I live with my wife and new pup in the rural northern California community of Ukiah ("haiku" spelled backwards). I've been writing poems since the second grade and though now retired, I'm still writing. I was selected as Ukiah's first Poet Laureate and have published three books of poetry. The latest is In the Name of Wonder (Haley's Press). For more information, please visit my website: www.armandbrint.com.
The leading headline
in Thursday’s local paper reads,
“Hay Truck Overturns.”
The article-- which appears above the fold—
includes a photo of stacked bales
as if they’d been set down next to the highway
by some ancient agricultural deity.
The fifty point bold type is a reminder
that in a small town,
that which bleeds does not always lead.
In this case, no one was hurt,
and the consequences were minimal—
a downed traffic sign
and a small amount of loose hay
scattered across the freeway.
Nothing to make you shake your head
in desperation or disgust.
There was no mention of alcohol being consumed
or any other poor lifestyle choice
made by the driver.
The load simply shifted
as he attempted to merge with traffic
and the tractor trailer went on its side
like an animal resting in the shade.
It was a headline suitable for a dry summer
in a small town—
a headline right out of childhood
when things were simpler.
I’m glad I live in this place of bundled grasses
and turkey vultures circling the site of small calamities.
This is the kind of headline
that keeps us rooted to a place.
It is not interested in trading on our anxieties.
It has better things to do—
like calling the cows home
to their undisturbed bales of hay.
On this first warm day of the year,
I trek up to the monastery
where the monks
have hung out their clean ochre robes
in the sunshine.
From where I stand on a little hill
above the grounds,
It’s hard to see the laundry lines--
so It looks as if the robes
float autonomously in the blue air.
One gets the impression that the robes--
free of their inhabitants--
provide a glimpse into that other world
of light and weightlessness
to which the body aspires,
but always falls short.
I’m sitting on a bench
under the eaves that protect
a golden Buddha.
The statue appears to be composed
of fiberglass, but you can tell
by his expression
that the awakened one is not hindered
by man-made materials.
I’ve come here to find a modicum of peace
after an awful argument with my son.
I’m actually hoping some insight
will occur to me
as I sit at the feet of the Buddha.
But no fiery words form in my mind.
I am aware of the cry
of what could be a small raptor
in the distance.
I struggle to draw some meaning
from the solitary ant crawling
across the Buddha’s cupped palms.
Otherwise, everything is still
except the solitary monk
who slowly opens the clothespin
that drops his robe from the sky.
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.—Albert Einstein
My wife tells me that Albert Einstein
filled his closet
with identical shirts, slacks and jackets.
You see, he did not want to expend unnecessary energy
coordinating disparate outfits
when there was so much of the cosmos
His blackboard was the endless void
of time and space,
and no matter how many atoms of chalk
he scratched onto its surface,
he could never begin to comprehend the totality
of even one of the sequined dinner jackets
that sparkled overhead
on a warm New Jersey night.
When he woke,
there was nothing in his closet
to distract him from the miracle of morning,
or the enormous brain of nature.
He was free to set his hair on fire
with each new epiphany,
or walk the neighborhood,
hands sunk deep into the pockets
of his indistinguishable trousers.
Everything in his world was relative
except for his clothing
which provided some field of unification.
When Albert Einstein opened his closet,
he did not worry about the calculus
of stripes over plaids;
he was too busy humming equations
His humble clothes may have looked alike,
but Einstein’s closet
altered the study of physics forever
by proving that all things have energy
even when they are resting on their hangers.
And that these rumpled jackets
of energy and mass are interchangeable.
He also proved that it’s not the clothes
that make the man— it’s the stardust.
©2016 Armand Brint