The jackal and the tigers

a jackal sniffing at tigers’ prey,
surprised by the moon in the night,
cries at the moon as if it’s a man.
then it gnashes its teeth and eats.

under the trees, the tigers recline,
and watch the jackal feed.
they look at the moon and blink their eyes,
and look at the jackal again.

“shall we run it off?” a tiger asks,
while another blinks and yawns.
“oh no, let it eat, let it have its fill,
there’s plenty of food for all.”

the answer comes from a tigress, of course,
the heart of a tigress is warm.
but a jackal who feeds in the tigers’ den
may lose his life after all.

a cobra’s asleep under the tree
where the slumbering tigers dream.
its duty, to keep the dirt away
from the spring where the tigers drink.

if the jackal thirsts and trys to sip
from the tigers’ pure water source,
the cobra will rise and strike just once
and the jackal will rise no more.

tell me no lies and I’ll tell you none,
my story’s authentic, you see.
though couched in a meter a fairy might beat
it’s as real as you and me.

Life on a little table

this little table
is chaos for me
home, exhausted
i shed what i wear
the table holds
artifacts of no time
and offerings for myself,
set in silver, like these:

moonstone pendant,
a polished sliver of clouds and blue sky;
green tourmaline,
that i wear at my throat when my spirit is broken;
ring from Tibet,
a mirror of love;

Life on a little table

and enamel for nails, the color of shells
two DVD’s V-Z and Waqt, unwatched for months
a paper cylinder, with some cotton-tipped swabs
woven-reed box
lavender bowl
small demitasse cup, from grandfather’s world

this clutter
these fragments
of life at this time
look strange,
there’s no room to type.


Stepping from a cab
onto a rainy street
in New York City
where I live
I’m splashed
by cabs that pass at speed
forcing force sheets of
dirty water up and over
enemies on foot,
like me.

Like that,
the risks I take
in loving you are sure.

Hiking on the streets
in summertime
in New York City
where I live
when it’s too hot
to walk and just the heat
makes blisters on my feet
when sanity is living
in the country for the season
only few remain
to face the heat,
like me.

Like that,
the pain I feel
in loving you is sure.

Along the ways I walk,
the sweet green hedges
that you offer hide
barbed wire that’s
the darkness and the hunger
of your inner self,
and all the little flowers
that you leave for me
hide tiny insects
in their hearts.

When you’re very sweet to me,
you double round the corner,
fast, just after,
leaving just the
sound of slamming doors.

Intentions that I live
to be myself,
despite the pain I feel
when I love you, despite
your sometimes feet of clay,
are true and real.

Your dispassion,
standing coolly there,
outside my home of love,
will not pull down its walls
that shelter us,
nor will the often chill
within your heart
tear warmth and sweetness
from my love,
to toss them in the wind.

I have no way to end this poem.
The future will provide its final lines.
I’m feeling dramatic today, it’s true,
but the pain I write in is real.
I want to see your eyes, see the boundary between the moment and you.
This is what you get for being really nice to me, then going away right after:
Whinging and tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.
Civilization has fled for the nonce.
I’m sitting at your feet on an uncushioned low stool of woven thorns, not of willows.