Thursday, December 30, 2021

David Gilmour

 Encounter with Frogs


What is an impression worth?

A frog.  And a jar of ruddy leeches.


When I say “frog,” I think “Frogs.

Frogs are good to think.”

The matter of frog experience first floats

Then sinks mostly unknowable, spuriously

Into the spawning pond of memory.

It’s a rich seminal soup, full of eyes,

Magnified, each a natural universe.

These eyes are vocal once they spring

Breaking through the skin of things. 

In season, everywhere. Then they’re out.


Wonders of compromise, they extend themselves

To bridge the poles of water world and padded land.

And the extensions can be perceived from the eyes

As orderly change, clear and strange,

As leggy fish with iguana tails,

As animals flying on all fours,

Fully outstretched, twice their size,

Jumping, climbing piggy-back,

Unabashedly clambering onto one another’s backs,

Orange on orange, green on green,

Clinging colorfully, eyes bulging,

They seem a surprise even to themselves.


When they leap

From the dense compact of bone and skin,

The plastic tapestry

Takes shape. As lightning bolts or spotted lilies on fresh

                                                                                            green waters.

Frogs.

Frogs are naturally good to think,

To take inside as part of insubstantial life,

Changing order, cruising the classifications.


Their song defeats the ears, allegro!

The rhythmic noise communicates,

Encroaching on all other senses,

Setting forth reverie:


       Bullrushes,

                           Against the moon and stars,

    Spiked grasses on the mirror lake,

                             Edging the weeds, where

Sedge warblers are sleeping on blue eggs. 


The scene you see cannot be forced,

Cannot be tidily arranged

By science or dulling habit.


My eyes within no longer truly see.

There they swim in thicker waters,

As Comets,

Shooting across the neural galaxies,

Where they re-connect icons.

      From a blade of grass, the rest:                

                                                                    The moon,

                        Stars 

                        Pond

    Echoing ripples across

                         Shattering the constellations,

Ruffling the lily pad

                And its camping amphibious motility.


Making the connections symphonic, concrete,

Like visiting forgotten shrines,

So much depends on Memory.

Glazed frogs transporting—déjà vu—

Faint essences to flush meadowlarks

From the nesting spirit

To wild flights of fancy.

Each a winged message,

Calling, answering unasked questions.

My gaze, pilgrim in a landscape

Painting itself inside,

Inviting me to choose the color and the brush.


This is a risky business,

Uninhibited mind-blooming,

Thinking

On the odd chance a relevant word

Will leap the illogical impasse.

                                      by David Gilmour


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Day Hike, Whidbey Island                                                                       

                (for Joy)                                                                             

 

 

On the prairie’s far north side we strike

   the bluff trail, wind lush with salt,

with stories pried from kelp.

 

Or have we always owned their song?

   An eagle glides forty feet above us,

wings held aloft without a quiver.

 

Dark as anthracite, it drifts toward terrain  

   only it can occupy, more stunning

than even the lagoon trapped between beach

 

and bluff.  When we pause by a stark,

   sun-bleached log I see beyond you

the path it takes, the descent into myth,

 

a port I long to visit.  No, not visit—

   recover.  Fling my net over a dream

claimed as birthright, a child’s first realm.

 

Baseball, fairy tales, hazelnut trees atop

   a wild ravine—all food to nourish

the living no less than a prodigal rain.

 

Like this bird’s passive flight.  Such creatures

   open us like shells.  What tide must

we invoke to cross the water? 

 

Perego’s Trail at Ebey’s Landing

 

A few miles from home, our get-away from months

Of melancholic habitation,

Dolorous rounds of merest metabolism,

Out here, even flat fields lay as still wonders,

Farmed prairies leveled in spring plantings,

Inspiring us out of ourfallow bodies like clouds

About to burst after too much drinking in the dark.

 

Was high time for two of us to center on one

From perverse suburban cycles of delivery and receipt,

To get up for some other purpose than habit presents.

Across from Coupeville on the Whidbey map, Perego’s Trail,

Ascending on the outermost edge of the yellow bluff, took us,

Upward from Ebey’s Landing, hundreds of feet, treading

The line between the wild and the good, the lower Straits

Opposite Dungeness and cultures plats of Sherman’s Land.

Out of limbo we trod the path toward the north where

Perego’s brackish ponds limn the narrow strand below,

Heaped around with drifted logs and scraggly stumps

Once bound for Skagit mills.  Claims in every direction

Had been named with history’s lumber, now standing

In shacks and mansions that coursed down rivers

Into weirs and settled at last vagabond in tamed banks

With tired sailors’ dreams for safe landings and boarding

A welcoming community nestles in.

 

From the beach, the trail rose northward up sturdy planks,

Switch-backing to land, then angling west to the Sound,

Narrowing to the line climbing the lower bluff’s rim,

Where at stations crude benches were set for those soon weary.

Our eyes askance, we strode past turning points, glancing

Out to sea at fingertip islands and the peninsular thumb

Of the giant who held the Sound as a mirror in his palm.

Climbing still to take the trail where the air hummed

In the pockets of morning sun, music of a million bees,

Dancing on cello wings, busy among the dog rose, pink

Gems on hedges, spikey, thick and green against the fields

Of fox tails waving to the east as we glanced that way.

 

At first the swath was worn by companies into three

Tracks: one clear, black sand; the two beside it, matted grass,

Leading us up past Sherman’s rich green acres to the right

And higher over the gray shingled shore to the left, where

Covered heads and backs crouched low, combing the leavings

By the driftwood webbing that snagged worthless treasures

Brought in by last night’s rough tide.

 

Luminous the calm waters over Admiralty Inlet spread constant,

Vast splendor of the fading turquoise horizon of Juan de Fuca Straits.

Gleaming furrows of the tilled fields had a distant meeting

Beyond the red-winged blackbird balancing on the fence line.

Rising further, the path retreated along the wild ridge, stitched

In firs and patches of Oregon Grape merging on shimmering borders,

The nature of our minds wakened in the see-saw of thought,

As the brown buntings we noticed hovering before, alighted

Like illusionists on the soft silk of fragile stalks,

Waving light as air, bowing them double with their scant weight,

A moment’s bare clinging, then snapping like catapults into the breeze.

Emotion arising, the whistle of the blackbird perched on the post,

Grass heads brushed against our calves and feather ticked the bends

Of our knees, as bees led the way before our feet, without a drone,

At controlled and reasoned distance from our slowing footfalls.

Upward. Upward.

 

Throbbing reflections on the dappled turquoise below met a bluing line

Where a solitary seal arced over and glided in its elemental quest

Out into the darker depths.

 

Throbbing reflections penetrating the inward currents

Washed the outer gleam from wide-eyed questioning—

What is that within me, self-directed in what direction?

Who is behind me?

                      Two hundred feet up we stood to gaze behind

At the boomerang arc of the strand stretching back.

 

Here, the grasses flattened down near the bluff’s edge

Brought us to rest on the next rise of the narrowing path.

Lying supine,

We closed our lids to the blue dome.

A purple ceiling of the temple with a yellow eye pulled away

From my being, taking all noise, purpose, and thought,

Carried aloft on an ethereal balloon beyond geometry,

As Apollo might have lifted off once from his Delphic throne.

 

She, my wife not the oracular priestess type, lay suspended

In her temple at my side, always more practical, stirred

When she heard the drone of an airplane

Flying too close to her distant reveries,

or else the wind came and so the stars began to fizzle

as the breeze mounted against the cliff and strummed upon the grasses.

Then it grew quiet as a desert.

 

The first fire nearby was a simple, pink rose she plucked

To savor in her cupped hands the warm, sweet balm

And held it close for me to breathe, her eyes closing,

Indicating much more than the closing of the lids, that,

Bending down, in that floral bowl I watched for stars

Until her hands withdrew the fiery scent.

Sun at zenith, dazzled by the sky, righting ourselves

We faced further north, resuming the rhythm in earnest.

 

Epics took place between our feet.

Ranks of frantic ants crossed the trail, swimming

Through the dusty track, risking all the tribe.

One loner clung to the head of an upturned pill-bug,

Writhing like a many legged turtle, ant legs

Scrambling in the sandy grains, yanking at its load,

Going, going nowhere, getting but getting nowhere,

Just like Sisyphus.

 

A spider lay crumpled in the corrugated treads of a biker’s

Tire marks.  A centipede, two inches of coild black chain

Wound around itself, a sun spiral in eclipse.

The trail twitched with injured insects as we rose

To the bluff’s height, where the wind was harping

A new harmony among the tattered pines.

 

Eerily, to the seaward, as if clawing a my ear,

An eagle held itself braced on the updraft,

Mere yards distant, wings rattling like bronze quills.

I heard no kite like it for stability,

And I saw its eye, an eye that truly looked,

I watched that eye looking, seeing, back at me,

Its acetylene stare, fearless and knowing,

Auspicious, tranquil as a living angel with a heavy brow,

Whose gaze transfixed me like alost lamb.

In one hovering moment, I felt a free-fall

Before the sky lightened again and turning away

Its beak with smoother-back white hair,

This propitious surfer dropped downward toward the shore

Following the arc of the bay, doubled by itsown gray ghost

Cast upon the shingle beach below,

Remaining in the open air, while I walked on in stumbling gait.

 

The wind dropped.

The water now so calm a kayaker might course crossways

Over the ultramarine veins of the inlet.

Small birds bobbed in the shallows.

Cormorants dove and held their search so long

We lost track.

Gulls, absent till now, rained down in shrieks of panicked

Consternation, fighting for a space

In the feeding ring around the gamboling seal.

 

Above Perego’s Lake, the trail ended and turned

Downward steeply to the beached whales of driftwood.

It was living on this edge, and transitions were made

In a moment.

Either we trace back the way we came or one carefully placed

Foot-fall down and bridge began to form that way.

 

She held my shoulders from behind, and together we made descent

As a centaur might onecehave ventured down a slope

When Triton’s horn called the dancers to the laughing waves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Koon Woon

Walking randomly in the snow in search of memories There have only been a few serious snows in my life. I left home during the first heavy snow. Things were becoming unbearable. The rebellion was internalized. I had no friends to share inner pains. I would drive from Aberdeen to Ocean Shores and back; or; sixty miles for no reason and to nowhere. The car was a symbol of freedom, but it was unearned freedom. I loaded some blankets in my car and drove off to Seattle. I was looking for love, the kind I did not find until my present snow, the one I was walking in today. It spans an interval of fifty years. What I watched: Dr. Zhivago, where human legs protrude from the snow. What I heard was a calm silence. I first stayed with PaTrick and William E in Wallingford. Someone else was paying for the rent of the house. I believe it was John who worked for Boeing. There was a lot of dope, including laughing gas. But Hayceed beat his woman who was always topless. He said he was a poet and read his poems at the Last Exit coffeehouse on Wednesday nights. I was frightened, more or less, and so I moved out to Freemont when I got an apartment above a tavern. That year, Aurora Avenue was impassable. Buses even stop serving, I was stuck in the snow and I walked across Aurora to buy cooking utensils and groceries. I got no mail for several weeks. I was isolated and lonesome beyond belief. (Snows): Freemont 1969 LLL 1980 Mrs. Wong’s rooming house 1985 West Seattle Alaska House Apts. 2021. I was looking for love and I did not find it for fifty years. It was not romantic love. It was more like The Woman of the Dunes. Now I realize that love is antientropic but it runs downhill with the ease of gravity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

David Gilmour ------------------ two poems

 

Winter Ritual: Breaking Bread

 

Cold concrete darkness

Pine tree groaning overhead.

Something swinging in the wind.

Wild whipping of the tips

Of the limbs, but not the limbs

Themselves, frozen and creaking.

 

One came down—CRACK!

Landed on the cradled loaf

She was carrying before her

On the front stone porch beneath.

Crashed on its covered crust

In the icy brittle chill of evening.

 

Sourdough it was

Fresh baked, warm and ready

For finger to break from its cozy nest.

But as I have said,

It was the limb, the limb it was

That broke the bread

Beneath the rocking boughs.

 

Oh, the Baker?  She was shaken,

Shocked, as though disarmed,

Battered and patted with fronds of pine,

Frosted, but otherwise unmarked.

 

 

November Lawn Crew

 

They cut the lawn today.

They were cutting the frost today.

They were nipping at Jack Frost

Not vice versa.

 

Nipping: “nipping” is right—

Not the scythe-arch swipe,

A good John Barleycorn snap,

The harvest hack at back of the knees,

Just after the best of Indian summer.

 

 

Theirs today was but a tender shave

To take away some green,

To preserve some green,

To force up some green,

To make for themselves some green,

By nipping, nipping, nipping at the blades

Stuck up above the velvet moss,

As they cut through the frost,

Cutting the lawn early today.

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Lakshman Bulusu -------------- I See You

 

I SEE YOU

 

          To my brother who passed away at age 25 in 1996

 

by Lakshman Bulusu

 

I. THE BEGINNING OF THE END

 

It was a sunny Tuesday morning on July 2nd

with the usual rush hour traffic.

Your day began with a cup of Assam tea and a crispy toast.

You put on your business casual work attire,

a black Raymond trouser and a checked Arrow shirt;

but there was a change of plan that day.

You had to see father in hospital for fracturing his hand

when he fell from his bed the night before.

You prepared filter coffee, our father’s favorite,

thinking fresh coffee would cheer him up.

You placed the lower steel decoction container on the countertop,

positioned the steel mesh separater on top of it,

placed the top steel container over it,

put ground coffee powder into it followed by boiling water,

and let it settle for twenty minutes.

To finish it all, you added boiled milk and sugar to the decoction

and mixed it for a frothy coffee.

You filled the insulated mug with filter coffee

and started off on your motorbike taking Cantonment Road

hoping that everything would turn out right for father to return home.

 

II. THE MOMENT OF THE END

 

Twenty minutes into your ride--halfway--

in the din and bustle of traffic,

a white Maruti van collided with you head on.

You were thrown to the corner of the road;

your motorbike tilted sideways

with its wheels whirring one last time;

your office backpack lying a couple of feet away from you.

Our father’s favorite coffee dripped from the mug

as your heartbeats faded into silence.

No wails, no groans from anyone,

not even from the lady who drove the van.

She got down, saw you unresponsive, got back in, and drove away.

Moments later, police in a van passing by noticed you

and took you to the hospital emergency room.

The doctor in charge there pronounced you dead.

The police located your school badge,

contacted the administrator who gave our home address.

They informed our mother by phone who rushed to the hospital

in a state of shock and took your body home.

Our father still waited for your arrival.

 

III. MY REMINISCENCES OF YOU

 

I still see you through the lens of tears

that wet my eyes as I remember you.

I remember the many rides

you took me on your motorbike without saying ‘no’ even once.

Your whistle rendered a lilt to the breeze as we rode along.

I see you in triumph as you made it

through the interview for a graduate teacher.

You shine in the highlight as I reflect on our past:

the jokes we shared at teatime;

the rules of play you stressed,

no matter who won or lost;

the ideas you put forth as we discussed poetry;

the encouragement you gave

to turn Sundays into leisure days and take it easy.

The last smile of yours

twenty-five years ago as you waved goodbye,

still floats in my memory.

The flame of your life continues to glow,

its warmth comforting my heart;

reminding me, you are as near to me as you were,

twenty-five years ago—

your image apparent as a metaphor.

My grief of your sudden end no longer stands out.

 

IV. YOUR END IS NO PRIDE FOR DEATH

 

You have done your part and made your mark,

as a teacher in a Christian middle school,

fair and good in your profession,

though for a short-and-not-too-short three years.

Your effort rewarded through the words

of the Bishop who later visited our house,

He was good, honest, and well respected.

And it was God who gave the wound,

So He Himself would heal the wound.

To me it seems like the role of death

is like darkness chased by day.

Footprints of many generations outlive it.

Its very identity turns into a dimming light.

Dear brother, from a tombstone,

you rise like a tower in pride

epitomized by your meteoric talent.

And then there is afterlife

that welcomes you into a new world—

who knows what wonders it holds.

A reality that opens gates to the infinite?

I no longer question, “Where did you go?”

For, ever you live on—

And I still see you!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Simon Perchik --- poems

 


Simon Perchik



*

Not with the light itself

lifting this page closer

though the breeze already left 


–you need glasses, the kind

crystal-gazers use

and for centuries would weep


to birds that go on living 

–cockpit-glass! pressed

against your forehead


by wings and distances 

–in the end the book too

will lose its slack, approach


with the window in front

closed and even its shadow

had no chance to escape.



*

You have so many arms

holding fast the way all cradles

are lowered side to side


still listening for the breeze

that comes from one whisper more 

–what you calm here


are lullabies lifting you ashore

as campfires, heating your lips

with salt and kisses


that never let go –here 

everyone sleeps on the ground

though there’s never enough brushwood


to cover you song after song

draining your heart into its arms

filling with ashes and autumn.




*

As if these sleeves are cooled

and that slow roll

you’re still not used to


left one arm in the open

struggling, almost holds on –the tattoo

helps, smells from flowers


kept cold though it’s an old shirt

given your bare skin

for its years, months, minutes


and the exact place held close

licking the ice from your shoulders

your breasts and the flowers.






*

From under this pathway the sun

brings your shadow back

the only way it knows


though what it pulls up

is just as weak, hardly pebbles

and on a plate left outside


as if this grave is still vicious

caged the way the dead

are fed with your mouth


calling out from the dark corners

for stones, more stones –step by step 

you remember things, better times 


careful not to come too close 

not raise your hand 

or one false move.



*

On the way up this darkness

must sense it’s more wax

letting the varnish take forever


though you count how high

a second time –these shelves

aren’t restless enough, here


for the fire all wood is sent for 

–in every room! caskets

stacked as if from behind


the wall would reach around

smelling from bark, roots

and the uncontrollable embrace


heating your cheek the way rain

returns to lower its face on the dirt

that never moves :these boards


kept open for a dry rag 

all night rubbing your forehead

darker and darker, almost there.





Thursday, October 7, 2021

David Gilmour ---------------- two poems

 David Gilmour is the host of Sound Poetry on 101.9 Radio Tacoma



Tobacco Ode

 

The days of acorns, walnuts and horse-chestnuts--

The husks, shells, and cups we bored for use, then,

Eight of us, if memory serves, we smoked as pipes,

As clear as yesterday in an old and beautiful world.

The fields, we walked through the fields to woods,

The countryside spread out for miles, far out

Beyond construction sites and smoking factories,

Leaving behind slag dumps and rock hills

Bulldozed and ready for new roads out of town.

Out by the shire farms where trees still stood wild,

A bull watched a tribe of boys tramping through

Its grasses.  There was a house, a dark gamekeeper

And his dangerous dogs--so long ago, folk tale time.

 

The trees, those ancient oaks we spiked to climb

When tawny autumn gave its sign the nuts were ripe.

Old gaffer and his dogs just couldn't grasp the why.

We would risk to climb the oaks, to join the birds

And squirrels in their nests.  He'd scratch his head and

Hang his bent pipe in his jaw and keep the dogs at bay.

‘Twas pipes and the sheer beauty of filching golden acorns.

Conkers he could suss the need, the game was all the rage.

 

Stiff straw was pierced into an acorn cup, old fag-end crumbs

We’d stuff into the bowl, and puff in awe till black like gold

Cut from a stub of Uncle’s choicest briar-pipe Turkish plug.

Oh, the heavens so filled with aromatic spice, gods laughed.    

 

At home I'd raid the trays about the house for longish ends,

Even stole the odd one or two, Senior Service navy cut,

Or beauteous packs with names like Passing Cloud,

Familiar Players with the Jack Tar pictured on the face.

They smelled so sweet before the smoking and then came

The choking horror of the smoke.  Dead hard to get used to.

But there was nothing, nothing sweeter than the camaraderie

Of two or three bosom pals with stolen tobacco having a choke,

Pretending to smoke, cupping the lit end in the palm

Or flailing the hand sideways from the lips, longing to savor the smoke in throats,

In their lungs, through their noses, casually releasing it in streams

As we had seen our brothers, our parents blowing plumes

Into the blue foggy night air.  How important to start young.

To start the silent drawing of breath in acknowledged secret,

Forbidden togetherness in which talk was all you had,

Big talk, things that needed to be said together

While the air was thick with awful breath and the face changed

To its new mask and stopped the clock.



A Significant Thud

 

At present the ink is not flowing true.

The blue ran out two days ago

And the red cartridge I loaded

Has yet to come through in its own flow.

I am sitting at the round table on the deck

As I used to years ago; in those days

The table was yellow; now a faded green,

The very same table we sat at, you and I,

When you just knew us in Seattle, the times

When we dined on simple fare, drank cheap wines.

The same table we recently sat around

For breakfast, coffees, and smokes

And at dinner for laughter, with the Pinch

And paté and the crude rolled doobies

Pushing our humors to ludicrous limits.

 

These days are bogged down with quandaries.

The wedding is past; the nest is --- oops!

--Out back there in the deep shady green,

Under the trees, a significant thud --

The pears and the apples are dropping ripe. Out there

Out in the grass, I see another golden lump

Has been added to the mass. --Where was I?

--The table—on the table before me—yes,

I return to the original theme.—On it

Stand two golden pears on end,

Next to them, the 400 milliliter beaker

That held the three top heavy flowers -

Blue hydrangea blossoms.

The candles we burned were obliterated

By a night’s catastrophic wind and rain,

Sunday or maybe Saturday night.

I’ll light one - there!—They’re both lit now.

At my right elbow rests a book,

Against The Grain - wouldn’t you guess it?

Mmm! The pears gleam in the candlelight—gilded almost...

Shit! The hurricane glass just shattered.

Well, after all, what’s glass for?—but breaking.

The monotony: it’s a void, a blank, emphasized

By the intermittent thuds of falling fruit.

--David Gilmour

 

 

 



 

 

 

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