Pick the object of your devotion—stomach,
brain—and call it your garden, say it is
for the sake of others; that the fluttering
leaves are your heart; that those twist-reach-
scramble vines growing heavy on themselves
(leaning, leaning) will someday feed thousands.
Life, I am your wholehearted servant. Or—
as much of a heart as I have left, is yours devoted
to shutting out tight these misgivings, which lean
toward a belief that my heart is, in fact,
a dropped glass screen. One minute safe
in your hand, the next face-down on pavement.
You know that sound: sudden, small, stifled apology
for becoming useless. How then the fragments
ingrain themselves, how eyes grow used
to a fractured view.
Inspired by Hafiz, “Pray to Your Hand,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers
we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts
alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content
Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
it is not that kind of exchange—
skill for skill, love for thanks
or even one small word of appreciation.
if we were all the little teapots
of the world—handle, spout,
we were made to be held,
Inspired by Hafiz, “Energy in Sounds,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky
I am famous in these distractible parts
for half-sentences and thoughts un-done.
Listen: It is only a skipping ahead
past the boredom of a thing
once seen. The bloom is off, color fading
by the time it reaches your lips
Inspired by Hafiz, “Every City Is a Dulcimer,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“If I ever don’t complete a sentence…”
in this brash laughing season no curiosity
for everything is on display and all the work
long done—you see the bloom the fruit wild
without worry for the killing cold season
far and far away spring frost forgotten
like a bad dream—so lay your head just there
in my lap sunlight washing through closed eyelids
this caress the breeze on your open throat
and if all beauty all bounty is not for you…?
Last week, one of Claudia’s snippets included the phrase “episodes of curiosity.” It stuck with me…
and had my soul chosen another body—
say, some minor medieval queen
who could hide volumes of overindulgence
beneath the armor of silky wool gown
or high headdress, who could stand
in stone tower, warm enough, overlooking sun-
swept river strewn pink with bloom
without sneezing at birch pollen—
it could therefore have fresh cherries
to tongue’s and heart’s content
A fluffy little fantasy inspired by recently discovered allergies plus Hafiz, “Maybe One Like a Water Buffalo,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“Your soul could have chosen a different kind
stunned, chained—where is this cog in the great machine,
this puzzling piece in the grand design? is my part beauty,
remembering, simple love? how does beauty stand
against a landslide? how does memory shine
in a millennium’s weight of darkness? how does love open
one fist, finger by finger by finger, and then the next?
can the chain be fingers clasped, my one hand holding yours
or the children I give, having built them of love?
Inspired by Hafiz, “The Heart’s Coronation,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“The pawn always sits stunned, chained,
there is nothing but divine movement
in this world.”