Posts Tagged ‘the present’

The Path

And again, I did not visit the psychic
on Columbus Avenue.
Again, I did not sit with her
in her high-back chairs,
plush with bright red upholstery
and shining gold filigree.
Did not offer her my palm.
Did not choose cards from her deck.
Did not listen to her soothing tones.
Not that I don’t have questions.
Not that I don’t believe in her.
Not that I don’t want to sit
in those extravagant chairs
and take a small break,
to rest these tired feet.
It was the path itself
that seemed to say
it did not wish to be seen
more clearly.
So I stopped and stared longingly
through the wide store window,
took in the warm bright room,
then continued to walk the path.
The path is a metaphor, but no less real
than the window, the glorious chair.
I was not clear where I was going.
I kissed the morning air.
The path, I swear, it smiled.

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            after a visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Ross Alley

Oh thin wafer—
crispy, round
and not very sweet—
you ask us to eat you
not for the message you bring
but for the simple pleasure
of eating you.
You seem to suggest
we look beyond
the white paper strip
and look instead
to this scrap of infinity
we stand in,
a moment
still waiting to be written.
Such fortune.

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Right here the treasure.

Shine of rain

on the red fire hydrant.

It will not buy anything,

but in this very moment

there is nothing to buy

and no one from whom to buy it,

only a fragrant, rainy afternoon

with the gutters full to spilling

and not another soul on the street

and the aspen leaves on the hill

just at the edge of gold.

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For so long I’ve been telling myself
the same thing. Someday, I say,
as if Someday were a fat striped cat.
When I’m paying bills, Someday

comes to the legs of my chair
and tries to leap up into my lap. Someday
comes to sleep at night on my pillow
and purrs in my ear. Someday

hisses at the window when it’s dark
and she senses something’s there.
Someday always wants to be stroked,
except when she doesn’t. And when

I am lonely, distracted by clouds,
Someday curls into my side
and nuzzles my hand as if to say,
though I ignore her, I’m here.

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Twelve Reasons

For now, the newspaper strips.
For now, the glue whisked from flour and water.
For now, the long shape of a great blue whale made of crinkled paper
and cardboard and tape.
For now, my son and I crouch on a green tarp in the garage. It is cold. The glue is cold.
For now, my pointer and middle fingers run the long length of the paper to scrape off the excess glue, scraping over the story about another boy. Scraping over ads for big houses and bagels and help wanted. Scraping over half-completed crosswords and the story of the snow that didn’t fall.
For now, we sing the word violin, over and over. Violin, -lin, -lin, violin, -lin, -lin.
For now, we are quiet. I prepare strips. He lays them on the whale, creating the flippers, the great body, the forked tail.
For now, he says, “Mom, This is so much fun.”
For now, I am only here, glue on my hands, glue in my hair, glue on my shoes, glue on my new blue pants and glue dripping between me and this boy as we reach back and forth.
For now, he spreads his palms across the whale, smoothing the headlines across the long back, the head, inside the gaping mouth.
For now, he tells me facts, such as, “Did you know the baby of the great blue whale is bigger than a Volkswagon Bug?”
For now, there is only now, with its cramping leg and its laughter and glue, though outside the garage, the wind is blowing in spring and someone is knocking and already some part of me turns away toward what perhaps comes next.

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Please, Now

(after reading Before by Yehuda Amichai)

Before the frost
has left the pane
before the dawn
has come again,
before the bell
has stopped its ring,
before we think
we know something,
before the spring,
before the gasp,
before the time
for sowing’s past,
before the gap
cannot be leapt,
before the final
tears are wept,
before the honey’s
before the kitchen’s
before we remember,
before the signs,
before we think
we have more time.

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While worrying
about tomorrow,
I make soup.
Sliver the onion,
thin white crescent moons,
and then peel the carrots,
slice them on the bias,
sauté, add dashi, add miso, add scallion,
and boil the udon,
till the whole house
smells of the rich golden broth
and that sharp little mouth
that ceaselessly sings
what if, what if,
is so busy observing
the tang of the ginger—
so pungent, so silver—
it (almost) forgets to insist.

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