Ghazal

First thing in the morning
On stainless steel when the lights come up

And the first tinny percolations
From the coffee come up

And the first violent soliloquies
From the stinging slap of potatoes comes up

And the cold outside is all forgot
As fingers embrace and fresh heat comes up

And the first head nods match blade strokes
Cutting through Mirepoix as the beat comes up

And the first customers pace the deli case
Dan races to begin before the sun comes up.

Is it a gentle rain? seems to be

tracking my window
long, raised, glimpses
into a distorted dimension

Douglas fir bends
impossibly
growing downward

from a blanketed sky

the mind is saddened
by things out of sight
which pass me by

beyond the window
what I see from the couch
trying to ignore the t.v.
I wont turn off

wooden fences
built in the spring
stand like haunting
after winter breaks
grey, bowing, laced in moss

naked deciduous
peer over the half painted
fixer upper’s real estate sign
leaning into its fate
across the street

The Man Who Gave His Awl

I’ve often stirred my coffee with the barrel of my pen
And oftener let both sit at the edge of my desk
That they go too cold to be useful to me

But now, with age, my hands have an un-sate-able shake
And my wish is to grip my coffee without the scalding drip
To stir it without leaving my pen sunk to its nib

Grief

I wanted to write a poem about grief. But I couldn’t get past the first line. I wanted the poem to exaggerate the emotion. Not only the griever’s. But also the consoler. The consoler wants to share stories of his own grief. But the time is wrong. The griever wants to be okay. But it’s okay to not be. And I was stuck at the first line. And the first line turned out to be the last line also. And that’s not much of a poem. This is my poem about grief:

That’s really too bad.

You Hear The Familiar Ding

Under the concrete overpass. The train
Is ready to pull away from the platform.

This is when lowering your weight on the ball
Of your right foot, then leaning into it

To do the same on the left, one hard descent
At a time, becomes something more like falling.

You’re travelling to a job where you barely
Notice your own invisible victories,

So you may not consider how much practice
It’s taken – from when they held celebrations for

Each tiny step made by your tiny self –
To fall so gracefully from NE 60th ave,

And land on your feet without a skinned knee
From the spittle stained concrete below it.