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The following is a working edition of a chapbook of poems. The poems are dated as reminders to me about when they occurred. Expect changes as I edit. I welcome your comments. Please let me know which poems you feel are strongest, and which don't hold a candle to the rest (and need to be extinguished.).

Start with these ten (my favorites at the moment...)

"Gallery"
"Cell"
"Cedar"
"Lights Left On"
"Things Seen Twice"
"Address Book"
"The Appointment"
"Bad Poetry"
"Keys"
"Summer Storm"

Send comments to ehapp at yahoo dot com (with a sneer to the SPAMers :)
--egh, 25 Aug 11




Geneva Poems



© Copyright 2010-11

E. G. Happ
16b Ruelle de la Muraz
Nyon, CH 1260

All Rights Reserved






Introduction


In a place where I can see it every morning is a short quote from the 20th century pastor and civil rights activist, Howard Thurman, who said: “Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What makes me come alive is often more about where do I come alive? I became aware of this hiking in the woods of Connecticut and on a section of the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire in 2008. The woods make me come alive. When I hiked, I'd feel the creative rivers team with images; I’d bring bits of paper and a pen to scribble the start of a poem. From these verdant expereinces, I learned to put myself in places where I’d come alive. This was something I could choose with intent and expectation.

Moving half-way around the globe was fraught with questions. Would I find those places of connection and inspiration? These poems are about that journey—both alone and together. It is the wise trees in a park in the midst of a city that remind me, that speak to me. I can choose to return to the old places, the ones deep in years, and hear the cries of an infant.

egh

_________________________________________________________________

Prelude



Kindling


I see it in your eyes
already weighing the uprooting
before I leave...
you discovered the power
of kindling,
putting every twig into the fire;
It did not matter
if it flashed
into embers;
it was warm—
you watch the dance
of the flame as if it
could burn forever.
And when the wood pile
reaches its bottom,
we cut more;
couldn't wait for it to dry,
listening to the hiss
of urgent sap
as long silver birch thaws
on the coals,
steam and smoke curl in strands
each around the other...
As I arrive,
weighing the replanting
I see it in your eyes.

13 Jan 10
Norwalk




Pine



Pine tree laden
with snow in her hair,
I feel her weight
as she bows,
catching the dust
of heaven
on her lips,
tasting the melt of it,
feathering around her tongue—
I and the tree are one.

13 Jan 10
Geneva






Gallery


In the room with a thousand
photos of children
posing with numbered signs
as if they have been arrested—
these abandoned of Rwanda,
seeking a familiar face
they look confused,
stunned,
angry—
And I in warm clothes
on a winter day
am arrested.
What is your name,
I ask these walls?
What is your name?

14 Jan 10
Geneva, RC Museum





Cell


It is the grey cinder block cell
with the foot prints
in the floor
that holds me captive
in the doorway—
here 17 prisoners stood.
I place one foot
in front of another
to take its measure—
not even seven by ten!
Who decides
who may lay down
and sleep?
Which corner
is for human waste?

14 Jan 10
Geneva, RC Museum




Touring with half of me


I play tourist
for an afternoon
and go back to familiar places
as if to show you "here!"
Last time it was a handful of weeks before you moved east;
we were attuned to waiting—
home was in the offing;
now I ache to travel west
and bring you here.

14 Jan 10
Geneva




Parole


I remember an old movie:
a prisoner sits
before a parole board
who wants to know
if he has been rehabilitated.
"Are you sorry for what you did?"
one asks.
“Do you regret the choice you made?”
He has heard this a dozen times;
even the weight of years
turns on a single phrase.
“Rehabilitated,” he asks?
“That's a bullshit word.”
Having made his choice,
he pushes back his chair
turns to leave,
a free man.

15 Jan 10
Recalling Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption
(see http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Shawshank-Redemption,-The.html scene 274)
Geneva




French stew


A hearty stew
warms my soul;
how each medallion
of pork separates
and yields to the turn
of my tongue,
the thick broth
savory on the palette,
sliding to the swallow;
two potatoes trimmed naked
and simmered
soak in the cupped hands
of white porcelain;
separate to the delicate twist
of a fork and drip in the essence
of the brew;
carrots melt,
onions lay down their curves
and burst on first bite—
and the Cabernet?
It breathes your name!

15 Jan 10
Geneva

_________________________________________________________________

In the Wilderness (Lenten Poems)



To the Ocean


There was a stream
next to the house
where I spent half my childhood;
I was forever pulling leaves and limbs
from it
so the water that had backed up
behind the impromptu dam
could flow anew—
there was something about water
moving freely by
that called to my tending
as if downstream
was a place to go
without impediment.
When I can’t write
I think about the wall of branches
that one by one needs to be pulled out
of the way;
And when I do write,
I’m sailing to the ocean on the last golden leaf

27 Feb 10
Norwalk

This is a childhood memory. The simplicity of clearing the way to let the water run is a delight of play and solitude. Returning to this is often going to the place where I reconnect with the current of words in which writing dips its feet. This is a place of smooth running waters and deep oceans that once the things that block us are cleared away, we realize is inexhaustible. That is a message of grace to which I return like the rain.




Advice to the ones I love


Be the leaf;

When there’s a beginning,
Unfold

In the toughest storm of summer
Hang on with equal relentlessness

Have guest
Even if a fleeting bird

Change color
Blow in the wind

At the right time
Let go

Make someone’s path
softer

27 Feb 10
Norwalk


Frederick Buechner suggested we write in 50 words or less the advice we want to leave those we love. (He actually said 25 words of less, but what is poetic license if it cannot break the form?). I thought of the leaf in yesterday's poem--that reconnecting with the deep parts of our lives that flow. Letting go and knowing when to release the anchors--perhaps this is a life's work.





Portal


"May all the doors
that are to be opened,
be opened"
she prays,
“and all the doors
to be closed,
be closed."
There is a simplicity
in my mother's prayer
that I remember
each Sunday after
dipping the wafer of bread
into the water and wine,
yielding to the Holy
and being known
in a way
that he who is to come
comes

28 Feb 10
N orwalk

Hoping for a new job opportunity to come to be, I asked my mother to remember me in her prayers. She asked if we could pray now. For many years, this would have been an awkward moment. But now I listened and was at peace.





Listen


Listen to your life
he says;
I have gone back
to this passage
again and anew.
At times it seems
my life is shouting
from all corners
of the room
in which I sit,
trying to clear my head--
Stop, I say!
putting my hands up
as if to halt traffic
at this intersection
as everyone bears down
on the brake pedal
and lets the little boy
cross the street;
he is humming something familiar
and kicking a small stone
with a carefree boot of his shoe.
I need to hear the song.
I need to feel that shoe.

1 Mar 10
Norwalk

The words of Frederick Buechner became my traveling companion again. How many times do we hear a cacophony of demands speaking in our lives; how many times do we hear nothing? When the voices are silence, sometimes we tap the carefree wonder in our lives anew. It's always there. We do well to walk in those shoes.




Bookmark


“…and it happened, as perhaps all such things do, as a gift.” --F. Buechner

I read these words of gift
as I slip into a hot bath,
which itself has been given
like a muse
in which to read and write,
book held open by the thumb
of my left hand
and pen in my right,
fingers on a blank sheet
that has been a book mark
waiting to be opened.

23 Mar 10
Norwalk




Bookmark ii


“…like an old photograph preserved by accident between
The pages of a book.” --F. Buechner

Cleaning out an old dresser drawer
before our guest arrived
I came upon old ticket stubs
torn in half,
wine corks with dates inked
on their side,
watchless watchbands, tarnished cufflinks,
unused shoelace,
and an empty jewelers box—
things not held for a decade;
they each speak out
from their place
where they were worn,
pocketed,
received at an auction,
as a gift;
they are each a bookmark
and when the page is turned
the words come back
not the same
but with the familiar cadence
of a greeting.

26 Mar 10




In the smooth places


His whole manner softened,
eyes rounded,
words loosened around the vowels;
he exhaled
and entered his place of serenity
where even the waves
in the choppy turmoil of ideas
lined up.
That's where I need to go,
he said;
that's where you are,
I replied.

27 Mar 10
Norwalk





Storm


"...of death and dark and despair as not the last reality but only the next to the last." --FB, p. 40.

It is cold and raining tides,
even umbrellas yield;
pant legs sop up water
like the edge of paper towels
dipped in the spill--
this is the last hold of winter
and we are poured out, empty;
in the dreary despair of dark afternoons
it seems as if there is no end
to this story,
or worse, that this absence
is the final chapter.

Yet there are daffodil shoots
along the walk,
their yellow-green thumbs
say the trumpets
are about to be uncased
and what seems like an end
is the edge of prelude.

29 Mar 10
Norwalk




Playing


"...the playing is itself the first fruits of the Kingdom's coming..." --FB p. 44

When I see that look of curiosity
in the tentative toddler's eyes,
nascent body turned into the familiar,
the safe,
holding tight with one hand,
the other pulling on curls
after a halfway point of thumb
and finger
as if to grasp,
at what the head has turned to look,
eyes widening to take in the strange
white bearded face;
I raise my eyebrows twice,
then twice more,
and she is captive to the wonder,
smiling in the delight of seeing
something new,
that just may be
something that happens
once again.

30 Mar 10
Norwalk

Continuing reading Frederick Buechner's "Listening to Your Life," the passage about play and the Kingdom of God resonated. I was also reminded of Michael Schrage's phrase "serious play." Imagine the play of a child growing up not into something beyond play, as if it's to be put aside, but play in all seriousness as the first fruit of heaven-- wide-eyed wonder may be the golden spectacles through which the hints of that broader reality in which we are held is glimpsed.

_________________________________________________________________

Prelude (continued)


Pillow Talk 1


She tells me she has planted tomatoes and peppers
in the heat
and I imagine the pots and trays
lined up under windows thick with germinating seeds;
long roots are put down
and I imagine they will be difficult to transplant,
so strong are these trunks, the trees sway
In the wind but the roots hold firm.
This is why I hate to travel
without you;
I uproot myself and this garden we tend is in disarray
until I can be under its comforter. curling my toes into you
and drinking you in once more.

7 Apr 10
Atlanta




Pull


We are planting and weeding in the garden
under a small patch of sun
on a day that can't make up its mind
about rain, clouds, and peek-a-boo sun.
You are filling a woven basket
with wild violets to give the pumpkin
and melon vines some room
to crawl.
Each time I pass,
you are bending in a beckoning way
pausing me mid-stride
with my basket stuffed
with the green shoots you have handed me.
There is this moment of planting
and unplanting
that becomes a rhythm,
reminding me why I feel
uprooted when I head to the airport,
why I am so lush with glory blooms
when I share the same patch of sun
that follows us
and pulls on all that is to grow.

14 Jun 10
Norwalk


_________________________________________________________________

Transitions




Trumped


I decide to walk through Trembly Park
following the graceful curves in the path
the fresh cut lawn thumping base-note green;
at the top of the stone steps,
through an incongruous door
in a glass wall between two buildings,
I'm stunned by an ancient of ancients:
a pine so wise, it's trunk-like lower branches
appear to arc into a cradle for the younger, needled boughs--
and I feel embraced and silenced,
breathing in its fresh scent
as though it were born in the morning,
realizing how much there is yet to learn
about love.

14 Jun 10
Geneva




Drawn


Even at the dusk of day
the birds call;
from their night perches
in the pines
they peal;
I am drawn as a canvas
and I await
the first stroke
of your brush.

15 Jun 10
Geneva







Fountain


In the rain I almost miss the sound of it,
the gurgle of an old iron fountain spout
pouring into a long, clear pool,
water shimmering from the splash.
"Potable" declares the small, black-lettered sign,
and I imagine people bringing pitchers and small urns
to collect the evening's libation
or for a wash of hands and face
before retiring to the chamber.
All of this runs through me
as I go through the evening ritual
at the bathroom sink,
and my hunger for it is not sated,
the queen bed with the tossed duvet
leaves my mouth dry
for the thirst of you.

16 Jun 10
Geneva




Missed call


Like a finger print
the screen tells me it was you
and I imagine all the ways we send
out the scent
of nearness
that continents cannot distance--
the sense
that if I turn into the wind
I will hear you call;
if I look into the wave-less water well
I will see your face;
if I reach out into the night
I will feel your lips.

17 Jun 10
Geneva




Parquet


I slide across the parquet floor
with socks rolled down to my ankles
and it is very smooth
very smooth
I'm skating, slipping, silking along
humming some tune
and thinking of the smooth places
in my life
and the woman who smoothes me,
my edges slipping off like wrinkled clothes
and there is only skin
and socks
and slippery places
that hold me
ground me
a sure as this yin and yang
of polished word
that has me standing up
firm and ready
to open any door.

18 Jun 10
Moillebeau Geneva




Gardening


You are attending to the garden
in the way that only a lover can,
coaxing the new herbs and flowers
to reach up to warmth and rays,
pruning back the wild ones,
pulling out the competing naturals
we call weeds,
primping off the dead buds past their bloom;
but it is the way you stoop
next to the border of marigolds
and reach over to touch me
on the arm
that awakens me from the fuzziness
of a summer dream
and warm up to the horizon
of your smile.

27 Jun 10
Norwalk




After Dessert


After dessert
some of the guests get up to leave
and there is a void that eddies behind them;
where there was dialog, chatter, laughter
now there are empty chairs and their silence;

After dessert
I get up and edge my luggage
to the door;
and what was just before
a you and me and we
is now a woman crying
and a man in a limo
to the airport--
two plants pulled
from a common soil;

After dessert
you tell me in snips of text
that a part of you went to sleep
in the winter
part of you got on the plane.
part of me mounted a bicycle
and rode off to a place
I can only remember

27 Jun 10
Norwalk




Chez ma Cousine


The Bistro on chemin du Petit-Sacconex
serves vanilla ice cream
(ah oui, glacee!)
with twos puffs of whipped cream;
it has the look of a very pale
Mickey Mouse
(Or is that mousse?)
Dinner here is informal
frivolity
(Joie de vivre?)
I am satisfied,
mind drifting to the first time
you tasted real whipped cream
and that look in your eyes
was oh, mon dieu!

29 Jun 10
Geneva




Waiting


On the smooth steel mesh bench
under deep blue dusk,
each sound of an engine
slinking around the bend in this road
has me turning my head;
the night bus comes
when it wants,
no schedule posted,
no ticket checked;
when I get on
I tell myself I'm going home,
yet every place on this blue eye
is a way-station,
save for the smooth silk
of your endless soothing skin.

1 Jul 10
Geneva




Ananas


It rolls off the tongue
as if the tongue were held
at just before,
when the breath is hot
on the lips
and the sound begins
somewhere from the deep--
a vowel
and a letter
and again,
as the flick
causes all pent up
desires
to exhale.
ananas!

2 Jul 10
Geneva




Fit for a king


I wonder what fits a king—
extra large?
loud and booming?
pomp and circumstance,
tubas?
but when you placed the lamb shank
on a bed of polenta, mushrooms and greens,
all became clear,
and I felt moved to make a decree!

18 Jul 10
Geneva




Gift


I am trying to remember
the first gift I gave you,
the one you gave me—
I know I watched you
and you paid attention
as if the gold were endless;
there was festive paper,
a lavender ribbon—
the card made me laugh
and you are still surprised
when I do stand-up
on the spot
as if each word is new.
But if I'm honest,
I can't remember the first gift,
perhaps because it wasn't wrapped;
it overshadows,
coming around a corner
into the baggage claim,
open,
carrying all the hope that
always remains
when the bags are put down;
and you are on the tips of your toes,
reaching,
my arms gathering you in
and we kiss the gift
as if it's a thousand times,
as if it always once.

19 Jul 10
Geneva




Abbreviations


"but sometime he's kind," she says
"then he goes and..."
"he just doesn't ..."
"...and he's so cute!"
Like little pieces of a letter
tossed to the wind,
the things that women
say to each other
while walking along a busy byway
as I walk in the opposite direction..
I'm reminded of it while
we chat IM-style,
with little abbreviations
punctuating our conversation,
one line running over
the other,
sometimes two threads
interwoven
bounding on down the same path--
a short hand
to share the "wait till you hear..."
"I discovered something new today!"

20 Jul 10
Geneva




Translation


It is a reassembly of sorts,
first I scan the letter
then OCR
(two noun-verbs)
then edit a Word doc
for the final match
(in the thick of production;
a trio of translations so far,
and we are still in the clutch of French)
a copy and a paste
into the Google translate window,
and we have French rendered
in the same halting English
as a first year student.
Voila, and we confirmed
the answer we already knew.
Perhaps the dissecting of language is what we learn
in love—
we know before any words add
up to the final dot,
but oh can we sing and play
with vowels before reaching the bottom
of the page.

21 Jul 10
Geneva




Filling in the blanks


I decide to take the bus
to a part of the city
I have not yet seen,
where a restaurant I found
was hidden
at the elbow of a narrow street.
Afterwards
with a full stomach
and the lilt of the Cote du Rhone,
I decide to walk;
each corner I turn
and street I cross
hold a surprise,
and I imagine you
stopping to loom in the windows
of a shop here
and read the menu in a cafe there,
while I turn the see the mountains
in the distance
and the Jet d'Eau
almost frozen as a spear
up over the buildings
on the lake shore
where the Rhone begins,
and I want to say look!
I want to see you take it in
a door at a time
and all at once.
And I realize I'm filling
in the blanks
waiting for you
to complete my sentences
as I imagine you will.

22 Jul 10
Geneva




_________________________________________________________________

Moving



Moving


Top floor and basement
move to first floor
then toward the door;
plants congregate,
things compress,
paper cuts and bruises,
always more boxes
than you imagine,
lost photos found,
Where is the marker?
Even carpets roll up
as an old cartoon;
finally out to the porch,
last plant in the car,
it all seems so empty.

31 Jul 10
Norwalk




Dream


Arising scene
out a rear view mirror
driving up a mountain,
I get flush with the full feeling--
Look!
You try and turn around
seat belt restraining you;
where is the pull over spot
for us to get out,
stop all these cresting minutes
and hold them in a photograph?

31 Jul 10
Goshen




Marvin's Beach


Rounding the bend in River Road
the bay lays out like a silk scarf shaken
from a pocket and left to dry
in the first August sun.
This is the pen and ink drawing
at the beginning of a new chapter
that makes you stop
and take a second look,
wondering how the story will turn—
the wistful look away
and the anticipation of the view ahead.

6 Aug 10
Norwalk




Ratatouille


I watch the old movie
and see you tasting and smelling,
looking up to the ceiling
of your imagination
and wondering,
how will this come together?
And I realize you come to life
as a pan upon the stove
to whose cold copper bottom
you add a woman's heat,
smidgeon of oil,
sprinkling of herbs,
splash of coconut milk
spice with some chili or curry
pinched between your fingers
and then shrimp
peeled one at a time
and set to dance
with a flip of the wrist,
a glimmer in your eye,
the curve of your lips
so that even
a small part of the world
into which you arrive
with but a few bags
and fewer friends
becomes a feast,
an "ah,
that is how
it looks on the plate;"
Come taste with me!

11 Aug 10
Servette Geneva




Album


An ocean away,
you post photos from the day.
I imagine walking with you,
and seeing in your eyes
the curve of this street,
splash of color from the window boxes
of summer blooms;
old columns holding up a stone
as if it’s an offering;
toy sail boats dotting a blue lake,
a park where
I imagine taking a bite
from your sandwich,
and a bottle of wine
sitting on the cobblestone
waiting for me
to pour and sip.

14 Aug 10
Stamford



_________________________________________________________________

Among new Friends




Evergreen


How can we say this tree is wise?
From the way it sits
grasping the earth, unmoving
growing thicker
with each ring of its trunk?
as an evergreen
it does not seem to wane
yet there are needles and cones
scattered in its shadow;
no sun will reach it seed
yet each time I pass
I am anchored in my awe
humbled and renewed.

25 Aug 10
Trembly Park, Geneva




3:00 AM


Shuffling into the kitchen
in search of the sumptuous bread
pudding on the table last night,
spoon in hand
I hold my breath
and deftly lift the cling wrap
without a sound.
Outside the open window
the city finally sleeps
not a car moves, no sirens sing,
not a door closes;
the moon is painting on the south face
of the adjacent building,
the wind has sucked in its breath
after raining thru our flat at dusk,
and the trees are in the deep welcome sleep
of a late August evening gone cool.
I take all this in with a table spoon,
the creamy yellow custard
and random raisin delight
has a rich spongy texture
that brings my small palette alive;
and even in the cramped space
of our sixth floor flat where
the daily trumpeting from the streets rain in,
life can be simple, luscious, good.

25 Aug 10
Servette, Geneva




Netoyage


Our prison
is never understood
as much
as when in a dry cleaner's shop
in French Geneve
a pleasant lady intent to write down
the instructions on my tickets
for the pile of shirts and pants
I have heaped upon her counter,
and I am searching the walls for a calendar
to which I may point and grunt
with a string of oui and merci's;
running my fingers along the collar
I say "starch please" pronouncing
each letter as if the phonetic alphabet
is universal;
yet smiling is the common thread
and makes the exchange smooth and creased
even if I do not know what I will find
when I next step thru this foggy door.

30 Aug 10
Servette, Geneva




Jam Rings


The cookies in the cupboard
have been calling my name;
I know because I've been here before;
There are always cookies in the cupboard
and they know who I am;
It's a surprise which ones they will be
chocolate biscuits?
shortbreads?
oatmeal raisin?
All this intrigue passes through my sweet-mongering mind
as I pull the latch and swing open the door.
Ah, there they are, perched in the coffee cup
Jam Rings this time!
Little circles of golden dough
with an eye of raspberry jam.
Holding the clear package in my hand,
the song changes: Open me! Open me!
Oh the simple delights of falling in love anew.

8 Sep 10
London




Castles


Wherever a rift
The river runs
Years worn a grain at a time
Here there will be dams
Castle walls
To stem the flow
To the sea
The riches up the valley
We are fascinated by steadfast rock
Upon rock
The rhythm of the shadows
From each finger of turret,
lookout and slot for bow.
Now and trains and we on foot
With cameras to our eyes
Pass freely as a thaw
In spring.

14 Sep 10
Gruyeres




Crossing the street


The old man
In the soiled grey coat
Walks slowly across the quiet avenue
Hands clasped behind his waist
Leaning forward
As if the weight of years
Allows a falling into
Today
Tomorrow

15 Sep 10
Geneva





Benches


Four benches wait
For the clouds to move on
The mountains to make their points
The late light to catch the side
Of the Saleve cliffs,
For the workers, lovers, mothers, friends
To sit and wait for the breathing to slow,
The movement on an upper branch

17 Sep 10
Trembly Park, Geneva



Cedar


Ah, my old friend,
only you have stood steadfast
thru my years;
the walkway buckles
your roots under my feet;
I notice you late;
it is an autumn day,
still green with life;
I catch my shoe where the seams
do not meet and I am grounded
in your shadows—
all this
I imagine long before
I come to the turn in the flagstone path,
touch the soft fingers of your hands,
and become a child.

18 Sep 10
Trembly Park, Geneva




Izze


All day I look for the little anchors
that will pull the ocean shores together
and the image beckon you and I to walk across;
a bridge could be a hundred things
and nothing;
for when I reach for the festive bottle
of a thousand blackberry bubbles
and touch it to my lips,
I am touching your lips
and we are drinking
from the same glass
as I pass it from me to you.

17 Oct 10
Stamford




Morning Sun


The bus slices through
The morning sun
As the houses and shops
Dice her hooded stare;
Cars still asleep
In their blue-lined places
Wait silently
Fresh from the evening
The frost on their windows
Glows silver
Backlit from gold
That passes here.

29 Oct 10
Geneva


_________________________________________________________________

Nyon


Gruyere photos


Every dark passage a surprise of light
Rising up from the green hill is a spire, is an Alp
Alps rarely make their point alone
A friend is framed in years of stones
And a lover loves his friends
Art swings from the push of wonder
While angels circle to the cry of their dance
We are captives only to our outlook
and the future frames a shock of autumn trees
Snow runs into skies
Even the stones shout the rays of sun
and glow with its yellow heat
Emblems clothe the tall
and the tall roofs shoulder the walking few
A balcony is an uplifted hand in whose palm I stand a little
The smooth brush of imagination hangs on fuzzy fieldstone walls
and makes strange companions of things found in attics
Each Alp fills four views
and the wonder of the painters brush lifts the eye
Each pilgrim takes in what's before them
and sings the radiance of an abounding soul
A table waits for the meeting the ancestor oversees
Roof lines mime the dents of meters
The tallest is a head bowed to something further
Children bloom in the heights of our dreams
and grow beyond our reach
The footprints of many rains are worn on a steady demeanor
Artists echo the creation of let there be
and float in pastoral whimsy
as elders look on unmoved by fire in their belly
and courtyards ring the playful doors
A sleigh of blue is readied for the snows that come
Who watches from these windows at who plays below?
The bell is silent. Finis.

21 Nov 10
Gruyeres





Dusting


For the first snow in the valley
There is a dusting
An airbrush touch of winter
A dab of alpine blanc
Everything hums the same bar
In a morning etude
The rows of gamay vines
Are strings
The pines a row of trumpets
Winter cabbage timpanis
willows winds
Even this silver frame
That rings the train window
Is my companion,
has caught a bit of the manna
As if to hold it up to my mouth
And whisper "eat"

26 Nov 10
Nyon




Mums


I remember his hands
reaching under the ball of roots,
finger nails ringed with the loose loam
as he lifted the mellow mums
from the hole he dug months ago.
Now with frost looming in the morning forecast
they need to be moved inside.
This void in the earth
where once there were leafy stalks
reaching to the heavens
calls out to me.
This vessel of fertile ground
where earthworms dangle
and a few fallen leaves
leave whispers in their wake
sings a song that tugs
at the roots of me,
reminding me that just yesterday
you boarded a plane for the east
toward where the sun sets
as I rise
and ache to be with you.

29 Nov 10
Nyon




La Neige


The lights of the station
are dodging through the flakes
shifted from an unseen baker
perhaps thinking of a baguette
or boule...
For now we are the cold table
and thoughts of a warm oven
giving rise to an aroma
that would lift a soul
through any storm
are somewhere else,
perhaps at the chocolatier
about to drop a dollop
of semi sweet truffle;
so I am reminded
I have not yet eaten
and the train is late

30 Nov 10
Nyon




Good Dream


I am so tired
I am slurring my words,
mumbling with my head on a pillow
as if someone turned
on a talking toy
with weak batteries
and a loose wire,
so that its limbo land
stuck between a sentence
and a mating of half-syllables
under my breath;
then I stop to kick the comforter
around so I can stretch my back
by crossing my knees
and swinging them back and forth,
but then that loose wire connects
and a word or two blurts out like
an overcooked tomato
which I did in fact eat tonight;
and I'm thinking what's point?
When this brilliant idea drives across
my chest, does a spinning turn and drives away
this better be a good dream...
I have a car to catch.!

1 Dec 10
Nyon




Riding


Riding into an impressive sunset
the western ear-lobes of the Alps
cast in a yellow-pink glow,
listening to the taps of a lingering sun,
Mount Blanc tres blanc
in the sights of a lingering sun;
and all this day-after winter beauty
is not as stunning
as it would be
if you were following
the point of my finger,
I the capture of your eyes,
and the gush of wondering wind
as we say together, "look!"

2 Dec 10
Nyon to Geneva




Morning Poem


I go through the door
and there above the fountain
raining light from a window
a star of a hundred crinkled eyes
watches me
shrug my knapsack
and fish for my gloves,
pushing back against the grey
morning and melting snow
the music of the water
gurgles in the stone white basin
under a trickle of sun
here on my street
on my path
at my door.

21 Dec 10
Nyon


Hands


This cup of hands
holds the grain
of a hundred years
and still it overflows

This morning
I cupped my hands
beneath the spout
and splashed
the pool I held
against my eyes
until the evening
washed away

In the daylight
I saw you laugh
at a little one
cupped in a winter
coat too large,
as if she
were your own,
wrapped against
the cold.

At dusk
I watched you
lift a fork
of the tenderest
lamb
to your mouth
and thought
I could not fill
my mouth
with the words
I have for you

This cup of hands
holds dreams
as fingers hold
the light;
come put your
hands in mine,
come feel the grain
flow over my
fingers
and yours

into tiny hands
that will carry
this fullness
forever

25 Dec 10
For Shirley at Christmas, Nyon




Now and When


I'm listening to Billy Collins
read "Now and Then"
about a time
before all the modern
distractions,
just as two cats
race across the patio
outside the glass doors
to my left
the dark one
trying valiantly to mount
the lighter feline
who will have nothing
to do with him,
turning on a dime
and racing back
to the underbrush
with him in the hot pursuit
of whatever it was
that caught his eye
and captivating nose
that took him from one poem
to the next

1 Jan 11
Nyon





Evening Poem


She lies in a bed
not thirty feet
from where I sit
and though it is the middle
of the night
when I have come to write
something that came to me
at the edge of sleep
I know that she,
in the way she reached
out a hand,
locked a leg around my calf,
brought me at this end
of night into a beginning
to leave the clothes
of the day to fall behind
off their hangars,
and whether we will make love
or already did
is another time;
but this one
is the time of awakening;
it could be a morning
as much as midnight
when the sleep is long
or short,
but it's alive
and calling to me
to return
and slip into
the common bath
of having just
said we were happy,
first one,
then the other
then together,
and this is awake
even in the middle
of exhaustion
and hunger,
in the face of sating
this is a calling from
the far shore
and we have gotten in the boat
to row slowly with
our dreams
a little closer
to the promised land,
a land flowing
with red wine
and succulent lamb--
all of this makes me moan
in my sleep and hum in my awakening
and returning
to this little boat
again and again
because even in your sleep
you know the way
and I am going with you.

4 Jan 11
Nyon





Morning Poem 1


The sun slices
The finger lake
With a knife
Of burnished brass,
As if to divide
This from that
Like a fence
Or a closed mind
That does not
Argue with itself,
A peace that is fleeting
And disturbed
By waves
That cut the calm
As a storm
Or a dawning

5 Jan 11
Nyon to Geneva

_________________________________________________________________

Translations

Reflections


The lights parade by quickly,
a window at a time
to the left,
and slowly
in the glass
of the train door
arcing back;
so much depends
on where you look;
this lake blue bag
in the reflection
from the strangers seat
across the aisle
is so luminous
it must be holding stars

6 Jan 11
Nyon to Geneva

Réflexions

Les lumières parade rapidement,
une fenêtre à un moment
vers la gauche,
et lentement
dans le verre
de la porte du train
arc en arrière;
cela dépend beaucoup
l'endroit où vous regardez;
ce sac lac-bleu
dans la réflexion
à partir du siège étrangers
en face
est si lumineuse
il doit être tenue étoiles





On the Train to Geneve


Vast tufts of fog
are lifting from the lake,
the morning sun
climbing over the Alps;
we hurtle through one
then another:
one town yawning in yellow,
the next squinting
in the mist;
reading this morning
a short bio of Doctorow,
I wonder how the story
will unfold,
the headlights of this
train lapping up the rails
to Geneve,
and I,
facing the rear,
back to the wind
seeing what already
has gone by,
am full of hope.

7 Jan 11
On the train to Geneve




Music on the other side


Two musicians are playing fervently
on the tram,
while standing on the platform,
glass doors closed between us
there is no sound
save the whoosh of the cars
behind me
and the idling engines
of those stopped
like me
at the light
across the way.
An old man
with sunken cheeks
stares emptily
from the train-car,
oblivious to the music
that wraps him
as a swaddling cloth.

7 Jan 11
Geneva




Early Morning


Before the light
has spilled over the rooftops
and through the frosted glass
the crows are at a beginning
or an ending--
it is hard to tell
in this darkness
that is passing,
in this dawning
that is knocking
once more on the drum
of my ear
like a lamentation for the night,
a calling for the sun.

12 Jan 11
Nyon

Avant la Lumiere

Avant la lumiere
A deverse sur les toits
Et a travers le verre depoli
Les corbeaux sont a un debut
Ou une fin -
Il est difficile de dire
Dans cette obscurite
Ce qui se passe,
Dans cette aube
Qui frappe
Une fois de plus sur le tambour
De mon oreille
Comme une lamentation pour la nuit,
Une vocation pour le soleil




Occupied


A news paper
coffee
pastry dunked
drawn cigarette
glowing phone
each has hands
occupied
one after the other
waiting
on the platform
for the morning train

Occupés

Un journaux
café
pâtisserie trempé
cigarette établi
téléphone rougeoyant
chacun a les mains
occupés
l'un après l'autre
attente
sur la plate-forme
pour le train du matin

13 Jan 11
Nyon Gare




Missed Train


Running across
The street
Before the light
Permits,
Bounding up
The stone stairs
To the train
Whose doors
Have just closed
Finger extended
To the point
Of light
That flashed green
And then went out
The car
Moved slowly on
And I like a dock
was left behind .

14 Jan 11
Nyon Gare

Train manqués

Courant à travers
La rue
Avant la lumière
Permis,
Bondissant
L'escalier de pierre
Pour le train
portes dont le
Viennent de se terminer
Doigt tendu
Pour le point
De la lumière
C'est flashé vert
Et puis il sortit
La voiture
Se déplaçait lentement sur
Et j'aime un quai
a été laiss




Montreux


We leave before lunch
under a round blue sky,
jet trails
crossing it as etchings
in a crystal salad bowl;
the trio of chimes
on the regional to Brig
announce the stops:
Gland, Morges, Lausanne--
and then Montreux—
down the steps
after steps
to the Lake
where one
after another
photo continues
the poem

15 Jan 11
Nyon to Montreux

Montreux

Nous partons avant le dejeuner
Sous un ciel rond bleu
Jet sentiers
Il Crossing que des estampes
Dans un saladier de cristal
Le trio de carillons
Sur la region de Brigue
Annoncent les arrets:
Gland, Morges, Lausanne -
Et puis Montreux
Et a l'etape
apres l'etape
Pour le lac
Lorsque l'un
Apres une autre
Photo continue
Le poeme




Passing by


The row of cars
next to Trembly Park
are covered in frost,
each a shadow,
dark in the slice
of sun that wraps
around them.

17 Jan 11
On the 3 bus, Geneva

Le Matin Givre

La rangee de voitures
A côte de Trembly Park
Sont couverts de givre,
Chaque une ombre
Dark dans la tranche
De soleil qui encapsule
Autour d'eux




Lights left on


Someone left the moon on
last night;
we stood at the bedroom window
and marveled at how bright
its fullness was,
the clouds from the snow squalls
lit up as linen under summer sun
were its unwitting curtains;
but now having pulled aside
the kitchen drape
before the coffee drips
its morning melody,
la lune stares
from the other side
of heaven
and I hear my father
say to turn it out before
I leave the room.

21 Jan 11 , Nyon

La Lune

Quelqu'un a laisse sur la lune
La nuit derniere,
Nous etions a la fenetre de la chambre
Et emerveilles de voir comment lumineux
Son ampleur a ete
Les nuages de la bourrasques de neige
Eclaire comme le lin sous le soleil de l'ete
Ont ete a leur insu ses rideaux
Mais maintenant, ayant tire sur le cote
Le drape de cuisine
Avant le cafe coule
Sa melodie matin
La lune regarde
De l'autre cote
Du ciel
Et j'entends mon pere
Dites-le tourner avant
Je quitte la salle.




Wind


The wind is whipping to the west
with the fury of a front marching through
without regard for who stands shivering
in its wake;
were it not for the blatant blue sky
and sun pulling itself up over
the clouds wrapped around the mountain,
we would think this was a winter storm
standing with our backs to the gusts
we line up on the platform
like crows upon the wire
confused about why the trains
are stalled upon the tracks below

21 Jan 11
Waiting for the Nyon –Geneva train




Clarity of Night


Even the lesser stars
are out tonight--
those finer points
that reveal themselves
in the clarity of night--
"sleep on it"
my friend imparts,
it will be clear in the morning;
and "put a pad and pencil
next to the bed
so you won't forget,"
having etched it
with a stroke of midnight
clear upon the bleach-white page;
I think I'll stand out here
in the cold buff of a January night
and hold my fingers still
in the ebony gloves
that keep me from finding
the edge of the page.

24 Jan 11
Nyon




Translation


I think that
language like culture is a fence
it defines the ground;
a smile like a shrug
is not;.
it is an attempt to speak
that is appreciated,
especially when punctuated with a laugh!
What makes speaking so difficult
is the translation of input to thought
and the output to speak!


Traduction

Je pense que
Langue de culture, comme une clôture
Il définit le terrain
Un sourire comme un haussement d'épaules
N'est-ce pas.
Il s'agit d'une tentative de prendre la parole
C'est apprécié
Surtout quand ponctué d'un éclat de rire!
Qu'est-ce qui parle si difficile
Est-ce la traduction de l'entrée à la pensée
Et la sortie de parler!

24 Jan 11
Geneva




Commuting with Heaven in my Hand


Sometimes the connections
run together,
the green light at the corner,
the train pulling in
as I step onto the platform
and the bus waiting at its stop--
it flows as a current
one into another and another
and I in my inner-tube
of pen and paper
take it in
as it comes,
thankful for the rare moment
of grace
that surprises.

26 Jan 11, Geneva

Connexion

Parfois, les liens
Exécuter ensemble,
Le feu vert à l'angle,
Le train qui en
Comme je l'ai monter sur la plate-forme
Et le bus à l'arrêt d'--
Il coule comme un courant
Un à un autre et un autre
Et moi dans ma chambre à air
De stylo et du papier
Prenez-en
Comme il vient
Reconnaissants pour le moment rares
De la grâce
Que de surprises

_________________________________________________________________

New Year


Awakening


I read that Merton
died in the tub,
fixing the fan,
electrocuted,
as an experiment gone bad
or a sentence;
and yet doing the work
of mystics,
noting from where
the window blows
and to where it goes;
as the splash of water
I imagine
when he fell
into the final awakening
that stops us cold.

31 Jan 11, Nyon

"In 1968, at age 53, [Merton] died by electrocution when he attempted to adjust an electrical fan while stepping out of a shower. " --Dr. Mardy




New Year


She reminds me
it was a hard year,
it is all new;
how full of hope
a new year can be;
she reminds me
I cannot forget
each day with her
is a reminding
how full we can be,
how new
a year can be.

2 Feb 11, Nyon




Things Seen Twice


An early day frost
on an early spring day
is a tease,
a "not yet";
the sun winks
between still sleeping trees
under a crisp blue sky,
fog puffing from my mouth
as I walk briskly by,
taps me on the cheek
and says:
there are parallel universes:
this one in which I walk
and the other
I imagine walks with me.

9 Feb 11, Geneva





Love Poem

Washing my face
to open my early eyes
I remember
I saw you
wiping this mirror
last night,
a random act of love;
and what was cloudy yesterday,
fighting off a passing illness,
now reflects with understated clarity—
the reason I awake
with a smile,
the reason I kiss you
before I rise.

15 Feb 11, Nyon




Schedule


The wall clock is learning to dance:
one-two, one-two;
the full moon trips through the low
clouds over the lake,
and the walk-light hobbles off and on--
so much for the smooth passing of time;
I feel its constant stutter
as a hur-r-r-ry up
there is work to do
and it’s not what's tugging
at my finger tips.

17 Feb 11, Nyon




A Dose of Frost


Frost on the railroad ties
have a rhythm,
a dose of cold at a time;
I prefer those icy places
in my life
where upending is a step away
interspersed
with wild greens--
a chilled salad, if you will;
and a rain forest or two,
with lions and tigers and bears,
oh my!--
even if poking up through grey rocks
like crocuses on the hillside
not yet lime

18 Feb 11
Waiting for the 8:50 train from Nyon




Listening to the news from trees


The chorus rises each day,
new voices fresh from the south
gather on still bare branches
and sing with an excitement
not heard for a season,
becoming the great comma
in our... melting.

18 Feb 11, Nyon




Pillow Talk


In the waiting room
most everyone
is pecking into a phone:
little whispers
from the palm of one hand
to another.
I could lament the lack
of real conversation,
the absence of a touch,
a brush of the lips,
legs twined up around
an unseen antenna--
but that would just remind me
how far these dominos
of black and white connections
reach.
and I already miss you more
than I can engrave upon
these keys.

27 Feb 11
At Zurich airport waiting for the flight to Budapest





Morning Poem 2


It is snowing lightly
on this promenade
of gray street lamps of threes,
in front of shops not yet awake;
a few passersby
wrapped in scarves
and woolen hats
are not quite to where
they are going;
the snow dissolves
before it touches the cobblestones
that crunch under my steps,
the salt and sand lingering
from the last time;
I think of these elements
as I arrive
at the next hotel
and I want you to know
the door opened
as I reached for it.

1 Mar 11
Budapest, Hungary




Morning Poem 3


What will catch my eye this morning?

I am looking, admiring the gold
framed mirror on the wall
in the breakfast room,
in which I spy other walls and frames
crowding in, vying to be seen
like a group of laughing coeds
outside the McDonald's.

I saw the hint of a blue sky
above my window
crawling over the hotel rise--
what I see gives me hope;
what I imagine
makes my heart add a second beat--

and tonight you are with me again .

2 Mar 11
Budapest, Hungary




Morning Poem 4


Four days before the bell
Of spring
Light rain barely makes
Opening the umbrella
Worth the extra hand;
I wheel the luggage to the train
And climb the short steps
Lugging and balancing
Bag and backpack and the canvas gardener's bag
You packed with lunch and snacks;
On any other winter day
This would be a grey and gloomy ride,
But there are things opening up
On every side,
And this field we just hurtled by
Glows with a fresh coat of green
As if the artist were up all night
Broad brush in hand
an endless bucket of verdant slosh
At his knees,
Highlighting with determined strokes
What I would otherwise miss.

17 Mar 11
On the train to Zurich




Morning Poem 5


The fog has not quite settled here,
suspended mid-mountain,
is it coming or going?
Somewhere the sun
is making its pied-piper sway;
we follow it into the day.
From the hotel window
the ski jump is half in a cloud
and looks like a giant tongue
rolled out;
now devoid of snow
it could be the 18th hole
in miniature golf,
the one where each putt
means the ball travels up
the steep curve,
circles the hole and returns
to start again

18 Mar 11
Innsbruck, Austria

_________________________________________________________________

A First Spring



Morning Poem 6


I am traveling past the vineyards,
the pruned and twisted trunks still bare,
belie the emerald grass
that is out in front by days;
and I remember walking with you
along the gravel path among the rows
of sycamore trees, trimmed
to the shoulders before the winter frost,
now at attention in wait for a sign
that this yearning like a candelabra
aches for the match;
it could be a day
in a summer twice before
when I would wake to the tiny light
hinting on my phone
and I'd search as we did just yesterday
for the tips of green
among the black and white
of letters on the page.

27 Mar 11
On the way to the airport, Geneva




Chocolate Chips


No, these are not
the little nipples
of dark delicacies
that get so soft
they run hot
in the center of the cookie
that brings back every
essence of a kitchen in heat...
No, these are crisps
of dark delicacies
so light and crunchy
they disappear on the tongue,
but wait!
there's another
and another
and another
Oh my!

28 Mar 11
In Dubai, UAE




Jackhammers


He leans into it,
adding weight to a chisel
that would otherwise dance
across the surface,
the idle chatter of macadam;
and as always there are those assigned
to watch or those obliged
to pause and see
the little bits of shell
upon this patch of earth
part and open
to the veins we all
as analysts
presume are here;
and when he is done,
we can gather closer still
and marvel at the hole
crossed with dusty pipes.

29 Mar 11
In Dubai, UAE




Scones


I am waiting for a chai latte
At Starbucks near my gate,
And it is the rows of muffins
With crowns that spill over
Their paper cups
That catch my eye--
Such abundance bursting up
With golden brown
And a hint of raisins--
It was just a sunset ago
You were telling me about
The scones you made--
I remember;
I can smell them
In their heat;
I was barely able to spread
their flaky lips,
Steam rising to the touch
Of my tongue
And the letter M strung out
Like a necklace unfastened--
Oh yes, I can taste you now.

30 Mar 11
Dubai Airport




Star


She reaches up
as if the moon
can be touched,
perhaps with a wish,
a dream,
a hope--
yet both her feet
are on the ground,
a travel bag
holds a plant in bud,
and her skirt
flowers out likes a bell,
an arch,
a chapel--
these are the two,
the one I love:
growing out to the heavens,
toes wriggling in rich earth.

1 Apr 11, Nyon
For Shirley’s birthday




Low White Clouds


They've gathered around the green mountain,
a wisp of a necklace,
like I remember near the western bay
in February
When the rains broke
And the late light
Touched up the darker clouds
That had moved on,
And I take all this in
From a train that lumbers east
Past lime-leafed trees
And fields rowed with
straggled vines of new antenna
And I wonder whether all this verdant
Abundance
Sees the traveler whisking by.

29 Apr 11
Nyon to Geneva




Address book


Seated on the roundabout bench
with the tree shading the indoor perch,
an old man leafs through an address book
a page at a time,
as if studying all the faces
called up by the names and numbers
written there--
some in blue, some black, some grey
with smudges where some digits
were erased and the new penciled in.
And I am in the traffic
eddying around his island clump of stones,
passing before his eyes
and behind his shoulders arced
over his hand that has paused.

3 May 11
Bude, Geneva





Morning Prayer


Silent in the last seat on the train,
alone in a two by two, sits a priest
or pastor--we cannot tell;
and he is staring into nothing,
with a set and dour expression
devoid of joy,
nary a whistle,
not even the motion of an eye.
Perhaps he is in prayer,
or pain;
we cannot tell,
perhaps should not tell;
and yet
how the large silver cross
around his neck
catches the light
and dances on its chain
sings for a word.

9 May 11
Nyon to Geneva




Memory


Digging deep into my pocket,
searching for my memory stick,
I confirm what others have said:
there is always more in my pockets
than meets the eye;
it makes for delays at airport screenings
and fumbling for the key
to unlock the door at night.
I touch each item
with the blindness of a new born mouse
burrowing into the familiar,
looking for the one sense
that will bring the source I seek;
but I do not find it.
Taking out the wallet and the pocket knife
I whittle down the options
until the silver curve of its hinge
and dangling broken chain
on my fingertips
bring the "aha" I've found you!

10 May 11
Geneva




Shoes


Slipping into shoes
Left in the sun
After an afternoon nap,
Bare feet wriggling into old
Familiar leather
Warm from the idle baking
In this splash of light
That spills from behind the billowing
Curtain that hides the garden,
Is putting on a piece of the earth
A re-anchoring in all
That finds its way
Into this portal
I noticed was ajar.

21 May 11
Nyon




The Appointment


The train drifts into the station
It is painfully slow today,
The large iron wheels squeal
As the brakes are applied
By the careful engineer
With the reflective sunglasses;
One by one the cars ease by,
Passengers in prayer to whatever befalls their laps;
It is not their stop.
And on a day like any other day
I get on
And wait for the pull
Of the large red engine,
The engineer's hand nudging the throttle
Forward.

26 May 11
Nyon to Geneva




On Ascension Day


I will bring down the recyclables
To the blue bins on Rue de la Combe
On Ascension Day
And I will give them up
To those who will remake them
In their image,
So emptied vessels
Will be made full
And stand again
Among our kitchen counter gods
For when we are thirsty
A second time.

31 May 11 for 2 Jun 11, Nyon




Away


It started raining
When you left
The ground glistens with a coat
That shimmers with the wind;
And what was green
Is greener still,
Speaking in whispers
That somewhere
Beyond these grey and laden clouds
There is a sun
That wraps around all it sees

1 Jun11
Nyon




Commuting


Commuting
Is about knowing
Where to stand.
This train slips into its place;
The doors to the empty car
Open at the red mark on the platform
And this car after its journey
Stops at the stairway
To the bus
That waits for only seconds;
And if by chance
There is a seat free
At the front of the #3
Getting off at the chosen stop
Allows crossing the street
Before it pulls away.
All these minutes string together
Adding to a start of day
When the office folks
Expect my walking through
The door
From one world to the next
Each day a little death,
Each day a new beginning.

1 Jun 11
Nyon to Geneva




Mango


With a ripe mango pit
In your mouth
There can be no talking,
Only the muffled moan
As teeth and tongue
Work to release the last vestiges
Of fruit clinging to its grassy core--
But oh, the simple poetry here,
The taking in of the lesser
That is so abundant and rich

2 Jun 11
Nyon




Wheels


When I first see the old man
seated on the other side of the bus,
I think he has a scooter,
three wheels, folded up--

I imagine all the wheels-to-go
in our travel through this galaxy,
the many under this aging bus,
the bicycles I dodged
outside the station,
The cars parked as wings along the avenue--
All rest on tires wrapped around a core;
the scooter twins
race past our windowed doors,
the skateboards that have moments
of sudden flight,
the wheels and cables that carry
the gondola aloft,
even the gray ones
on this gents folded walker,

But what stops me in my tracks
are the ones on the gears of the plane
that will touch down
as you arrive

3 Jun 11
Geneva




Home in June


I walked the gardens this evening
and everywhere there were signs
of your hands and eyes--
look,
something new is happening!
yes,
again and again.

5 Jun 11
With the Picasa Album of our Nyon garden photos




Morning Sounds


The electric bus
moves with a whir and a whine
like the small mixer
before it dips into the bowl of nuts;
at each stop
it sounds as if the plug was pulled.
the softer whoosh of the AC
enters overhead;
the hills create another sound,
something like a muffled two-tone siren
and at the top, the air brakes exhale
before it moves on--

all the time I am transported back,
and oh, how I long for you to stir--
the morning sounds,
with eyes still closed,
reach out for a morning kiss.

6 Jun 11
On the 3 bud, Geneva




Impatience


In a letter to a friend
I note how impatience has changed
With the flapjack flip of the decades;
I was so impatient for success,
Independence, the finer things,
A kiss,
Buttons popping like corks,
Writing with possessed fury,
Aching for inspiration.

And now
I am impatient with all the things
That do not matter,
Endless meetings of recitation
The rows and columns
Of made up numbers,
The little fears of making budget,
Deadlines,
And the performance review

Give me passion,
Time to think,
Raucous conversation,
Vignettes of silence,
A sip of wine,
A phrase of touch,
And the notice
Of the board that tells me
Your plane has arrived.

8 Jun 11
Nyon




Good night my love.


When I am dead tired
there is this buzz that is
a movie screen
without the movie,
an electrical box hum
without the lights,
a ripple
without the stone hitting the water
an echo
without the "hello"
a touch
without the you

20 Jun 11
Nyon




Pings


We are exchanging photos of food,
each meal shared and not shared,
each taste together and apart,
drinking from the same cup
and thirsty--
this is how it began:
the flirting of cuisine,
of conversation
written,
the wait for your reply;
my late evening
is your early morning
when you are still sleeping,
I reach across
this divide
and tuck you in
to me
and I to you.

23 Jun 11
Nyon


_________________________________________________________________

Summer Returning


Giants


I come back to the great ones
The cedar and sequoia
Now with the soft green cones
Of spring
They stand with a pride
That moves a bit to the left
A bit to the right
As the wind blows--
And yet none us would
Accuse them of being fickle,
Flip-flopping is the word we see
In the news.
No, there is something unwavering
The closer to its grounding
From which it rises
And in these hundred years
Of reaching for the stars
I know that I can never
Get my arms around this
Rough and splintery standing.

1 Jul 11
Trembly Park, Geneva




Perennial


The cherries have come and gone,
Raspberries wait,
the apples are small
with just a touch of red;
the tulips have left their green coats
open on the lawn
and on the table
a basket of roses
planted in sparkly soil
is blooming such a deep cerise
it bleeds—

standing at the window
looking out at the early morning sun
reflecting off the Jura in the distance
I imagine you placing it in the shallow
hole you've dug in the garden,
packing loam about its ball of roots,
soaking it with the spout
from the green water can,
and sing:
if we plant this pot of roses
like our love
and see to its food and drink,
it will be here again next year
and the next—
my feet will cool in a thousand rivers
and a thousand suns
will be on my face.

4 Jul 11, Nyon
For our 3rd Anniversary




Windows


There are little lights
On the side of the hills
Rising from the lake,
And through the morning mist
They catch the sun
And send it back
With a calling
There are windows here

4 Jul 11
On the Ferry from Yvoire




Bad Poetry


Reminds me of the scene
In Mondo Cane
Where the farmer
Is force feeding the goose
With a funnel and grinder
To get that silky smooth
Liver of the finest pate--
An over-sated rhyme
Where the words are tortured
Into a form
Until the reader gags--
like a reviewer
With pen in hand
Who has just tasted something
That he cannot believe
Is being passed off
As pate.

8 Jul 11
Washington, DC




Tracks


In the morning
There are small clumps
Of dirt everywhere,
As if horses clomped their shoes
On the walkways
At midnight
Before retiring to the barn;
Even the platform
At the station
Is spotted with telltale traces;
Somewhere
There is a field
Pocked with shoe-prints
As if a quarry;
After the concert
Rang it's final note,
The caravan passed
This way
And as if prophets,
left small tracks
Of an earthy song.

21 Jul 11, Nyon, during Paleo




A Swallows Song


I hear the swallows signaling
As I imagine them swooping,
a single swarm
Outside the smoked glass
Window above the shower--
So shrill
And so sweet
A summer's day could sink
Even as an August sol can rise.

28 Jul 11
Nyon




Rain


Sitting on a bench
Under a no-name tree
With tight round leaves
Covers me from the summer shower,
And like most moist moments
Holds its breath
For a season
And then lets the weight of it
Rivulet on my slacks and shoes
Until I stand and shake it off

28 Jul 11
Jardin de la Paix, Geneva




Keys


The roll of the lock
Has a sway
I imagine the insistent church
Bell turning in its tower
Across the sloping yards has;
But when I hear
You pull your key
From its doorway sheath
It is the sound
Of the last draw
Of the bow saw
Before the branch
Rustles down
From the tower
Of the tree
And there is that silence
Of just after.

30 Jul 11
Nyon




Midday Poem


I sit on a park bench
overlooking a gold fish pond
where the denizens
group in a random school
that moves
like sand in an hourglass,
and I remember those days
late in spring
when the sun heated anything
under its watchful eye
while I stared at the wall clock
in Mrs. Heitner's history class
aching for one more click
before the bell would send us
streaming out of these walls
and I could head to the pond
for an hour of late afternoon
fishing before dinner time

4 Aug 11
Jardin de la Paix, Geneva




Morning Poem 9


It is a refined dust
that gathers on the tops of books
on the bookshelf
that reaches beyond my reach;
it forms a finer shroud,
makes my fingers slip
my mouth go dry
when I recite a dozen poems
without a glass of water
to make the words swell
and tumble over each other
like stones in the surf.
I notice all of this
while reaching for three
tablets of paper-backs,
one of which I'm sure
has that poem about matches
and country mice,
and even now as I leaf through
the embers of each page
I can taste the soot
on my tongue
as if I was standing at the curb
when the books caught fire
and their spirits washed over me
one pebble
on the beach

9 Aug 11
Nyon




Morning Poem 16


Lone red engine sneaks through the station
on the far track,
before the express squeals
Between us,
Then another,
Each in its own way telling me
That distance is relative
To the breeze in its wake
that turns my neck,
A soft pant of morning air
As if you were here
On the near side of the bed,
And slowly roused,
We leave this station
Of sleep
Coupled at the lips.

16 Aug 11
Nyon




Morning Poem 17


Heavy eyes in the morning sun squint
The haze lay heavy in the lake
Coddled in the Jura and Saleve,
what is awakening is slow,
before the second cup of coffee,
the fog lifting,
shaken out,
rolled up
as if sleep can be shelved,
clarity willed,
love called to your side
out of thin air,
across oceans,
and time itself.
I will sleep more tonight,
more in its gift
that comes rolling in
when it will.

17 Aug 11
Nyon




Pileated II

for Alice

A pileated woodpecker swoops
in from the field and settles near the top
of a rotting tree.
He works his way down
oscillating from eyeing
the fractured bark
and me.
I wait for the crack
of it's hammer-to-chisel swing of a beak
with a thwack into the softening wood;
chips flying as if he were the sculptor
and I was naked in moment
when I could not move.

3 Feb 08
17 Aug 11, Nyon




Passing through


The announcement comes seconds before
the Lausanne express
rockets through the local station,
it's red and white sleek skin
blurs by with fleeting weight,
its double-decker coaches
holding the morning passengers
set on their ticket's destination--
we see none of them
in the blink of passage;
if there was a child at the window waving,
we can only imagine
if she sees the blue in our eyes

18 Aug 11
At the Nyon Gare




La Chat


The cat knows how to lean
Into a back rub
To push back with an arched spine
That signals "more"
Its purr a whir of a pleasure
Engine that moves from simply
Idling to gaining speed between the shifts
As its paws push up and down
a pedal-to-the-metal that gives that rush
Of wind blowing in your hair
Early sun on your face
And the smell of the sea
Just before you dive in.

19 Aug 11
Nyon




Poetry by Numbers


Foot tapping to the syllables,
Counting the strong verbs;
How many poems written this year?
Were there a dozen birds winging in
as lofty metaphors?
Should I add a line break
here?
I wonder about such things
when I awake mid-morning,
after late night hours
balancing the accounts,
and realize it is still days
until the rhyme of your lips are here
to part.

21 Aug 11
Nyon




Summer Storm


You can feel it approaching,
the storm in the distance,
wind's breath picking up,
articles tossed about,
the dimming
of the lights,
the urgent whispers...
the accelerating of time,
rushing over the cliff,
the drawn out moan
around the trees bending,
the drops of rain on the forehead,
and the flash of light,
the rumble in the loins,
the coming of the deluge,
the steam rising from the streets.

22 Aug 11
Nyon



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