Two For the Wall

I have been toting these poems around for years.  I recently found them and typed them up so I could put them on the wall in the clinic.  I hope you enjoy them. 



Down the Canyon to El Toro Road—

hawks coasting overhead—

past Leisure World and its myriad of gates,

you come to a network of malls

where magic and the ordinary coexist.

Where next to the Nail Nook you’ll find

Dr. Sam Liang’s Golden Needle.

There are maps of the body on the wall,

meridians marked in red alphabet, a

slew of points on the ear, so many

that I press my own against the paper whorl,

begin to hear the whoosh inside the shell.

Acupuncture is the quietest of medicines

like the way gardening used to be

when it was forgivable to have a

throw of leaves on the walk.

My chart, a scatter of ideaopgaphs—birdish

notations that record the appearance

of my palms, the moisture on my tongue.

And yet in this quiet, pinned to my own body,

I begin to feel how I, too, have spent my life,

having now come to the bottom of the cup, ready

to read the splash of leaves, this feeling of plentitude

before the lights come on.

Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Song Dynasty I Pause to Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles

by Billy Collins



It seems these poets have nothing

up their ample sleeves

they  turn over so many cards so early,

telling us before the first line

whether it is wet or dry,

night or day, the season the man is standing in,

even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.

Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

“Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune

on a Cloudy Afternoon” is one of Sun Tung Po’s.

“Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea”

is another one, or just

“On a Boat, Awake at Night.”

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with

“in a Boat on a Summer Evening

I heard the Cry of a Waterbird.

It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying

My Woman is Cruel—Moved, I Wrote This Poem.”

There is no iron turnstile to push against here

as with headings like “Vortex on a String,”

“The Horn of Neurosis,” or whatever.

No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.

Instead, “I Walk Out on a Summer Morning

to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall”

is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.

And “Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors”

is a servant who shows me into the room

where a poet with a thin beard

is sitting on a mat witha jug of wine

whispering something about clouds and cold wind,

about sickness and the loss of friends.

How easy he has made it for me to enter here,

to sit down in a corner,

cross my legs like him, and listen.


Author: crismonteiro

I've always thought that I would live to be 100 years old and now that I have an actual idea of what it might be like to inhabit this body for a century I want to be damn sure that Community Acupuncture is around to help me through my days and in the end, on my way. In the meantime, I am passionate about getting shit done, and also having fun.

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  1. Lovely.

    I was walking out of my local library when I noticed they had tacked up some winter poems.  I liked the one by Billy Collins so much that I carried it around with me for the next week.

    Someone recently told me that she had read that Charles Darwin regretted in his life that he had lost the balance he once had.  Later in life he discovered that his taste for music, opera, literature, poetry, etc. had gone, and that he no longer appreciated these things. He attributed this loss to his relentless focus on the data that he collected and organized for much of his life.  May we never lose the ability to be lifted by a beautifully turned word!

  2. And one more

    This body that we have,
    this very body that’s sitting here right now in this room,
    this very body that perhaps aches,
    and this mind that we have at this very moment,
    are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.

    Furthermore, the emotions that we have right now
    the negativity and positivity, are what we actually need.
    It is just as if we looked around to find out what would be the greatest wealth that we could possibly possess in order to lead a decent, good, completely fulfilling, energetic, inspired life,
    and found it right here.

    Pema Chodron