Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meditating on a Stormy Afternoon

As I sit
Stockinged feet
On a cushion,
I am windblown
Through the open window.

The wind rushes by,
And the slight birch bows
Jerking its quiet leaves
Into a mad jig.

My gaze settles
On a patch of sunlight,
And I breathe in the coolness
Of an early afternoon.

Fragments of a thought
Dilate and grow.
They scurry by
Like the squirrels
I see darting
Over the gap
Of the still unmended fence.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Season

On a wet fall day,
A slow moving stream
On blackened concrete
Enfolds in its current
Wayward leaves
Of blighted browns and rare russet.

As I tramp under a maple,
I remember
Other wet seasons
I have known

When banana trees
Arched into grey skies,
Holding tightly
Those familiar leaves
Forever green
In my young eyes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Wooden Bird

Double windows
With their white sashes raised,
Pouring light on the faded rug.

My eyes squint
While I hold a bird
With stuck-on feathers
And a plaited breast.

My hands guide
Its flapping pinions,
Igniting leaps from my dozing cats.

Pirouettes in sunlight
And flashes of honed claws
Scatter the feathers
Like leaves by a wind.

Amid the rustle of still-green leaves,
A lone sparrow chirps on its hopping legs,
Not knowing that on the other side,
A cat holds a quill between his teeth.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Only in a Dream

Earthen mug of coffee,
Floating in the darkness
Of a dream I had.

From a hazy corner,
My eyes caught
A liquid strangely inky
To a tea drinker like me.

Only a moment elapsed,
Timeless in a dream,
When hot coffee splashed on my lips,
I sprung forward on cold sheets,
To find your hand in mine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On The Shadow of Sirius

I am sad to leave you,
My companion for all these weeks.
Over your words I linger
On my lips and in my mind.
Soft moments from your past,
Present in our here and now.
A quiet leaf falling,
A flurry of crimson in mid air.
The glancing light on the sill,
Departing when I look away.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pho U

In a nondescript strip mall, we saw Pho U. We were hungry and had already passed many fast food places, tempted by their convenience and familiarity. But we soldiered on in the light of a
departing dusk, E driving, while my eyes avidly searched for novelty along the road. We were in Chicago's western suburbs, their uniformity of chain stores and restaurants were mind-numbing.
Barely lighted with flickering streetlamps, Pho U stood next to an Uzbekistani restaurant. From the car, I could see the bustle and lights inside Pho U. Next door, in contrast, was the forlorn formality of white lace linens in an empty dining room.
We soon joined the bright bustle in what turned out to be a Vietnamese-Korean hybrid of an eatery. Bui Go Ki shared menu space with a handful of pho dishes.
The tables around us quickly filled up with Korean-Americans. The one next to us ordered a bevy of deep-fried appetizers, which smelled awfully good despite their unrecognizability as food products. Large bowls of steaming pho soon followed amidst conversations in Korean. I strained in vain to hear Vietnamese spoken in the restaurant.
We ordered pho ourselves. Mine came with a trove of seafood: plump shrimp, squid, clams and mussels still in their shells, and porcelain-hued fish cakes. The beef broth was robust, made sweet with fresh mint leaves and cilantro which came on the side.
We ate as a pouty tween from the next table engaged in cold war antics with her younger brother.
We shared a pot of green tea, poured into square-mouthed teacups; the tea, smoky like hay, and vegetal, was much like the tea I've drank in Vietnam.
The cold war antics between the kids came to a close, replaced by new activity to and from the front door, quick raps on its glass panes, and faces contorted in mutual sibling disdain made at each other.
I finished my pho and was full, but made room for dessert nevertheless: mini cheesecakes seemed too good to pass up. Soon, our waitress returned with an oblong tray arrayed with bite-sized pieces of different flavored cheesecakes. The piece de resistance, however, were the Craisins garnishing the plate.
Sweet cream cheese paired nicely with cups of green tea. We finished our meal, a cross-pollination of cuisines, as the overhead TV announced the score of the Packers' game.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Intruder

A leaf whirls gently through the whistling breeze
Pillowed by the light of noon
Along its downward flight.
From the distance, I hear
A leaf-blower bray.
It enters the scrim of sweet fall songs
As the golden leaf comes to its rest.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Patient

The minutes filled with sounds that should have been so familiar
As I sat behind a closed door and heard
A patient's chart dropped into its plastic holder;
Footfalls muffled on the tan carpeting,
Paired with a voice of soothing efficiency.
I shivered in a thin white gown, faded with blue squares
And waited.
My eyes traced a row of glass jars filled with gauzes,
And sticks tipped with cotton.
The minutes slowly passed
On the other side of a white coat.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Koicha (Thick Matcha)

The gulps of wet grass are warm on my throat.
The liquor of koicha is a deep green against my pale earthen bowl.
I breathe in deeply
And taste the umami that is sweetly bitter
Like the brief and faded summer.
Skeins in my mind unwind a little,
Made rheumy by an early fall cold.
The sunlight inside wavers in patches.
Its mirror is the soft shudder of leaves
Beyond the windows.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Matcha in October

October comes,
And the leaves turn a golden russet.
The mail truck drives
Through a flutter of breezes.
Inside, gray wool worn until soft,
Brushes across my cheeks,
Its slight weight on my shoulders.
As I hold the warm bowl of tea
And bring the first sip to my lips,
You lie conch-like across my lap.