One hardly needs the “weather people”
to tell him there’s a patch of warm, dry weather ahead. The sudden
eruption of anthills tells the story. The sidewalk cracks are loaded
with them, and their groundbreaking trails run off into the
neighboring flowerbeds, as the cry goes up to get back to work after
the long layoff brought on by over fifty-five inches of rain. Hard
hats, jack hammers, ant railroads, “Tie up the boats,” I hear
them cry, “we’re going ashore!” Naturally, I step over them.
“Thanks, Bill. How are things up the street?” “Well,” I
answer, “the neighbor was awfully hard on her son this morning as
he was getting ready to peddle off to school. I felt terrible about
it. The morning is so beautiful, you know, especially in this early
hour. Her voice sounded like a sad trumpet, and the boy, who is about
fourteen, was obviously embarrassed for her and ashamed when I
happened by. I tried to make myself invisible. It worked for her, but
not for him. The scent-laden hush of the atmosphere was lost to her.
But let’s hope it’s temporary. And you? How’s the family?”
“Hard to keep track of.” And so on. Now. Where were we? Oh, yes.
Tomorrow is my birthday. We’ll be away forever or for a few hours,
the computer will be off, the spirits will have full run of the
house, and I will be even more out of touch than usual. In the
meantime, think good thoughts, or, better yet, don’t think at all.
Sing. Dig a hole. Be kind to a child. And remember, that child is
the powder on your skin will be the way
that I begin
the afterlife! Oh, foolish boy, if the
that I am persuades you to this end,
I bid you stay, and for today,
I will be your wife!
P.S. I find each color arrives with a
different scent: one, of an almost soft-edible rubber; another, of a
dear old piano teacher; a third is something innocently erotic, as if
naked angels were attending one’s bath. What need have souls for
clothes, and newborn babes for sighs? Ask the iris. Ask her with your
nose. That is where the sweet-sky grows, and where her color goes at
night. As for this silly poem, forgive a boy who’s not that bright!
This world I see, feel, taste, touch,
imagine, dream — is my consciousness. And so my early-morning walk,
with its chimney smoke, irises, and crows, is my own private mirror.
A quick glance, and I see what I think I see. But a deeper gaze
reveals eternity, and thus the futility of all thoughts mercenary, by
which to the loser goes the spoils. To hate someone is to hate
myself. When I choose who and what I love, my choice is inevitably a
selfish, petty one. I can divide, oh yes. But who is conquered?
The tomato plants are growing like
weeds in the rain. This morning I walked in a dense, heavy mist. The
robins were out. Some starlings. A towhee. Silence emanated from
coy-hidden crows. Crow silence. Black-ink silence. The atmosphere, it
seemed, was deep into the process of paper-making. A calligrapher’s
dream. A mark here, a mark there, and thus a new language is born,
and is off to test its new wings. Redwoods make fine brushes, don’t
you think? And irises? And dreams?