(late) poem for Friday – about a former workshop leader

I wish I’d bought one of her books.  I often think back on the day I drove up to Orange County to attend her workshop.  (It also makes me think suddenly that I should attend more of them!)  I was living in the original Meeting Grace house in Golden Hill and my friend, Laurel, was living with me as she tried to rebuild her life after leaving her husband.  It was a very special time in my life and Laurel was a big part of that.

I’m not sure why I chose to attend this workshop, except that maybe I was feeling stuck and thought this would be a good exercise.  And it was.  I remember working on a piece during the workshop that I thought might become my masterpiece.  But it never quite worked, though pieces of it may have made their way into other pieces.  In looking for a poem to post for Friday, I pulled out an anthology, So Luminous the Wildflowers, one that I am also in, and found this piece by this former workshop leader, Holly Prado.  It stirred these memories and made me realize what my next poem will be.  But for now, enjoy this.

Harry, It’s Raining
by Holly Prado

Your knees against mine as we sleep, 5 a.m. –
ah, there’s time, still, to stay here in bed.

When I do get up,

I sit at my desk in my pajamas with two candles lit
and Tibetan peace incense burning. My prayer lifts
with the lively twists of smoke:

May the day pass smoothly so we can get to evening
when we plan to eat out, then see a movie, then come home
and go to sleep again. What an ordinary prayer, I hope
not an insult to the Tibetan Buddhists who made the incense,

who built a floor-to-ceiling mandala for Universal Peace, all
by hand, infusing it with everything they, enlightened monks,
understand about peace for the entire world. But isn’t
creating peace

in one’s own life a step toward the whole? Aren’t our knees,
gently touching, a mandala forming peaceful symmetry?
Maybe tonight we’re doing our best for peace when we eat
at Zumaya’s, then settle in to watch an Italian movie about
the Mafia. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote that if there are angels,
he wants them organized along the lines of the Mafia. I agree.
Tightly-knit bands of angels could surely do more good than
flittery, independent-contractor angels. As the incense
smoke curls, I believe in angels; in Buddhism’s intricate cosmos;

in Catholic saints; in our plain Protestant carpenter –
Christ. He said “Love.” That’s it. That’s my prayer,
breathed into the sweet-smelling incense. Love. Peace.
Nothing new, but so what? The day opens itself as I pray for

our knees, my darling, which touch each other with the
delicacy of folded angel wings. We are saving the world
with our knees. Knees for peace.

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