Saturday, April 29, 2017

Maroc


I arrived on a Dutch plane full of children, replete with four sets of twins. I sat between an elderly Berber couple who offered to share every bit of food they brought with me. They paid in coins for milky coffee, smelling of dust and sweat. As the plane landed, a herd of camels veered off into an argan grove. Bedraggled cypress stood at attention in rows, acting as wind screens for crops of oranges along the highway.


I arrived at the garden outside of Taroudant under a sliver of moon. Bread was baking in the heat of a clay oven's fire. Candlelight flickered over the faces of the French team on assignment from Cosmopolitan as we dined on poached pears and samosas. The Atlas Mountains stood in profile above the garden walls.


I awoke to the sound of birds, donkeys, roosters, and dogs welcoming the day. The air smelled of pollen, smoke and sunlight. A tortoise stood in the shelter of a fig tree surrounded by flower blossoms. Green toads leaped away from my shadow and dove under lily pads. Bees buzzed in the canopy over my hammock. I swam lazily back and forth beside a profusion of cacti.


Classical music and a nearby call to prayer mix in the courtyard, buried deep in the heart of town. The dar is well insulated from the concrete houses dotting the desert beyond the adobe walls of the fortress which stand as empty testimony to supply outstripping demand. The riad's nondescript exterior yields to an interior world all its own-- climbing vines, lanterns, the textures of wood, clay, wool and stone. Outside is a slurry of Arabic, Berber and French spoken by men on bicycles. Women glide by swathed in loose folds of cloth. 


My plan while here is simple: Study, Eat, Walk, Rinse, Wash, Walk, Study, Eat, Repeat.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

On Retreat




Soothing The Child

Sweetness, Sweetness.
You know nothing
and yet you know.
So it is. So it is.


Passthrough Moment

Now is no podunk station 
on the way to then. 

Surrender --yes-- 
to this precious present.

It is everything, our all. 


Fear Falls Away


This is the time of day 
when the spider is still.

This is the time of day 
when the lizards compete.

This is the time of day 
when the caterpillars are on the move. 

This is the time of day 
when the flies show off.


Neither Separate Nor Equal

Funny how one thing
can sound like another.

You mistake whitewater
for wind brushing over the landscape.

A frog makes you think for a moment
that a bird has taken flight.

Funny how one thing
can look like another.

You take a patch of grass
for a desert watering hole.

Oxidized rock resembles scrap metal 
or a desiccated cowhide.


Substantial

Tethered by gravity
to the core of the earth.

Relaxed. In repose.

Yet --all the while--
spinning, whirling, revolving.


Born In San Francisco During The Age Of Foghorns

If I lived in a lush, pastoral place,
I would be the type to walk byways
stealing blooms that reached out 
over fences and through gates.

If I lived on a battered coastline,
I would be the type to close my eyes
and inhale the salt air until 
it clung to the roof of my mouth.

If I lived in an urban jungle,
I would be the type to read graffiti
in the bathroom stall and lay my forehead 
against the cool glass of a bus window.

I live on the high desert, flanked by peaks,
so I am the type to feel a sense of abandon
crossing vast spaces, dwarfed 
in a subtle splendor of light and color.


Fugue State

The plane's unanticipated 
swoops and dives elicit
exhalations and exclamations.
An "Oh!" escapes unbidden.
  
Fever plays like a breeze 
over my forehead. 
A startled stewardess 
careens down the aisle.

Memo pad narration seems 
called for, chicken scratch for later. 
It occurs to me that I opted out 
of choosing an emergency contact.

We jutter to a landing. 
Contrails of fear and anticipation
stretch out behind me,
already beginning to evaporate.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Chiaroscuro II



We are gods, all of us, for someone
[at best, ourselves].

The wonder when love propels us
beyond the margins of explanation.

What alchemy did you perform
to make possibilities so expansive?

For whom have you been unshackled
in your splendor?


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fat And Happy


A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Just out of hibernation in Yellowstone, Wyoming.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chiaroscuro I



We are monsters, all of us, for someone
[at worst, ourselves].

The horror when we track the beast 
back to our own feet.

Whom have you breathed smoke upon
to pilfer their honey?

In whose imagination have you stalked,
drooling, down inroads of fear? 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Speech Worth Listening To



Van Jones just spoke beautifully as part of the 2017 African American Speaking Series.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Just Sayin'



Give the woman the mic.