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“Meditation” or “The Inner Life”
~after the sculpture by Auguste Rodin (1840--1917)
It has nothing to do with loneliness.
It curves into itself
in order to discover the world.
Like something shot out of a canon,
it travels beyond the eyes,
enlightening the imagination.
Its pose and poise remind one of infancy:
being calmly held by a guardian.
Or is it the womb it brings to mind?--
that life before regret, before sorrow.
Viewing Jackson Pollock’s “Convergence”
A wind in primary colors,
many breezes, wildly controlled.
A gust, no, gusts gone chaotic
but patterned, too.
All loopy and coiled and snake-like,
serpents moving with both instinct
and alien intelligence, heaving
headlong off the canvas
into their own dimension,
that dimension and its drips of paint
uncontained by geometry.
Neither linear nor circular nor cylindrical,
defiantly evolving and extending and slithering and sliding
and flitting and flinging and pulsing and panting:
a galaxy hurling itself toward us.
Every poet has one,
a poem that’s been lost,
a finished poem that has vanished
like a cloud’s contour
ravished by wind.
No hard copy. Not in a computer file.
Not on a hard drive.
Not even on a flash drive.
A poem you lavished love on,
and time, devotion.
Gone, like a moved-away friend
whose new address you can’t fine.
A forest is razed.
Where are the maples, the deer?
Where is the person who will stay
in your life, to make it make sense?
Where are the stanzas you hoped
would validate who you are?
Where is the stranger you met
who would’ve given value to your days
had something happened between you two.
When something/anything goes missing,
the light of it burns in you,
a nightlight that won’t dim.
The ardor you feel for the misplaced
is replaced by panic,
a need to search, retrieve.
And when you don’t locate it,
resignation doesn’t come.
Only recollection arrives,
like the memory of an “almost” romance,
something that got away--
like your poem you can’t find--
gone before it had a chance
to add to your life.
Funeral Day Incident
I never believed such a being as the angel of death
existed, visibly or invisibly.
The misty morning of my aunt’s funeral
I searched and searched, tripping on zero
while trying to locate
the funeral home--complete with organ music and lilies--
where the ceremony was commencing and unfolding
during that overcast 10:00 A.M. hour.
As I stomped down and up and up and down
wide Atlantic Avenue, then paced narrow Pacific Street,
I detected a very old man, at a distance, following me.
After a while, I slowed down: curious, I guess,
about this looming stranger.
After a longer while, he shuffled close to me,
negotiating thread-tiny steps, while he leaned on his cane,
maneuvering his sandaled feet, as his wood necklace
thumped like a infant’s heart
on his protruding upper stomach.
Watching him, I stood still.
He projected fearlessness.
He smelled of incense smoke.
“The funeral parlor is to the west,
then to the north,
two blocks west and one block north,”
he chanted in my direction
before angling to my right, beyond me,
then disappearing around a brownstone corner.
I tasted incense on my tongue, followed his instructions
and saw that he was right.