your butter, your cream
your Italian dream
your mustard, your cheese
and things I've never tasted
take them away--on me they're wasted
your whiskey, your import beer, your chocolate
while not a bore,
don't fit well my life
if not found in the store
where I live
--no, not a farmhouse!
is that what you presume?
Did you imagine me a Thoreau?
really, it's not about thought
but how far I'll make my money go
and in this sense, we are alike
what alienates he and I
is the desire to do without
felt deep inside
here alternates humiliation and pride
--on the outside
were we conceived
to live by only what we need
so in this way we came to be
forged by force and then by choice
cong san sui, kan dao lao!
* a Chinese saying that means: a person's character and temperament is already determined at age 3.
Thought results from sadness
--its absence from gladness
the former as varied as types of leaves
creates the myriad types of grief
the latter as pure as a summer breeze
need only but please
to the depths of the soul
but it plants no seed and does not grow,
unlike the mountain brook
once set on its cause
by something so small as a pebble or ravine
quickly becomes a mountain stream
and then a river
and then it churns a course unhindered
the waters await a vengeance
as their own pace
and while wildflowers do surely grace
here and there
repulsed by our thoughts
and weary of our ways well worn
they stay aloof and seem to know
better than we know
that their beauty is not our own
I can be both
bulb and moth
knocking against paper shade
listener and melody
wine and my inebriate self
there, a hole in my world
in which lives a bird
on the balcony
is a hammock strung
on the verge of summer
A creative interpretation
leaves me, a young Werther
yearning for the next.
This warm afternoon
the tiger plays
in the canary nest.
Droppings qualify and
leave me vexed.
--formed by obligation,
loyalty of sysyphean grandeur
--this grand restlessness,
this malicious, enduring prophecy!
And so was I thus made by my master's hands,
wrapped in feather's, buck tail and silk,
designed to mirror his master plan
--to trick fate, be clever and aloof
--to fain modesty, to elude
and delight their eyes,
a charm flung here and there.
Willed by fate and willing, too
be there only praise.
And along the way I did see
to my left and to my right
suspended in another kind of flight
those made of the real thing,
free from grand illusion, loss or gain,
genuine (though mortal).
And once!--was it a line left idle?
No! 'twas nibbled and taken deep below
depositing me thus between nook and stone.
And my master he did tug,
but from afar, but from afar,
and there I lay, and there I lay
until the tension ceased
and he tugged no more
And then I did begin to envy from between
my nook and stone
those still fluttering high above
while waiting for a tremor down below
or some violent flood
to send me on once more
rolling along to where the crayfish crawls
ambivalent to any cause
to be once more, willed by fate
--willed by fate and nothing more.
Truth is the result
realized or pursued,
a knarled knot of fate
the design of desire, demand
yielding not to good virtue
instead choosing ambition
and confused judgement,
as these are the ways
Not French, but from a bag.
Not homemade, but from a shelf.
Spread with memories of apple butter
--a mental eulogy.
Not Italian, but off the Burmese border,
from the colonies left over
and roasted in a wok, poured fresh and hot
into an image of Old Glory.
Not Virginian, not the finest shag.
Not sold in Pound's Innisfree
where whores are created for our fancy,
kind and sultry, not threatening or dirty.
Instead found on the northern plateau,
South of the Clouds
and warm in my mouth,
the source of all that is nutritious.
have you ever plundered the things of some other
china crackling under foot, broken carelessly
in rage or in spite?
dust falling silently from above
or rising under your careful gait?
clothing scattered as if left
sweaters, hand-knit and the rest
tossed, discarded, forgotten or
by another pillaged but worn no more?
could you resist this calling to go
where the voyeur or the cat burglar could before?
through dusty parlor, up, up, up creeping steps
up to the second floor?
passing remains and reminders of past lives
--a plow no longer pulled, wine jars dry
a ray of light shining through the ceiling
for the last time
the smell of wine and rotting tangerines
all there for our selection
this is a planter, that a simple conversation piece
this a funny artifact and those wine bowls full of charm
--the next round will meet our own lips
isn't that the scene from outside our own window?
curious isn't it?
when kicking and grimacing
he sends our vessels rolling and crashing
asking "by who's authority?"and like a poltergeist having shaken our world
is gone again.