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Miscellaniana for Michaela

I didn’t read your letter
After seeing the first five words
I choose to regard the contents as being
A deliberate mystery
To be apprehended only by those
Who know not the context
Or those who attempt the apprehension thereof, anyway

Everything I do or say
Relates to you
And what we did or didn’t have
At least when I speak as an artist
(And isn’t that what life is all about?)

As birds glide gently down
Onto the top of the barren rock
In the bay
I think about their destination.
If one clings to the rock too long
It will miss its chance
–Suffering no allusions
Free from the poet’s embrace
But remaining on an island of its own making

And so I walk the return path
Whence I came
With great chagrin
Because we all know
A once-in-a-lifetime chance
When we see it

Seemingly discarded wedding flowers
Lie on this path
Left by some forgotten party
One wonders how long they will last
Before they crumble
And turn to dust
I too was once entranced
By the possibilities of Love’s Fortune

I walk further in return
And see a seagull shoot quickly into the sky
And fly purposefully up, then touching down, onto
The crest of the nearby hill

How ironic that when we heed the
Advice of some of those around us
We sometimes end up alone and disillusioned
The group is often right
But it can be wrong too
And very wrong indeed
Especially in matters of the heart

They never saw the moments
I lay motionless in the morning
So as not to wake you
So that you would have full energy
To face the joys of the day
I don’t know a greater love
Than that

We kept looking for a clearing
Along the trail
Where we could see the arrival of the
Great white boat
But we never thought to
Hack through the underbrush
To create a clearing ourselves
And then build the boat ourselves
If necessary

Yes, I think we could have done it
I know we could have done it

And yet we had our time in the sun–
Along the riverbank
Swinging out over the water
From the heavy rope left hanging from a branch

The meeting place of memories
Is all that we have these days
And I’m satisfied
I really am
But not truly happy
In the fullest sense
I can pretend to be
And sometimes fool myself
–And life continues

And yet
We could still enter
The discovered kingdom of the lowercase soul
Prior relative opinion
No longer holds
And situations have changed

Together we travel, and see
Thrill-seeking windsurfers
Finding ways to sail
On even the shallowest elongations
Of backwater

A discarded picture-tube TV
Lies face down
On the shoulder of the highway
Screaming out in symbolic pain
(What would Marshall McLuhan say?)

Clouds rolling in over Mill Valley
Slowly obscure the sights
And structures of the town,
As if some long unread lines
In a forgotten novel
Now refuse to give up their truths

What a pity and
Tragic waste it must be
When such rich
Landscapes of the soul
Are left abandoned
When they could have been lived in

On the other side of the hill
There’s still sunshine
At the happy vista point
Where first-time visitors
Smile at strangers without thinking twice
As clouds trek in, semi-ominously
Over the water
Creating a curious, half-Hitchcockian sense
Of intrigue
And a temporal depth

A young daughter poses
With thoughtful eyes
While sitting on the stone wall
Acting beyond her years
Perhaps envisioning parts
Of a vague, indefinable future
As the mother with playful blue hair
Captures the moment
With Bridge and bay behind
–A moment of timeless serenity

A slow-moving jet flies overhead
Shining gleaming white
With two curved stripes
On its tale
Flown by two pilots
Who read Cervantes
And imagine the turn toward the east
As tilting toward some kind of
Aeronautical quest

Back down below
Amidst the clamor
A blonde girl
In pajama bottoms
Stands tall on a stone pillar
Throwing her arms up gracefully
With a message seemingly radiating
From her hands–
Give us your tired, your poor,
Your sleepy children
Yearning to be free–
What is adulthood after all
Other than waking up from a dream?

Sitting on the wall
At the end of the
Tourist telescopes
We scan the scene
The sun in the west
Above the hill
Slips lower
As a sharp-formed disk
Behind moving clouds
As if it were east
And sliding toward
The past...

Silhouettes of time travelers
Trudge along
On the walkway above us
And we stand and walk likewise
As generations of
Tourists pass through
In too rapid a succession
For the naked eye to see

And there we are
Back with my school club
During my first time here
A young couple
Both with long hair and denim
Step out of their van
And tell of adventures
Driving the entire length
Of the coast
Starting at the
Tip of South America
And I introduce you
To my teacher
Of whom you’ve grown fond
Simply from hearing his words
Echoing in my consciousness
He smiles warmly
His teeth slightly colored from coffee
And pipe smoking after school
We continue walking
Growing closer as we go
“With poetry all things are possible”
He explains, then adds:
“Watch out for chimps driving cars, stopped at red lights!”
“It’s judgment that they lack.”

We chuckle and turn
And see the north tower
–Yes, there’s time to make it
We decide
And are able to remain
In the vortex
For yet another hour
There and back
Each step cutting through the
Air, as if life itself were in
Slow motion
And we were catching up
On what we had lost

Back in the present
Dusk sets in over the bay
And darkness falls
Yet an open patch
Among the dark blue clouds
Lets the last rays of twilight
Shine down on the water
Creating the effect of
A futuristic city existing
Above the clouds

After sitting in the car too long
We edge forward to turn to go
Only to be stopped
By a flashing purple light
Floating over the crosswalk–
A teen on a hoverboard
Who’s grown disenchanted with
Customary human locomotion

Then around the arc of the
Circular drive
A van in the dim light
Showcases painted artwork
On its fenders
That resemble figures
Out of a Chagall painting
As if it were his spirit
That had driven the vehicle

We couldn’t resist
Stopping by a bookstore
In Corte Madera
Down the way
Where we found Miguel’s book
On the bottom shelf
Its characters impatient
To be liberated from the
Friendly, but
Pencuniary confines
Saying they were born
Of the imagination
And not to be sold in bulk, by weight

Walking out and
Looking up at the silhouette
Of a nearby hill
We see a shiny crescent tip
Moving upward from a dark
Hilltop prominence–
The sharp and ready sword
Of a rider hidden behind
Speaking to us in a way
That our forebearers knew–
Literature in the skies

Was it Joseph Campbell who mentioned
That we owe it to the Troubadours
Who invented romantic love?
Further back than that
I don’t know how to go
To unravel the lost knowledge of who said what
And what was supposed to have happened to whom

I remain happily in the present era of love
One simply has to choose
Since one cannot follow the precepts
Of all eras.
Some will perforce
Become obsolete
And should be relegated
To the past

Life is a process of
Leaning into the future
–Which is exactly why
I don’t want
To forever lose you
Even if only as friend

The future is too bright.