Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lily-gilded RSVP   [rubai]

Other coast but many a thank
happy trails with nary a spank
here in the ocean of our existence
who'll water-walk with nary a plank?

FB v. G+ [ditty]

If comfort is the mother of convention
habitués of Facebook won't be swayed
allowing Google Plus offers contention
its case: 1 sandwich shy of being made

"Time seemed a river?" [rubai / gnomic verse]

Deadlines like rules are made to be broken?
poems like jewels gleam best when bespoken
time seemed a river that never ran back?
dreamers like fools transform when awoken

Monday, November 28, 2011

Eight Adages   [gnomic verses]

Tweets are sweet / but letters are better
while emails are great / real visits out-rate
to blog is fine / to jog? divine
plugged-in there's share / unplugged there's prayer

than updating status / more lofty to date us
to scribes we're beholden / but silence is golden
an eBook while handy / a book book proves dandy
bright adages gleam / dark radishes dream

Friday, November 25, 2011

"O lion of silence" [rubai]

Though silence dies when we name it
it gleams where poetries frame it
O lion of silence roaring!
who grasps a method to tame it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Links   [ditty]

A hyperlink is seen on screen
a hypolink remains unseen
and what might be a hypolink?
a microcircuit in what you think!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Cell Phone Speaks   [song]

I went for a bath in the Goan sea
no longer is chatter my stock in trade
from language's babble at last I'm free
who'd think I'd gain this from a simple wade?

I went for a bath in the Goan sea
the network of fishes seemed lithe & bright
it's hard to say quite what attracted me
to dive into water devoid of fright

I went for a bath in the Goan sea
the custom of bathing though not my wont
who seek the dim object of liberty
must hazard chill paradox & cruel taunt

I went for a bath in the Goan sea
the going gets tough when the bluff is called
no jabber remote now ensorcells me
in measureless silence my soul enthralled

Poem's 1st line borrowed (with modification) from Nitoo Das

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere   [rubai / ditty]

Do you hear that I am here?
are you aware that I am there?
although I'm not quite in the clear
potentially I'm everywhere

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Culture   [quatrain]

Starting to cultivate a gotee again
summer approaching its late close
crickets resounding in the atmosphere when
night is composing its great prose

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Tuning the sarangi"

Finally tuning the sarangi
after many a moon's neglect
hope blooms again in the ferengi
that some raag he might yet perfect

when the shishya's ready the guru's there
quoth the wise who on such reflect
when the swar grows tuneful amid the air
can the puzzle's swaroop connect?

a little lexicon:
ferengi (Urdu/Farsi): foreigner
raag (Hindi) = rāga (Sanskrit)
shishya (Hindi/Sanskrit): student
guru (Hindi/Sanskrit): teacher
swar (Hindi): note (sound)
swaroop (Hindi): essential/inherent nature

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"They're selling God" [ditty]

They're selling God on eBay
the bidding's off the charts
while Meher Baba ki Jai
unbidden steals the hearts

Friday, September 30, 2011

Moksha [gnomic verse]

The degrees of freedom   while daily diminished
                a prisoner of hope am I
shall we be demolished   before we are finished?
                who truly lives before they die?

[Riffing on an utterance by Pragya Mishra Thakur]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

American Buddhist Limerick

When the Lama paid visit to Nashville
did his begging bowl morph into Cashville?
      when you peer hard at life
      from the edge of a knive
all the flowers with aspects of ash fill

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bird Tattoo   [ditty]

Woman of many birds   |  a tweeter on each extremity
humans may tweet in words   |  but avians hold the remedy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Prediction" [gnomic verses]

Life is unpredictable one said?
life is not depictable I've read
those who strive to marshal a depiction
shall at best fail beautifully (prediction)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"After long delay" [gatha]

Finally settling to sit after long delay
life is dappled with multiple things to do
lacking either the wit or the time of day
still I'm bringing my vacuous mind to you

"Vituperation"   [gnomic verses]

Vituperation   that verbal regurgitation
betokens   surplus emotional information
emotional assimilation   when accomplished
the urge for vituperative purge is largely vanquished

Vituperation [Merriam-Webster online]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"The orchid" by Ni Tsan [translated from the classical Chinese]

The orchid lived   within a lonely valley
its inverted image   limned its own reflection
when no one had   beheld this subtle beauty
the vernal breeze   expelled a little laugh

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Turning the pages" [villanelle]

Invisibly turning the pages
perusing invisible ink
the tale is developed in stages

inscribed over epochs & ages
each letter a thought that you think
invisibly turning the pages

the birds are released from the cages
aflutter outside of the clink
the tale is developed in stages

who heeds the dark clue of dead sages?
who spies in the wall the bright chink?
invisibly turning the pages

projected on screens of Pantages
the film won't be missed in a blink
the tale is developed in stages

regrets are pernicious as rages
desires as noxious as stinks
invisibly turning the pages
the tale is developed in stages

Responsive to David Hykes:
"Just want to be an open book with transparent pages and invisible ink, and then just see how it goes." [Facebook status update]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Via a touchscreen" [gatha]

Were War & Peace enscribed   via a touchscreen
it'd take   more than a lifetime   to achieve
while in one's earthly tenure   there's been much seen
in which Janus mask   may one at last believe?

"Adorned" [ditty]

Across from Sunset Park
the afternoon serene
each day concludes in dark
each tree adorned in green

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Thumb-centric"   [ditty]

Android Facebook so thumb-centric
    (erst touch typing with twain hands)
this the norm?   it seems eccentric
    dialogue amid headstands

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Culture is always..."   [ditty]

Culture is always   something that grows
      yeast or love or yoghurt
when it is living   watch how it flows
      just ask Humphrey Bogart!

An answering verse, responding to this:
Culture is always something that was,
Something pedants can measure,
Skull of bard, thigh of chief,
Depth of dried-up river.

--Patrick Kavanagh, "Memory of Brother Michael"

Monday, September 5, 2011

After Rumi (couplet)

When you dwell in my eyes   peering through them see me
my abode who espies   far beyond what eyes see?

Based on this (presumably literal) translation from the Persian (provenance unknown):
Come into my eyes, and look at me through them,
for I have chosen a home far beyond what eyes can see.

Blue Danube   [nonsense verse]

The Danube's not blue   but the Kona is red
with premise not true   the conclusion is dead
Picasso's guitar   proved Stevensian blue
but who told the Who   what Parvardigar said?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Touchscreen verse" [ditty]

My first touchscreen verse
with toothpick for stylus
for better or worse
O universe! dial us


But not (as yet) a smartphone; the T-Mobile [HTC] Touch is a loaner (till my likewise not-smart, but also not touchscreen] replacement LG phone arrives in mail a week from now. The presumed glories of smartphonedom remain in a vague, putative future for this versifier.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"The stage whisper" [gnomic verse]

The stage whisper has stages
ageless through many ages
with neither book nor binding
a universe of pages

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carl Stone's Pilgrimage   [limerick]

When Sir Stone made his way to Assisi
would you say that the going was easy?
    as he reached the Portiuncula
    those who deemed him half-drunkula
were crazed wags playing rounds of Parchisi

For Carl Stone (Wikipedia)
Parchisi (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Matcha soy frap   [rubai]

In this matcha soy frap   Far Eastern sanskaras delight
granting life is a trap   it's pleasant to ponder at night
my first paycheck today   (five years since I left the last job)
has allowed me to map   far regions now hidden from sight

Matcha (Wikipedia)
Soy (Wikipedia)
Frap (Wikipedia)
Sanskaras (Wikipedia)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Illusion meet Truth [gnomic verse]

Truth lands at your door without seeking it
while Illusion finds me without labor!
where grain grows the bird is found beaking it
Great Illusion meet Truth! your old neighbor

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Purple Sunbirds" [ditty]

If it's not difficult to spot   Purple Sunbirds   in Delhi
can it be all that hard to glimpse   Fushia Moonfish   in Goa?
if it ain't impossible   to hide the Sky   in your belly
why's it so far a stretch   to find Nothingness   in Samoa?

Purple Sunbird (Wikipedia)
Moonfish (Wikipedia)
Would I invent these things? :-)

"Ways & means"   [shi]

When the sun hides over the hill   the palms loom dark
the radio shares   a modernist music strange
you sit again in your car   beside Sunset Park
considering all of the   ways & means of change

At least it's possible now   to again proceed
at length may the puzzle's pieces   fall into place?
am I not a man? if you prick me   don't I bleed?
will I never glimpse   the sight of your candid face?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"To be an artist" [a quasi-contrarian ditty]

To be an artist one must first retire
from water (if one seeks the art of fire)
from earth (if one desires the art of air)
from self itself (if art equates with pyre)

to be an artist   mint a saying terse
the phrase to be   might twinkle in your verse

Playfully responsive to this Mocha Arthouse dictum:
There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dog Walk   [gnomic verse]

A palimpsest of pee
that dogs alone perceive
arouses canine glee
no human can conceive

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mario's Mot [gnomic verse]

Campaign in poetry   govern in prose   quoth Cuomo
remain in poetry   wiggle your toes   say I
the aim of poetry   baffles the major domo
the house of poetry's   built upon   dream & sigh


Friday, August 12, 2011

A version from the Urdu

Astute connoisseurs of letters claim
this alone in my favor
it's useless to seek within meaning's frame
whence flows my poem's flavor

Based on this:

Connoisseurs of literature / say only this in my favour:
The beauty of his verse / is not in its meaning.

--Shahryar, trans. Baider Bakht & Marie-Anne Erki
[according to Vivek Narayanan's Facebook Status Update]

Modern Living [ditty]

Claking at the keyboard
texting on the phone
snacking at the seaboard
yes you're not alone

For Kendra

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Melding" [rubai]

An amalgam   of memory and grief
an interfusion   of doubt with belief
an emulsion melding zest   with ennui
an illusion long-protracted   but brief


The poem's first line is borrowed from Sharanya Manivannan.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Mythologies" [boomerang poem]

Cars pass without surcease
pedestrians are seen
mythologies of peace
hide nestled in the green
sun glints amid the trees
the pool hosts carp & geese
I've pocketed the keys
cars pass without surcease

Sunset Park (Beverly Hills)
August 9, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Remind me"   [gnomic verse]

Who among us can teach a dog to bark?
who in our midst can make water be wet?
remind me who compels night to seem dark?
                                                        I forget!


Responsive to a tweet (comprising 1st line, above). Hat-tips: @KGrey_Com
Verse's terse final line was occasioned by Twitter's 140-character limit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

14th Way of Looking at Happy Birthday [song]

happy birthday   Barack Obama
why are you dubbed   Mr. No Drama?
may great peace today   fill & surround you
not unlike your pal   the Dalai Lama

The title alludes to this: 13 Ways of Looking at Happy Birthday

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"When things don't fall apart" [boomerang poem]

When things don't fall apart
perchance they fall together
what darkness in the heart
prefigures stormy weather?
life ventures with a tether
the horse plods with a cart
all things emerge together
when things don't fall apart

for David Hykes

Sunset Park Redux   [gatha]

Back with cigar   in the car in the park again
back with a gig   in the firm in the town of charm
back in the game   of the heart & the hands & brain
back in the effort   of doing more good than harm

the game of the heart & the hands:
  alluding to a Sufi saying, "Heart with God, hands for work."

"Quietude"   [gatha]

In Sunset Park toward sundown water splashing
the fountain is a feature of the pool
cars roundabout make noises with their dashing
yet here the quasi-quietude grows cool

July 11, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

“antiquity’s game” [shi]

Fresh seaweed salad   & organic green tea
        while sweet old rock’n’roll   is playing
plug in the laptop   & return to the glee
        of antiquity’s game   just saying
chess is a pastime   bringing comfort to me
        in nocturnal cool hours   the fraying
webs of ambition   having worn out   thus free
        is the movement of pawns   like praying?

"prayer flags" [gatha]

A man in a car in half-lotus   mid-morning
                                        in a parking lot
a window descends to half-mast   as the season
                                        is becoming hot
the din of a saw in near-distance   the cawing
                                        of a crow above
the yelp of a dog   colored prayer flags bestirred by
                                        a fluttering thought

Sunday, July 17, 2011

silence [gnomic verse]

Sunday sans George sans park
Jesus sans Luke sans Mark
sentences auger chains?
silence dispels the dark

Friday, July 15, 2011

Enigma & variations [gnomic verses]

Is nothing yet a mystery?
is everything now known?
who hides amid our history?
what might we call our own?
where every disappointment
obscures a nascent peace
perchance life's strange anointment
anticipates release

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Neruda's Poser   [couplet]

Neruda's poser brews this guess:
the rose is dressed in nakedness

Responsive to:
Tell me, is the rose naked or is that her only dress?
—Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions (per translation of William O'Daly)

Worlds & Words   [riff]

Within a word are worlds
within a world are words
when reading through the words within the worlds within the words
while living in the worlds within the words within the worlds
I who know the worlds within the words am never worldless
I who know the words within the worlds am rendered wordless
as I reel and I whirl
I am real in my world
I am whirled by the words in the worlds
rendered wordless by the whirldness

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fugitive Sleep [ditty]

And still Sleep only waveth from afar
despite my week-long wakefullness alas
perchance Sleep takes a nap on yonder star?
wake up O Sleep! that I might sleep at last

First line borrowed from Kavita Keswani (FB status)

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Silence Day [ditty + rubai]

Had SMS existed   back in Meher Baba's day
    would he have textèd messages en masse?
Life Circulars & Family Letters slowly made their way
    on Silence Day   who sees time's river pass?

We were nurtured on shi in bygone births   today
we continue to search for poetry this way
on the radio Bach describes the realm we've sought
where does poetry hide?   alas no tongue can say!

A girl with red hair hurries by in a parking lot
another leaves in a red car   while you idly jot
black words on a red mobile phone   in your pocket rests
a pen of red hue   a blue bus passes lost in thought

They're showing a film but instead   you go to the dome
to sit for a spell with your lord   the notion of home
is human   the notion of love is human the same
the ocean is hidden! where hides   the ocean of om?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

In Oak Park [limerick]

In Oak Park   Julie Bass’s front yard
so hospitable   to tomatoes and chard
    holds a singular illustration how
    eco-suitable dedication now
can be beautiful   even when the road’s hard

Riffing on a post, "Does Michelle Obama Know About This?"
See also: "Julie Bass may face jail time for planting vegetables" (Washington Post blog)

Once upon a time [ditty]

Had to Google CalenGoo
only own a less-smart mobile!
in LA or Timbuktu?
CalenGoo is clearly global
for such apps if friends go gaga
pray discreetly tweet a saga
who’s your hero?   tell me who!
some shrewd chap named CalenGoo?

A secondary subject [limerick]

There once was a bright dissertator
whose thesis on hamburgers made her
        acutely aware of
        the alternate dare of
expounding the worth of the tater

Friday, July 8, 2011

21st Century Doctorate [rubai]

To tweet one's dissertation?
'twere sweet an inspiration!
with orals via Skype
win Ph.Digitation

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sunyata [rubai]

Red & blue on green
lyrical the scene
camera clicked by camera
space is in between

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ek Doppelgänger Nouveau [ditty]

When an also-ran poet
meets a has-been starlet:
"Been there done that?"   "You know it!"
"Sambar secret?"   "Garlic!"

For Akira Yamashita & Gopalakrishna Damodar

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Not all roads" [boomerang poem]

Not all roads lead to Rome
only the road one uses
not every house is home
only the house one chooses

having superb excuses
heaven itself my dome
this thought my brain produces
not all roads lead to Rome

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

13 Ways of Looking at Happy Birthday [song]

Happy Birthday to you
life though fleet -- you're not through
even if time's an illusion
there is a lot here to do!

Happy birthday to thou
there is no time like now
may your days pass in wonder
at the great cosmic wow

Happy birthday my friend
heed the prayer I have penned
filled with thanks for life’s blessings
may your joy find no end

Happy birthday old chum
lest you deem our song dumb
we’ve a few humble presents
may they not prove ho-hum

Happy birthday you nerd
do you feel life’s absurd?
from philosophy’s vantage
what is gold? what is turd?

Happy birthday young dreamer
we’re aware you’re a schemer
when time’s joke is discovered
we heartell it’s a screamer

Happy birthday old-timer
are you a social climber?
in society’s structure
is there room for a rhymer?

Happy birthday mine sweet
this is not Easy Street
amid struggle we’ll snuggle
can’t you hear my heartbeat?

Happy birthday ascetic
am I being poetic
when I offer you cookies
claiming they’re dietetic?

Happy birthday great Om
you're all life’s hidden loam
every day is your birthday
every heart is your home

Happy birthday Nirvana
I will meet you mañana
in the meanwhile I’m going
to enjoy a warm sauna

Happy birthday little baby
do we love you? more than maybe
in the playground of existence
may delightful all your play be

Happy birthday impersonal city
you are exciting but it’s a pity
I’ve not more friends in your goodly precinct
who recognize when I’m being witty

Saturday, June 25, 2011

seen & hidden [gnomic verse]

In car beside Sunset Park
(end of day end of week end of season)
the sun is yet seen   the dark
being hidden behind every reason

"in the Gehry cocoon" [ditty]

O Zakir’s due to visit the Disney next spring
tabla-wizard in the Gehry cocoon
been wandering the globe pondering everything
what should one make of the sun & the moon?

Photo of Zakir Hussain (borrowed w/ thanks) from The Times of India

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coexistence   [gnomic verse]

Planted lemongrass & basil   within the same tub
a felicitous cohabitation   I would opine
both are valued for preparing   meriting-fame grub
to be ladled up preferably   with wonderful wine

"the moon on a stick" [song]

I want the moon on a stick
‎& the sun on a string
I want eternity quick
like an infinite sting

I want to fly in the swing
where the sky has grown thick
with cool cosmic bling-bling
I want the moon on a stick

Note: the first & final lines of the song are borrowed from Marc o'Guiotto (Facebook status update)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"calibration" [rubai]

If one were guaranteed a   conversation
having a scintilla of   scintillation
mightn't this (arguably)   beg the question
how does one deal with such fine   calibration?

"can you explain?" [song]

This photo was taken the year I took birth
in Washington (where I would later reside)
things happen by happenstance here on the Earth
where rivers are lengthy & ocean are wide

what makes the man smile?   & can you explain
how little true knowledge   gets held in my brain?

Monday, June 20, 2011

"in a parking place"   [gatha]

To sit in my car & meditate   even in sunlight
in a parking place   off of Ocean Park   is a pleasure
few have grasped your ocean's infinity!   with the one light
always hidden away   who can discover that treasure?


Ocean Park: i.e., Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, California

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Old Rover's Lapidation [news / ditty]

To expire by lapidation --
this a dog's life would be truly
even canine reincarnation
seems to stretch things out unduly

if the court that cursed its critic
to incarnate as Old Rover
were entangled with a tzaddik
did they think the story over?

Responsive to: Jewish court sentences dog to death by stoning (Agence France-Presse report)

Friday, June 17, 2011

"suddenly" [limerick]

A brilliant sitarist from Kyōto
long practicing his zazen per Sōtō
    quite suddenly discovered
    reality uncovered
was nothing else but fiction in toto

For Akira Yamashita [a persona in virtual reality]

Metaphysical thoughts on Melrose Avenue [boomerang poem]

The world is but a bubble in the mind
though mind may seem a bubble in the world
as mystery gives rise to humankind
humanity in mystery is curled

we come & go as destiny decrees
“what makes us laugh & weep?” inquire the blind
though all have eyes how rare the man that sees
the world is but a bubble in the mind

"When Anjan Ray reaches L.A." [twain couplets / Hinglish ditty]

When Anjan Ray reaches L.A.
will he have bilkul lots to say?
Los Angeles awaits his visit
with anticipation is it?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Total lunar eclipse!" [twain couplets]

‎Total lunar eclipse!
(total lunatic quips)
Moon's a grape in the sky!
No escaping it!   Try!

image borrowed from photos-lunar-eclipse (Toronto Sun)

“Fortune cookie” [boomerang poem]

If you don’t program yourself
life will program you

if you’d just program your elf
little left to do!

fortune cookie knew
you’ve got no talent for pelf?

life will program you
if you don’t program yourself


Verse’s 1st couplet lifted from cookie text.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"dark matter"   [ditty]

If chocolate's truly dark matter
while matter per se's espresso
what brews on the cosmic platter?
a mochaccino?   I guess so!

Verse occasioned by an observation of Rachel Dacus's, viz.:
"The definitive answer has been reached: there is not enough chocolate in the known universe ... but I do think we should take another look at that dark matter."

eye and I (enigma & variations)   [rubai]

With flowers in bloom   the season grows bright & cheery
dispelling your gloom   no matter the body's weary
we sleep & we dream   & wake to the world anew
yet "I" can't perceive itself!   the eye grows bleary

written in Sunset Park (June 13, 2011)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

where's Nirvana?   [gnomic verse]

Chinese dal   Manchurian gobi
this world's all   the work of a dhobi
round & round & round it goes
where's Nirvana?   nobody knows

For Salil Tripathi

Ditty for Murthy-san

He is like this only
or as Uncle Elvis
quoth only the lonely
all are but themselves

"hackers" [boomerang poem]

Pro-Palin hackers seek revenge
by targeting Twitter tit for tat
the newsline brews a tawny tinge
electro-cyber-hacker spat
you barely glimpse the Cheshire cat
there’s little left except the grins
while phishermen are getting phat
pro-Palin hackers seek revenge

Riffing on this: Pro-Palin Vandals Hack Twitter in Revenge for Email Release

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Born to dance" [boomerang poem]

Born to dance & prone to prance?
even though you're not in France?
loving every happenstance?
isn't this a fine romance?
choosing to embrace all chance?
glee suffusing face & glance?
every whither shows a whence?
born to dance & prone to prance

For Robin Bisio

"I'm a Facebook Database Scientist" [ditty]

I'm a Facebook Database Scientist
                          & I mind my Ps & Qs
I've a zillion on my client list
                          & I pay my union dues
every link you click   every page you pick
                          all becomes my grist-for-mill
I can analyze   lurking in your eyes
                          every wisp of whim or will
If you like a thing   I can feel the sting
                          on an unliked page obscure
when you tag a photo   I see & know
                          if indeed your thoughts are pure
I watch viral waves of happiness spread
                          I track epidemic blues
I'm a Facebook Database Scientist
                          & I mind my Ps & Qs

Riffing (perhaps somewhat after Gilbert & Sullivan) on a news report, Facebook spreads emotions among friends (San Jose
["Facebook data scientist" (that unintentionally-amusing phrase in the article) edited to "Facebook Database Scientist" (in the poem) for sake of cadence]

Friday, June 10, 2011

RIP M.F. Hussain   [rubai]

Death remedies many an ill
more surely than any a pill
one garners profound admiration
no sooner the body is still

With hearty hat-tips to the prolific (and at times controversial) Indian artist
Maqbool Fida Husain (September 17, 1915 – June 9, 2011)

See also M.F. Hussain's website (source of the above image)

Ode to the purses of yesteryear   [boomerang poem]

Lost years nestle down in their corners
and hide in inreachable deeps
a crypt without stone & no mourners
Pandora on purse-strappage sleeps

has history patterns & sweeps?
have stockings more holes than we’ve darners?
are poems concealed in their heaps?
lost years nestle down in their corners

For Rachel Dacus
[riffing on her Facebook ruminations]

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"comfort zone"   [boomerang poem]

Light rain   for meditation sit in car
beside the charming park you call your own
the office resting down the road not far
texting a poem first on mobile phone

when with a job you're in a comfort zone
organic food & this not-bad cigar
the infobahn suggests you're not alone?
light rain   for meditation sit in car

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

signs & clues   [boomerang poem]

I sit in my car after work   & text these lines
in summer in Beverly Hills   azure's profuse
the bevy of palm trees make   tropical signs
the swirls of cigar smoke limn   adumbral clues

my keypad's not likely to bring you   breaking news
my brain isn't prone to afford you   mystic wines
to file my report in the midst of   greens & blues
I sit in my car after work   & text these lines

Monday, June 6, 2011

"To like or not to like" riff   [ditty]

To like or not to like that is the question
whether 'tis terser (in the ways of netizens)
to click against a sea of implication
or comment (for more full illumination)

who like to "like" withal more like suggestion
to like or not to like that is the question

Riffing on Ron Silliman's FB status update, viz.:
<< The crudeness of Facebook: that one would "like" a note of a poet's passing, even if they were in their 90s & died of Alzheimers >>

Bangalore riff   [ditty]

We glisten in Bangalore
    sweat in Chennai
we listen in Mangalore
    in Mysore sigh

in Pondy we're rarely despondent
in Delhi our doubts are abundant

Riffing on Sruthi Krishnan's Facebook status update, viz.:
"Me to friend in Chennai: We glisten in Bangalore. Never sweat."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"no duty but beauty"   [boomerang poem]

no duty but beauty
our chore? to adore
our task is to ask
what is questioning for?
who'll pillage pure time
and extract hidden booty?
what reason has rhyme?
no duty but beauty

[Verse riffing on Silvia Nakkach’s "favorite quotation"]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"the stars I pocketed"   [song]

I should've brought sun home with me
I ought've packed moon in my tote
the stars I pocketed would be
considerably less remote
    at least I've got rain in my shoes
    & clouds enough to croon the blues

I might've stashed yon sylvan stream
within my knapsack just for you
I could've pocketed pure dream
commingled with crystaline dew
    at least I've lodged truth in my cap
    with oceans' fantasy on tap

"maybe October"   [boomerang poem]

If not May   well maybe October
      I'll meet you 'round the bend
if not sauced   well maybe I'm sober
      the world is sure to end

      to greet the timeless Friend
I & thou (as quoth Martin Buber)
      apolcalypse-ward wend
if not May   well maybe October

Responsive to article An Autumn Date for the Apocalypse (New York Times)

"the Picasso cure"   [boomerang poem]

I tried the Picasso cure
I joined the Monet religion
I loved the Cézanne philosophy
yet all of these lacked precision

I browsed the DaVinci code
I crooned the Brancusi ode
when everything seemed a'blur
I tried the Picasso cure

Responsive to article Can a Picasso Cure You? (New York Times)
image:   Pablo Picasso, Woman With a Flower (1932)

Monday, May 23, 2011

"already Wikipedia'd"   [ditty]

While already Wikipedia'd
and now otherwise largely forgotten
the Rapture if multimedia'd
would a myriad clicks have begotten

[click on image, for full view of associated photograph]
Source -- vide: Judgement Day 21 May 2011 [Wikipedia]

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"One day before the world ends"   [villanelle]

One day before the world ends
I celebrate my birth
as noted by Facebook friends

is there scope to make amends
this season on the Earth
one day before the world ends?

might backwaters' arcane blends
hold universal worth
as noted by Facebook friends?

the well-adjusted branch bends
may we now sway with mirth
one day before the world ends?

before the high thought descends
heart finds a time of dearth
as noted by Facebook friends

whatever heaven forfends
escapes the faithful Tirth
one day before the world ends
as noted by Facebook friends

Tirth [Hindi]: Pilgrim

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rapture   [rubai / ditty]

The news has been slow to reach me
when Rapturites go who'll teach me?
let's download the iPhone app now
HeavenGPS is chichi

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fortune Cookie (After Hafez)

  | The universe and its activity | all naught into naught comprise |
  | a myriad times I've the veracity | of this proved with mine own eyes |

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

philosophical inquiry   [ditty]

When make it new grows old
might make it old grow new?
where piping hot gets cold
a microwave might do?

with mediocrity
as occult destination
should laws of enthalpy
eclipse imagination?

for Ron Silliman

"a mute amen"   [boomerang poem]

The birds still cry   the leafage still grows green
no matter what transpires   in realms of men
the taste of my cigar   remains yet keen
the sounds of passing cars   yet in my ken

I jot these lines   by mobile not with pen
whether I write   with brain or heart or spleen
the letters constitute   a mute amen
the birds still cry   the leafage still grows green

Elves & Selves   [rubai / ditty]

What oodles of elves
all stacked on the shelves!
O such is the plight
of Gemini selves

one elf all alone
forever is known!
O such is the luck
the Taureans own

"dim stars"   [rubai]

The moon was shining bright
but now the sun's bright light
dims cool nocturnal views
dim stars no more in sight

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"are there lands?"   [gatha]

The music of Bach takes us back to a wordless joy
the music of Chopin describes a poetic thought
are there lands beyond time's great sea? who'll exclaim Ahoy?
are there answers inside the questions? or are there not!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

questions   [gatha]

Must the days pass thus in struggle & confusion?
is there nothing real behind the play of seeming?
is my scope of observation mere illusion?
is there life beyond this realm of idle dreaming?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mysteries of Liking   [rubai]

A friend’s Facebook newsfeed allows she “likes” Melanoma
for cross-comment I went to interview twain gentlemen of Verona
quoth the one: “She likes the page, not the thing itself! duh!”
quoth the other: “’Tis a typo! Meseems she meant Café Roma!”

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Scope"   [rubai]

May I always be open to you
I have no other hope   only you
the day's hubbub when hushing at dusk
let me quietly scope into you

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Solar Energy   [Limerick]

The color of sunlight though gold
its value proves green so I’m told
wide use would save money (as bees would store honey)
till Eden-on-Earth might unfold

A limerick "written to order" (so to say), per request of 1 Block off the Grid.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"till cool nightfall"   [villanelle]

The work-week draws to a close
with the radio's violin
time's river seemingly flows

its origin no one knows?
tell me how did it all begin!
the work-week draws to a close

a semblance of order grows
if you're sitting with with thumb on chin
time's river seemingly flows

should poets mention the rose
would an answer open up then?
the work-week draws to a close

this world is real   we suppose
but what do we contend to win?
time's river seemingly flows

such hubbub yet onward goes
till cool nightfall quiets the din
the work-week draws to a close
time's river seemingly flows

"more vast"   [ditty]

What might M'Angelo say?
the human hand than God's
more vast? well anyway
time evens all such odds

yon ten commandments took
twain tables for to hold 'em
today the whole bless'd book
's downloadable: Mo! scold 'em!

here endeth mine vague riff
(-: hat-tips to Peter Griff :-)

graphics source

Thursday, April 21, 2011

gnomic verse (new math / old math)   [rubai]

Count your smiles   instead of your tears
hug your courage   instead of your fears
tally your blessings   skipping your woes
sum your wisdom   instead of your years


Having seen the first 2 lines as (presumably) a traditional gnomic verse, I modified them slightly [well, substituted the word "hug" for a repetitive "Count"], and then appended the concluding 2 lines, thus transforming couplet into quatrain. (Claim of authorship comes with the above disclaimer.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"what do we know?"   [boomerang poem]

With the changing of the weather   what do we know?
with the turning of the season   how do we feel?
with the soul's obscure migration   where do we go?
with the veil of illusion   who could be real?
with the tale of the spirit   whither the spiel?
with the churning of the ocean   wherefore the tow?
with the ceaseless wheel of karma   what is the deal?
with the changing of the weather   what do we know?

divine twitter   [ditty]

The sweetest tweet
that e'er were twat
than wings more fleet
quoth He "Thou'rt That!"

"everything"   [ditty]

Mordant humor's dark appeal
life where is thy sting?
all false treasure death will steal!
(so-called "everything")

Responsive to this joke:
Doctor to patient:   "I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thirty-three chairs for Ai   [ditty]

Thirty-three chairs for Ai
at the Consulate in L.A.
silent furniture's cry
one might see this on the telly

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Stop Stoppard"   [ditty]

Stop Stoppard from falling
beck Beckett to rise
art thou (Artaud) calling?
it's not a surprise

for Ariel McClanahan Watson

Saturday, April 16, 2011

meditation   [boomerang poem]

The minutes & the hours slowly pass
long years & decades fade without a trace
my thatch mat daily rolls out on the grass
my soul enamored of your silent face
whether as hare or turtle in time's race
or stone-faced buddha sitting on his ass
we seek the moving lilt of Meher's grace
the minutes & the hours slowly pass

"terse lightning"   [gnomic verse]

Terse lightning or loquacious rain?
each gesture of apt duration
a nanosec flash of joy or pain
a season of implication

"The Girl with Tousled Hair"   [rubai / ditty]

The Girl with Tousled Hair
(sublimity to spare)
within a zone where beauty
approaches silent prayer

with hat-tips to Parabola

"The car-sounds mimic the sea"   [boomerang poem]

The car-sounds mimic the sea
the moon is amid the sky
when pining to become free
the heart can do naught but sigh

the world with its muffled cry
is endeavoring to be
a mirror echoing why
the car-sounds mimic the sea

Thursday, April 14, 2011

mountain & cloud   [boomerang poem / ditty]

Mountain & cloud
granite & snow
scene who may know?

blanket of blue
rare is thy view
absent of crowd
mountain & cloud

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Morning beside the park"   [boomerang poem]

Morning beside the park
though overcast no rain
crying of skybirds hark
though nearly broke no pain

build a life once again?
love flows from sources dark
what would the soul attain?
morning beside the park

"a life-long poem"   [gnomic verse]

An eight-minute-long poem
might be dashed off in a morning
while a morning-long poem
could be labored out in a day
what of a day-long poem?
if composed (not without warning)
would it beg a life-long poem
to express some eternal say?

for Rachel Dacus

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Asturias"   [boomerang poem]

Sharon Isbin's Asturias
the radio peels as you park
in morning sun   still curious
how the world plays at light & dark?
having come now to Sunset Park
don't say love is injurious
meditation can make what mark?
Sharon Isbin's Asturas

vide: Asturias [YouTube]

Thursday, March 31, 2011

ek pistachio limerick

Not so easy to rhyme with   pistachio
unless I recollect my   mustachio
      should the fire burn bright
      how ingenious seems light
what's remaining come daybreak?   so ashy O

For Rachel Dacus

Friday, March 25, 2011

"there there"   [gnomic verse]

The World's Fair was kind of a County Fair
  the Awakener's message was silent
wherever you went you would find there there
  none's the woman nor man who's an island

For Tony Paterniti

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Facebook Status Update   [shi / rubai]

Dusk nigh I type a line or two   sitting in my car
yon sky as yet a whitish blue   puffing my cigar
at Sunset Park beside the road   silent palmtrees stand
thoughts dangle as the dark descends   friends remain afar

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"the fly on the wall" [ditty]

if the root of the roof is the ground
if the fruit of the roof is the sky
if the boot of the roof is profound
is there room 'neath the roof for the fly?

the fly on the wall 'neath the roof
is watching the sleeper, aloof


for Aditi Machado

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"So cushioned by your mercy" [villanelle]

So cushioned by your mercy   we go on
enjoying fate's bewildering charades
night's darkness dimly auguring the dawn

the curtains drift   albeit rarely drawn
sheer kindness every molecule pervades
so cushioned by your mercy   we go on

what hook appears   to hang the heart upon?
who engineers   such florid escapades?
night's darkness dimly auguring the dawn

aface the pool   espy the verdant lawn
till pixels shift   (who programs all these fades?)
as cushioned by your mercy   we go on

who'd save the king love sacrifice   O pawn
who'd gain the river gamely weep   O haze
night's darkness dimly auguring the dawn

we ply more pluck than wit?   less brain than brawn?
nor thought nor stride exhaust your glens & glades
so cushioned by your mercy   we go on
night's darkness dimly auguring the dawn

Bee-eater   ant-eater
wood-pecker   starling
heart-beater   soul-cheater
rubber-necker   darling

photo-credit (of green bee-eater, with thanks): Nitoo Das (River)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

cafe verses


President's Day at leisure
public solitude
progress though hard to measure
ample gratitude


after-work cafe
night subsuming day
farsi voices speaking
wot not what they say

many a crumb [ditty]

While the keyboard might endure many a crumb
it's the beverage-spill that'll do-to-death devices
if the touchpad is enured to many a thumb
yet the carrier pigeon oftentimes suffices


for Robyn Moulding

Sunday, February 20, 2011

brancusi & google [ditty]

With brancusi recollected by google
will old google be remembered in sculpture?
free expression's grown generally legal
but can metaphor still generate scripture?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Once I went to sit at Cold Mountain" [shi in translation]

Once I went to sit at Cold Mountain
and lingering remained these 30 years

lately coming to call on friends & kin
more than half had vanished under ground

it gradually fades as does the dying candle
long a'flowing like the passing river

this morning   aface a lonely shadow
unwonted tears twainly dangle down


[Over the years, I've tweaked and polished this translation variously. Here's my latest version. Han Shan (Cold Mountain) is the name of the poet [cira 9th Century AD] as well as the mountain to which he retired for reclusion. His collection comprises around three hundred verses.]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Amartithi postcard

Wifi from a Lebanese cafe   afternoon lunch break
Pi on Sunset the place is called   I have been here before
the universe proffers a wink   but rarely a handshake
anonymous cars passing by   through a wide open door

January 31, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

"more like light" (rubai)

If sound were more like light
would silence equal night?
would accidental clamor
prove infinitely bright?


If light were more like sound
would sunlight so resound
you'd seek sweet quiet shadows
and silence underground?

road rubai: "deep cloud" (9 verses)

Cruising at 75
having survived you're alive
nectar's been gathered down south
bees must return to the hive

With latte & morning’s cigar
rubais are composed in the car
it’s already bright on the road
the miles to go yet are far

Your thumb hits record on the phone
you hear a confirmative tone
fresh words you recite fill the space
when traveling far & alone

the autos & trucks on the road
all bearing humanity’s load
are powered by carbon the sun
transformed with antiquity’s code

With radio lyrics in Spanish
the miles will gradually vanish
with fog on the road growing thick
the heart its obstructions will banish

At Meherabode you first sat
to have with your Lord a soft chat
the wine that the Sufis describe
is stored in the quietest vat

With thick fog befilling the sky
you wonder if rain may be nigh
the pilgrim accepts all conditions
and says Meher Baba ki jai!

A blanket of fog has descended   obscuring the way
the landscape ahead is a prospect   of billowing gray
you move through a cloud though you’re not   on a mountainous road
the lines of the highway describe   how a pilgrim might pray

The fog soon disperses   and gray becomes blue once again
the sun is behind you   the land become new once again
the lesson seems hackneyed and yet   in illusion’s deep cloud
it’s hard to discern   where the false becomes true once again

January 15, 2011 (Interstate Highway 5 heading north through California's central valley)

note on line 1: 75 miles per hour [not 75 years old]

This poem follows from one blogged earlier:   HWY 5 revisited

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HWY 5 revisited

Fixing to hit the road back south anon
efforts to land a job here've not yet gelled
who knows in what far realm life's lines are drawn?
he who the deck of cards has always held

wandering's been my mode by time's decree
where I might land remains unknown to me
stone after stone besteps one seasoned pawn
fixing to hit the road back south anon

January 15, 2011 [early morning, at Meherabode, Los Angeles]

notes (for what worth):
1) Presumably the verb bestep might be a neologism.
2) Generally the rhyme-scheme I've used for a boomerang poem has been either ABAB BABA or else ABAB CACA. But in this instance, I've opted for ABAB CCAA.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"on a bench" [shi]

I sit on a bench in Walnut Creek on Sunday
a tiny bee on a green leaf perches briefly
soon I join the stream of ambling souls who someday
will attain life's nectarean bliss serenely

[a mobile-phone composition]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"cellphone self-portrait" [quatrain]

Snap your cellphone self-portrait at 10:28 pm
after day in the city a'drumming up work on Drumm
& old Market Street (Sarbucks & agencies) wonder when
the itinerant lifestyle may simmer itself down some?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

rubai with apologies to Aadi Shankara

An a cappella zoo
(no instrument in view)
whose denizens declaim
all things are trembling dew

[and w/ additional apologies to the eponymous literary publication]

[gnomic verse] after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you can't fly, run
if you can't run, walk
if you can't walk, crawl
if you can't crawl, talk

if you can't talk, cry
if you can't cry, fly!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

HWY 5 rubai (LA to Walnut Creek)

hitting the north road soon
lighted by stars (no moon)
deep though the dark of night
dawn will array her boon

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Does ubiquity obviate significance?
is air less precious being everywhere?
Operator! get me Jesus on the line
as the song goes -- but who's the operand?


[alternate version]:

Does ubiquity obviate significance?
is the air less meaningful for omnipresence?
Operator! get me Jesus on the line
alas the operand I cannot find!


responsive to this:
"there was a time when a telephone call had meaning and significance."
(as tweeted-to-FB by John P. Matthews)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kabir says

Hope counsels the life-breath:
patience is required!
pearls you can find scott-free
while grain's got a price-tag!


aas kah rahi shwaas se, dheeraj rakhna seekh
bin maange moti mile, maange mile na bheekh

Monday, January 10, 2011

your tweet

your tweet declares you've moved
& chicken curry dined on?
the twitterless reproved
they wot not who've not signed on!

[responsive to Priyanka Joseph]

blank slate

surprised by significant snowfall
arrested by meaningful winds
the blanket of white -- is it awful?
blank slate's where the story begins

[1st line borrowed from FB status msg. of Ariel McClanahan Watson (of Nova Scotia)]

Sunday, January 9, 2011


My writing resolution?
to write a resolution
when the resolution's right
I'll call it good year (good night)

[responsive to the inquiry, "What is your writing resolution for 2011?" (from Places for Writers [via Facebook])]

Sunday, January 2, 2011

one one one-one

Whereas one has run & won
& arrived at one / one / one-one

or around the ambit spun
having dived in one / one / one-one

or has trod & lost in fun
& survived till one / one / one-one

their travail yet far from done
who're alive in one / one / one-one

what with puzzling conun
-dra that thrive in one / one / one-one

(tacitly unsolved & un
-advertzed in one / one / one-one)

spread as thick as jam on bun
by the knives of one / one / one-one

deep discursive inklings com
-ing alive with one / one / one-one

the effect could not but stun
near the hive of one / one / one-one

(myriad bees of being's sun
all derive from one / one / one-one)

would you wait to weigh the ton?
or archive the one / one / one-one?

Raphael behold the hon
-eyèd jive of one / one / one-one

a 1/1/11 invocation

The world begins anew
the day begins afresh

new work awaits to do?
bestow your grace Ganesh!

pinioned within a mesh
betwixt the false & true

inhale happiness!
the world begins anew