, kicking unshod hooves
until I was made to work and wear iron shoes
Now I am a woman
a little old
I work
step on the shore of my golden dreams
sometimes I realize
once I was a tree and through my leaves
golden dreams wafted in the autumn sun.

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