Wil Hallgren


Like mad grass writing
             —for Allen Ginsberg (1926 -1997)

Koi and a confusion of colors —
a swirling, shimmering
barefoot dancer's shawl
              hung with coins...

Falling cherry petals
tattoo the skin of the pond,
pluck up prismatic ripples
              strummed by sun...

Like mad grass writing
the drunken poet of it all
scribes throbbing shadows
              on the rocks below...

Pond weeds rooted
in the old muck sway,
and chant out a chorus,
              a silent strain...

Notes: Koi are the colorful "ornamental" carp stocked in the pools of Japanese and Chinese Scholar gardens. Mad grass writing is a term for a wildly expressive and individualistic form of ideographic calligraphy.


             —for Alicia Marie Howard

In the mud, and in the water
at the side of the road
where the pavement has crumbled
under passing feet —

in the ditch
hollowed out by rains
and the weight of refugees —

there is a broken yellow chair
and a small dead dog
in the brownish green water.

Everyone who passes
notices this,
and thinks of home.

Not one among them
thinks for a moment
of going back home.

It's no longer
that its bad;
it's now better
that it wasn't worse.

A broken chair,
a dead dog, and memories
in muddy water
are just things seen
on a road to somewhere.