Fine Audience

The shabby roof of the earth
Is just southwest of my house.

You think I’m being metaphorical.

(Show photo of severed shed roof
in the tall grass prairie, something
we never got around to burning.)

Thomas said you know a place
For the first time by returning.
I say, just before leaving.

We are both right.

A martini in a mason jar
With anchovy stuffed olives
Helps render the insight.

I’ll always wish meditation
Were so quick to tender
This lingering off-pillow presence.

Habit is hard to make.

In the red guest house
Where artists and poets have slept,
I have laid out their books
And hung lithic broadsides.

Covers curl
For moist air, for fingers,
For fly leaves and title pages.

I read aloud Jack’s poem on the wall
To no one but myself.
Twice taught.

I am a fine audience.

2017

One Response to “Fine Audience”

  1. eduardo says:

    So many threads to this poem’s tapestry. (Give credit to the mason martini?)

    Your mention of, “the red guest house,” reminded me of Rumi’s, “The Guest House”:

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    As an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    A teaching story translated by Coleman Barks
    © by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

    Pray tell, which of Jack (Mueller?)’s poems do you have, “on the wall”?

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