Archive for Hajings



There’s his car!
Let’s show him we’re game.
No sleep in us now.
Swirl around him as the door
opens, he comes into sniffing range.

He takes off shoes, lays down
his bag –– goes towards the kitchen.

Don’t despair, stay alert,
the night is young.

We think he eats those smelly things
(no telling what they’ll do)
while those flat white things with lines
of dots are on the table too,
and he watches all those still dots,
as he stabs his food with shiny poky
things he “holds” (they can do that
with the paws they have), wish we
had them too, but then we might
get stuck with their noses too.

Wooee –– talk about smell-deaf . . .
they can’t even get the notes that Gordon
and Henry leave us on the telephone pole.

Wait! Ears up! He’s coming
back towards front door and shoes,
he picks them up, goes back to the kitchen,
puts shoes on, opens the garage door,
takes leashes down ––––
Woooooa! All right!
Walk City! Less go, girls!!

Sukho Thai




It is these streets that call me back
a mosaic, in stones cut, dark and light,
along the shore, around the lake

the purity of flowers amid the carelessness
of trash rolling down embankment
fon-fon of traffic, ease of stroll

cores chegueis of those women’s shirts
dirt there are no funds to wash away
lined face, old man’s hand stretched out

young mother hugging filhotinho to her
walking briskly smiling her whispered
small words into tiny ear, painted walls

with names and numbers of unremembered
candidates, shops no longer here, faded
words peeling, recovered with new reds

greens, black lines, new cellphones, VISA
Mastercard signs, wash over walls,
HipHop says one borracheiro another

there has never been but this mix of now
forever, been never other than these feet
of all colors, all paces, carrying our river

down paths green roads gray, limping
trudging, hobbling, heavy burdens,
thin dogs sniffing everywhere, kids

run, screech, dance laughing, mãe they cry
when I was here before, before again,
even after, always, fading brightening

holding me this morning any morning
in this heart so large that time herself
deflects pra tomar copo, bater papo

because futebol continues, rain may come
or not, fields dry, novela gripping políticos
embroiled in yet another sacanagem

ô Brasil this song you sing me may I
always walk within the pulse sounding
even far from cachaça borboleta cuica

far from great muddy stream so wide
no other bank seems to exist, if I be rich
or free, cripple, drunk, striding, voice

strong faint eyes clear or cloudy, toucan
raucous, trees bent with fruit, life ending,
beginning, flowing down always these streets

Sete Lagoas



Log Pile

Hanging on, just barely
about to drop from objectfulness
into pine needles moss
ex-leaves spiderweb

saying goodbye
to cylindricality
ta ta bark
so long all you rings

that would give away
age, would stick us with thinghood
hello stuffity, hello massiness
welcome to mix , to path

sliding to mound, lump
mush room

Pine Island


In a playground over Belo Horizonte

In a playground over Belo Horizonte

Through a blue steel jungle gym
The kind I used to clamber on
I see my son, and our small things –

A road one’s pushing through the sand beneath us
The ink-marks the other puts upon this paper.

On this mountain sits a different time
Untouched by insect rhythms, a far-off dog
The soundless buzzard under high grey clouds

A time which welds his cautious climbing of new ladders,
My finding of the greater circle.

Below, the noisy towers wait to claim us,
Take us in again, to play the game of son and father,
Pretend there is no quiet park like this one

Parque das Mangabeiras


Hi tech

Hi Tech

Music finds always a way.

Listening to Mummy and Daddy!s classical 78!s
that they loved, took such care of

Being allowed to wind up the Victrola!
with the big crank, like on the Model A,
knowing not to wind too tight ” spring might break ”
would leave the music locked in

shiny black grooves, oh so fragile, #don!t ever drop$
only 3 minutes to a side they played ”
a symphony was a whole album, discs in sleeves,
pull each out carefully, put back carefully after hearing,

And for special music, so as not to wear the record down
with the stainless steel needles for everyday,
there are half%inch%long bamboo prisms, which are to sand down
into points so tiny, first clip bamboo in special vise,
sharpen by spinning a little sanding wheel
grinding down until was born a bamboo needle.

In the evenings, Mummy!s beautiful piano,
Grandfather!s piano major graduation present,
and Daddy!s precious violin, too delicate for little hands
to try to play on, not for the two boys ”

though we might try the piano, I learn a few bars of Bach
(who is Bach?) but his music went into my fingers
has stayed unwinding sixty years by now,

parents play there nights, together in their music,
hammered string and bowed, dancing off each other,

sons drift off to sleep those nights, dreaming on the dance.

Old House


Generation Gap

Generation Gap

Kimberly; a. k. a. Fuzzyface; age 3.
Pure alley, regal, long tawny fur,
white feet and ruff,
featherlight expressive tail.
Queen of the House.
Lady of all she surveys
(except for those two stupid dogs –
how could I have signed on
in a place that would tolerate
such an inferior species?
Dear Ptah.)
All of which does not prevent Majesty
from going along when Charlotte
and Miucha go for late-night walks.
I mean: exploring is exploring, right?
And one can’t leave it to those bimbos
to do it right, being on a leash and all.
So We will Deign to Accompany
and Demonstrate How to Smell
(from time to time, moreover,
We will go nuts Ourselves,
dashing up a tiny tree
like some enormous squirrel.
We are Adult, of cawss,
but three years is not eternity,
and We were once Ourselves
a Yellow Comet of a Kitten.

Nina; age six weeks (?), or so;
short hair, gray with darker stripes,
a hint of leopard on the belly?
From some allée également distingué,
loud purr, no blinking notion
of the term “respect” (wazzat?) –
an ashen blitz attacking lampcord,
shoelace, finger, feet –
anything that moves.
Brash, airborne, endless curiosity
and fire, got the devil in her,
skidding round linoleum corners,
blasting off to God knows where.

Encounters of the First Kind.
Disbelief. Eyes widened.
Who let that into my château?
The Royal Hiss. Claws shown.
A low continuous mutter.
Tropical storm Elvira
just over the horizon.

What’s this? More cat? Hot dang.
Finally some action around here.
Those other barking snuffling things –
Yeeesh. Ya wanna see ugly?
But this one, smells right,
she know how to play?
WOOOOOOPS! SSSSS!! Guessss not.
ExCUUUSE me, yer royal fatso.

Encounter of the Second Kind.
What?! ‘It’ is still here? In my demesne?
Has no one thought to see it out?
Well, I shan’t. Lord knows,
I have enough to do around the house.
Perhaps the dogs will eat it.

Aaaah come off it, ya big bag of fur.
Don’t give me this lady stuff –
a little goes a long way with me,
thank you very much.
Besides! Look at this pencil,
how it rolls!! Whee! Yaaaarawooowissshhh.
Pat pat pat wurra wurra wurra gdzong!

Third Kind.
Well, it is a cat.
With dogs leading 2 – 1,
it’s any cat in a storm.
I shall Condescend to sniff its nose.
It may admire the Royal Person,
from an appropriate distance.

I’m just here.
Play with ya – wanna?
You have great big teeth and claws.
I don’t know why I’m here.
Do you?

I’ll sniff noses.
And rub my cheek
against this paper.
And flop down on the floor.
I would like to play, and also not.
Protocol must be observed.
So I will go tsack tsack,
claws retracted, if it touches me.
Surely it knows
that even Queens must rest.

I knew you’d come around.
(I think I knew.)

And now the unknown semiotics
of cats’ tails, that language
that we can only guess at.
Lifting tail, prrrt
Come in, I’m open –
Then: eyes of fire, twitching:
Who do you think you are?
Then just plain longing for a pal.

This back and forth and back
the subtlest feline minuet –
I know that there are those
who doubt that fuzzies think:
I guess they just had never seen
the play performed when two cats met.

Haj Ross


Big kids

Big Kids

They’re the ones you used to envy –
they could stay up late, and you –
you still took naps, couldn’t ride your bike
down to the park alone, or paddle out on the lake.

Then they had boyfriends, girlfriends, cars,
they went off to college or to war –
while we stayed home, stuck in school.

Now we’re the ones who still climb up stairs
still can drive, still can write a check;
they seem bent and frail now, snowy-haired,
smiles perhaps confused, slowing down and down –

They were first and we were last;
our turn now to lead awhile, then follow,
tottering too, towards the final mile.





This spotless first snow
delicately fallen, quietly lain,
(New Year’s Eve roads were glass–
even drunks knew to slow down)
meets me this morning
in the noiselessness carved
out of these new hours

we sit side by side, the dogs and I,
beginning to listen
in the chill green wrapped white
to the blankness of the page
we are given, the silence singing,
too early for trucks or trains,
the knife of our breath

ready to mark at a moment’s
notice, letters into this day,
no rush yet, time for waiting,
tasks may show later,
the embers of last night’s fire
will coax into flame,
time to feel time into time,

turn over cold air
heft crispness
savor silence
windless seep into bone
clean thought, clear mind
still music, just paused
dogs and me, all awe

January 1, 2001,


And why have I survived

And why have I survived?
I have a purpose here; I must.
And it is not enough to say
it is, of course, just what I think it is:
to be a parent to my kids, to stare
in awe, in wonder, at grandchildren,
to bury our father, our mother,
to keep our company, state, hospital,
army, our church going –
No, all these things we might
try to put our names to,
those who fell, they also could,
they did perhaps and still
they’re gone; they leave us
now with still this unanswerable
why me? why me?
What is there in all this great
roar of world that I have still to see
and taste before work is done?
What promise am I keeping
with myself, what learning,
crying, hoping, despairing,
loving – yes – what loving
have I yet to do?

Haj Ross
Spring 1991


A moth

a moth

the moth, large, brown, exposed in day
struggles to leave the water.

the man, full grown now, bends down,
knowing fragility, extends.

a careful finger to the flutterer
who huffs and puffs, climbs aboard,

the two together to the high piled wood;
the passenger dismounts.

and I am left to wonder: how is
gentleness passed on?

interconnection? the unity of life?
step by step, I’d guess. each step.