Monday, August 18, 2014

Ullambana in Portland

August 2014

eastern horizon carved from rooftops,
construction sites, one towering backyard
spruce spire—sneakers dangling from a
phone line silhouetted against
dusk—full moon you turned to glimpse
looming over your shoulder—a
softball diamond’s skin infield, white
chalk lined basepaths—& of course orange
trumpet vine blossoms draped
on a slat fence back of that Chevron station—that
goes without saying—there’s no chronology:
it always seems to be last Thursday—
& why these clothes scattered a-
cross a rock garden next to the curb on Fremont?
tarnished yellow, clouded pink, checked
canvas deck shoes, each untouched for
3 days & 3 nights—death’s constant
surprise—black leaves massed on the
black plum outside the Thai restaurant—&
especially the bamboo wind chimes up the street
clacking a G note with no larynx—there’s
no direction home, in
fact no directionality, the soccer ball
bangs dissonant off the chain link playground
fence after dark even when the weeping
cherry blooms in March—the butter
yellow daylilies proliferate in this
evening’s supermarket next to
shelves of artisanal bread loaves

        & one night the rain fell:
this parking lot glimmered black
water too deep for memory out my back
window: amnesia visible—when one
image inflates to a full moon swamping
the horizon east to west, when the first
horse chestnuts drop by the park still
green—when it all transits past breath, solarized
image, resonance: I’d ask not to utter dry un-
satisfied names in pentatonic tones with-
in the bamboo’s whispers

Jack Hayes
© 2014

Ullambana: Per Wikipedia (see link), "The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival in modern day, Zhong Yuan Jie or Yu Lan Jie (traditional Chinese: 盂蘭節) is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in Asian countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh month (14th in southern China)."

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