augury doggerel

Friday, September 30, 2005

Rewards and Fairies

On the street, a white fairy on a pedestal.

When any man drops a coin in her bowl, she offers a gloved hand to kiss but she looks off as he kisses and she freezes in another pose.

If a little girl comes to her, the fairy blinks, she turns and smiles a gentle smile. The fairy looks into the girl's eyes, moves gracefully for her, and, just as the girl, thinking that's all, starts to turn, the fairy blows her a kiss.

I see the stop and surprise each time, how the girl twists and blushes. And women, too, the ones who stop as a lark and forget to breathe. This kiss looks meant, and meant for each of them, one at a time. This kiss looks gentle love and is somehow. As each goes on, she always looks back once at the white fairy watching her.

At nine by the church bell, the fairy climbs down from her pedestal, which turns out to be a plain wooden stool under a drop cloth. She lifts her long gown and stretches her bare legs, which are not painted white like her face and shoulders. When she unzips the back of her gown and looks around, I am not there, I am the back of a chair, and her gown falls away in the street. She pulls on a trim black skirt, picks up her earnings, her dismantled pedestal, and walks through me.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

One-Handed Meditation

You are supposed to keep your eyes just half open so you don't sleep and dream a beautiful girl in an orange sweater walking down the street, walking down the street, walking down the street.

After chanting and sitting and bowing, then walking off the stiffness in our legs, and then more chanting and sitting and the reading aloud of a koan, I am asked to vacuum the dharma room. A clean carpet, I see, is not provided by the inmates of the place. But our leader for the day calls it "Zen work" and I am amused.

I find a vacuum down the hall, next to a door with a handwritten sign advertising massage, and I vacuum the incense ash and sock lint and cat hair from the carpet. I do not bump Buddha off his altar with my elbow. Over the noise of the vacuum, I hear something and switch it off. A woman's footsteps outside, clock clock clock clock clock clock.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


In the country, in a room we've had before, on two hard beds shoved together beneath the beams and the sloping roof, we close our eyes. The one of us with ears can hear a scrape, a scratch, a tick, a claw just in the air, a ticking in the beam.

Lights out and sleep, but something gets me up. I lie with one hand holding up my head and listen to the wood.

That's when a hand comes from behind my head and covers my left eye--left hand, left eye--as if to say "don't look," as if to say "guess who."

I spin and there is nothing there. The hand was small and cool and damp and smooth and smelled of soap. A woman's hand, the left hand of a particular woman who was never there.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


At this pace I'll write about yesterday next year and never today. But I'll get there. If I mention summer weather or the phases of the moon, don't look up at a window.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ten Thousand Demons

Have I mentioned I quit smoking?

And coffee? And alcohol?

And I have lost weight?

And joined a Tai Chi class?

But still I am a bag of pale gas.

Boom Bah

A note arrives like this:
"[She] had a (complex) seizure on tuesday at 4:30. When she arrived at the hospital she began having multiple seizures and not breathing. She is on a ventilator."
and, in the next paragraph, like this:
"[She] is great. Its hard for me to explain her condition because I have gotten so use to the way she is."
And then I wonder what is happening now with the two shes, because that's all that comes.

Monday, September 19, 2005


"When driving, just drive; when eating, just eat; when working, just work."

So I suppose there will be no magazines next to the toilet in a Zen center. I suppose incorrectly. There is a Focus magazine.


I keep a notebook through the summer, when I can start but cannot finish. Then a cat pisses on it.

Now the notebook is on a high shelf. There are dark, wavy lines in the air over it. I wonder what I wrote in it.

I start another notebook.