Braving the Wilds

Field Notes from the Suburban Jungle

Tag: wisdom

Walking A Second Mile

“…each person had their moment when they assumed the skins of wild animals, when they took responsibility for the story…”
From Michael Ondaatje’s,  In the Skin of A Lion.

Arguing an idealistic view,
The younger jaw, set in self-righteousness,
Sits across the table from elder eyes,
Softened by his own altruistic one.
With the advantage of hindsight,
The body that had slipped into the
Skin of a lion to protect, disguise,
In windfall shed that of a seal,
A selkie, wearing another’s moccasins,
Bridging two worlds with the divine mind
Of a philosopher: empathetic, passionless,
Developed human longing and
Outward peace. That familiar jaw,
Tired from talking and stronger from listening,
Would unlock on a Celtic rock, where they
Would meet as equals.


Woodcut style image of the Celtic mythical selkie in the ocean. ‘Selkie in the Ocean’ image © xunantunich-



To the White Horse in the Passing Lane on Route 684

Not yet coaxed to the median,
Where grass grew a foot high,
Bedded down under your
Capsized chariot, wheels spinning
Like the legs of a belly-up beetle
Waving for the cloudless sky
To touch your eyes, humanely blind you,
Now shrouded in a terry cloth
Of Turin, of New York, reeking
Of oxybenzone and coconuts.

An eight-inch gash
Across your ribs didn’t bleed:
Your coated skin split, an open eye lid
Revealing fibrous tissue and
A barrel of bones, creamy
Next to your bleached hair: a proud
Piece of flesh revealing
Where the light had
Entered through your broken window.

A stranger in a foreign land
Of pavement and metal and voices
Unlike your own. Human hands
Knotted your mane in
Shakespearean elfknots,
Placed riders of the apocalypse
On your back, created an
Avatar of Visnu, ushering in
An end, wisdom, and the sardonic
Truth that they unite
In your majestically wounded package.


Kalkin, Visnu’s Future Avatar, Sandstone, Pre-Angkow Period, first half of the 7th Century, Collection of the National Museum of Cambodia, Phenom Penh (Ka 1642).  Photo Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



The image of a morphing face
Squints at a deepening line
Intersecting with a place
And an emotion, in kind.

A topographic map
Of one particular past
As cartograph
Laid out in glass.

Two craters, bipolar,
Varicella-zoster virus
In symmetrical order
Left to remind us,

That this same visage,
Once unchartered, ignorant,
Awed by new courage
Was rendered cognizant.

One elbow, split brow
The feet of crows
Bleeds into rivers,
A tributary line grows.

One cannot decipher
Where sophomoric injury
The rivers of the Punjab, weather
And merge in mystery.

Contour lines, Shaded relief
Hours exposed, warm rays of sun
Discoveries and disbelief
While hindered by none.

So smoothly spread a cream
With shaking creased fingertips
As daughter watches, countertop, lean
Share the scars from feathered wise lips.