John Guzlowski

6 Short Poems about the Monk Ikkyū 1. Ikkyū standsat the edgeof the great sea— there are wavesin his eyesso he shuts them. 2. If Ikkyū falls asleep,his dreams don’t. They livein the river countryof trees and sunshine. 3. Ikkyū sitsin the marketplaceand tries to explaineverything: Here’s what he saysto a soldier: A tree isthe palm of my handand the faceof all there isin the universeto wonder about It is the tree to heavenand its roots startin my heart and yours. 4. Ikkyū knowsBuddha can’t tell him why the rain fallsor why sin is a wide roadwith many curves or why he grows old when he has struggled so much to know so little of life. 5. Ikkyū watchesthe snow fallat night He’s happyit’s warmand that otherssleep in the shadowswith him. 6. Ikkyū eatsa black cherryand remembersa dead friend how much he lovedstrawberriestheir darksweetnessearly in the morning the harvestnever lastedlong enough John Guzlowski's writing has appeared in The Ontario Review, Salon, Margie, Poetry East, Exquisite Corpse, Atlanta Review, Crab Orchard Review, Mississippi Review, Negative Capability, War, Literature and the Arts, Madison Review, Manhattan Review, The Drunken Boat, and other print and online journals. The poems in his book Language of Mules won an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Fellowship Award in 2001. His poems have been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes.