THE VIEW FROM HER ROOM
For Gloria, my wife – 1923-2006
I grieve in the dark east of our house
hiding from your absence, comforted
by your still warm side of our bed.
Then boldly I dare to move into the
sudden glare of your now empty
west-facing room that had so indelibly framed
your private point of view. There you underlined
in a note your wall something Emerson wrote:
The Health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.
We are never tired as long as we can see far enough.
Now I see what you saw: the shadows
of Cub of Gold leaves, walls of Eugenia, Heavenly
bamboo; large grape leaves spread out
like sun bladders in the late afternoon. A butterfly
above the arbor searching for the salt on your finger.
Rays of angled sunlight scoop up the reflections
of the pool and invert them on the ceiling in
camera obscura that cascades lucent tears
down the window glass.
The shimmering of light on the ceiling
is a warbling of some ionic phenomenon
like a beam from another world, maybe from you..
I don’t know, we never believed that way. Yet
I stand within it rectified, forgiven, re-loved,
the gift of a bride and the legacy of a mother.
I let you fill yourself up in me,
both out selves in total eclipse.
Blue Mesa Review, Spring 2007, #19, University of New Mexico
FALLING IN LOVE AT 80
Because I feel the moon-tide I can’t believe
it is not also drawn to me
or that the mountain is unaware of my awe
of its majesty
or you would not sympathize with my tear
or kiss or that the kiss and tear are not greater
than your ambivalence.
Then why do you doubt my expertise
in natural selection
and reject what I know is best for you?
Love, no matter from where it comes,
lopsided or asymmetrical,
is greater than you and I whether
you know it not just now.
I can’t believe that the shining of my love
does not expose the doubtful doubts in your mind
and shame your denial.
Even though you insist you don’t love me,
you can’t dismiss the moon tide or the mountain of adoration
or assert that my tidal power is mere conceit.
After all I experienced love at first sight
when I was young and penniless.
Don’t believe that I’m an expired male
who only love from memory,
each dim passion some three generations old.
I won’t accept your argument that my conceit
exploits you to make this poem
Do you think I kid myself?
If you persist, I will awake morning after night.
roll over, thank God I’m still alive and free
and with the blessed shortening
of my memory forget
for whom I wrote this poem.
Solo Café 4&5, Solo Press 2009
FROM THE TOP OF THE CLIFF AT TORREY PINES
We walk the cliff above the ocean.
Boulders rock in the undertow for miles below.
The sea looks as if it were crawling uphill.
Gulls shoot out from behind us.
They seem to skim the light from the body of water.
Something is leaving us.
She asks to run ahead while I, out of breath,
fall back to smoke my pipe. I imagine a three
dimensional gauge set in lace – a giant
yellow wooden ruler whose numbered scales
are writ large for my near-sighted eyes.
It measures distances in the sea exactly
on a north-south line with the Scripps Institute
That damned gauge divides everything:
depth from breadth and height, history
from prehistory, science from art, her forward motion
and my retreat. Everyone has left except for a
student walking the baseline of the beach
looking up towards outer space.
And she is beyond the last bend, out of sight.
Adobe Walls, an anthology of New Mexico Poets, 2014