Breadcrumb #519

GERARD SARNAT

1. Mid-Septuagenian Blues

Was sort of a bull
back in salad days
when tongue still pink

but now I am more idle cow
what with dangling taste buds
extended to chew like Ger’s cud. 

2. Inner Climate Change haiku  

Is love the world’s glue?
You blame yourself and others.
Ban hate’s distractions.

Bless your past wisely.
Try not to acclimatize
to autobiographies.

Being human is
a bit more intense than most
of us can handle.

3. Anattā* haiku

Self is the center
of narrative gravity’s
rising and falling.

* non-self in Pali

4. Awaking From Delusion haiku

Heart-mind ambushes 
morph into nonviolence 
toward self and others.

Dharmic eyes create
room: streams then merge together
this present moment.

5. The only thing to it is to do it.

Snug as two bugs in a rug
after 50 years together,
a bit smug that these salad 
days might last forever,
I realize one of us will be
ferryperson for the other.

Can our comparing minds
find ways to freedom
through peaks and valleys
of dharma practice’s
attempt to decrease both
clinging & suffering. 

Wow, you did a swell job
when falling down!
Do we ever give ourselves
credit for disasters-- 
failed meditation or taking
care of grandkids?

You can’t despise yourself 
into becoming a better
person but it’s quite possible 
to love selves to death:
every karmic rollercoaster
ride wakens some heart.

More than those theoretical 
strategies, actual 
resonances wash through as 
loving then spirals 
toward ultimate acceptance
and even surrender.

• • •

Breadcrumb #517

GABRIELLA EVERGREEN

It was the summer we took the RV to a campground in Florida
(or maybe it was Vermont)

We sat in the back, me and my two brothers
where Andrew had once dropped a McDonald’s cheeseburger between the seats
I remember the sound of your shouts
and your fists coming down on his head
but anyway,
We were watching a VHS tape of Disney’s Robin Hood when the crash happened
We didn’t notice until the car was spinning and flipping
(at least we remember it flipping)
and landed off the side of the highway
the overhead compartments spilled out
a butter cookie tin full of crayons
rained down on us
a container of milk shattered on Nick’s head (he still has the scar)
Your miniature motorcycle fell against mom’s leg
marking it black and blue
she always hated that bike it was black and yellow and heavy
We don’t know what caused the crash (your anger?)
or what happened after (your anger)
I just remember the campground once we got there
the way the light from the lanterns and campfires of scattered tents
half-illuminated the woods
as we walked through the thick trees
shining flashlights on roots and stumps
looking for the source of the bullfrog’s croaks
but only finding a spot where some kid
had spilled a bowl of Froot Loops
which glowed in a puddle of graying milk
and the sound of a man playing guitar
singing Puff the Magic Dragon

We didn’t know that mom never wanted you to get the rental car or to finish the trip
how unhappy she must have been the whole time
We can’t really be sure
what the bruises
were ever from

• • •

Breadcrumb #515

NANCY HIGHTOWER

There’s a school with clocks 
that tell yesterday's time, 

traps girls with perfectly drawn 
eyebrows in the dusk of their iPhones.

In a bank five women kneel as if
in prayer while a gunman counts 

backwards to tomorrow’s news 
when he’ll be seen as a prophet, 

bold as Moses, who understood that forty years 
is nothing when milking the desert for honey, 

like the rock star who fucked 
kids and called it love,

like the politician who painted 
his china bone face black for a party, 

argued that it’s zero sum game 
once you’ve made it to the promised land

where every sunrise is a lie,
every sunset, a hemorrhaged memory

of caged children, their skin 
stretched thin as soap.

• • •

Breadcrumb #501

EMMA FURMAN

Lickety-split, I was benighted. Sore-
throated, shriveled seeds spilling out
of my wound, red as pomegranate,
as many in number. I was a sliver
of silver shot into a passing duck,
then falling and fished out between still 
beating wings. I was caught in a truck
and corralled by a clown, blind bucking
until the crowd went off, roaring.
I was under the heel, blown out
of the boot bottom. I was a willing gear,
teeth fit superbly into the tines.
I was not a sheep, but future shank.
I was watching through the bars,
looking in at someone else. I’m not the visiting
caroler, singing outside, but the dog of the house
trembling and whining. What am I now?
I'm calling home. In fact, I am the phone.

• • •

Breadcrumb #430

MATTHEW D. ROWE

Broken thoughts piled up.
Heaps of recycled romance.
Your delicate wrists.

The love cell brimming
with sacred love oils.
My mouth speaks.

Little notes.
                                            Smoke memories billowing
                                            from the incinerator.

                                            You exit the same way.
                                            You came.
                                            A tower of complexities.

                                            Swaying, clinging to a concept.
                                            When the plumes of guilt hit
                                            the ozone, we have gone too far.

                                            Your chameleon eyes lock
                                            the service entrance to my insides.
                                            Wrap my hands in cling film.

                                            I hike the heap of hopes
                                            to a rowboat shimmering.
                                            On the beer can pond.

• • •