Seeing what’s not there

Fragrance of herbs, dinner

simmering on the stove

I’m thinking of time, the table,

complete arrangements of lovely things.


Thinking after pleasantries

of your arrival

a quiet flare

“can die in a moment.”


What shall we talk about?

Shall I ask you, a seasoned traveller

if I need a prime lens,

50 mm f/1.8G in my bag?


What if you don’t come?

I may never know the difference

between unfulfilled curiosity

and unpleasant pain of loss.


My eyes aimlessly wander outside

a bird perches at the window

a sweet song,

too obvious to be meaningless.



by way of an explanation

I can write a letter

 a mailman will pick it

give the letter to you.


I will imagine you

reading it 

and your reaction.


Or I can email you

which you can receive instantly,

if you are aware read at the same instant.


I can listen, we can listen

our messages, while walking

in the park  or wherever we are

short of being run over by cars.

You may respond, and I,  with a video 

voila, I can, we can

see and hear each other,

where we live,where we are,

where we go, places  we like to visit 

what we like to do.


Back and forth, sophomorically sweet

I can touch you, you can touch me,

each other, but, not really…

a virtual affection,only

an “imaginative comprehension” at its best.


Meeting you,meeting each other 

holding you, holding each other

we can begin a comprehension

-the real comprehension

-real comprehension.



Note: Yesterday I wrote hurriedly a poem about Anna Wulf’s “imaginative comprehension” from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing and only tangentially touched the meaning.


Yesterday  I tried to read passages to Mrs.Abstract. She said,”hush, hush, you are distracting my concentration.” Moments later teased me by reciting passages from a book she was reading. 


2 weeks ago we attended the Napa Valley Film Festival and watched many outstanding films like Hank and Asha.





edge of the pond

Rhythm of reading

certain passages aloud

alternating from a book

each of us is reading.


Alternating passages

shared emotions imagined

unlike intimate conversations

devoid of gossip.


Evening, after dinner, together

reading, sharing passages

as if touring

new city on our own.


Sometimes, somewhere, each

of us is tempted to substitute

words, for words in the original

to suit color and meaning we seek.


Are we capable only of living

our cultivated way of living?

Are we reluctant to part away

from our “imaginative comprehension”?


The hardest step is the first

curious soul in our hands

not unlike children on the edge

of the pond playing with tadpoles.






missing words

Difficult to miss 

even in a crowd

-a unicorn


I met a girl once in a cafe 

over a cup of coffee

on a Wednesday afternoon 


she published a book

of 51 poems 

an odd number


like an unfinished lunch,

reminds her of hunger,

hunger to write


Her bearing, full white

blouse,slacks, a cap

over black pony tail.


A day unfinished

like a poem 

with words missing.


I could not read

her books of 

I didn’t know her name


or contact her

I didn’t know her 

Where is the land of the unicorn?




Doctor’s pretty phrases

heart murmur’s crescendo and decrescendo, 

cognitive deficits, butterfly rash

What if I remember my wife’s benevolent

face and where I place my hat?

Bees have memories

and age like me.

What if it’s a bee

with cognitive decline?

What will a rose look like

when the bee leafs a garden album?

Will the bee visit me and my wife,

our Wednesday’s picnic at the park?

Will it brush her face,

mistake her ear fo a hive?

Will the bee ride the opposite

flow of scented breeze?

How will the bee feel when dawn

lights each row of rhododendrons?

I wonder how the bees stream

sequencing of flowers, gathering of nectar.


I was taught once the path of enigma:

“It is when I am weak that I am strong.”

With each deficit, renewal

each bewilderment, revelation.

Will the bee find

the hidden holiness?

Is there a perfect equivalent in the bee world?

“My goodness, I’m glad you are here.”

When sunset comes will the bee ponder

the existential home: was, is, will be?




Note: Mrs. Abstract and I  will miss the live demonstration next Saturday by the ladies of Tea Passage at the Grand Hand gallery in Napa on the fine craft of furoshiki, Japanese cloth wrapping.We are up in the mountain for Thanksgiving and huddle like the bees.

photo: of teabags is from a page of Napa Register news

Missing strings

The absence you touch in my mind

like the green smell of grass mowed.


But what is it that comes

when the rain falls at night

I remember music of  mandolin

with missing strings?


I try to create a space

when the river tide rises

I climb up to the upper room

and from the window 

I watch the wind 

whips fear away from the trees

as if comforting them.


Last night I walked along the river 

the winter cold was not crisp as it should be.




The sidewalk.

They were gone

the dining tables with blue glasses 

and pink chairs. 


You smiled admiring the colors

last summer.