This Fog

She is so beautiful, but I cannot see her in this fog.
I remember her, I’ve known her, and I’ve known her beauty.
But something happened
and we were separated from each other,
and now she too lives in the fog.

We cannot see
each other.

The fog seems to lift in the middle of the morning,
but look closely and you’ll see
that it never lifts. It is always here.
I fear I will be in it always
and never see her as she is.

If only loneliness could move mountains.
But who wants to move mountains?

Some nights I consider everything,
and it all looks futile.
Other nights I consider nothing,
and it all looks all right.

If only she sat beside me, I could find
some other reason to be dissatisfied.

Some mornings I wake up before even the monks,
and God is all.
Other mornings I do not wake up at all,
and God is not.

One red light blinking.
Two blue eyes yearning.
Ten pale and frantic fingers.

Each one of us is so beautiful, but so few of us can see it in this fog.
I remember a place where sight is granted,
but I cannot remember
how to get back there, I cannot remember
who I saw there, who saw me bare and naked, and did not laugh.

But I remember laughter too, full and hearty,
I remember you, you were there, laughing with me.
I cannot remember why we left,
why we came to this place
where we drift without sight in this fog.

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The Place Between Before and After

Who brought me to this vale
where I travel or travail?
Who said be, and a valley
appeared below to tempt me?

Lover, I notice you are weeping
as if through a heavy veil.
Why not take off your dark shawl
and reveal the real beauty of tears,
of joy seduced by sorrow?

Did you expect me to repress my joy
because you’ve expressed your sorrow?
Take me in your arms,
and together we can unite joy and sorrow.

Who fought me when I was still
and praised me as I began to struggle?
Who said do, when I could not be,
and do more, when I had no more left?

Lover, I notice you are laughing
as if through a light veil.
Why not take off your bright shawl
and reveal the real beauty of laughter,
of sorrow seduced by joy?

Did you expect me to repress my sorrow
because you’ve expressed your joy?
Take me in your arms,
and together we can unite joy and sorrow.

Who sought me when I was soft
and left me as I began to harden?
Who said die, when I could not hear,
and live, when I began to pay attention.

Lover, I notice you are,
but I have no words for what you are.
For what you are, I can only yearn.
I yearn to live with your love
in this unknown place
that has come between
before and after.

“Here in the Heart of Distance”

If I knew there was some place I could go to be reassured,
I’d be sure to avoid it.
I am not looking to be reassured.
I’m assured of nothing, so luckily
there’s nothing for me
to be reassured of.

I wonder, gentle-hearted reader,
if you are reading this poem to be reassured of something.
You could be looking for reassurance that you aren’t wasting your life.
I’d say: stop reading this poem and go make some money.
Having money may provide reassurance, and if not you’ll at least be kept busy,
and you won’t have time to read poems that fail to reassure you.
You could be looking for reassurance that you’re a good person.
Okay. You are a good person.
But then again I can’t be sure.

I do assure you of my love, today,
but once I’ve met you
my love for you
may fade.
This is, unhappily, what usually happens.
Indeed, when you meet me, you might wonder
who wrote the words you thought you loved.
Well, and who did write them?
The one you meet is not the one
who writes the words.

I am no mystery, I assure you:
I’m an open book.

Those are two phrases no one has ever used to describe me.
But for you, silent and solitary reader,
I’d lay the book of my life open wide,
I’d let you inside, to know me,
as I have never let myself be known by another.
I would let you stay unknown.
Is there any other way
to get to know
another soul?

Unfathomable reader, what separates us
is as beautiful as what brings us together,
the distance between us as vital
as the joining of lovers in passion.
I embrace distance;
I throw my arms around it.

I am sure of nothing
but the space I celebrate
here in its’ heart.

“Where Did I Go?”

Why do you look at me?
Why do you speak to me?
Can’t you see I am not here?
I’ve gone somewhere without going anywhere,
and where I’ve gone you will never go.

Don’t look for me,
don’t ask me where I’ve gone.
Go yourself where I will never go,
and you will know something
about where I’ve gone.

There is nowhere else to go
but where no one else can go.
Today I may go to church,
and maybe I’ll see you there,
whoever you are, I hope you are singing.
If I see you, do not ask me
where I’ve been since last I saw you.
Go yourself where I will never go,
and you will know where I’ve been.

I could go on a journey, I could
take to the road with these well-worn shoes.
I could go out planning never to return.
You could follow me, you could
go with me too, if it pleased you.
But though we’d be together,
you might notice, from time to time,
that I am gone, and that where I’ve gone
you will never go.
Go yourself where I will never go,
and you will know where I am.

I see you looking at me like a puppy dog,
as if you are expecting an answer
to your question: where are you?
How could I answer?
Where I am no one is at one
with themselves, no one believes in words.
The words spoken here are not spoken there.
Can you truly condemn anyone in me
for not believing in these words?
Go yourself where I will never go,
and you will no longer ask me such questions.

What should I believe in tonight?
Should I believe in the power of the unseen?
Should I go somewhere?
I can go somewhere without going anywhere.
Watch me be gone.
Be gone!
Be still, bewildered one.
And go some place where no one can follow.
Go somewhere without going anywhere.
Go yourself where I will never go,
and you will know where I am when I’m gone.