How to Relax

No point in pointing to made one’s way
each momentous breath passes coming
in spaces between arriving & leaving
you learn to breathe with the tummy.

To breathe is to fall loose
into mattresses of surf
full of air bubbles drifting
to shore with a slow tide
as light as moon goes
in the sky and on the sea.

Sitting on the wooden bench under the lilac,
while Chloe plays in the age-old schoolyard,
Papa awaits the second coming, not knowing
what to expect, unable to recall the first coming.

I will write you flowers
every morning to read
with your bitter coffee
a bright yellow squirt
of sun oily blue green
froth on top.

You sleep with a cat
whose soft purr
gives you pleasure
all the joy of color
impressions for the day.

You are soft like warm
butter barely melting
down a scone topped
with a couple of gummy
candy raspberries.

The butter wets the real
fruit jelly rounds to light
pigment an open place
for lips to play and tongue – wait
you didn’t think this
was really about flowers, did you?

Here are two flowers
the one calls a honey bee
the other falls asleep
petals open softly fictile.            

There is so much silence
hear the rustle of ants
hustling across the counter
for sugar and sweet
stuffs, see the apple
blossoms opening feel
the bees approach
touch the molten lava
freeze it you can
but no matter.

Once we admired multiple
uses of one another
of the now tossed
cast off laugh
tassels flipping
flopping bouncing
from rear view mirrors
windows all rolled down.

Now we adhere
to this new silence
deafens touch
asks for something
that is nothing
blends with the wall
wearing night caps
and socks to bed.

Outside cold winds blow
bare branches whip
the rain’s violence pours
mercifully out a kindness
allows for sleep and sleep.

The rain falls and falls all
night long soaks through
the ground walls fills
the basement rises
up the stairs
floods the living
room wicks up the wallpaper
and pours out the windows.

Belly List

Sucking on garlic buttery snails, after shooting a Bandersnatch on Crete, drinking a cup of French Alps chestnut-colored wine.

We had just jumped from a small airplane, freefalling in a creeping phlox sky losing petals over the hot green valley evening, landing somewhere in France or Italy – we weren’t sure our exact location. We unpacked and set up camp for the night, and a local farmer who had seen our parachutes hiked up to visit us with a bottle of his wine and a round block of mountain cheese. And Jack had about a dozen dried Mediterranean sardines, and that was dinner.

“Serpent slug sardine?” the winemaker asked, and we all laughed and enjoyed the evening sun, emerald blue behind the disappearing phlox, the air on the ground still as hot as a bull’s back.

It was only a week after we had been skin diving off Fiji where I had touched the snout of a shark.

We came home for a rest and check ups, Jack’s bucket near empty, and that was when they botched the test, and I wound up with a secret surveillance camera permanently installed in my belly.

A friend of mine, still a stranger to gadgets like cell phones and caller ID, recently told me the most exciting part of his day is answering his house phone; because no one ever calls him, he has no idea who or what it will be. He listens as if boarding a train moving in the wrong direction.

The Fiji trip was a cruise plan, the shark a rubber fake. The farmer supplemented his measly income from his grapes with work for the travel agency. He was quite the actor. The wine was good though, and the cheese, and the sky and ground were real enough, but when Jack finally had the guts to tell me about the facades, at a McDonald’s with sidewalk tables in Provence, I said next year we should parachute onto the Matterhorn at Disneyland.

Wasn’t there somewhere on Earth we could go to experience real risk, bare of marketing and sales tourist traps? Yes, of course, and people are dying or worse to escape from those places. You are at risk wherever you are. There is no sanctuary safe from the microbes in your soup.

Deep belly laugh, a bark. The bark repeats through the sleeping night.

There is only one thing, Jack says, in the morning, left for us, not a last adventure, but a true adventure at last. To be still and to relax at the same time. Finally, emerging from our middle ages, without even thinking much about it, we begin to learn to breathe.