Michigan Local Food Council Network Meeting

We are sitting in the cold light

of the loft of an old dairy barn

at the North Farm in Chatham.


Is it possible to grow again from seeds

of good intention what once flowered

rooted in the hardscrabble of necessity?


Talking to the senator’s legislative aide

via wireless connection — imagine! —

we are living in the age of miracles.

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Into the Fog

It’s a small world

moving ahead with you

when you drive into fog

on the verge of morning


Like the small bounds

of your inner life —

the reality inside your head

and all the rest imagined.

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Twice Burned:Previously Published at qarrtsiluni*

Twice Burned

Last night I was burned twice,
once by one who cares too little
and once by one who cares too much.
Some nights I would light matches to stay warm,
if only someone would cup two hands
around mine to block the wind.
But I am dry tinder, and fire can consume
like the Ganges crematorium at Varanasi.
Did you know that when the monk
Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon
to protest the persecution of Buddhists,
he was re-cremated after his death
but his heart, twice burned, remained intact?

*Read and listen to the author at qarrtsiluni magazine
Twice Burned


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It may have been Henry,

or Gary, or Wendell, who said

when you split firewood

it warms you twice.  And I once

wrote a poem titled Twice

Burned, a very different

story.  Sometimes you live it

once, then again on the page,

holding your pencil like a baton

and setting the tempo line by line.

And sometimes like an axe,

with a heft and a swing and a

crack that splits your life in two,

exposing the knotty grain.

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And it’s best to begin

with that most obvious and undeniable

truth — like the protuberant nose

on which the lens-scratched glasses perch

that breaches the plane of every open door

an eighth step ahead of the sternum —

of the bitter logic that no poem

can transcend the finite and touch the devine,

so every poem is a tragic record of failure.

We’re already through the door.

Take off your glasses.

Feel the faint stirring of atmosphere

from the open window of desire.

Think about one particular kiss

which to describe it now would still make you blush.

Or that space between the flower

and the hovering bee. The motion of wings.

The way they, too, stir the air. Words

like beeswings.



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Sakyamuni Under the Bodhi Tree

Imagine the pipal tree (while looking at this spreading tree)
where the wanderer sat patiently, awaiting truth.

Imagine the cold (while walking through this winter night)
that he felt alone under the black roof of night.

Imagine the ache (while sitting stiffly on this hard floor)
that he felt in the stillness of his cross-legged posture.

Imagine the morning star (like this star risen in the east)
that he saw like looking skyward for the very first time.

Imagine the golden daybreak, and spread your arms like the tree.

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Untitled Tanka

That tragic spring day

I felt like a headless man

in a topless bar —

Beside myself with grieving

and nowhere to hang my hat.

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