My Worst Habit – Rumi

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I am with.
If you’re not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle up and knot.
How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits?  Send me back to you.
When water gets caught in the habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can’t hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.
Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter if that friend is moving away from you
or coming back towards you.
Don’t let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night, before death
closes your mouth.
– Rumi

evening

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Evening – Chama River
Love means to learn to look at yourself The way one looks at distant things
– Czelslaw Milosz

Pulling back the blankets tonight
I found a small cricket
quiet and shy
hiding under my pillow.

Oh, I know better.
Like me, though, it seemed alone
and in need of a companion
to get through the dark alive.

So, I’ll awaken before dawn
and give thanks if we’re still here
like the moths that flew to the light just now
when I opened the door to check for rain.

As a man is, so he sees

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Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth. I feel that a man may be happy in this world. And I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision. I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser a guinea is far more beautiful than the Sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. As a man is, so he sees. – William Blake

for a friend who died on this day in 2000

striped bass

For my friend Joe – who died on this day in 2000. I miss you every day.

On the Feast of St. James the Greater
(for Joe C.)

This is where
he would have fished

imagine
him in the dark

gathering gear
stripers transfiguring

the moon’s
light he loses

all balance and
bearings thunder

muffling the dry
night sky

what we heard
is in the mist

blowing over
Ram Island

disappearing
like walks

we’ll never take

shug

Tattoo by Shug Lescault from issue 2 of Hole In The Head Review.
http://www.holeintheheadreview.com
Look for Issue 3 on 08.01.2020 with wonderful work by Betsy Sholl, Charles Simic, Linda Aldrich, Alice B. Fogel, F. Daniel Rzicznek, Sara Pirkle, Meghan Vigeant, Janet Powers, Greg Clary, Russell Barajas, Michael Hettich interviews Denise Duhamel, and much, much more.

Slowly in Prayer – Matthew Lippman

To be thankful for the Starbucks lady, Lucy,
who is pissed at me for asking too many questions
about my damn phone app
is one thing.
To be thankful for my wife plastering my face to the bathroom floor
with pancake batter
for missing the bus
is another thing.
I tried to be thankful for my eyes this morning
even though one of them is filled with puss
and the other with marigold juice.
Marigold juice is the stuff that comes from the flower
when you put it between your palms and rub, slowly in prayer,
even though nothing comes out.
It’s the imagined juice of God,
the thing you can’t see when you are not being thankful.
I try to be thankful for the lack of energy that is my laziness
and my lonely best friend with no wife and children
knowing I am as lonely as he
with one wife and two daughters.
Sometimes we travel five minutes to the pier in Red Hook
and it takes hours in our loneliness to know, in our thankfulness,
that if we held hands it’d be a quiet romance for the ages.
I’ll admit, I’m thankful for Justin Timberlake
because he’s better than Beethoven
and my friend Aaron
who lived in the woods with an axe and never used it once.
I try hard to forget love,
to abandon love,
so that one day I will actually be able to love.
Until then, I am thankful that Lucy wanted to spit in my coffee,
or imagined that she did,
and thanked her profusely
for showing me which buttons to push
and how to do it, with just the right amount of pressure,
the whole tips of all my fingers dancing like stars
through the blackness
of a mocha latte, black.

starbucks disposable cup

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I, Too – Langston Hughes

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.28.19 AM.pngI, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.