Coffee and a Doughnut at Rulf’s Apple Orchard on a Mild September Morning in Peru, New York
I rarely travel. I don’t enjoy
the journey. I’ll live like Proust
so often in bed
if friends keep annoying me about
only traveling in my head. I get
what Thoreau wrote: “I have
in Concorde.” I’ve never been
to Concorde, but will
drive to Montreal. Yet, I prefer
riding the train. I enjoy
waiting at the border, that quiet
intrusion as I read, or write
a letter, or study
dark clouds about to burst.
I’ll drive to Burlington, Vermont, even
take the ferry across
Lake Champlain if the wind
is not a south wind, the waves too rough.
I’ll drive to Saratoga, but not
during the thoroughbred season.
I will not fly anywhere until
I can fly to Japan, and arrange
not ever coming back. I can imagine
boarding a fast train, Tokyo to Kyoto,
blazing light to tranquil
gardens until I die. No roads diverge
in any woods. I don’t walk
into forests, or hike
any path, or hill, or mountain.
I’d like to drift along an ocean beach
again someday, if I find
the time to find my way
to Gloucester, Massachusetts, or York, Maine.
I’d love to step into the Pacific
once, in southern California, but
again, that flying, and again not
ever, never, to return home.
But, it’s not Japan. It would be
fine, but not Japan.
I’ll keep reading, watch too many old
movies, walk the lake beach, this small
city’s streets, write letters
to the few friends who still
write letters, even short letters.
Many people must imagine
travel bestows enlightenment. I wonder if
they believe they should travel
more? I don’t ask, but most
folks seem to love traveling. They want
to keep moving. I guess
they are excited to scold me, but I’m not
planning on changing, unless
something powerful, or frightening
pulls me to Japan at last.
I’ve read doughnuts have no redeeming
value and are empty
calories, full of nothing.
I take my coffee black. All that caffeine,
all that sugar, right now
in this doughnut and coffee
has me a bit wired
this morning, but
liking it. I don’t often have a coffee
with a warm, fresh
I try to wait
a long time between
all petite desires
until I’ve forgotten, until
how good nothing can taste.
not a trace
leave no trace except
one faint as November light this far north
life is exhausting
if I’m required at my age to improve
better to waste time
if one result is a reverie’s delight
after song bird trills
end a sensual daydream in the ever
shiftless long afternoon
Crow In Sakura Tree—Tokyo Rainy Season
Black as pitch
obscure in a tangle of thick
calm not inspired
to take flight extend its wings
all impulse mute
a quivering denial
this pause before yet another
Michael Carrino holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. He is a retired English lecturer at the State University College at Plattsburgh, New York, where he was co-founder and poetry editor of the Saranac Review. His publications include Some Rescues (New Poets Series, Inc.), Under This Combustible Sky (Mellen Poetry Press), Café Sonata (Brown Pepper Press), Autumn’s Return to the Maple Pavilion (Conestoga Press), and By Available Light (Guernica Editions), as well as poems in numerous journals and reviews. Carrino was a judge for The Iowa Poetry Association’s 2013 anthology Lyrical Iowa.