Seth Howard

                for Felicia M. Rodriguez

Rain as I sit down to
write a poem that has no shape
but the clouds that move over our minds
in cyphers-of-language, never
entirely accepted by the world, in these times nearing the end-of-things
never entirely of one-mind, in matters such as these
the afternoon so full, so pregnant with
possibility, & suddenly cognizant of the sadness
of this vocation

Rain as the streets swim with the fragrance of blossoms
that sweep past in the memories of a stranger
I think of the philosophy of Jean-luc Marion, & how close it seemed to approach my own
That the self resides in time, in presence but not in a single
body, I had observed her once with a sadness that she had arrived at
the end-of-things
she who was so ripe with beginnings
Rain as my thoughts float through ghost-caverns
slowly giving up the concept of time, of duration, but in some
sense to take part in the phenomena
that surrounds, there was love in my hands that
dripped like a warm-sap running down my arm, there
was a universality in the present-experience, & astonishment that she
had survived, never fully accepted for who
I was, in a narrow-world, that
had its moments of expansiveness
Finding a friend in Mac Low, & the words of adepts
I search for the mind-set to speak with

Rain as I think on just
how far I had come, to lift from
the depths I never quite
despised, & now to witness the slow self-imposed-defeat
of our culture, & I a poet who sits down
to write of the rain, the clouds that wander past
as words sometimes do
I who summon the ghosts of my histories
as if to confront them, in a world that has not forgotten, but forgets
itself in the cycles-of-madness, a jest captured
in the smile of a nymph, ask me where I stand on such
matters, I may not answer
ask me where the egrets drift
the globe
begins to shine

                for Ayako Shimura

I see a dim lucence skimming along the fringe
of the train-car, jostled along in
half dream, the passengers huddle
in enclosed-spaces encased
by time’s passage, seeking some distances
that spread before horizons, we slip
beneath seats to find
some respite
from the world’s nightmare, as a shadowy-mask
drops like a stone, I see those dark-
featured nymphs who’d lean into
grey-futures, the tide rising in sub-
merged-stations, where fish swim in windows, & on department store
walls I read Seibu, the internal-malls,
& a severe Korean carries
his fan by the exit, perhaps he will move on
the train was entering night, where
blue-phantoms fed on memories
of transience, & our thought drifted with the miles
on the fabrics of eternity,
the filament that slipped between
gaps of fragmentary thoughts
floating in the hours that swelled as
the sea’s breathing, serene in
evenings lit by gas-jets, lining
the filmy membranes of our minds, & to come back
into it, the dust of light’s residue
on our fingers, & the slow-drip
of the hours, when patience
was nearly forgotten, & gradually
replaced by a dumb-
that wells from some unknown
place, in the corner I see three dark-haired-girls
unsteady in the car’s shifting,
& time winds-down as one of which
arranges the straps of her
sick-mask across
her pony-tail, in the shape
of an X, as flashes of light glaze
the windows, like distant
fireworks, in the inaka,
on the last day of summer

Seth Howard is a New-London-based-writer, & practitioner of Zen, who greatly enjoys the study of kōans, alongside the nightly exercise of zazen. He focuses his energies on the discipline of poetry, nourishing his spirit with the study of existentialist / phenomenological works, as well as delving into an assortment of experimental writings. Lover of things Japanese, Chinese, Korean & Taiwanese, he keeps up with goings-on by listening to Japanese-Web-Radio, & in his spare time edits CAPSULE.
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