21 June 2016

Am writing

when work is so intense I sometimes forget to breathe
even though I'm listening to natural sounds like
waves and rain
wind and birds
and a break from almost not breathing
is advisable.
when courage waves at me from others' lives
as courage more than any other thing
opens my heart
and I don't want to be without courage myself.
when birds nest in junction boxes
and the summer heat feels cool
and work is so intense I sometimes forget to breathe
and a break from almost not breathing
is advisable.
when I remember I'm not rich
and won't be able to walk barefoot in the Saratoga summer
and feel the wind in the pines on that plateau
that's an ancient ocean floor
and I want to do that walk and feel that wind.


In the Playa Azul video,
there’s a shot-sequence of grey and blue
with mountains erupting across a bay
at low tide.
A man, a little left of center, is wading,
pulling a skiff over to a
anchored in the foreground.
Mist curlicues are making new clouds
in the lower valleys,
and a plane flies by, right to left,
laying a fine trail of diesel exhaust
in the sky.

The fisherman transfers equipment
from skiff to boat.
A dog, barking nearby, has a hollow voice,
suggesting house or veranda.
As the sky brightens,
curlicues lose their edges,
and mist streams pour
slow, smooth, and evanescent
over the farthest peaks.
The plane returns from the left,
banking very low,
and the fisherman ignores it,
as he works to tether skiff to boat.
He limps around the assemblage to find the anchor,
which he pulls, and tosses
into the boat.
He’s not seventeen anymore;
the skiff is his trolley, and now,
tethered to the boat,
it’s an outrigger,
or so I think as he climbs aboard the boat
and potters about arranging things.

But when he moves abaft and starts the engine,
he joins his craft as surely
as man joins horse to make centaur.
He’s a water-centaur,
as graceful and balanced as any fisherman can be,
and I guess his aging-pains fly away,
when he sails like this.
Man and boat exit right, noiseless
on the glide.

The cool-hued scene
has me wondering. Alaska?
But he’s not wearing waders,
and the jagged mountains
say, “Maybe Hawai’i?”

Absent of fisherman, plane and dog,
the scene’s so quiet it looks like a still,
a reflection moves,
a swell begins to roll in,
and a solitary waterfowl flies
low and quick along the shore.
The tide has turned,
and birds sing out:
Hawai’i for sure.

The Playa Azul video confirms,
“Kaneohe Bay Fisherman, 4:30 PM.”
The light is behind the mountains.
The view to the west, then.
You hear a faint-sounding motor before you see
a boat, a hundred meters out
moving north to south, parallel to the swell,
a water-centaur
low in the stern.

Note: Playa Azul Beautiful Beaches is a three hour ambient video featuring beaches, from Jim Wilmer's The Windows Channel company. This poem is about the video's ten-minute Kaneohe Bay sequence.

19 June 2016


Changes: After a move from NYC to the Hudson River Valley region of New York State (USA), life is less circumscribed by a city's dense population and urban landscapes. My mind and feelings are slowly infiltrating empty spaces, as if they're shoreline caves and I'm the sea.

Sand settling: Of the works that have slotted into my heart the past few years, there are: Anna Badkhen's writings, Shozo Ozaki's art, the waka of Japan's Heian period, and the courage of four people I follow on social media: Bobby Friction, S-Endz / Casey Rain, Bina Shah, and Rahul Pandita.

Action: After more than a year of not writing, words seem important again. I'll be writing brief pieces, rough haiku-ish things, in a Scrivener project. The way it goes is: write; edit; realize what crap I've written; share; re-read from others' points of view, edit more, stick with some final edited version. Embarrassment is part of the process, needed to knock down the ego that gets in the way of an open heart.

Goal: I'm aiming for some of the courage I see in those writers and artists and people I love.


  Don’t fall in love with yourself.

  Head held high, above the clouds,
  where sunlight brushes your eyelashes
  with gold, listen
  to the songs of people
  under the flute of the wind.