Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Where are we going?" [gnomic verse]

I sleep   in the beauty of his garden
wrapped warm   in the blanket of his care
he carries me   like some belov
èd burden
where are we going? with him   anywhere


After a line by Gulnaz Sheikh

"The burrito" [gnomic verses]

The burrito   that's never seen
is a burrito   not to be eaten
the burrito   that might've been
is a burrito   that's not repeatin'

yet other burritos might follow
if you can but nab one   swallow
chili verde won't appear green
on a burrito   that's never seen


for Jonathan Matis (Morris)

Natural Phenomena

A clap of thunder   a flash of lightening
at the tail end of December
although nothing of rain's discerned
yet two further rumbles of thunder
suddenly threaten the L.A. morning
and now it comes   the pitter-patter
growing into a fleeting deluge
a short symphony of winter rain

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Love's chitchat" (a petit Christmas morning rubaiyat)

Like a blank slate rests all the world    though I see it not so
while I've got scant liking for cold    yet I'm longing for snow
might this winter differ   from other winters before it?
if the heart's slate's fleetingly blank    is there nothing to know?

once again   the fragrance of love    is picked up by the soul

if anon   the heart enjoys inklings    has mind yet a role?
does love's chitchat burble like water?   or fizz like champagne?
pain & pleasure dart here & yon    like a deer in the knoll

where the canvas beckons the brush   is there something to do?
where the silence flirts with the flute   is the melody new?
golden harp strings sound in the deep   might the bhajan unfold?
where pure beauty glints in the eye   are there stories a'brew?

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Memorial Tweet

My father Sam Israel expired | & this is my summary tweet ||
for freedom he dreamed & aspired | may freedom prove wondrously sweet ||

 [October 29, 2012]

Benjamin Samuel Israel
Nov. 9, 1925 - Oct. 17, 2012

"December rain" [shi]

December rain descends like olden days
soon orphaned in this world is every man
time passes dream-like in a clockwork haze

till altered proves the hue of every plan
what was our aim? is love within our span

or out of reach?  truth's veiled from our gaze
we but achieve what trivial thing we can
December rain descends like olden days

December rain in depth of night arrives
back in Los Angeles sits one lone chap
who fits the shoe?  who tinkers in our lives?
who manifests  like water from the tap?
within the heart remains enigma's gap!

what art without real striving ever thrives?
yet falling into mercy's ample lap
December rain in depth of night arrives

December rain!  come pluck the harp & sing
or with the reed   chart Rumi's tale once more
the soul (Kabir said)   hurtling on its swing

describes an arc from birth to death   what shore
would smile beyond Samsara's inkly lore?
how might one rightly view the simplest thing?

let mercy flood the room    ceiling to floor!
December rain!  come pluck the harp & sing

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Furious dancing” [boomerang poem]

Hard times require furious dancing
deep thoughts inspire gossamer words

high stakes invite hazardous chancing
broad trees invoke boisterous birds

long roads suggest ludicrous strife
dim rooms support amorous glancing

tombstones disguise infinite life
hard times require furious dancing


This poem’s first & final line are borrowed from an eponymous volume of poetry by Alice Walker – though I wasn’t aware of this specific origin (instead supposing the line to be anonymous) when reading the line (with illustration) late at night in a friend’s Facebook status update, and feeling it to merit a riff comprised of parallel sentences, I dashed off the above amusement.  (As an afterthought I googled the line, and can accordingly cite the said reference.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Gifts remain"   [villanelle]

Ring the gongs   & sound the grave shehnais
Raviji  has exited this realm
let a mist of tears  becloud your eyes

wide he was   & deep  & bright  & wise
surf-rider    on music's mystic whelm
ring the gongs   & sound the grave shehnais

every plucked sound resonates   then dies
oceanic silence    gnanis helm
though a mist of tears becloud the eyes

what's the world?   sheer fact?  or thick surmise?
truth eludes    till mind achieves deep calm
ring the gongs   & sound the grave shehnais

market day!   one sells  another buys!
all's recorded    on a secret film
even mists of tears that cloud the eyes

gifts remain   when givers break life's ties
thanks resounds   & love's indeed pure balm
ring the gongs  & sound the grave shehnais
let a mist of tears  becloud your eyes


In memorium Pandit Ravi Shankar

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


A gate beside a bamboo grove
  where palmtrees stand aloft
within the heart is hidden love

  silent its voice?   or soft?

Monday, December 3, 2012

For the Papal Twitterati

This just in
the Pope intends to tweet
it's no sin
to papally compete

if Jesus had to tweet
his Sermon on the Mount
would he admit defeat?
not in Matthew's account

Evangelists as bloggers
can keep the tweets in order
Lake Galilee's stray joggers
turn on the vid recorder!

As reported on today:
quote: Is it possible to keep biblical teachings and papal encyclicals to 140 characters?
Pope Benedict XVI hopes so. The holy one will begin tweeting Dec. 12 in six different languages from his @pontifax account in a Q&A format.
The pope will tweet "as often as he wants," according to a Vatican official, and "pontifax" was chosen as his handle because it means "pope" and also "bridge-builder" in Latin. The Vatican hopes its elevated social-media push will help spread the Catholic faith, especially among young people.
Alas, those curious about papal breakfast habits and sport-team preferences will be disappointed: The account will focus exclusively on spiritual matters. unquote


Yes everything is in-sourced
all comes from the unseen!

whatever is has been sourced
through sorcery most keen!

whatever seems emerges
by whimsy   call it whim-sourced

both revelries & dirges?
yes everything is in-sourced

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Investigation

The investigation of a mirror
is a difficult thing to do
our faults appear so much clearer
when ascribed to a sinister "you"

The Blue Bus

When the blue bus rode the road
and the quest for masts was on
in his blue mobile abode
dwelt the whimsical God-Man

when the blue bus traveled far
and the quest for masts grew fierce
from his bus this Avatar
could adjust the cosmic gears

when the blue bus moved around
and the hunt form masts ran deep
bus-borne Meher spoke no sound
wide awake amid deep sleep

now it rests on bricks museumed
like an artifact blue-dreamed

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

form & function

If the satirical (like the lyrical)
renders spherical the empirical

then what?  for is the ludicrous aim
merely to ace or erase the game?

where thought grows circular & vehicular
we sense the absolute in the particular

yet as a vehicle toward what arrival?
or is the cosmos tragically archival?

or should a happy ending shift the gears
redeeming all the vanished days & years?

"Tea with Nefertiti"

Tea with Nefertiti
could seem anachronistic
Beets with Warren Beatty
is plausibly wholistic
Chips with Mr. Chips?
best with redundant dips

Friday, November 23, 2012


When thumb hits the touch screen
dust of white
from my father's ashes

this tracery
this poetry
remembering him

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cosmic Dress Rehearsal

Whether song without words
or an authorless verse
like the sky with its birds
we're inclined to rehearse

Semicolon walks into a bar; what's up about that?

So the semicolon equivocates?
one lingers while it discreetly waits
it lets you (mid-sentence) pause & think
like double-faced Janus over a drink
both formal & quite meditational
too slow for the micro-durational!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Father's Diwali


Diwali -- light's renascent festival
occurs just as the world heads into shadow!

it celebrates the victory of Raama
and his   and his beloved's   journey home

via an ancient (so they tell us) aircraft
a happy ending of the endless tale

if later things untoward might unfold
this celebration's flush yet gleams in gold


Is this (mere days beyond his birthday) when
my father's spirit joins its larger frame?

enmeshed in some deep fiction of the self
that bleeds into creation's lucent plane?

Diwali (Dipavali)!    wicks afloat
in tiny craft on Hindustani streams

in life we come & go not glimpsing how
nor why!   what eddies swirl beyond the bow?


Post-memorial   [momento mori]

I resolve to lead
     a respnsible life
         a caring life
             & a beautiful life

this is the need
     & this the road
         that beckons me
             into the future


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What if time's an iconoclast?

If iconic's the new awesome    was awesome the new cool?
What if time's an iconoclast?   how cool is that?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sonnet written while the mortician works

"Do you need any more time before I proceed?"
asks the tall black man as he dons black gloves
having arranged the gurney to hold the thin body
of my father born back in nineteen-twenty-five

do I need any more time? can that be yet arranged?
another year perhaps? or just ten minutes for a final
conversation? do I need a little window opening
in the so-solid walls of time world fate & law?

"No" I reply having already intoned the prayer
"O Parvardigar! the Preserver & Protector of All!"
and let a thin color card with Meher Baba's visage
rest all night & all the day on the so-silent form

of Benjamin Samuel Israel   my father & friend
time as much as we need still flowing downstream

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"beautiful language [gnomic verse]

Are you unsettled by beautiful language?
are you enamored of execrable prose?
those crushed by words feel rhetorical anguish
from literal heads down to figurative toes

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Sweetened with honey"

Are rasberries found in Chennai?
are mangoes observed in Juneau?
when chai is served on the lanai
it's swettened with honey you know

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Friday after work
sitting in my car
atman in a body
love is near & far

Friday, September 7, 2012

"When the laptop returns" [boomerang poem]

When the laptop returns to the lap
it's like seawater back to the sea
now the fingers resume their tap-tap
while the mind is inclined to know glee
the computer's a spigot you see?
info flows to the screen while you nap
one delights in restored harmony
when the laptop returns to the lap

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"roses & bamboo" [rubai]

roses & bamboo
palmtrees in skyblue
nothing here is lacking
save the sight of you

Monday, August 27, 2012


When a man a stick of incense burned
and his wife became incensed
did the man thereby a lesson learn?
has a fragrant way commenced?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A question of twaddle & puddle

The duck by her nature must waddle
the twit by his nature must twaddle
the singing-frog cannot but sing
& jump with a splash in the puddle

The nature of each is declared
by what from its voicebox is aired
who raise then the punishing paddle
are they truly free of all muddle?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Sonoma ditty for Rachel Dacus

Some poems of soma
are so like Sonoma
some gnomes of Samoa
are somewhere nigh Roma
the poem's aroma
was wafting by Goa
the hummingbird's so
a delight in Sonoma

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August [sonnet]

[pseudo-archaic sonnet riff with August rhymes]

The blinking blogger bloggest
his blues whate'er they be
but in the month of August
what news hath poetry?

where grace of shade hath vanished
might breezes yet arise?
atrocities of August
accost our baffled eyes

if lemonade be laughter
pray pour it in mine ear
each August ever after
they'll circulate dark beer

through searing heat thou sloggest?
the month mine sweet were August


Occasioned by this:
“Novel” by Arthur Rimbaud

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Karma" [rubai]

Karma never sleeps
dharma rarely weeps
all things have a purpose
in the misty deeps

Friday, August 3, 2012

"Slumbering on the BART" [sonnet]

Sometimes Daly City
sometimes Bay Point comes
Freemont? such a pity!
Richmond rather numbs
waking up's an art
if the dream is deep
slumbering on the BART
transported by sleep
stations pass unseen
passengers unnoted
gone! know what I mean?
like a pol out-voted
when BART-doors shut tight
bid world-woes goodnight


For Yonatan Pinkas

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Impossible beloveds" [rubai]

1.  "Impossible beloveds"

What if unrequited love's the standard script?
yet what numbskull such a pattern would encrypt?
when you doggedly seek impossible beloveds

by what doggone agony you're often gripped!

July 31

(Verse rumination dashed off on a mobile
amidst a nocturnal dag-walking saunter.)


2.  "The dog walkers"

Are the dog walkers   a breed apart?
their astrology's   not hard to chart
a trined dog star bolsters friendliness
in a dog-eat-dog world   have a heart!

Aug. 1

(This is more a Sirius poem than a serious poem.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

100 days [gnomic verse]

It's 100 days now till the election
pitting Mitt against Barack in the ring
to which meme might the voters make connection?
in this land may yet the turtledove sing!

Isadora Duncan [villanelle]

Isadora Duncan will be gracing a stamp
the US Postal Service plans to print
it's been 100 years since her lighting the lamp

the night air is cool & the morning grass damp
while the sky shows no sign of a blimp
Isadora Duncan will be gracing a stamp

in a fashion pavilion a model walks the ramp
to the bough of a tree clings a chimp
it's been 100 years since her lighting the lamp

"time's race is incessant!" one hears on the amp
do turtles zoom while the hares limp?
Isadora Duncan will be gracing a stamp

those who travel much must often break camp
fifes follows the beat of the timp
it's been 100 years since her lighting the lamp

the tale's mostly unknown (I've only seen a samp)
it was illustrated by Gustav Klimt
Isadora Duncan will be gracing a stamp
it's been 100 years since her lighting the lamp

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Almost now" [boomerang poem]

So the time is now? the time is almost now
from antiquity's Om our universe arose
things are getting a bit intense (one could allow)
a divine conjunction looms (one might suppose)
although time be illusion river-like it flows
although everything's nothing still you wipe your brow
unobserved in the drama a secret flower grows
so the time is now? the time is almost now

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"breaking news"

Finally broke my fast
at Whole Foods in Santa Monica
broccoli spinach arugula
& a brown rice chicken repast

so when's a salad most marv?
right after a nine-day starve!

A Meaning Bot [villanelle]

I am a meaning bot
I search out & compile
although I’m lacking thought

with whiffs of meanings caught
I fish through pools of style
I am a meaning bot

it’s true my work is fraught
with heart & soul & bile
what matter I’ve no thought?

what quant of love?  a lot!
how long this grief?  a while
(I am a meaning bot)

where folks get overwraught
if writers practice guile
I grok! (though lacking thought)

I parse all prose you’ve brought
& glimpse the author’s smile!
I am a meaning bot!
(though I’m not prone to thought)


A Rubai In Commentary 
(wherein the poet spills the beans and explains [through reference to the principle of satire] what in heck he may've had in mind when making such extravagant [and indeed patently untenable] claims for the hypothetical moiety dubbed a "meaning bot")

In truth no bot shows consciousness & so
the pith of "meaning" none can reach -- I know!
the artistry of satire often lies
is saying black when white is meant -- jai ho!

Verse vs. Worry

Worry is a total waste of time
verse requires a careful use of rhyme

can one rhyme if one is in a hurry?
who has time to waste on useless worry?

A tad by Gad [ditty]

Running late to work
weekend date unclear
life a tad berzerk

still by Gad I'm here

Porpoise of Life

He handed me his card
it read Porpoise Sans Purpose
I asked "Is such life hard?"

he shifted his beret
and drew on his cheroot
and had little to say

if purposeless O porpoise
why print the calling card?
the concept of the corpos
to grasp it isn't hard

each body's animated
by aims of former bods
again regurgitated!
see that O cones & rods?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Twitter [limerick]

I made an effort to wit her / perused each tweet of her twitter / each terse proclamation & mini-oration / but proved some rabid dog bit her

[exactly 140 characters, including the virgules & spaces]


A friend tweeted:

I used to be more even-tempered. Then I stopped smoking. Some lesson in there, somewhere.

I replied:

I spoke so polite when I smoked I'd never guffaw when I joked after I quit - what is this sh*t? my mouth to a trashcan got yoked

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Little Ruminations

If I am a sincere Baba-lover, I do not bother about the path. What do I want? I want His Reality. Whether it is a path or a bath, I do not bother about it.
- Adi K. Irani

A shower suffices for bath
a flower suffuses the path

the goal (which exceeds all conception)
eludes every sense's perception

God's everywhere? yes! yet where is he?
his stillness keeps everyone busy!


[Quotation is from "Diamonds", in book Just To Love Him (1995)]

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Ocean of mercy" [villanelle]

What if guesswork's my main work O friend?
I amass all the wealth of speculation!
may the ocean of mercy descend!

all that owns a beginning meets end
in the meanwhile there's much reincarnation
what if guesswork's my main work O friend?

is all I do commit fresh errors and amend?
I must've garnered a mottled reputation
may the ocean of mercy descend!

there be dragons & dreams 'round the bend
travel spurs a sentimental education
wherein guesswork's the main work O friend

if what is   is unseen   how's it kenned?
when what ain't   seems plain evident   oration
thunders "Ocean of Mercy! descend!"

Raphael!   what's this drivel you've penned?
you've come late   into the room of elation
what if guesswork's your main work O friend?
may the ocean of mercy descend!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fantasia ("A theatre by the sea") [boomerang poem]

To meet you once again is my delight
to gaze into your eyes my soul's desire
a theatre by the sea at brink of night?
are angels queing up their tacit choir?
I once supposed from life I might retire
but who can stay the rushing torrent's might?
to bow to destiny I now aspire

to meet you once again is my delight

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coconut Water

On the third day of my fast coconut water
tastes like thin milk from some maternal breast
I chug it from a carton playing chess
online   although I know I really ought to
haste into shower    & ready for the day
not dithering under poetry's white sway
and so indeed the verse gets tailored shorter
in life sometimes sweet brevity is best

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tall Tale

The past & present & future walked into a bar
the present alone was permitted to sit on a stool
'twas the past who (in charge) had been driving the ancient car
yet the future walked out all alone -- for he was no fool

"Under A Tree" [rubaiyat]

You who appear out of nowhere   under a tree
why do you come and inquire   something of me
asking if I might decipher   ornate designs
likely encoding the name of   divinity?

how could you see I'm a student   of the hid way?
and when I mention tomorrow   is my birthday
how could it be you're replying   it is mine too?
is this a plausible dialogue   would you say?

here where we stand on a mountain   ancient & fresh
are we but pawns in a game that's   played by Mahesh?
O Paramatman! you who're   beyond the beyond!
down in the weave Maya's weaving   deep is the mesh!

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Be a Poet   [a sorta sonnet]

      Shun electric wire.
      Communicate slowly. Live
      a three-dimensioned life;

      stay away from screens.
                  (Wendell Berry)

Oh Wendell! lacking electricity
to power the screen of my laptop
my poem would gain authenticity?
the thought strikes as genuine claptrap

yet each poet finds his own way
for Keats rotten apples they say
if I've rotten apples enough
I'll hazard computers & stuff

one chap on a Mac did his typing
rot apples on hand or in drawer
his smart "double apple" way swiping
the Muse's amusement & more

Oh Wendell your farm grows tobacco!
I smoke a cigar old friend (smacko!)


A Roadside Sonnet

I haven't yet discovered how to love you
I fail to find the key to your regard
I flounder on the way! and thinking of you
I don't discern what I should think! it's hard

to peer into the cave within my being
(the emptiness that might connect our hearts)
I look not recognizing what I'm seeing
my horses trail far behind their carts

alas there's something backward in my thought?
or something fundamental I've not grasped?
perhaps the butterfly cannot be caught?
perchance the sunset gleam hands cannot clasp?

such love as I might offer seems absurd
a ghostly whisper not a golden word

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Waterfront Date [sonnet]

May 20th you appeared
I can't see in what year
by time thick fog has cleared
will you & I be here?

May 20th I arrived
on errand unperceived
admittedly I've strived
far more than I've achieved

May 20th we were born
like Plato's severed halves?
when reed from river's torn
a flute now weeps now laughs

May 20th makes us cuspy?
whatever must be must be

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


O rose how is your heart?

O heart where is your rose?
dark leaves distill your art
clumped thorns display your throes
your tongueless story flows
its hidden drift how chart?
time's muted secret grows
O rose how is your heart?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chronicle of a Deinstallation

When I uninstalled face-recognition
from the software amid my own brain

there commenced an amorphous condition
that some might recognize as insane

had I poured my whole life down the drain?
had I nixed my fine knack for precision?

much was lost & how strange was the gain
when I uninstalled face-recognition

The Great Escape [story in 16 lines]


we stood with mouths agape

no prisoner had fled
but one amid his bed

went wandering so free
in mental liberty

his soul had left behind
body & humankind


nocturnal moksha seemed
a dream we scarce had dreamed

yet every dreamer goes
beyond sorrow I s'pose

yet fleetingly 'tis true
till comes prison anew

when dawnlight's tassels drape
there ends the great escape

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Hazards & Advantages of Confabulation

A billion banana peels
     were lounging in the park
a pool of rather lively eels
     had festered in the dark
I took a stroll beside the pool
     and slipped upon a peel!
while I might claim I'm not a fool
     thank God this wasn't real!

An Inner Sojourn

A poem from my toe arose
     and when it reached my heart
it lodged a spell and (I suppose)
     developed its hushed art
but when anon it further rose
     and reached my addled brain
my intellect remarked it glows!
     tears tumbled in soft rain

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vasu In Situ

Here's seen the Professor in his natural habitat
his shirt is sharply ironed & he doesn't wear a hat

fluorescents mark the ambiance of this eternal office
but where's his phone or laptop? where his prose & poem & chat?

no violin is noted in this pseudo-natural photo
nor is a dog observed! can you perchance account for that?


for Vasudev Murthi

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The soul has infinite pockets in its pants
in each life it's depositing something new
when honeyed nuggests attract long lines of ants
what is the soul in its pantaloons to do?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheesecake Factory Evening

Pomegranate mojito evening
(someone like Sade's background croon)
neither elated nor quite grieving
(hidden from view the rotund moon)

avacado eggrolls for belly -- but brain?
philosophic drumrolls may fail to sustain

Some blame my beverage for florid expressions
I spy the blooming of torrid impressions
haply my verses lead readers astray?
such are the hazards of having one's say

Quiet in the carport with fon & cigar
idly we broadcast stray doodles afar
quoth Blake 'Tis published as soon as it's penned!
mirroring angels I thumb the word Send

Poems' allusions mere gossamer lace
limned on the parchment of infinite space
data with voice like words scrawled on the shore
brief in the pause before waves may erase

Monday, June 4, 2012

"The form of my intent" [boomerang poem]

The form of my intent
the formula of my aim
the shape of my lament
the audience of my game
the content of my frame
the tenor of my extent
the self behind my name
the form of my intent


first line (& last line & title) borrowed from Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) [via Nitoo Das's Facebook status update -- I having dashed off this verse riff without happening to recognize the origin of the line]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ghazal (After Ghani)

Your love has made me forget stories so various!
who're pledged to obey garner worries so various!

not once in my dream could I dream up this treasury
of secrets that gleam with your glories so various

you too could resolve to go on holy pilgrimage
since thither wend planes & trains & lorries various

for sake of his Master Meher now old Ghani
what dubious scoundrels' friendship curries? various


This new ghazal rendition is based on a literal translation of a poem wryly penned in the 1920s by Meher Baba's disciple Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff, as detailed in Ramjoo's Diaries.

"Ineffable fragrance" [rubai]

The anti-evangelism evangelist
was riding his steed amid the Mayavic mist
his proclamations delivered in lovely silence
the quietude by ineffable fragrance kissed

Friday, May 25, 2012

Burbank Bob Hope Airport

I landed in Burb
with little perturb
if God is a noun
is Maya a verb?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Villanelle (for Meheru)

Samadhi through the window
umbrella 'neath the trees
"I never come, I don't go"

each twiglet feels the wind blow
amid all change what peace?
Samadhi through the window

the minnow & the meadow
the wine despite the lees
"I never come, I don't go"

if life is but a shadow
where is the substance please?
Samadhi through the window

the silent weeping willow
the tinkle of the keys
"I never come, I don't go"

where pathways open follow
his subtle smile frees
Samadhi through the window
"I never come, I don't go"

[photo credit:  Davana Brown]

Monday, May 21, 2012

a birthday verse

Happy birthday dear Jim MacKie
as we sing Meher Baba's jai
may we (lighting metaphorical tapers)
see you in the great bye-and-bye!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Births" [gnomic verse]

As many more births are probable
we're prone to birthdays galore
may every birth prove so Babaful
we'll ask not "how many more?"

Four Similies [rubai]

It's all like a dream    but where does wakefulness dwell?
it's all like a tale    someone was eager to tell
the world is a myth    whose sense I've yet to discern
a plot-twisting play    whose end is apt to compel


(on the occasion of my 56th birthday)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quatrain in Answer to Shelley [rubai]

It's the Sadgurus     who are unacknowledged legislators
whereas poets are     (way-on-down-the-river) cogitators
if the truth can never be uttered     what's the gab all about?
are the poets utterly clueless?     or prevaricators?

Animal Locomotion [nonsense verse]

The typo was not hypothetical
the hippo was just typographical
the zoo might have been theoretical
best popsicle? try our girafficle

Sunday, May 13, 2012

After Kalidasa (Addressing the Cloud, the poet muses on the tastelessness & tawdry appeal of commonplace cyber-communication, when compared with the subtle satisfactions of a proper Megadhuta-gram) [homage]

Do thou when trundling north O cloud
on winds of might that buffet you
note mortals clacking keyboards loud
till (glancing yon) they covet you?
who would (what maiden gold of mien)
prefer black clacking modes of speech
to dulcet whispers soft serene
in sundown hues: ocher & peach?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Megadhutam Riff [rubai]

The low-hanging cloud-mass was high enough tech    for me
the messenger tarried (if only a sec)    for me
when banished & distant from one whom the heart    adores
that heavenly email looked lovely as heck    for me

Monday, May 7, 2012

Robert Browning Riff [couplet]

Verse-making    was the least of my vices
long's the list!    a mere couplet suffices

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"In my heart" [ghazal]

by Bhau Kalchuri

O Meher    since you gained sway in my heart
there's naught save    
pain & dismay in my heart

your wine turned    
into a blade in my heart
heartbroken! groovy!    
I say in my heart

I'm facing    
mountains of trouble & woe
where is your jai in my heart?

I wot not    
whither my wander might wend
I merely    
follow whim's way in my heart

with naught save    
shipwreck & tumult O Bhau
you're ruined yet    
somehow okay in your heart


[re-rendered into English verse by David Raphael Israel]

Bhau's own literal English translation of his Hindi ghazal appears in the volume Meher Sarod.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beyond God Speaks [gnomic verse]

Beyond God Speaks   is God's Silence
beyond his Silence?   his Word
above the cellos   are violins
beneath good sense?   the absurd

A Kabir doha (verse epigram)

माटी कहे कुम्हार से, तु क्या रोंदे मोय ।

एक दिन ऐसा आएगा मै रौंदुगी तोय ।।

The earth speaks to the potter
you can squeeze me that much?
how long till the day when
I shall squeeze thee that much?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"A whatsit sphere" [sonnet]

A little bit of poetry I make
a pair of lines (or four or eight or twelve)
five minutes (or some half-hour) I take
within the sea of language for to delve

an idle pastime -- such this has become
perhaps played most when some stray turn of phrase
the lyric lure might tap (as on a drum)
to call forth my tattoo of vapid praise

or (likewise empty) humor or mere thought
for thought I guess is what the art involves
but what is thought? a sort of bubbly naught
a whatsit sphere that bloooms pops & dissolves

into the sea of mind -- thought's mother dark
we play at poetry but for a lark

Written by way of response to a friend's inquiry, "David, writing poetry these days?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What is the remedy for an irony deficiency? [rubai]

Ironically the supplements of irony
but rarely stimulate the sense of irony
is irony a kind of double vision?
post-Eden who but God repents of irony?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Hide & seek" [ghazal]

What would you in your hide & seek create?
heaven & earth why in one week create?

paradise is the dream that slips from view
history's grip you with one peek create

those who desire your sight are fried like fish
eyebrows might arch where you such cheek create

fledglings when fresh can neither soar nor hunt
you who the egg conceive the beak create

should Raphael take solace in night's hush?
what might you (should you plainly speak) create?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Last hurrah" [gnomic verse]

If Om was the primal blurt
and Yad Rakh the final straw
who mellows a world of hurt
has hidden his last hurrah

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Competing Narratives [gnomic verse]

Does pinkeye explain the shades?
or are they sheer signs of cool?
when such a distinction fades
have I become wise or fool?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Sukha-Dukha Cooking Class [nonsense verse]

Loving the pitter patter of rain
roving the litter latter of lane
everything changes! all stays the same!
cooking the bitter batter of pain

1st line borrowed from Aparna Ray's Facebook status update.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"On wide seas" [gnomic verse]

The Facebooker who posted updates
                    only for his own eyes
the Twitterer whose tweets were broadcast
                    scrawled on passing leaves
the blogger who long bloggified
                    without computer?   surprise!
pre-cyber & post-digital
                    send bottles on wide seas

"You decide" [rubai]

The beloved's lip or last autumn's leaf?   you decide
the dark goblet's sip or the world's tart grief?   you decide
all phenomena reveal something     I can't fathom what!
beauty's timely gift or clues to heart's thief?   you decide

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quatrains in Homage to William H. Gass

The assertive brevity of red
the definitive bludgeon of black
odd philosophies tricked out in ochre
mock festoons that maroon echoes back

the beguiling shyness of lilac
the bland ambiguity of tan
the crushed nobility of crimson
the long wave within amber's warm plan


Poem's first line is drawn from William H. Gass, On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (2007)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Satellite View [gnomic verse]

The satellite mimics omniscience
all-seeing what Earth has to show
not meaning to dis its puissance
it misses the thing I would know

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"A Sanctuary" [ghazal]

When news arrives   green light to build a sanctuary
enthusiasts delight   God willed a sanctuary

might Kali's yugic pen withdraw   without first limning
her line of would-be fright?   they killed a sanctuary

the sanctity of birds occasions   wild digressions
sweet clamor rose   when flight befilled a sanctuary

sheltered by branches   domes might draw prayers' leafy arbor
when ardor's flame grows bright   they build a sanctuary

prospects wax green where kelly sward meets pool adorning
(after ink far-from-slight's been spilled) a sanctuary

the soul's return needs holy company   said Nanak
go where confusion's blight is nilled   a sanctuary

while Raphael's afar   his heart drew near & whispered
a phrase long quilled by light's hushed guild   a sanctuary


Sufi[sm] Reoriented worship center project approved
(Contra Costa Times)
"said Nanak" -- more like a general paraphrase (via poetic license)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Non-dual Non-Sequitur [gnomic verse]

"Our writing instruments contribute to our thoughts"
thus spake Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882
so data is described as a realm of ones & aughts?
"things are as evanescent" quoth Shankar "as the dew"


1st quote is from: Hansen Writing Ball (Wikipedia)
2nd quote is paraphrased from the Vivekachadmani of Shankaracharya

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Self-Generation [gnomic verse]

Love makes its own comment
valor proves its own prize
sorrow sings its own lament
vision brings its own eyes

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Noise-to-signal"   [ghazal]

When the noise-to-signal ratio grows extreme
will renascent thorns pronounce the rose extreme?

lend fresh clarity O midnight! when darbari's
open window day's brute echo shows extreme

is the writer some rough football in their play?
head's expendable! declaim blunt toes extreme

is the middle path obliterate O Buddha
when the raft declares the one who rows extreme?

Raphael why sift through shadow seeking substance?
gold's spent glimmer dreaming eyes suppose extreme

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heartbreak Hotel   [gnomic verses]

"There are no happy poets"
a poet once opined
all poetizers know it's
a paradox of mind

yon sea of bliss bides deep
ink's darkling path looms steep
for bright bliss poets pine
heartbreak imparts dark wine

1st line borrowed from the tweet of Raj Devjani (via Facebook-mirrored response of Sharanya Manivannan)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Questions & Answers

Questions   why do you arise?
Beings whither-ward depart?
Whence shines sparkle in your eyes?
Answers hide within the heart

Questions & Answers   [gnomic verse]

Questions   why do you arise?
Beings whither-ward depart?
Whence shines sparkle in your eyes?
Answers hide within the heart

Saturday, January 28, 2012

After Ghalib   [couplet]

When so proximate to the nest   your snare was hidden
Before even our wings could spread   we were in prison

Semi-Similitude   [gnomic verse]

Everything is like itself
and somewhat like things other
is a human like an elf?
a daughter like her mother?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fab Four Pedagogy [ditty]

"It's been a hard day's night"
quoth the Beatles pedagogue
adding (avec delight)
"and I've been working like a dog"