I was honored to have the following two poems included in the 2017 Richmond Anthology of Poetry, a volume containing the work of the professional and amateur poets of Richmond, CA, available now.
A QUIET MOMENT
-For Jeannine Chappell
There is no necessary clean and wooden gloss room floor,
cross-legged and quiet, incense carving upward,
tumble blue and thickly fading,
pouring faintly undulating grace
among the hushed and easy swell of simulated strings.
No white linen chakras, beckoned
open by ragged guru mats required
to pay honor to the graceful pains of ancients.
Neither tapestries nor cotton flags
nor comely Eastern trinkets prime the soul
for closer compliments to sweetly severe ascetics
or casually needy Buddhas.
Just a spot to sit, straight-backed and supple,
open mind and courage flexed to meet
what then may enter.
But let alone that itch.
Leave it perch and nibbling.
Feel the crackle spread and ebb,
knowing fear is all that holds us stunted.
Along the shadowed, pre-dawn highway, wedging
into the swiftly glutting lane over and inching by
the rider's silhouette rimmed in intermittent orange,
the hazy glow of tow truck headlights catches wrinkles
of a leather jacket, reveals a helmet laying upright,
empty on the pavement.
And passed and all arriving now at once, rushing brain
and clenching gut, electric limbs and fingers tapping,
triggered switch and flooding, tears and humming scar
and yawning absence looming also always racing close behind,
beyond the edge of vision and below the mirror's edge, striking
quick and violent, reverberating harsh and resonant through blood
and fear and cold, relentless silence, masks and steady burning
nights and should haves, will nots, forceful new realities, through
tender, tearing shreds of such alarming, potent humanity and tedious
waiting and waiting to return to some part of what was and always
knowing it is not and knowing there is likely no end. No end but his.
No end but whose might come. One night. One morning. One call.
One turn. One fresh, relentless understanding.
And the rider lies alone. A family sleeping,
waiting, unaware that life is now a new beginning.
Time will now slink forward from what was.