CHOICES

“Joy like a river in her soul”, words of a young boy

Sharing his mother’s state of being. 

A town nestled next to a river

How does one tear down and build anew?

River dredging begins Flood Control Master Plan.

Town awakens, sounds of bulldozers and cranes, 

People wearing helmets working

Design to demolish, preserve, develop, convert

Empty complexes, aging structures, dormant land 

Long deliberations in what the town needs:

Hotels, shops, restaurants, or something abstract

Community park in summer turns flood diversion space in winter.

Building a promenade on riverfront, 

Passageway along railroad tracks,

Connecting Vine Trail, continuity without impediments

Collaboration with artists and role of the arts,

A time for coffee and twisted cinnamon rolls.

One accent, the Passages, a segment of passageway 

Once a haven for graffiti’s passion and restlessness

Now a channel for artistic expressions,

Vivid, vibrant, living project

Come, look, linger, get involve.

Walking home I hum a Dave Brubeck’s tune

I prepare smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich, 

A bowl of peach yogurt and blackberries for lunch.

I take my time. I do not eat with haste.

Like town dreamers, like my friends

I, too, have choices and concerns

Should I join the frenzy of high technology

Pulsing reminders of “constantly possible productive moments”

Or walk with artists and pilgrims in shared humanity

Learn value of life, bear the task, persevere?

In my solitary walk, my mind can’t remain still

How will the young boy paint the river?

Let image follow imagination like spells of delight

Art’s idea whispers, shouts, bends then leaps to clarity

A journey of praise of what one truly loves.

In art and life, one will leave one day, the other stays.

I will write my praise.

Happy Independence Day

I walked to the river before noon. Mrs. Abstract was doing her aquatic exercises in a friend’s pool.

The day was sunny with a warm breeze. Other walkers were enjoying the day. The fishermen were patient. The boaters were in full colors.

Happy Independence Day.

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Decision

May be it’s to answer a call or blind fate in finding something

You decide to hike the Appalachian Trail.

The trail is kind to the brave and humble

The pain and sweat and determination

Stay with every step in solidarity with others.

To reach the summit the climb becomes steeper

You have to grab handholds firmly

And pull yourself up with steady upper body strength

In the thin air your heart has to persevere

Your legs gather the steps almost like forever

You do not lose sight of your stamina and purpose

Till a shout of triumphal gratitude.

 

You  are in your nineties now

Seldom mention the deep meaning of your accomplishment

You often smile when someone talks about hiking or a climb

You walk only two to three miles a day.

Questions when I was a freshman

Questions when I was a freshman

One has to have affection for those who do sweat producing work

They grind their way

The results, decent and laudable

Worth of respect and smile

And who can say, they will not chase goats for a game or

not write a guide for the perplexed.

Can you be loyal and articulate to an attachment you revere?

My heart is as peaceful as the snow falling on top of the trees.

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Ordinary Things

Ordinary Things

I will not need a hammer

to make a yogurt

I may need a loom

to weave a tapestry

To find lost civilizations

I have to dig hard and deep

The ordinariness of routines,

struggle and perseverance

The devoted hours of monks:

prayers, sleep, work

I will have to master my hands

may not need a trowel or shovel

to work my way through

to find a needle, diamond, or poem

hidden inside a haystack.

The Path

“We just arrived,” say the fishermen

“It’s a Siberian huskie,” he says.

“They become cold easily,” she says

Both dogs are wearing colorful sweaters.

Day’s radiance lifts my feet

I meet them in my walk 

The same path every morning whenever I can

As if I’m trying remember each column of trees,

Their abundant leaves and shades.

 

I often think of Camino de Compostela.

I hold with interest Appalachian Trail.

I hear the sounds of hot air balloons overhead

I better get going

Thoughts can escape

I can’t separate appearances and their contents

The dogs, fishermen, river and its tides

One doesn’t have to wonder where poems come from. 

 

The walk brings life to life.

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Time in the woods

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A time of windy days, of falling leaves

Trees of fertile, intricate roots, anchored

Rarely do we enter the woods

As if we are afraid bears or snakes may cross our path

Thursday afternoon or any day,

Any ordinary day, is a day of sauntering,

Luminous time of spending an afternoon

Without concern of looking backwards

Not to imagine but to experience kindness of time passing,

To experience ourselves vulnerable and alone sheltered in the woods,

I like to think distant birds return because of me, a selfish notion of enticement,

Dreams die not because of unimportance

Though lustrous, their solace is celebrated no more

If you are struggling just to survive, are you missing much of life?

I encounter the homeless and heard of refugees

They crowd the margins, tiptoeing the edge of the cliffs,

The deep sea below and jagged rocks.

Each morning they look for a clean place

to be alone.

Life of abundance, life of scarcity, life of loss

And the liminal spaces between

What are the life’s possibilities and questions?

Intense experiences challenge the boundaries.

Solirude. Tumult. Arrested time.

The book I’m reading, page 37, asks,

“What’s the measure of your worth?”

Priceless, I shouted.

A Wish

 

Be a guardian angel

A caravan may need you

Walking for days looking for answers

For a practical place for winter living.

Would you rather study

different calamities in the world?

 

To memorize details may not be necessary or a time lost.

If you walk a lot

You may arrive at odd places

Kindness is rare, start the day with gratitude.

The simplest way to change the world,

Restore glaciers and abundant forest

And slows down the wind.

 

The caravan will find the oasis

The nomads can walk forever.