Sunday, May 31, 2015

Serpent – the Sequel

Once so terribly, dismissively
and biblically maligned,
the Serpent has through eons
shown it really is benign.

Now, in its embrace,
we find a place to learn from it
about discernment, polish,
politesse and solace.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Patently in Sight

Forms illumining the night are always dreams
but then what seem like daylight actualities
are dreams as well. The bell you think you hear,
you hear: the eyes you want to peer into
are always looking back at you, patently in sight.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Cat Hair

When your hair looks as good as your cat?
Well, there’s just nothing better
than that.


My Sweet and Interesting Brother


I just passed an anxious-looking little boy trailing after his mother through this freakish voluptuous July-in-May weather - it seemed a dyed-in-the-psyche anxiety, not uncommon in many of us as kids and sometimes later on: "but where will I SIT?" he kept asking her (they were presumably walking toward somewhere where sitting, for him, was the issue) and his mother said, "don't worry, we'll work it out," in the reflexive way mothers forgivably respond to what they imagine is the normal unwarranted ("immature") anxiousness of a child.

But, with a jolt and leap somewhere else, the news it gave me was: I realized I never ever understood, first, that I couldn't do or have what I wanted to do or have. And then, when I kept learning from The World Around Me that this was often impossible, I deeply couldn't understand why. And that alone produces a child's anxiety - but not only a child's - it reflects the great human bewilderment we're born with and never lose till we flip over to whatever the other side is: what IS this thing I'm in? Who ARE these people? What is it I'm supposed to do? Why can't I do everything I want to do?

And the 'reasonable' answer we learn from ostensibly wise sources (teachers, parents, shrinks) is that there are greater subtler rewards than we know in delaying gratification & thinking of others & following received instructions & developing a capacity for discipline & restraint. And these solutions & promises sound so awfully good. Or anyway, we want them to.

But all of it misses a central point.

Every time I look into my brother's eyes in photographs, especially when he was a toddler, I see this cosmic yearning (universal to all of us!) - and somehow at least a hint of the kind of inchoate understanding which that deepest kind of yearning lends.

A yearning for what, we ask? Self-help books rush to our aid. A bird on a wire competes with the Inner Child, etc etc. But none of that seems to me really to touch the place that cries out. Also that laughs and sings and in some way maybe already knows (this is what makes it so funny!) that it's always had what it doesn't think it has.

These pics are of my bro Bob when he was called Bobby. Who later grew into the interesting outcome of: the Reverend Robert A. Kettelhack! But don't let the priest part fool you. He had a rascal darkness & wit. But don't miss the priest part either.

Ah, my sweet & interesting brother.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

On a Bench in Washington Square

What has the world got to do with you?
What is your job in the world?
You sit in your hot late-May city to view
a voluptuous chaos too hurled

at itself to be taken in, more than a touch –
except by a new crop of twenty-year-olds
for whom nothing, it seems, is too much.
You glimpse a bare torso, soft folds

of worn shorts: a beautiful boy on a bike.
You haven’t a question to answer or ask –
there’s nothing you can’t say you like.
Put up with that: perhaps that’s the task.