Homeless / Seagulls

At the freeway on ramp

The seagulls stand fifty yards

In front of the homeless,

Both beg for scraps,

The homeless man stands

Without a sign, palms up,

Missing shoe, maybe a smile,

Stands under a sign

That says Thank you _________?

For trashing Seattle.

I cannot look either, the homeless man, or the bird, in the eye.

Summer Squash

Languishing in the afternoon heat,

she waters the summer squash and tomatoes.

The cries of the crows slows life’s tempo.

Here the garden hose,

Now trickles

and the green onions drown, like my heart, sinking in mud.

 


My daughter and I watered the vegetable garden yesterday, there were so many little moments that I wanted to try to convey, though I found myself really laboring for this one and in the end I decided to just try to convey that one moment of overwhelming joy and love. If you want to read more poems about being a parent you can find them on the Parenting Page

 

Down

Well I've been
Spending so
Much time
Creating
These little
Battlefields.

I don't want to be down,
Want to be down,
Want to be down,
Like that anymore.

And I been
Stickin' around,
Stickin' around,
Stickin' around,
Trying to win.

No, I don't want
To be
Down, down, down,
Down, down
For the rest of my life.

I spent too much time
Feeling like I
Feeling like I
Like I'm the only one.

Now I keep

Kickin' around
Kickin' around
Kickin' around

Thinking you've
Been messin' around
And now I
Spend too much time
Struggling
All of my life
Mm-mmm all of my life
All of my life.

Now I keep

Runnin' around
Runnin' around
Runnin' around

Creating these
Little battlefields
For myself.
Drawin' those lines
Looking for signs
That I'm not the only one.

I spend too much time
Too much time
Too much time
Bein'
Down, down, down,
Down, down,
Down, next to you.



*Edit: changed formatting and added link.

Seeds of Self

I am the gardener of this field

There are seeds I sow

And those that have been sown

I am the expression of myself

And all those I have met before

I am the gardner and my job

Is to cultivate these seeds

Regardless of how good or bad

So that they can come into the light

Of the midday sun.

So that I can continue to nourish and cultivate those that benefit myself, my family, and my friends.

For too long I have covered them up

With the soil from which

they try to emerge.

I have tried to hide those that I don’t want,

or have been too distracted to understand their true manifestation.

We are the gardners,

and this is our field.

**This poem came about from a meditation session after beginning to read Understanding our Mind by Thich Nhat Hanh. The book is a personal translation, or rather a personal interpretation (?) of fifty verses based on Vasubandhu’s Twenty and Thirty Verses. Vasubandhu’s is based on the Abhidharma, which is a scholastic approach -written by many different Buddhist scholars over time- to the Buddhas sutras. (I’m sure some of this could be corrected, however the point is that this poem comes from a translation of an interpretation, of an interpretation, a continuation of many in between.)

So this poem and the continual personal reinterpretations of these insights enumerates what is said in the fifth verse:

Whether transmitted by family, friends, society, or education, all our seeds are, by nature, both individual and collective.

I can’t say that I really feel that this is my poem in the sense that I am the sole author, the creator of the piece. I feel a great humility in being a part of the immensity of these insights. Understanding that the poem may not make as big of an impact to others, I still wanted to share it as I’ve noticed recently that when I look back on poems I’ve written all the things that I tried to say, but was unable to convey in words comes flushing back, which may just be one of the greatest things about poetry (of all the great things). I hope only that in some way it conveys something similar for you.