and karma permitting,
the haze will dissolve. Where nothing
was, you’ll catch a glimpse
“A pitch-perfect book.
“These iridescent poems reveal a life lived broadly and deeply. Time passes. Locales change. Faces come and go.
“But constants persist: the balm of sympathy, a subversive humor, a passion for understanding. Sharpe takes us along as she ranges the world, seeking knowledge and adventure from ocean reef to Himalayan peak, from Timbkutu to Moscow to home, wherever that may be. Imprinted with childhood memories as she meets fabled potters, tea pickers, revered lamas, hibernating bears and demon-fighting dogs, the more she makes the whole world her own, the better she comes to terms with those who formed her.” – Kirkus
Why do they look so wild and keep so still when the need to know’s so great? Dumb is smart for oracles. They sit. They smile. They dissemble. No one leaves dissatisfied.
Others listen to waves breaking and retreating, breaking and retreating, or the burble of stream water tripping over rocks, or the twitter and cooing of birds. They trust in nature, played back on disc, to neutralize the Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! of crickets that can’t be found, to interrupt their thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, to override those damnable yip-yapping dogs. I, too, am often wakeful. Splashes of brightness from high-beamed headlights speed around the room, outpacing a pale slow patch that’s moon-made. Paws skitter and scamper across the roof. There’s a purring, too, a whispery feathery sound, a whish-whishing that rises and fades, rises and fades, and a stronger, deeper whooo-ooshhh! that overrides it, a dash scrawled swiftly ear to ear. Lying here, not thrashing, not tense and angry, I listen to whish! whish! and whooo-ooshhh! and catch, too, the high/low humming of tires on pavement. Sleeping so near an Interstate, I’d need ear plugs, friends warned. Narcotics. Those soothing CDs. But me, I like this whish-whooshing, this music of connection, all those drivers on the road every night taking whatever’s consigned wherever it needs to be, by tomorrow, in the morning, long before which I’ll make my own transit out of night’s drama into sleep’s. And those dogs, chained, shivering, alone as I am? Let them bark up chorus. Let them serenade.
Goggle-eyed, fin-footed, hooked up to hoses, humpbacked with tank, we scissor and plunge, ugly as urchins or squid. Or stonefish. “Watch out for them,” the locals warn. “Stay calm,” the experts advise. “Don’t dive too deep, linger too long, or surface too fast.” So many rules. So much risk. Do humans belong down here, eye to eye with parrot fish, nibbled at by finny zebras, tickled by sea grass, invested by a school of twinkling jellies? We somersault with otters, grin back at dolphins, probe fissures in a coral condominium. The danger we invite isn’t rays or sharks or eels. It’s the ease, the sense of power. A single kick and you glide where you will. This is the old country, and the danger is seduction.
Anchors have two hooks, ice axes one. Each prevents slippage. A burr’s a cluster of hooks hitching a ride in dog fur. Hooks are handy for hanging coats, hats or ideas on. Fishermen stock hooks of many kinds. All deliver. Sometimes. Fish with hooks caught in their jaws, have their own fish stories. from FERRIS WHEEL AT GORKY PARK As high as the wheel can we rise. We rise until, slipping from apogee, we taste it, this nano-second's sweet release, this heart-stopping, time-stopping parole from the heaviness of being.