The Cat Burglar
The cat burglar
He steals in
Holding a weak knife
In his hand.

He sneaks into my mouth
When I’m eating lunch,
Sneaks into my heart
When I sin.

Long I wait
For the burglar alarm
But all I hear is
A ticking in the night.

The cat burglar
Steals in
Though my eyes are
Open wide.

 

Involuntary Hungarians

For my father

You have
filled the
room with
Hungarian music.

None of us
can hear
ourselves
think.

You sit in
your big brown
chair
smiling.

You’ve
made us
involuntary
Hungarians.

 

The Salamander Speaks

“Everything is the same,
except it’s like being
2 inches tall.”
— D.T. Suzuki, on Zen

The stone is the stone
The river is the river

Misery is misery

To me, there is no realization

There is nothing to be
             understood

When they send
             the rent
I rip it up

When the landlord
             comes
I throw him out the
             window

When the police come
             I surrender

A trial is a trial
A cell is a cell

Out of prison
everything is different

A stone is no longer
a stone
A river is no longer
a river

When the rent comes
I pay it

When the landlord comes
I bow

I am no longer
2 inches tall

I am someone
in the next room.

 

Such Trust

One day a guy delivered a television set to my house — a little wiry guy who smiled a lot. I offered him some apple juice and he accepted, and we sat in the kitchen and talked.

“Do you ever go to the Village?” he asked after a while.

“Sometimes,” I said.

“You know that place on Bleecker Street?”

“What place?”

“The place where you go downstairs and sit at a table and get a blow job — for free.”

“Yeah? Who gives it to you? A man or a woman?”

“I don't know. You never see them. But it sure feels good.” He smiled his brightest smile.

I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind. I can see this man so clearly, walking down those steps, sitting at a worn, brown table, placing his hands palms down, throwing his head back, smiling, walking out. Such trust, in the face of such mystery! As if Jesus was washing his feet.