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December 09 Contents

Street RetreatA 4-day retreat on the streets of Manhattan
Two Poems"The Way" and "Beside Me"
Avalokiteshvara's ArmAvalokiteshvara's Missing ArmA broken statue
Poet Anne Waldman"While I'm Here I'll Do the Work"Interview with poet Anne Waldman
Winter HaikuThree poems
Musho's TeahousePainting

It's past midnight.

We're lying beneath the Win Won Chinese Restaurant sign,

in an alley in lower New York.


When we look up from our beds of concrete,

we see buildings on each side, over twenty stories tall.

So high the two sides seem to touch.


What if something falls out a window? someone asks.

Silence. Then, we are all giggling.

What else to do?


I recite The Lake Isle of Innisfree:

...though I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,

I hear it in the deep heart's core...

and we all try to sleep.

Rain arrives through the deep cavern,

touches our eyes, cheeks, brows.

I am in awe that it finds us down on the thin crevice of ground

between walls of metal and glass.


I feel that I am being kissed by the unseen sea.

I think: This rain is falling onto New York Harbor,

onto me and all of us tender ones

who choose to sleep together on the street...


I see the rainwater as a gift from beyond.

And after, we are wet all through.


Gnats arrive, biting our lips,

the flesh around our eyes.

It is their home too, I guess.


I wrap myself inward, looking for sleep.

And then find it.

Surprising myself with dreams of sunlight, deep blue oceans,

beaches.

Lower East Side
Photo: A. Jesse Jiryu Davis

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