Friday, May 31, 2013
Telling lives by laying out the cards: a writer's art as well.
The chariot, the tower, the hermit, the queen of swords . . .
For a full novelistic treatment there's Italo Calvino's tarot, in The Castle of Crossed Destinies.
image: oldest Tarot
My heart, like the temple at Kyoshu,
is on a windy foot-worn highway,
far above the sea and open to all sides.
play around the clapper of a rusted bell;
I am finally at peace.
Many strangers, who wander and search,
come by that way, looking elsewhere.
It is not their destination—
far from the crux of the road,
and slight shelter from the wind and sun.
But one can pause for a moment there,
contemplate the wind playing through the bell,
break off a crooked walking-stick—a branch
of early almond blossoms—
and go on the way again. Perhaps
a little brighter-eyed, or forgetting to limp.
Friday, May 17, 2013
“. . . the letter writer in the Bonnard continues quietly writing, sending them out onto the scarlet table like toy sailboats, wending their ways to the larger ocean; small but meaning-wrought messengers."
image: Pierre Bonnard, Young Woman Writing
In the parking lot at Half Moon Bay,
sitting and nodding on the lowered tailgate
of their rust-touched station wagon,
three old Japanese men grill
peppers and pieces of white fish
on a charcoal brazier,
and pass around a brown bottle of beer,
smacking their lips.
Sitting cross-legged in the sand
in the shade of the open car door—
the oldest man of all, and nameless dog.
Around his bone-thin wrist,
the frail string of a yellow kite.
A shapeless hat rides down over his ears
and hides his brows, eyes bright-quick
darting about quizzically beneath it.
He takes a piece of fish between his fingers,
blows it cool and holds it
for the dog to take in its back teeth.
The kite grazes the sky, tugs at his wrist
like some persistent, half-forgotten thought
nagging, gently as his dead wife, at his mind.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Clay faces and windowsill geraniums,
declensions of latin nouns
escaping the open door.
Lilacs swarming up the adobe walls
left this purple underline
among the scrawlings of my mind.
Out deciphering the past, I find
unmarked words and bridges
thrown out carelessly at every crossing,
in water birch and other foreign tongues—
they muddy the old pond
beyond the smoking-shack.
And from paperback, from The Odyssey,
scribbles on the sun there
flattened out, like beaten gold.
Box Elder bugs,
tiny amulets of orange and black,
charm back the wistful memory
of lilics and latin grown wild—
feeding on the clay, the Homer.