About robert okaji

At one time I was a sailor. I once owned a bookstore. I live in Texas with my wife, two dogs, and a few books.

Self-Portrait with Orbit

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Self-Portrait with Orbit

An arced path around a central point, bound to but held apart,
as in night’s returning grace, or standing waves.

In periapsis, you reach out as I slowly withdraw.

Gravity does not prevent departure but prolongs it.

The acceleration of a body is equal to the sum of the gravitational forces, divided by its mass. I rise from the chair but can’t escape.

Not circular but elliptical.

Where falling away and curving from never meet.

Realizing that I am neither focus nor center, I discover place
in symmetry, in flow and subtraction.

A cloud obscures the sun and you close your eyes.

I wither at the thought of scaling or relative size, or your departure.

In the simplest Klemperer rosette, four bodies cycle their dances,
heavy, light, heavy, light, in a rhombic configuration.

My arteries fill in opposition to desire.

Wanting you, I absolve weight and listen, accept my place.

old man grammo - upsidedown

“Self-Portrait with Orbit” appeared on the blog in November 2015, and is included in The Circumference of Other, my offering in the Silver Birch Press publication, IDES: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, available on Amazon.

Let It Remain

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Let It Remain

Comfort of name,
of pleasure

freshened in
repetition, unformed

pears falling, and
the mockingbird’s

inability
to complete

another’s song.
I will take no

moment
from this day

but let it remain
here in the knowing,

in the tyranny
of the absolute

and its enforced
rhythm desiring

both flight and
maturation,

the ecstasy
of fruit grown full.

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“Let It Remain” first appeared here in September 2015.

Osso Buco

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Osso Buco

The reconciled, the residue of one’s
virtues displayed or absorbed

that within become the basis for
talk: furtive movements, the knife’s

gentle persuasion, wine
afforded the quality of enhancement.

We must preserve the truth, and other
disingenuous phrases, as if we may

admit our tastes only at great cost
to our politics and sense of being.

And fruitful loss – the reduction
sauce, or stock evaporated – which

attaches in dissipation
the grace of subtlety. To be more

with less. To be apparent yet
concealed. To be, in turn, aware.

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“Osso Buco” first appeared here in March 2015.

Four Years of Blogging

How could this be? I’ve been blogging for four years. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I began, but somehow have managed to keep at it. I’m grateful for your visits, likes and comments, but most of all, I’m appreciative for the friendships that have grown out of this odd form of communication. Thank you!

How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem

Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up

the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through

curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read

the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you

need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first

gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,

but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create

and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing with the radio.

Always. Turn around instead of right. Deny ambition.
Remember the freckles on your first love’s left breast.

There are no one-way streets. Appreciate the fragrance
of fresh dog shit while scraping it from the boot’s sole.

Steal, don’t borrow. Murder your darlings and don’t get
caught. Know nothing, but know it well. Speak softly

and thank the grocery store clerk for wishing you
a nice day even if she didn’t mean it. Then mow the grass,

grill vegetables, eat, laugh, wash dishes, talk, bathe,
kiss loved ones, sleep, dream, wake. Do it all again.

 

“How to Write a Poem,” is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus, and has appeared on the blog as well.

All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.

Available at Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US)