By John Brehm
Do nothing and everything will be done,
that’s what Mr. Lao Tzu said, who walked
around talking 2,500 years ago and
now his books practically grow on trees
they’re so popular and if he were
alive today beautiful women would
rush up to him like waves lapping
at the shores of his wisdom.
That’s the way it is, I guess: humbling.
But if I could just unclench my fists,
empty out my eyes, turn my mind into
a prayer flag for the wind to play with,
we could be brothers, him the older one
who’s seen and not done it all and me
still unlearning, both of us slung low
in our hammocks, our hats tipped
forwards, hands folded neatly,
like bamboo huts, above our hearts.
Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2001)
More By This Poet
Over and Under
So sexy to slide under-
neath a river,
to sit inside this
subway car and
the world above—
trembling with the
weight of its
the East River
still guided by
eyes wore in it,
the bulldog tug-
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It was like climbing a mountain to those of us who’d climbed one. To the others, it was like, I suppose, something else. In other words, we let everybody find her own figure of speech.
Not that it—speech—lay thick on the...
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The heart, the surgeon says, does not reveal
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star-scars with show of blood bone
the ledges of what it holds tight in checkmate
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Of course you are polyethnic, your look does not change
Though it does harden, a drying clay bust
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All the features carved in
Except the eyes. What I’m trying—
I mean—You are an...
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I like the lady horses best,
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I like their lady horse swagger,
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But mainly, let’s be honest,...