To the Light Entering the Shack One December Evening
No prayers exit here, nothing
limits you. I never knew
The pear tree’s ghost shudders.
Water pools in the depression of its absence.
For years I have wandered from shadow to
source, longing. Now, at rest,
you come to me and fear
evaporates. I would like to count
the smallest distraction.
I would like to disturb.
You are the name
Will you leave if I open the door?
A carnival germinates in my body.
You are not death, but its closest friend.
Darkness parts, folds around you.
I close my eyes and observe.
* * *
“To the Light Entering the Shack One December Evening” first appeared in Shantih in December 2016, and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second available through Finishing Line Press and Amazon.com.
Yes, yes, we’ve heard. The dishwasher wastes less
and cleans better. But Kenkō believed in the beauty
of leisure, and how better to make nothing
while standing with hands in soapy water, thoughts
skipping from Miles Davis’s languid notes to the spider
ascending to safe shelter under the sill (after I blow
on her to amuse myself), washing my favorite knife
and wondering if I should hone it, not to mention
my skills on the six-string or the potato peeler.
And if I linger at the plates, even the chipped one,
admiring their gleam after hot water rinses away
the soap residue, who could question the quick gulp
of ale or the shuffle of an almost-but-not-quite
dance step-or-stumble while arranging them on the
ribbed rack, back-to-back, in time to Coltrane’s
solo. Then the forgotten food processor’s blade
bites my palm, and I remember that I’ve outgrown
the dark suit, the cut branches still need bundling
and none of the words I’ve conjured and shaped
over decades and miles will extend their comfort
when I stand at my father’s grave this week or next.
My last five posts of 2017 are reruns of five of the most viewed posts on this site during the year.
FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND
Finishing Line Press
From Every Moment A Second, the latest chapbook by American poet Robert Okaji, is yet another meticulously crafted collection of observations, private austerities and hesitancies spelt out in verse. A small collection of twenty poems, each feels “warm”, like a cozy winter Sunday on your living room couch – to paraphrase Junichiro Tanizaki – lost in contemplation of flavours to come.
What makes it a five star collection is each poem is clear in its vision, each unambiguously a part of the greater gist of the book. Each line shows where lesser works ‘tell’, and thus this collection feels like a series of tiny one act plays. Part of this is how each line and stanza feels like it has been put exactly in its proper place, that any further edits would remove a character or…