Clear to the Center

If you look in to yourself

you may discover a dark pit

and think it goes all the way

to the center. 


Jump in.


You'll fall through, eventually, 

and land in a field of diamonds. 

And that's enough. 


But if joy tugs you deeper, dig. 

Dig with your hands. You've got lifetimes.

You'll get to the source, eventually,

and the source will light the world


through you.

The Doctor Asks the Poet How He's Feeling

Like a shoelace that won't stay tied.


Like a rusty bucket that almost doesn't leak.


Like a cannonball stuck in the wall of a church.


Like a sack of doubloons buried for centuries

off the coast of Florida.


Like fog at night covering a cement factory. 


Like a basketball clonking around in a dryer. 


Like dirty snow in a strip mall parking lot.


Like a story nobody's read for a while.


Like a bunch of bananas someone I once loved bought

and left on the counter at her new boyfriend's place. 


Like ostrich wings.


Like no butter in the fridge. 


Like a timber blowdown up in the Nez Perce country. 


Like an old shoe.


Like an old loafer. 


Like the sole of an old loafer worn by someone like me. 


Like an old sole. 


Tell me doctor, do you think it's serious?

Messy Blessings

We "No" so much  there's much not blessed

but don't you think  it should be stressed

there's more in life  that should be yessed?

Here -- let's put blessing  to a test ...


Bless rotten pumpkins. Bless some bugs.

Bless awkward people's awkward hugs.


Bless those nettles. Bless this cactus.

Bless a booger (just for practice).


Bless snot and phlegm and sneezing fits.

Bless you with all your stinky bits.


Bless smog and soot and ash and dust.

Bless cars dissolving into rust.


Bless ordinary blades of grass.

Bless any piece of broken glass.


Bless hissing brakes and baby wails

and chalkboards under fingernails.


Bless feeling sick and throwing up.

Bless feeling weird and growing up.


Bless making fun of boring art.

Bless laughing so much that you fart.


Bless grumpy people on the train.

Bless  highway  traffic in the rain.


Bless snakes that hide beneath the flowers.

Bless minutes fast becoming hours.


Bless all the people you forgot.

Bless nada, zilch, and diddly squat.


Bless your goofing.  Bless your botching.

Bless the TV that you're watching.


Bless mischief that you instigate.

And bless too little done too late.


Bless U-less words that start with Q.

Bless chicken pox and bless the flu.


Bless you's and me's and poohs and pees.

Bless morning breath and cavities.


Bless good and bad and all the rest.

'Cause good or bad, life's better blessed.


Now, look around at all you've yessed

and count your blessings, kid. Now, rest. 

You Find Yourself Dancing

I did not know I would find myself living

in Cuba three years from now when

I happened into Seattle's Bulldog News

this morning, shook off the drizzle

and asked the old woman behind the counter

if she had any magazines on living abroad. 

I told her how the kids will be in college. 

How I can work from anywhere. 

How it's just me.


"Ever been to Havana?" she asked. 

"The music!" She told me of an evening

she was walking through Plaza Vieja. 

How a man was playing "Candela" 

on a guitar -- you know the one? 

"Oh fire, fire, fire, I'm burning"? 

How another man flipped over a bucket

and began drumming on it with his hands.

How she found herself dancing. 

Apartment, Sunday Morning

How good it feels to wake up

this Sunday morning and not go

to the garage, put on the old shoes, 

wheel the mower over the gravel

and pavers on the side of the house

and mow the backyard lawn. How good

to not wonder about the moss patch

in the grass, to not have to think about

driving to Home Depot for whatever

chemical kills moss but not grass

or people. How good to not kill moss

at all, because it is beautiful. 

How good it is today, to not have

a lawn, a mower, a house, a car. 

To be sitting in my favorite chair,

the one by the window, drinking coffee, 

and reading Whitman, my life empty

of anything extra.