Saturday, July 1, 2017



You Used To Dance To Thelonious Monk

This is a picture of a view near Tassajara Springs. You can

see the creek falling down through the gorge toward the
sulfur springs. As I walked down the hill with a student at
the monastery there we discussed the kind of poem we both
admired. The rush of words that completely captures the
moment; the embody in that precise arrangement far more
than the words themselves could ever mean. Like the pulse felt
by the musician — it's always there. They said of Monk that he
heard music all the time. Craft is the ability to reveal it, let it
come through you for the moment, then let it go. Craft is a love
so large that it's lonely.

It was very lonely up there where I took this picture. When
you're out there doing that solo under the lights, who can you
love more than anyone else in the world? The truth is no one.
The truth is such distinctions become unfelt. How did the man
die who was hit by the train? Was he being chased?

At moments like this you're all alone with the world.

Thinking About Your Body

I am thinking of your body
I am envisioning the relationship
between your clothing and your skin.
The contrast of your hair,
its mixture of blond, brown and grey,
and the colors if your temples, pink and blue,
your eyes a hazel shade with lines that sparkle.
Black shoes.
A triangle of black lycra.
A beaded scarf and the flesh of your leg.

The back of my hand is pink with blue threads
like the back of your hand. I am thinking of how similar
the back of your hand is to the back of my hand,
though your fingers are so different.
In the sunlight I imagine I can see
the cells of my own skin, the texture of age.
Years repeat and numbers are abstract:
thirty, forty, fifty. These numbers
are actuary tables on life insurance policies.
I am thinking about the silhouette of your back,
how you appear walking away from me naked.
The human mind grasps first
a bold exterior shape, my teacher tells me.

An Angel in Saint' Ambrogio

Let not the last moment of your days
stand before a smoking angel
idling outside the venue where
a deity will perform
too late for the likes of you, my friend,
look at her,
that angel is the daughter of
a woman you once walked behind
closely admiring the snake tattoo
pricked along her neck.

Let not this moment pass without
becoming, a leap across the outflow,
those outstretched wings, those talons
coming down to pierce the skin
of water separating this world
and the next.

Paul Kahn

This has to be the thinnest spine I have ever seen for a "selected poems"
that covers 45 years, and I don't mean "thinnest" as in ability, but a modest
and well-studied showing from the poet. Every poem is a keeper. Try to top that.
I'm showing you three. I could have kept on typing.
The former editor of BEZOAR does not let us down.