Sunday, October 23, 2011

A meditation on the sea

In my Kitchen in New York
~ Allen Ginsberg

Bend knees, shift weight
Picasso's blue deathhead self portrait
tacked on refrigerator door

This is the only space in the apartment
big enough to do t'ai chi

Straighten right foot and rise--I wonder
if I should have set aside that garbage

Raise up my hands and bring them back to
shoulders--The towels and pyjama
laundry's hanging on a rope in the hall

Push down and grasp the sparrow's tail
Those paper boxes of grocery bags are
blocking the closed door

Turn north--I should hang up all
those pots on the stovetop
Am I holding the world right? That
Hopi picture on the wall shows
rain and lightning bolt

Turn right again--thru the door, God
my office space is a mess of
pictures and unanswered letters

Left on my hips--Thank God Arthur Rimbaud's
watching me from over the sink

Single whip--piano's in the room, well
Steven and Maria finally'll move to their
own apartment next week! His pants're
still here and Julius in his bed

This gesture's the opposite of St. Francis
in Ecstasy by Bellini--hands
down for me

I better concentrate on what I'm doing
weight in belly, move by hips
No, that was the single whip--that apron's
hanging on the North wall a year
I haven't used it once
Except to wipe my hands--the Crane
spreads its wings have I paid
the electric bill?

Playing the guitar do I have enough $
to leave the rent paid while I'm
in China?

Brush knee--that was good
halavah, pounded sesame seed,
in the icebox a week

Withdraw and push--I should
get a loft or giant living room
The land speculators bought up all
the square feet in Manhattan,
beginning with the Indians

Cross hands--I should write
a letter to the Times saying
it's unethical

Come to rest hands down knees
straight--I wonder how
my liver's doing. O.K. I guess
tonite, I quit smoking last
week. I wonder if they'll blow
up an H Bomb? Probably not.


Actually, this is tai chi, Karate Kid-style, on a quiet road in a sleepy outpost by the south coast of New South Wales.  The photo was taken months ago when we last had a weekend away. I can't tell you how much I miss the beach, stuck here, land-locked on a warm, bright and cloudless day. I can hear the bush birds call from my vantage point in bed looking out across the treetops.  If only the ocean was on the other side.  We could go for a morning walk along the shore, eye the horizon and inhale the tangy air.  But it's the start of the cricket season and the first match begins today.  The boys have headed off early, faces glowing with sunscreen. The girls and I are lolling about, doing our own thing.  There's no milk.  The thought of Monday has already inserted itself into the lazy morning and dictated the chores that need to be completed before sundown. It seems like a harsh, unnatural rhythm; unlike the ebb and flow of the tide.  Pesky practicalities intruding on a meditation. 


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