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I once wrote the words to a song.
It's about a man climbing the bell tower
of an old country church
to be with his beloved - the stairs are missing.
I find them in an old notebook.
I can no longer recall the melody -
yet another poem, with the rest.
boarding a freighter in san francisco harbor

destination kobe

best described in a longer poem

where the city itself longs for the sea

with childlike longing

the journey best in stripped down journal entries

about rest of crew and assignments aboard

but also and more interestingly about the historical development of buddhism

in china and japan. chan/zen.

myths of the mountains. animism. grace and gratitude at a dying animal.

a she-fox sneaking in at night in the guise of a beautiful woman.

man sleeping. man and woman an altar.

poems to robin in a temple garden. pleiades chanting

my words above.
my eyes follow line upon line
strips of white in between
strange voices, stretches of silence

I hear them too

they lead me away from my peers -
in among the trees
birches breeding close to me.
knowing all along i can always return
although it won't be the same


still we go willingly where silence takes us
as cracks open - briefly -  
in all the talking we do
She's on her way
out tonight,
all dressed up;
heart dangling
round her neck -
bare, stripped

of all but childhood
moments, held up glistening
to the light;
a weight moving about
as she hurries down the street
to the bus stop,

making her aware
of what she has
to carry, what there is
to hold on to
when so much is lost
with the rain
down the grates.

She can see children playing
twilight games,
but she's not a child:
her feet are not naked and sore,
no scrapes on her knees
anymore. She carries her pain
in out of sight places.
As we're born
we all lose something
of the ones we were.

Somewhere there's a picture of me
before I was born. My face
in shadows and yet
it seems to beam back
at you. Hands resting
on my belly. I can see you
thinking: "SO BIG!!
Must be a boy in there".
It's a strange story,
it has a beginning
but no end;

it opens to a city street
but there are no people:
empty canvas of a street painter,
hot-dog cart untended.

What kind of story is this
where nothing ever happens,
what sort of tales, these,
that won't walk you
to your mother's house.

It will capture your imagination,
just you wait and see.
They're playing in the snow:
two little girls - sisters -
and a father.

I'm drawn to the window
by their laughter.
I'm left standing,
motionless, in a room.

The finishing touches
to a snow man.
The finishing touch.
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