Even after his stroke and up to his death on January 6, 1990, at the age of ninety-three, my father’s father never did forget who we were. Many at the Armenian Home in Fresno, where he chose to spend the last few years of his life, weren’t as fortunate. This short poem was inspired by our visits there, and by the vineyards we used to pass on the way. “At […]
Yesterday morning I distributed more than six gallons of water using my favorite one-quart child’s watering can, visiting each plant in the garden with a miniature rain shower, sans vocalizations. I might have thundered, but the can does not make that kind of rain. Its gentle blue drops are more like single notes plucked ever so lightly on a banjo — lightly, as in, composed of light as much as […]
However patiently and faithfully I try to record the quotidian, I find it becomes charged with memory and dream, as if these states of mind or being are infused with a fine mist, like that which heightens the illusion of any natural scene. Set down the most common of items, and it buds and flowers before the sentence ends. Melody Words are living things. Sometimes, through ignorance and arrogance, […]
If each of the senses is a unique form of intelligence, it would be wise to approach them not as if we are their petty dictators, conquerors, or owners, but as witnesses and explorers. Perhaps we would discover the senses are really not many, but one; or maybe we would learn there are more. Or it might be the other way around, and we are the living testimony of their […]
Not that many days ago, I was nearly finished with my evening walk when, at the foot of a driveway of a house for sale, I was met with a single bark by a shaggy, two-toned spaniel. At the same time, I noticed a man occupied at some task behind, and mostly obscured by, an old white pickup. I greeted the dog and bent down to let it sniff the […]
A Growing Fool On the rare occasions it was warranted, I was thrilled to wear a tie my father had long since banished to a far corner of the closet, so much out of style it was that it was a new style all its own, wide and long enough to serve as vest or bib, wild enough to please the choosiest of adolescent clowns. I had big shoes. […]
Out listening to the birds before sunrise, gazing up through the shadowy scaffolding of the greening trees as I walk, I am witness to the natural cycle of waking and sleeping according to the light, and its restorative, medicinal benefits. Artificial light, clocks, television, alcohol, caffeine — one must wonder about a race of beings that works so uniformly and effectively against itself, that sees sleep as an obstacle, and […]
Would I rather be peeled like an onion, opened like a pomegranate, or eaten like a fig? The answer changes from day to day. And yet if you were to ask me now, this moment, I would say all three. Or I might be a walnut, whose heart is exposed with the breaking of day. My grandfather had a pecan tree. The jays would pick up the nuts, and then […]
Do my hands have lives of their own? I watch them setting out vegetable plants, and marvel at their confidence. The plants know they have nothing to fear, do not cease even for a moment their eager communications with the sun. My fingers are intuitive miniature plows. I might have been a barber. I visited a barber college once, with the thought that I might learn to ply that trade. […]
Is the early-morning tapping of woodpeckers a form of communication? Is it song?
Is the mind’s ear the source of an echo?
And what of the mind’s eye? Is that where we go when we’re gone?
I see you on a swing in a doorway
between two failing timbers,
caught by an echo
in the black night beyond.
Recently Banned Literature, May 23, 2011