Friday, September 25, 2015

Mindful Poetry: Heaven

Mindful Poetry: Heaven:
Ninth Cloud

 Herbert Joseph Budig
 1931 – 2015


Ninth Cloud

Herbert Joseph Budig
1931 – 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Waiting at Horst

As I sit here, waiting, I play my hair.
Each end
A snake’s forked tongue
Flicking in the breeze.

Amber calls my name,
Makes eye contact, while shaking hands.
I follow after her to a battalion
Of sinks, mirrors, and slanted-back chairs.

My hair has been growing,
Graying, for three years.
Now as the scissors do their work
I will be left in the middle—

A bird’s nest of severed hair.

Fingering the frayed tips,
I think of my hair’s history
Tangled with memories of my sister.

The bleached ends, pulling me back
To days on the beach, our children fishing
For bluegills with safety pins,
Yarn and sandwich crusts.

Test driving Clariol’s
Cocoa Infusion so that she
Could get the perfect color
For her twentieth reunion.

Amber guides my head back
Lathering up with madder root,
Rinsing in rosemary mint.
My nostrils tingle with the bouquet.

Seated at the mechanical chair,
My reflection echoes
In triple mirrors.
How would you like it?

Different, I say.
Any way,
But the way it is now.

I remember the way my hair
Fell across her face
While she lay in her hospice bed
As I leaned over, kissing her cheek
For the last time.

But it wasn’t the last time
Because I kissed her once more
Weeks later.

She was cold by then
And didn’t feel the wisps
As they caught in her lashes
Glued on by the mortician.

Amber makes the first cut
Radically above my ear.
The strands slide down my breast
And lie in my lap

For a moment
Before slipping the rest of the way

To the linoleum floor.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Picking Tomatoes

These are the cherry tomatoes my father picked
on the morning he died

He woke at 7:15, missing the sunrise by half an hour
on the morning he died

He pulled on his summer robe and brown leather slippers
on the morning he died

And made his way upstairs to the kitchen
Dug around in the container-drawer
For a plastic dish then stepped outside

His back yard faces southwest, there was dew on the grass
Sunlight slanted between the houses
And cut across the pepper plants and rose bushes

On the morning he died
He didn’t hesitate as he drew his feet through the lawn

On the morning he died
His fingers found the bright red balls surrounded by green leaves

On the morning he died
He filled up his cup with cherry tomatoes,

Which I am now eating one by one

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mindful Poetry: Today, August 31st

Mindful Poetry: Today, August 31st: My father died while eating peanut buttered toast and sliced bananas Before he finished his last bite his head fell back as if inspec...

Today, August 31st

My father died while eating
peanut buttered toast and sliced bananas

Before he finished his last bite
his head fell back as if to inspect
a cobweb on the ceiling

This is how my mother found him
when she returned to the breakfast table
carrying her toothbrush smeared with mint paste

“I felt for a pulse at his neck, but
there was no beat,”
she explained for the eighth time

Neighbors flood the phone lines
and stuff the refrigerator full
of wild rice hot dish, tuna salad, and slaw

Instead of his arms hanging limply
at his side, Mom described how they were spread out
palms up, his devotional still open on the table

Like a skydiver prepared to take flight

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Time in a Palindromic Lesson

You don’t notice that time has passed
You aren’t having any fun
When that happens
It won’t help to tap on your watch

Measuring sky by sun might work, but
It’s best when you ignore time altogether
Throw away contingencies because
Time will escape you if you don’t

(this poem can be read line by line starting with either the first line working down or the last line working up)

Monday, July 13, 2015

I’ve learned to notice

I’ve learned to notice where water comes from
Down from the sky, caught in cisterns and saved,
then used by the single scoop-full to flush a toilet
or poured by the bowlful to take a bath

I’ve learned to notice how skin is covered
out of protection, not modesty
out of practicality, not frippery
a sign of age, a mark of adulthood

I learned to notice where my foot is pointed,
how not to step over someone
or touch their head
even a yang-sow of the night has an honored head

I’ve learned to notice
every other place in this world
is the center of their universe, too.

-a poem about being a foreigner

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Fool's Paradise
Lost in
Yuri Gagarin
Zero, don't you know how wonderful you are?