Monday, February 20, 2017

when egrets return to the River Han

where the egrets seen yesteryear
salting River Han with caws, swoops,
flaps of graceful span of wings
accordion necks and pencil legs
veiled since summer's wane
return they would, thought i
after lunar new year's crackle curtailed
fishing their livelihood days
standing knee-deep, sharp-eyed
but still they are not here
gone with the turtles that sunned on boulders

only the river looks the same
course unchanged no bulldoze wrath
overgrowth tall of weeds and grass
yellow and white butterflies meandering interwoven 
but the Han looks lonely without egrets
not a feathered one in sight
left to distraction am i
overcome by out-stretched serpents overnight 
silver-green scampering over a suddenly sunny ledge
under a saturated sky of smoke
that has given up being refreshed
hurtling to a dilapidated mess
what some men's greed of nature made 
driving egrets from the Han
no longer greeting a fruitful dawn...

i beg thee Lord, renew, do not forsake
leave us not in the throws of serpents 
the Han holds its breath awaiting an answer
the river trickles its flow until it knows
egrets, please come back
or i will have to find you go

wait; i see a young one flying north!
be patient; i see a young one on course
with rice paddies being seeded
i see another beauty flapping her white wings
another hopping boulders along the shore
it all makes sense
coming back for more
let the ambulance race the scooter
the egret wades and waits
lets bitter water pass through her legs
for plum rain replenishment
she bends her young neck down to eat
for sustenance 
with whetted beak 

February 20, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day

no one alive on my side
in the seats to the left and right
victims not here to speak
Jews from the twentieth century
Muslims from the twenty-first
all else wear business attire 
all else came with friends
even the rabbi of remembrance
how unknown i am in his prayer
how thankless to him my outreach
obsessed with his in-reach
how long will antisemitic Israelis 
prophetically walk with Christian millennials
a path worn deep
in a trench along a wall
where murders repeat
without missing a beat  

February 19, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

we, the people, picked them all!

a presidential heartbeat away from potatos (sic)
all the mad high-hatter candidates
in quicksilver inaugurations
out to the races in fields of spuds 
in their winter of homeland security

we, the people, picked them all!

from McCain to McDonald's
tiny ones coated and roasted
couch potatoes diced and grated
Mister Potatoes dressed and played
boiled in Russian borscht
or tossed into an immigrant salad
stewed with Saint Pat corned beef 
and when the chips are down
dusted with artificial favors 
salted and fattening

after to market they go for profit
the people descend to the overrun fields
vetted and left for dead
get their fill of rejection 
small and scarred
too many crying eyes
green-skinned refugees
collateral damage in the wasteland
under a chilly gray American sky
growth stunted and ravaged
never to bloom or flower
only rot
and yet
from the underground 
seeds that were supplanted 
will rise again
in scavenged victory gardens

February 1, 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

river terrarium drenched in milky sunlight

river terrarium drenched in milky sunlight
like a faded Kodachrome 
butterflies white and yellow, outstanding
as putter-by's on motorbikes blend invisibly 
while my bicycle and I rest on a riverside bench
breathing fragrances of burning weeds sweet
smoke of it replete 
addendum to our natural life
like the warmest winter there could be
in a complicated world of conveniency  
that increases our cost over time
has little redeeming value 
and only fosters resiliency
survival skills
for an otherwise native River Han
dykes of which to help the farmers
prevent deterioration of fields of crops
benefiting me with my back to the road  
well-equipped man in a modern world 
with such a heavy load
in case i need an escape to nature

January 8, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

no way to enjoy a new year's party

sitting on laurels and acting hardy
is no way to enjoy a new year's party
there are backstabbing friends who need an inch
friends who love you in a cinch
crippled in last year's Jerry marathon 
of abbots who heard Costello's mistrals
gone homo on empty stomachs 
smartly read book-Marx too hot to Trotsky
waving rainbow flags with white backlashes
impolite eyelashes 
stopping behind the judge's bench
testifying their rudeness
through all the newness
like an unwatched television overnight
a travel writer's infomercial's 
pressing need to be public
on way to his next global mess

when the river knows best 
in all weather flows
day and night throughout the years
listen to its trickling stream
through sound bites of motor tires
drowning a countdown video chat to Connecticut
Messenger image dark-orange and ghoulish 
set against lush green Taiwan gardens
backdrop of this American escapee 
in a place where wonders never cease
and wisdom never ends
turning the calendar up 
return to day one again
new year's day in warmth
hazy breeze sifting the air
lifting the bicycle into outer space
spiked canteen of permanent dreams
an all-star on deck with assisted vision
unmasked suggestion box glistening
on the wings of yellow butterflies
fluttering by in pairs of proximity
just like my lady and me 
January 1, 2017

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

crystallize the dew in cold breezes

crystallize the dew in cold breezes 
as it does over tiny Kyoto roads 
into a chilled Nijo-jo Castle moat
rippling green lichen to its stormy sides
looking like raked lines of pebbles  
around Shitennoji Temple, Osaka
lines of sunshine in Golden Pavilion pond
shingled roof of Buddah Hall in Todaiji, Nara
far from the melted exhaustion
of deep-fried Taichung night markets
like smoke from rice-stalk bonfires, rising slowly
shrouding mountains in smog-saturated air 
obscuring the fine gal she would become 
a widowed bride's dalliance
upon remarriage 

Dec. 19, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

lost in time in Sheepshead Bay

lost in time in Sheepshead Bay
substitute Taiwanese with Russians  
replace cement rectangles with mansions 
potato and rice paddy for smoked fish and salads 
egrets for terns
motorbikes for baby bumpers 
fireworks for horns and sirens 
prolific writer with writer's block 
in the chill of summer
in the winter bare
Jamaica Bay farewell
literally unconscious
sea bells squinting, zephyr quaint
cannabis high tide seventies
evolving revolving readily 
fearlessly alone on the rocky shore
a prince in king's borough with one glass slipper
attending to balls behind metal zippers
fruitful like a fishing boat, staying afloat
until our family returned to port
with a flow of night crawlers off the hook 
diving bell pressures of a classroom, 
no chapbook, no time to look
no energy arousing passion
and what is more  
kept my hands off the closing doors
kept my mind on emergency cords
face crushed against a Q train window
hoping the last stop is not Coney Island frantic
but beautiful Taiwan island romantic
with dragonflies, butterflies opening eyes 
a gentler Han River Atlantic 
green mountains blocking the glaring sun
of a fateful Brooklyn well beyond

December 4, 2016