I’m Not Asking for Much, a cento


It might be none of my business,
but the body would like
a small mile or two. Thank you.
It would like it on a bike
or a run. Or in the water. Blue.


The stars look down.
The ground the grass the river look up.
Today you run today you see
nothing but the sound of their looking.


When sorrows come—fast, without warning—
whipping their wings down the sky,
stop seeking before or after life.
If anyone asks, say
some of us don’t need hell to be good.


Stand still, stare hard at ice
so long it becomes the same
as water, wait
for the whisker on the face of the clock
to twitch again, moving
the dumb day forward.


Count to twelve
Breathe in a rill of chill air
Empty your mind
Drift for a minute or an hour
Blink off old eyelids for a new way of seeing


Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Even the birds sing
to-do lists and quietly
the doe does what does do.

Meanwhile, I try to talk but
the bees have something to say,
vibrating their cups of pollen,
humming a perfect A note.

Meanwhile, we go forth to the forest
and grow wise.


green so many green things
all green, really;
even the red was anti-green—
it’s the greening of the trees that really gets to me
My color’s green. I’m spring.


Raise your heads, pals, look high,
see more than you ever thought possible
trees tossed like coins against the sky,
oak leaves so full of late summer sun
even I thought, “Obscene” and stood
stunned for a moment,
a black skein of geese
voyaging like a dropped string from God,
and oh look at that moon my friend!
she is beautiful tonight
but when is she not beautiful?


For no reason
the windowed ones in their windowy world
lock the door
muttering “Show’s over, folks!”


I can hear a hum inside me,
an appliance left running.
I’ve started calling the hum the soul.
Today, Soul sings at the top of her lungs,
laughs at her little jokes,
begins to kick up her heels,
jazz out her hands and bellow forth—
“I’m great! I’m great!”


I’m not asking for much
A white, indifferent morning sky
Unsentimental sleet
A lamentation of geese
Less hatred strutting the streets
To feel a little less, know a little more
Enough jam jars to can this summer sky at night
A way out, the one dappled way, back
Paradise, all glam-glow, all twinkle and gold

The Meadows – mine –
The Mountains – mine –
All Forests – Stintless stars –
As much of noon, as I could take
Gorged, engorging, and gorgeous.

This cento is made up of lines from poems I gathered in 2019.