—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento
We miss smaller things blooming, hatching.
Mallards skim the pond at six a.m., usually a pair,
but today, a second green-necked male
flits around. They’re not complaining,
not like Sartre, in another spring, tossing
the rotted rabbit out the window—the meal
Simone planned for another lover.
It was all the same to her, a war was on,
and she was hungry as anyone else.
But, I’m stuck here, can’t even open the window
for a Paris view—Jean Reno, shirtless
and smoking, for instance. A male pounces
on dun-colored feathers. She sinks—then,
all three rise—hover like black hawks, disappear
over wet rooftops, not one damaged feather
left as evidence of a spring gone on too long.
—Villiers le Bel
(Painting by Childe Hassam)
A parchment sky exposes more trunk
than blooms, misshapen,
wind-pruned, beetles hunger and age.
Pink fluff forms a face that breathes
easy at imperfection. Underneath, weeds
tangle lime-scented geraniums,
a split at the base, multiple trunks
twist frothy locks ending in a freefall,
peach-studded coiffure touching
forehead to earth—a perfect
model for the 1960’s book cover:
Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
(first pub. in Ceremony)
I saw a floating leaf today,
so many shades of speckled gray
a baby possum facing down
the head a tiny triangle
so alone in the darkened pond.
I saw a floating leaf today.
How long before its mother
limped away, moonlight
tracing her broken ankle?
I saw a floating leaf today,
a baby possum facing down,
the head a tiny triangle.
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Come tread my threadbare carpet, rain pants rustling
soft frictions, tensions down your long legs vinyl.
When I die, let my best vision and final
be dark blue seams with dark blue creases whispering,
We’re serpents lapping strong young legs. Smooth milk.
Worm-spindle susurrus, a one-strand gut-thread hissing
incessant air kisses. Your lissome stride makes silk.
If—after eight months’ drought while dirt and grit
cake, or blow from under the neighbors’ azaleas—
if now, from beneath firecracker flowers flit
small odd-shaped emissaries from a delayer’s
universe, tread carefully. Watch for the laborer
who carries much of herself upon her back, in
a neat if delicate, desperate wayfarer’s
spiral overnight bag, all labels lacking:
This End Up, or Fragile, Handle with Care.
Where do they come from, and whose eyes examine
ground-features sharp as grass, yet miss these ones?
I mean, miss them completely till they’re there,
gingerly testing the atmosphere for fine
gradations of gas with flicking eye-tubes for tongues?
How does one spring rain, with its next-door neighbor sun,
bring the crisp-shelled throngs who sluggish on one foot run?
The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in haven new eyes.
I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It's a journey of recovery. It's a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It's already there.
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Mistakes are the portals of discovery.