Decree of the Watchers

Is there any thing I do not have?
Is not my life enviable to any and all?
For what I lack cannot be seen–
Not with the eyes, anyway.

Though the words caught in my mouth–
Is not this great Babylon?
With whom might I be compared?–
Now, who would I not replace?

And so the tree was cut down,
Banded with iron, and left for the dew.
What portion was left to me
Was fit only for beasts such as I.

He has told you, oh man, what is good;
Where, then, does the confusion lie?
Break off your sins, practice righteousness,
And show mercy to the oppressed.

But now let my reason return to me.
Protect me from self-destructive thought–
But let me stay humble and poor,
Lest my splendor and majesty deceive.

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December Comes

The time has come to bundle me up
In coat and scarf, well-worn over years,
Guarding against the frosty air,
Though nothing thaws the cold within.

A heavy August morphed into fall,
And after, a deadening grayness.
The seasons changed and so did I:
From bleak environs now benumbed.

Ornaments and tree, skates and carols,
Distract me as best they can, but no,
The brumal bitterness remains
A frigid reminder of loss.

Even in the cold and wind and rain,
I still remember the feeling of
Singing your simpler summer songs,
But now I know December’s come.

For What?

Why don’t I keep up my writing in the evenings?
I seem to have lost the motivation to finish the tale,
As if another history has taken its place along the way;
And I just don’t know how the story ends.

Why don’t I walk around the city at night?
The skylines, the harbors that drew me once
No longer call loud enough to rouse my spirit;
I force myself to check some boxes as a minimum.

Why don’t I turn on the lights when I get home?
There is in them an ornamental loveliness
And candle’s lights offer their warm glows;
But there’s not much to see by them anyway.

Why won’t I just snap out of this and live today?
Sometimes it feels like today happened once–
A long time ago–in another place, another story;
Only in my head can I get back there and stay.

Veni, veni

Too often these nights, I stand and think alone–
This time hesitating to consider before beginning
Formation of year’s-end one-room winterscape,
Replete with light and ornament, tree and stocking.

I paused to wonder which will sink me lower:
An absence of familiar Noellic tradition, or
E’en that creation which once brought joy,
Though then from family, friend, and more.

But I rejected self-infliction of the former
And remove box after box and so commence,
But find too late that spirits still won’t rise
As tinny carols ring through empty apartments.

Instead, Thou Key of David, come set free;
Ransom one last lonely mourner from exile.
Disperse the shades and shadows of long night
And bring me swiftly to the end of this trial.

Wabisabi

She is a woman with no right angles,
Who stubbornly resists measurement–
A girl who refused le modèle fourni.

She knows to make her own way
With a free spirit–inapprivoisé–
A light touch but a heavy mind.

She is art that has faded into beauty,
Losing nothing but the inessential
As love et le temps la brisaient.

Will you allow me, with l’amour doré–
Bien qu’il soit que de la poussière–
To practice kintsukuroi on your ceramic heart?

Ainsi, illuminer le brokenness and repair;
Accentuer le natural, your roughest edges,
Etre aimé as perfectly imperfect as you are.

“Just Thinking About You”

At my desk, in the middle of a Tokyo afternoon,
As you’re drifting off to sleep in another capital,
Half a world away from me, however I measure it,
You think of me and think to pick up your phone.

Sometimes I wish I could text you, too,
Every time you crossed my mind,
But then my phone would never leave my hand;
Every day, I see your face a hundred times.

Perhaps you will like, in spite of yourself,
Knowing you never leave my mind,
Even if it means admitting you are loved
By one who had every reason to leave.

It’s always been the wrong time, wrong place
For us; We never have made sense, have we?
But no one else makes me feel when I would think
And seduces my heart and mind together.

So tease me with your eyes, your tongue;
Battle me with your wit and words–
Say anything at all, and I will know
I am still on your mind–thinking about you, too.

Tree of Life

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is the tree of life.”–Proverbs 13:12

Hold fast to the tree of life;
Be blessed beneath the branches
Of her wisdom and instruction.

But I am sick with hope deferred;
If fulfillment is that life-giving tree,
I am laid at death’s door.

Yet a desire satisfied is sweeter
Than honeyed lips–as soft as love;
There, my heart may find rest.

My soul is captivated by this tree
That gives it fruit to the righteous;
See, she is wisdom to me.

The Exit

Jean-Paul was a fool–and more the pity–
For if hell’s locale was in other people,
I’d be satisfied behind my pearled gate,
Shut away from the hellish cityscape.

Instead, I discover the lie I believed,
And yearned for, would betray me:
I was never meant to play the hermit;
Not for all my single, solitary wit.

I know who I want to take me home,
But I am home, and lights won’t turn up
As I finish my whiskey and beer;
It’s closing time, and I stay here.

Heaven is instead the place I will be from
After the slow march toward the exit,
When I’ll gather up my jacket and again
Find one beginning at the other’s end.

Finally Fall

Open the windows and let the cool air in,
And with it, the noise of the city:
The trains trundling over the tracks
Taking Tokyo-bound travelers to town.

The highway rush, too, floods in–
White noise above the stereo music
Wherein Marianelli plays the soundtrack
Of the first restful weekend morning.

In time, we may return to industry,
But for a moment, we acknowledge
A day to listen and a day to read,
A day to taste and see what is good.

Watch the candle flame dance in the wind
As the smell of apple and spice waft
From room to room to make known
That this is finally fall.