Sunday, March 31, 2013

Untied 5

I take a long dreamless nap on the cracked ground.
Fennec foxes chew on my hair.

Shadows of insects on red rocks.

A snoring toad wakes me up
And follows me for hours.

Old birds on silent branches.

I walk through a cold river.
A slow carp brushes against my ankle twice.

Pale leaves on wet roots.

The ladybugs in my pocket
Fly away at the same time.

Tree sap on my hands.

[Show French Version]

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Haiku 9

On a summer day
Inside a Venetian church
I heard real silence.

[Show French Version]

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Tree

for Zac.

The tree is stable, anchored, definitive.
It goes deeper than you think,
Higher than yesterday.

No matter what the tree sees,
How small its world is,
It seems aware of something
We often miss.
Even the tree that lives
Between two gray buildings
Grows wiser
And more patient
With each dawn.

Time scars it.
Men too.
Never reproachful,
It provides shelter for other species,
Inspiration for poets,
Shade for summer afternoons,
A hiding place for lovers.

Its strength and permanency,
Spiritual verticality,
Resistance to the wind,
Acceptance of seasons,
Grateful existence,
Oneiric grace,
Disarming simplicity,
Mirror my love for you.

[Show French Version]

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Haiku 8

A snail on each palm,
I make a leaf bridge for them,
They slowly eat it.

[Show French Version]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Untied 4

I'm reading French poetry again.
Philippe Jaccottet.
I want to write like that.
I want his words' pureness and simplicity and humility and accuracy and perfection.
There's a veil before my eyes.
His poems lift it gently, as if undressing my mind,
And I stare naked at the poetic grace of the words and the images they paint
- the sun on our back again, shining on the table, and the page, and the grapes.
They vibrate with disarming truth and overwhelming beauty.
French doesn't cast its heavy shadow on meaning.
It is used with such measure, wisdom and intelligence.
I can see the age-dappled hands of the old poet, his skin as thin as paper, his soul gathered in his eyes.
Reading him makes me feel dizzy like when I philosophize for a while and reach a state in my thinking where everything falls into place and what I thought was the last door opens to another one and I feel my consciousness going higher than I thought it could and I look down at the premise which started this vertigo-inducing mind ride and contemplate all the things that make me feel vast.
Jaccottet's poetry brings my mind to the last door instantaneously, shows me the wall behind it and crosses it, making me lose all perception of space as when dancing with someone you love and realizing by the end of the song that you're not in the same room anymore.

[Show French Version]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Garden

I cut branches off a dead tree,
Put them in a wooden crate,
Bring the crate by the fireplace.

A splinter in my thumb.

I fill up the watering can
With the outdoor tap,
Carry it with both hands,
Water heather that mark
Where Toulouse is buried.

I plant tarragon
And smell everything.

Birds are loud,
I wonder what they talk about,
And how we sound to them.

A dog I don't know
Comes in the garden,
Runs in circles around the apple tree
And goes away.

I have slow and quiet thoughts.
My hands in the ground
Connect effortlessly with nature.
My mind doesn't have to put me there.
I'm already here.

I look up,
The sky is a sudden painting.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Goodbye / Haiku 5-7

pour ma soeur...

Toulouse is gone now.
Céleste put him in my arms,
His body softened,

Lulled by our voices.
My warm breath on his white neck
One very last time.

We smoked on the couch
And listened to Debussy.
Bright room, quiet tears.


A song I sang for Toulouse: Meadowlarks (Fleet Foxes)

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Wine

Wine and cheese tonight,
I feel French
And inspired.

I move my glass
Right under the light coming from the ceiling
Just to see the wine's color.
Even the glass' shadow is red.

Ella is scatting on Blue Skies with Buddy Rich.

I look at nature photographs by Eliot Porter
Accompanied by texts by Henry David Thoreau.
Oh, one of many wonderful books
Lovingly given to me
By the man who holds my heart
And whose soul shines softly on mine.
The last sip of wine pushes my mind
Which falls into nature's portraits
With emotion.


No philosophy tonight.
Wine closes that door sometimes for me.

There's only emotion.
Wet leaves move me.
Bird eggs at the foot of the tree move me.
Tall ferns move me.
Blackberries that are still green move me.

Thoreau says:
There was a time when the beauty 
And the music were all within,
And I sat and listened to my thoughts,
And there was a song in them.

I feel dizzy, overwhelmed, in love.
In tune with the world.

I read again what Thoreau says.
A text about colors and time,
A picture of orange moss on rocks.

I smile at each season.

Wine isn't what this poem is about,
It just started this flow,
Amplified a few perceptions.

It's about the intensity of living,
The importance of finding
The little string
That links us to everything else.
It's a thin string
But it's there.

If you find it,
Hold on to it tightly
And don't let go.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Untied 3

The woman behind the cash register
Is spitting out sootballs every two minutes.
They're all over the counter.
It upsets customers.
She doesn't give the slightest damn.
She smokes cigarettes she keeps in her back pocket
And sits on.
They're bent.
She cuts the filter off with her teeth.
She has a third eye in the back of her head
That allows her to watch reality TV shows
On the small color-saturated television hanging on the wall behind her.
Along with a new sootball, she spits out "stupid Chinese"
When the American guy whose grandparents are Vietnamese
Comes in to buy his model cars magazine
And keeps the fridge door open while picking his beer.
There's a grass-snake living in her hair.
She burns it with her cigarette each time it slides down her neck.
The gossips she reads all day play on repeat in her plastic head like a pop song.
She shakes her head and the ashes off the cigarette butt stuck to her bottom lip.
"Spoiled bitch. Hope he dumps her ass."
A kid comes in,
Five dollars in his pocket and a Nike cap on.
He takes out a fake cowboy gun,
Points it at her.
She looks up at him,
Gives him a badly pink-lipsticked smile
And before he has the chance to say bang,
She forms a finger gun with her tobacco-smelling hand
And shoots herself in the head.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Haiku 4

Jumping grasshoppers
Encircled my bicycle.
My phobia rose up.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Newborn

Two years ago
A woman called me,
A photographer,
She knew someone I knew.

She said
Can you babysit my daughter?
I said yes
Then asked her age.

7 days old.

I thought:
This woman is crazy.
I know she can trust me
But how does she know
I can take care
Of the most precious thing she has?

The tiny human
Woke up when I arrived.
I heated milk
And held her.

She looked at me.
I felt intimidated.
She was so close to creation,
To nothingness.
7 days ago,
She did not exist in this world.
And yet there she was,
Already herself.
This little person
With her curled, warm little body
Dependent on me.

I felt honored to be part of
Her first perceptions of the world.
It made me be my better self
That afternoon.

I held her close to me.
Like a baby animal,
She buried her little face
In my neck,
Chewed on my collarbone,
Looking for the breast of her mother.
She moved her minuscule and perfect fingers.
I looked at them
In awe.

Then I pictured the woman
She would become,
Feared how life might slowly
Erase her innocence,
Bring knowledge
And experiences
That could make her a sad
And bitter person.

So I whispered in her perfect ear:
Be kind. Always.
Compassionate and grateful.
This is a big strange world
And it can be scary at times
But keep your sense of wonder,
And sing a lot.

I added what André Breton said
To his newborn daughter in a letter:
I hope you will be loved madly.