The winter wind made itself known last night
Though its still October
And leaves are only beginning to die
When the river asked me to join
The night was still
So I put half my arm
In there—cold bone brother
River wasn’t satisfied—
It begged for more arm.
I plunged up to my shoulder
Like a man
Who’s dropped his car keys
Reaching among reeds
Feeling my ancestors
Grandfather was giddy
With parturition and slick
“God help me,” I thought
“Letting fast river talk me
Water flowed one way
The dead the other.
I know a thing or two about loss:
In a room of happy men and women
I’m the interloper, a caste thing
Like a button on a drowned man’s coat
So that you must look away—
Americans like a healthy difference
Not a febrile haunted body
With static of blindness
Or hands flapping.
How many times
Have I left a party
To stand among crickets?
The Buddha said, “The past no longer is. The future has not yet come. Looking deeply at life…in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.”
I don’t believe any of this.
My face has harvested black currants.
In a college class recently one of my students at Syracuse said people dressed better in the United States fifty years ago. “Have you been to Wal Mart lately?” she asked. “Everyone slumps around in pajamas and horrible sweat pants.”
“Well,” I said, “fifty years ago people dressed up because there was a general expectation you could get a job. Dress for Success meant something. Nowadays millions have given up. A new slogan might be: Why Get Dressed When You’re Depressed?”
Nothing terrifies us more than godforsaken faces. Let your face always spark.
Let it be real and alive.
Imagine this for your friend.
Imagine it for someone you don’t necessarily like.
Every face is a foreign dialect we can get to know.
Yes, I’m blind but I know your face.
Driving at night with a pal…
Confession is hard and long
Mile by mile
Two crickets outside my window. Water falls on my wrist bone; I still have life inside life.