Dare I imagine?

My pen’s might diminished to dry silence
               I boot up my notebook computer.
     Can its long outmoded chip
                surpass the might of cluster bombs?
                                           of airliners transformed
                 into martyr-filled guided missiles?

At dinner the other night--
          an abundant mela
                of Indian curries, sambols, and biriyanis--
                                         in a restaurant emptied
                              by domestic and international terror,
        Malcolm exploded with a militant counterstrike
               when he thought I’d once more attacked the attack.

He hadn’t learned
       that I’d learned something new
                             from our heated debates:
                I’ve stripped pragmatism from my pacifism
                                         which means
              I don’t give a shit that it has never worked.

I imagine that if I intend a world of peace
                            if I pray for a world of peace
               I now and then will be a world of peace.

I tried to tell Malcolm that we need to learn
              to not keep repeating
                                   our cycles of vicious history.
           We need to create something new
                  from this human nature
                             this rare capacity that gave us Mozart
                 as well as  Auschwitz.

Will we make it through this eye of the needle?
                     Will we learn to love lichens on a rock?
           Will we learn to love newly hatched turtles
               crawling down a tropical beach
                                            to the Arabian Ocean?
     Dare we even learn to love those who hate us?

Malcolm and I agreed
            we seem to be living through a tragedy.
                          The war correspondents speak once more
                                  of winning hearts and minds
               a noise that stinks of napalm and agent orange.
       Rumsfeld says our boys are cocked and ready to fire,
                        slashing their humanity to weapons grade life.
                   New refugee camps along the Afghan border
                                      fill with terrorists in training.

Shakespeare offers King Lear,
                         Cordelia and Ophelia
          when I ask,
                  dare I imagine
                    I can learn to love
                                          those who hate me. 

November 4, 2001


Not a mere ornament

This afternoon
    two blind musicians arrived
                    inventing and reinventing
             their instruments
       as thought the laws of composition
                were honeycombs
                        or deep rock wells
               of pure water.

I receive melodies
                from Groz
       Dalian and Shanghai.
                       Harmonies grow wild
        in my terraced winter garden.
                   I dance polyrhythms
                up and down a favorite road
          in Joaquin Miller
                 as the red ball of the sun
                                     slips into the Pacific.

Music is not a mere ornament
                       on our lives.
             Our lives are
                          in fact
         January 8, 2003

The Beauty of Our Dreams

Wings of Desire Far Away so Close

Songs of black angels

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