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'Does anyone still want to go with me into a panorama? '
—Max Brod


The sun floats down river
Resting from a long day.
As Banvard draws love

Birds in the sand.
She tries to explain
How his deformity angers her.

Unable, she leaves him
On the other side of the shore.
Banvard becomes

a traveling salesman,
s campfire fiddler,
s drunk, a painter of shores.

Yearning for her—

He turns her into the Mississippi shore.
Riding the long river, floating

On a brush, he paints her portrait.
Huge bolts of love
The canvas sags from longing

Immense wood contraption
(Gears-pulleys crank machinery)
Three miles of canvas.

An uninterrupted portrait.

The papers publish the spectacle
'The hunchback painter and his panorama! '

He builds a wooden stage
Winds up river then down.
The lines are long, (.50 cents.)

They wait for hours...

He sits in the middle
Of hungry brush stroke
Up river

Down.
Up river

down
Eyes straining—

To find her.


Nominated for a Pushcart Award 2008 Juked.com
Nominated for a Pushcart Award 2008 Juked.com   The idea of the poem came from a book I was reading at the time wth the same title.  It was a book of how history will always remember the Edisons, Einsteins and Darwins. But what about the others with similarly revolutionary ideas, but who plummeted into oblivion?
“These birds are the most singular of any in the Galapagos.”
                                                     ­              Charles Darwin.

Volcanic up swell,
tick mark,
tiny dot in the middle
of a blue map.

Stationary ship,
belly of the earth
like a backstroke swimmer
in a blue-black sea,

where erratic rains run away
while a Cactus Finch (Scandens) has gone
black to mate, so black that shadows cast

blushes back.  So black,
more silhouette
than a black beaked bird

Daphne,
on your barred black belly,
this fine breath’d bird, this

penumbra of feathers and flight;
demonstrating divergence and drift,
so proud he sings aloud

the song of the Ground Finch (Fortis). 
O befuddled bird
bereft an opera coach,

sans score  of Scandens,  the bird song
bindery gone  bankrupt,  loose leaf
scores littered, learning a  neighbor’s
second hand sheet music.

 Amid the volcanic dreams
of Finches, and bird shaped voids, 
singing atop cacti, amid these small
dark commas  set against  a bluer
than blue sky,  he sings the wrong song

 but it's been a good year  and she comes,
the star crossed lover, Lady Fortis.

And before the rains return, and they will return,
                  a small clutch of stars.

And when the rains return,

             they will return
                                  with long lost letters from London.
A poem about Darwin's FInches
"I was the same, but I was waiting for myself on the shore to return."  -   Murakami

 
It is a difficult time. So
You wait for yourself to come back.
You wait on the
Pier. Watch pelicans
Pirouette in the air; weightless

For a moment and then diving.
The sound of their splash reminding
You of something you just can’t quite
Remember. You sit there eating
Fish after fish, wash them

Down with beer. You have started
Counting seagulls and giving them
Long Spanish names. You choreograph
Ballets, make architectural
Drawings of dreams and have started

To build a home of sea shells. On
The weekends people come just to
See you waiting for yourself. “Where
Did you go?” they ask, you just shrug
Your shoulders. You make new friends.

You take up painting and paint self
Portraits, your image repeated
Like the latitude and longitude
Lines on a map. Early every
Morning you lean against the railing.

The seagulls have joined you. You’ve made
Them tiny red scarves that they
All wear. All of you stare, being
Still as glass as if any movement
Might blur vision. All of you are

Staring out to sea, straining to
See you coming back, straining to

See the prow of the boat cutting
The silver morning water.
A poem about finding oneself.  Previously published  2  Rivers Review 2015
"Sometimes love is stronger than a man's convictions."
            - Isaac Bashevis Singer

*

There are wars and rumors of wars.
machineries and machination of

singular dark days
and singular dark clouds that hang

like props above our city.

We shut the window, we avoid their play.

Hungrily we take refuge between
each others' legs.

How comforting this is to us,
to love without armies or tanks

or generals of reasoned love.

*

From the narrow street, they can see us
wrestling with an angel -

the tugging of limbs and hair-
You speak low so they can’t hear

your seditious talk of love,
where my callused hands get tangled

in your low moaning - while I hold you down

to the bed,
                    my captive.

The occupation has begun —

your occupied body
            my undiminished country of so many
                                                            ardent prayers.

*

The soldiers are all leaving for the front.
Not us, we will stay

        and wage our war
                                of tenderness.

They are all leaving this morning.

Give them your applause for their sad
theater, and all their war ships
                                      and planes.

Soon

they will write letters home
which will arrive without them.

A few men will return,
        return gaunt; much less
than before
        with more sadness and less
dancing.

And when they do
   our war
        will have ended
        with a flag of white
                        bed sheets,

only a little blood,
            Victorious,
                 writing love letters on each others' bodies.
Poem was previously Published i VAYAVYA

http://www.vayavya.in/leibow.html
i

there….
in the wind….

now in the falling

rain….

calling

calling us home…

Namu Amida Butsu

ii

Just as I am,
right now

floating in an ocean of light –
the Great Compassion carries me across,

–  Namu Amida Butsu

iii

” Chanting “Namu Amida Butsu,” which translates as “I entrust myself to the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life,” is not a form of petitionary  prayer or mantra. It is a means of communication between a relative being or consciousness and the Buddha deep within. When I chant, there is the expression of Namu Amida Butsu not only from this side, but also from the side of the Buddha. “ T. UNNO



My mouth,
Amida’s breath.


Namandab,
Namandab,
Namandab.

  

IV

From the West
calling me home

my true self –

V.

Blinded by
passions , I
complain out
loud in
the darkness
of my own

making,

not noticing

the one
guiding
the boat
to the Other

shore, not
hearing
in the light

namu amida butsu



vi.



The Voiceless voice;

she calls out from within,

with these lips

& this breath.
Namu Amida Butsu
Namu Amida Butsu

Astonished
even as I am,

the Buddha
& I are one.

Namu Amida Butsu
Namu Amida Butsu



  

vii.



My blind self
pierced by Amida’s light
illuminated and dissolved
into the great ocean of compassion

into the Oneness of life –
Palms together, embraced

just as I am.
Each step with the Buddha,
my truest self, my Amida self –

the deep flow of the oneness of realty –
all beings one with me,
palms together

and bowing,


“namu amida butsu,”
“namu amida butsu,”

embraced just as I am.

— The End —