Not at all a sonnet, for my father

I feel the ferocity of wanting. The tanha.

(it is uncomfortable, this craving: the buddha calls it tanha).

I get it, how badly you want this world to change,

and how maddening it is that it doesn't (even as it does)

I too want so much sometimes, and cannot quite just be settled here.

I get it, the normalcy of the dark money,

the crafty lobbyists,

the politicos on private jets

sickens you, in a way that perhaps most of us don’t really feel.

We want change too, but with a stroke of a key on a petition

we assuage the ache,

while for you it is endless, you see it everywhere.

I don’t know how you see this world;

clearly the window you have been sitting near is of a different hue than mine.

I don’t understand, often, what your memo pad scribbles really could mean,

I can’t get at the map you have etched so deeply on your mind.

My mind has been wiped away, you see,

I keep emptying it. This makes me blank sometimes.

I feel some edge of guilt around that, which I will bury into this poem and send on to the light,

so that I can get on with things.

Because the blankness also has its deep merits.

I just want to be in the sensing of things; the tenderness of it.

Every year, I am more gentle with the children.

And then there is digging in dirt, and breathing, and knowing what a body needs,

how to touch it so that it can begin to shake off its pain

You see systems and grids;

you live inside a picture of things that could be, and the splendor of it

hypnotizes you, and the verdancy of that vision is like pure grace.

I get it. You feel in the depths of you that this is the struggle of our time.

That for tomorrow’s children to have any freedom to navigate between the

bunks set up for them in corporate monoliths and

the billowing smoke of corruption, this work needs to be done.

And here I am, just holding these two children that I have right here,


exploding with tenderness,

and the willingness to forget.

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