November

November

3 a.m., Pam coughing angrily

5, quiet, the night has filled
with those no longer here,
things unsaid, things never said,
forgiven, my books unread,
long efforts past—
a rich and healing dark
made of the forgotten,
the way a color wheel
spins white

7, gray touches the window,
Pam breathes evenly,
the other side of the wall

Seattle

These Cups

These Cups

for Erik and Stefanie,
married October 15th, 2016

Sun-browned mountains
terraced in the Bronze Age,
the Aegean, turquoise, sapphire,
a row of olive trees well pruned—
in the shade of a shed roof, a white cat
sits by tables spread with new pottery.

A man appears from his house,
tall, slim, a grizzled beard. Tanned hands,
youthful fingers, wrap our purchases.
“21 Evros.”
Pam puts a twenty on the table,
searches in her purse.
“20 O.K.”
She finds a coin and overrides his offer.
“For cat food,” I say.
“Cat supposed to catch mouse.
We have many mouse.”
He smiles, accepts the money.
“Don’t worry. I feed her anyway.”

I wave my arm around.
“You have taken this place and made it better.
This is wonderful.” He considers.
“We are happy here.”

From his hands, through ours, to yours,
these cups hold a bit of Greek happiness
to be added to your own.

Paros

Morning, Paros

Parikia, Paros

Parakia, Paros

 

Morning, Paros

Strong winds all week,
fishermen mending nets
behind the shelter
of their caique cabins,
this morning: calm,
the boats gone.
At the door of the Orthodox Church,
two baskets of fresh bread,
sliced in thick chunks,
the interior is dim, scented,
lit by gleams of precious metals,
lifted by a priest’s cadenced
baritone chanting;
an old couple enters,
setting forth on waves
of sorrow and acceptance.

1 Oct 2016

Hat News

Hat News

Item 1. After a cumulative five months walking around harbors, I can report that I have just seen a Greek fisherman wearing a Greek fisherman’s cap.

2. I was talking with a guy on the sea wall near the Temple of Apollo when a gust of wind picked up his hat and flung it like a frisbee. It settled, floating perfectly above the transparent green water, crown up, red band undisturbed. He stared and thought. “Finished,” he said and turned back to a bas-relief of the temple that he was carving on a scrap of marble with a dremel tool. There were ten of them laid out in a row on top of the wall.

“But what a fine hat!”

He turned his palms up. “It is finished.”

Below us on a strip of sand a man in swimming trunks stepped into the water. He was frail with wisps of white hair and bony shoulders. He began walking slowly toward the hat, losing his balance on the rocky bottom. The hat was moving gradually out from the lee of the sea wall and picking up speed toward Paros. The man kept going. I don’t think he could swim. It was a race against the wind. When the water was up to his neck, he threw out one arm and caught the brim of the hat. He raised it in the air and stumbled back, rewarded by a chorus of whistles, “Bravo’s!” and clapping.

So, it wasn’t finished.

Naxos