Boxcar

boxcars

Boxcar

Whose voice lingers
among the gathered stones,

raised then lowered as if
to ensnare followers?

This is not the issue.
Nor should we speak of paper

shuddering in the wind
and the dense glare of shovels

in the night underfoot.
Pray that the road continues

beyond the next curve
or increment of time.

Trust in motion,
the reticence of trees.

paper leaf

“Boxcars” first appeared here in November 2015. It had been moldering in a folder for three decades when I uncovered it. I have no idea what originally sparked it.

Wind

blossoms

Wind

That it shudders through
and presages an untimely end,

that it transforms the night’s
body and leaves us

breathless and wanting,
petals strewn about,

messenger and message in one,
corporeal hosts entwined,

that it moves, that it blends,
that it withdraws and returns without

remorse, without forethought, that it
increases, expands, subtracts,

renders, imposes and releases
in one quick breath, saying

I cannot feel but I touch,
I cannot feel

“Wind” first appeared in Blue Hour Magazine and is included in my first chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

tree

Not Blame Your Pleasure

bike

Not Blame Your Pleasure

Because vision limits options, I close my eyes.

Becoming urges patience.

The morning after I didn’t die, I took breakfast in bed.

Arrival stamps the difference between waiting and choice.

Expectation, too, extends its squeeze, rendering sleep impossible.

I ride the bike and go nowhere, or walk steadily, covering the same ground.

Which will claim me first? An occlusion, gravity or unchecked growth?

Anticipation replaces one sigh with another: I have three falls from two roofs.

A friend has named me executor of his estate, and now the race is on.

The path to the void seems straight only near its end.

My ashes will one day soil someone’s morning.

ladder

“Not Blame Your Pleasure” first appeared here in November 2015.

Untitled from 1988

file2281274629261

This was first published in 1988, in Aileron. At the time I was experimenting with movement and breath and line, and wrote quite a few of these meditations in this form, some more successful than others.

where breath begins
it ends consider
light its secret

structure the sense
of limit defined
if a hand

recalls what the
eye cannot which
is the source

of remembrance one
touches more deeply
or allows itself

to be touched
a difference only
in the approach

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Mirror

image

Mirror

The attraction is not
unexpected. We see

what is placed
before us, not

what may be.
The mirror is empty

until approached.

One of six short poems included in my micro-chapbook, You Break What Falls. Available for download here: http://www.origamipoems.com/poets/236-robert-okaji

image

“Mirror” first appeared here in May 2015.

Requiem II

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Requiem II

To say what becomes: this word
bends in the wind of our

breath. Is this too simple to
say? Our bodies gather yet retain

nothing. Numbers, phrases, the way
the ocean rolls. Once I saw
a whale at dusk. Or rather I saw its

tail part the water and disappear
into darkness, an answer too complex
and sweet for tongues to comprehend.

But waves seldom explain. Imagine
something nearby but beyond reach.

Think of clouds and shrines, consider light.

image

“Requiem II” first appeared here in May 2015.