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sometimes something as simple
                                     as a woman walking in her bare feet
can be just as sensual
                                     as another person biting slowly
                                     into a ripe mango.
                                                          one really doesn't
                                                          bite into a mango,
you sink until you are covered in juice.
that same woman combs the black tangled hair
                                                of her dog's back.
you can feel the brush untangling your own knots
         as you stand in the warm sun of a saturday afternoon
                                   the garden is there
                                            a     nd the flowers are walking
                                             alo  ng the path
enjoying another angle of the same scene.
                                          it is a fluid manet painting
  pretending to be nothing but a camera click

      trying       to               remember                everything

dziadzi, dziadzi,” dziadzi”—an old old handsome cat
lives upstairs most of every day
comes downstairs for a visit
his hind quarters don’t know which way to turn
looks for special food
sniff a bit eat a bit
searches for warmth on the sunny deck
sleeps all day until the night cold calls
he stares into your eyes
with the clarity of deep pools
when you return the gaze it is shocking
you find the edges of his soul
containing the wisdom of all cats
he looks into your self so long
as new worlds open
new voices whisper
dziadzi, old old man
old old cat dziadzi
will you leave before me
will i leave before you
we will touch and smile as we fade through
the invisible curtain

*pronounced “judge-y”

pasquale took a photo of a hyacinth
in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
this hyacinth has sucked in
all the red of aries
when people come to see
the red, red hyacinth
they’re confused
because everything is glowing in hyacinth flames
the entire gardens are one, one flower
covering all the people and all
the walkways
they are confused by the ‘all is red’
they can’t find the hyacinth
because they are inside its redness
then they reach up and are joyful
they are the hyacinth as they touch
the hyacinth which is them
come to the Botanic Gardens
and become the essence of hyacinth
it might be all you need to know
pasquale has presented you
with the opportunity

doro and caruso
arrived on our deck
as though they lived there
doro ( pet name for enrico caruso’s
was almost too timid.
caruso was louder
than reality
and he sang
when you looked his way.
each morning he
would hear the
opening of a cat food can
“mirror, mirror on the wall”
mezzo forte meow
“who’s the fairest
of them all “
forte meow
and the kitchen bounced
with his belicose
doro cowered in the corner
until the noise stopped.
caruso was the main act.

i have been given a book which is very precious
the person who wrote it is
unaffected and real
my wife bought a copy of it for me
because she knew it would speak to me
how wise my wife is.
the photographs are of beautiful flowers
that the Dogen might have seen
in the thirteenth century.
the prose is written by the photographer
and the language is straightforward
and clear.
there are: hydrangeas
japanese black pine
magnolias, lotus, white peas, maples, chrysanthemums, hawthorns
and on and on and on.
you can disappear into each photo
and resurrect as a new flower.
there is an endless array of nature’s splendor.

the book is called ‘clean slate’
marcia lieberman
images from Dogen’s Garden
once you dive in you will always return, renewed.
one could spend their life in this book


Dear Henry,
There are so many beautiful realizations in life.
One that I cherish is that I haven’t sat in your presence for so
many years and yet if we were to meet today it would be as
if we had never parted. My love has been spread before you
so many times and you are always sarcastic and truthful in my
eyes. I have a friend,Marcia, who wrote a book on S.F. Opera,
one on Wales and now this buddhist book. I prize it so highly
and often read from it before i meditate. I have been saving
my last copy for someone and now i realize it is for you. You
don’t have to love or cherish it. Just receive it. I have spoken
in one of her lectures and realize that she is a magnificent
being. Accept the gift and say nothing.
I remember how you used to make pasta(simple)in a frying
pan with garlic and onions and how we would devour it in the
middle of the night. I often think of Bobbi and her laugh
and her joy in being. Give her a long, strong hug from me.
My wish would be to sit for days with both of you but that
is in the wings of Buddha and Jesus and many others. Just
writing to you makes my brain weave through many path-
ways. It is an electric connection.
my love and gratitude to both of you


they searched all the hills
and paths near the sea
some were too steep
others didn’t have
a good downhill slope

as if by accident or happenstance
all seven of the seekers
were standing in the same area
they looked around once more
and then clasped each others’ hands
‘this is it; it won’t get any better’
there were seven slopes
with adequate slants
they each chose a path
and started to clear away
stones, plant clumps, rotting roots
anything that might stop a rolling egg.
they checked their notes to estimate the weight and width
of each oversized pool egg.
then they carried water sacks from the ocean
and smoothed each path
until it was slick and fast.
at the top of each path they placed a large tub
to hold the gigantic eggs
and many smaller buckets filled with dye.

everything had to be ready for tomorrow’s sunrise
so that the giant invisible children
could run toward the water
and see the eggs at the top of each path.
red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple and black dye
would be splashed all over the seven paths
hopefully the eggs would gain enough speed
to reach the sand.

the seekers placed the ostrich eggs
on wooden platforms
and pulled them toward the slides.
it was a beautiful, unusual sight to see
the silhouette of the eggs against the sunset.
the seekers knew that the first streaks of morning
would come very soon
they ran from place to place making sure
that there was enough of everything
for the invisible children
the seekers retreated to the highest sand dune
dug in
and surrounded themselves with beach grass

when the sun rose there were only eggs and dye
and the sound of the invisible children
running around in a mystical choreography
gigantic eggs were rolling down to the water’s edge
some cracking, some floating on the waves.
the seekers were filled with joy as they heard
the loud cries of the children
it was like a magic show made for the ears

soon all the eggs were cracked or floating in the waves
the children had no idea that they were being watched by hidden ears
they disappeared along the sand paths
and soon there was early morning silence

later on, after everyone had eaten a luscious lunch,
they walked along the shore and tried to understand
the mystery of the whole eggs and the cracked eggs
and the dye all over the sand.
it was an Easter apparition which occurred each year,
some said it was a gift from Christ,
others thought it was a heavenly psalm
it was the 292nd
time it happened.

at the beginning your body,
your mind, your spirit,
do not believe what has happened.
your brain, especially, tries to understand,
tries to make sense of what seems to be,
if anything is accepted, if anything is explained,
it is all temporary. it is very, very temporary.
things will change
all things will become as they were,
will revert back and become the same,
become healed.
as you move in and out of consciousness,
small islands of anguish begin to grow, to flourish
like points of poison,
very gradually your entire body becomes pure pain,
becomes dark torture, inside
everything is screaming, outside
you are becoming a planet of punishing pain.
you hear a voice break through
into an unearthly scream,
the scream is yours,
it seems endless, you are crying aloud for death,
you can’t possibly be alive in such condition:
“give me a gun, shoot me, shoot me.”
and then you fall into another unconscious abyss.
your screams continue as you move in and out
of the threshold of punishment.
people occasionally stop at your bedside
to administer more numbness
to adjust equipment.
at last your body gives in to a soothing swoon,
to a level of silence.
you disappear into the cruel howl of night.

an angel with pure brown skin
begins to bathe your body,
her humming voice is an ethereal lotion.
she travels inside and outside with healing light.
i begin to believe that i might breathe again.
her wings extend their full span,
light from her expansive aura
travels through all parts of my body.
injured sections feel as though they melted
into softness.
i didn’t meditate her into existence,
she responded to something far beyond me.
in the early morning i didn’t know if it was a dream
or someone sent to me for the ongoing trial.

oh my stars! oh my moon!
I can’t stand it! drives me crazy!
sour cherry bread pudding
little veins of custard everywhere
after this, i don’t want to live

sour cherry bread pudding
tilts my eating head back
seventy years
my mother’s sour cherry pies running my fingers over the dark bark,
climbing slowly up the living tree,
asking for permission to touch,
picking the cherries off gently
beautiful branches, no bruises,
no disrespect
dropping each cherry gently
into the soft canvas bag.
top, top juiciest cherries have
been tasted by the blackbirds
throwing angry chatter at me
invading their territory
it’s not my tree, it’s everyone’s tree.
i hand the bag(full of cherries)
down to my father,
he dumps the precious cargo
into one of the kitchen bowls
several bowl-fulls will make
several pies.

seventy years and the taste
is still alive
mother carefully pits each cherry
my father separates and washes them
as if they are precious pieces of gold.
sour cherry bread pudding
travels through decades as if all is now
the taste of my parents’ love
lives in cherry pies
is resurrected in sour cherry bread pudding

( for the bakers of Fillmore Bakeshop )

mucho loved to be with people
he sat on the very soft
maroon, mohair couch
next to winfield's magic hand
which became almost
automatic with just
the right stroke.
he could stay there
hoping it would never
a perfect feline heaven
he listened to every
person read their favorite
felt the rhythm of
someone's new shining
laughing when everyone
else laughed
you almost expected
him to light up his
favorite cigar
and pour a dark beer
he was a perfect guest
i can still hear
his powerful purrr

it seems so long since he’s been gone
but he’s not forgotten.
they could see him very clearly;
his spirit entered each person
with a loving touch.
his father made a superb cake;
he did this every year.
the cake was placed in the middle of the table,
everyone was lighting the candles.
they all cried and couldn’t speak,
their faces were bowed to hide their tears.

one of the granddaughters shouted,
stop! stop! stop!
this isn’t a life celebration, it’s a funeral.
he would have wanted some jumping
dancing and shouting and singing.
their mother, sitting across the table,
cupped her hands
into the beautiful chocolate
she did a swift windup like a professional pitcher
and zoomed it into her husband’s face.
they all stood up and laughed
and threw more cake.
everybody had cake and icing in their eyes
in their ears
on their noses.
they ate cake from each other’s face,
the radio blared through the sweetness.

the granddaughters took their grandfather’s hands
and formed a circle,
the grieving old man was surrounded
by the whole family.
he was in the middle
he couldn’t stop laughing.
they didn’t know that this was what they needed,
dancing continued until they lost their breath
from happiness from sorrow
hoping for what wasn’t possible.
they sat down at the table
passed out plates and forks
ate the remains of the cake in silence.

a soft voice began singing
‘amazing grace how sweet the taste
of chocolate cake in your face
our hearts are sad but we can smile
sweet Jason send us grace
sweet Jason send us grace’

(for Jason and all those who love him)