FLIGHT OF FANCY

I listen for the words
being spoken by
the faceless form before me –

a face, but not yet quite a face;
a mouth, but not yet quite a mouth;

soundless words, urgent and inarticulate,
from a faceless mouth
in a formless face

(a grey and formless face)

mouthing silent, urgent words
I neither hear nor understand
but see and understand

in my crib that has become
the Merkabah, the Chariot of Shiva,
the body of Amirah.

____________________________

Originally published in Snapping Twig, March 2015

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SONG OF SONGS

I am the man
who obscures God’s designs
with my empty-headed words,
learned from hearsay
and the gossip of children

I am the man
broken by God,
crushed for my sins,
pierced for my faults.

On me lies a punishment
that brings no peace,
wounds that bring no healing.

I am a man
of sorrows,
familiar with suffering.

I am the ravager never ravaged,
plunderer never plundered
whose ravaging is over
whose plundering is done.

I am the Aleph and the Tav,
the Alpha and Omega,
the word at the Beginning:

I am the man
of the maiden with child,
the first and the last,
the whore and the holy one,
the bride and the bridegroom
and my husband begot me.

I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
take no notice of my blackness,
for it is the sun that has burned me.

And I am sick with love.

PIPERS AT THE GATE OF DAWN

A coffin for the puppet master,

red slippers for his feet,
and a ring for every finger,
a ring for every toe,
and a music box to play a dirge.

And that’s the way the pennies go.

That’s the way the drum rolls go,
the footsteps go.

The black umbrellas open
on the way to rain. (And everything is slow.)

Everything is slowing, going where they go,
where eagles go to die, lovers go to die,
and liars lie to angels dancing on a pin.

And light reverts to time
dissolving at the speed of light, the speed of time
dissolving at the speed of angels.

The rain is coming. Cover the lawn chairs.
Cover your faces with the black umbrellas.

Open the music box. Release the dirge.
The coffin is coming,
drawn by horses of different colors
bearing pale riders skirling the bagpipes

to the insistent skirl of an amazing grace.

SIGNS & WONDERS

Tea leaves in an empty cup
tell the hours to the dying breath
of a dying man in a dirty bed
floating in a vacuum in the mind of God.

      Angels falling.

The stars are falling.
The rain is falling.
A falling star is calling
to a passing moon
(an indifferent moon)
also falling in the vacuum
forming in the mind of God.

The teacup cracks, breaks,
spills its auguries, wrapped in tea leaves,
on the terrible bed

from home.

MYSTERIUM CONIUNCTIONIS

Open the pickle jar;

smell the vinegar;
release the prisoners —
the dill, the onion.

The Holy Spirit.
The Genie of Jesus.
The purple protection.

Set them free

to trip and to stumble
through the Valley of Death,
through the graveyard of children,
the vineyard of angry grapes,
of stinking garlic, and curdling milk.

There is no end to this beginning;
neither is there middle,
but only a movement and a pause
and a nest of serpent eggs
hatching on a hot rock
in the shadow of the moon
writhing under the weight

of a pounding sun.

LOST DESTINATIONS

Blackbirds falling
like wet dreams or dry tears,
or spittle from the lips
of a thirsty God
thirsting for his bloody Mary.

And in all this, where am I?
Or you? Or the prophets,
for that matter?

Where are we who see not,
hear not, feel not,
except the bump of little things?

Little things that bump against the night,
that bump against us from behind.

Have we gone with them into their good night?
Into the mansion of many rooms
their father once prepared for us?

Too many questions.
Too many answers ungiven.

So gently we go into that goodnight
in search of questions for our answers,
in search of Balaam’s ass
and a feather for our hat.

Yes.
We go.
In search of 

even that.

ZAZEN!

If you see the Buddha

walking on the road,

kill the poet
walking behind him.

____________________________

Originally published in Fug.ues(3): An Anthology of Haiku, Minimalist Poetry & Asemic Writing, ed. by Jack Galmitz, May, 2015.

THE PRICE OF ICE

The price of ice
is a cup of water,

a splash and a puddle
on a checkerboard floor

somewhere between here and there,
between the action and the thought,
lost in poetry.

The price of ice
is a hot sun on a winter window

melting the heart of regret
hiding in a chest of drawers
in some forgotten bedroom
that may or may not have been.

Just as I may or may not be,
or you may or may not be,
or any of us pebbles on the shore
may or may not be

clattering in the moon-mad tide.

A MIDRASH ON SAND

1.
The soul understands
what the wind cannot,
nor the sea foam ride.

And the condor
stalks the sand,

and the viper
stalks the shadow
cast upon the sand

by a lone saguaro cactus
in the sand.

2.
I shall not go there
where rocks and time collide
and the scapegoat wanders.

No. I shall not go there.
Not even for the sake of sand,
or a condor feather,

or the peace of my soul.
even should it understand the wind,
the sea foam, and a lone saguaro cactus

falling over in the sand.

_____________________________________

NOTE: Midrash (in Hebrew, מדרש) is a method of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond religious, legal, or moral teachings. It fills in gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at.