A short poem for the weekend from my collection, Sunk in Your Shipwreck. Good tea has been one of the most constant companions thru-out my life, from early days going to the Teachery up in Madison, WI on Willie Street, to the long days and evenings I spent sipping at Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, CO over two years, to the visits to Red Blossom Tea in San Francisco, to everywhere else I’ve been. Good loose-leaf tea is it: the texture of its leaves, the color of its liquor against white clay, the smells that just don’t stop, the copious array of flavors is like nothing else. Black’s all right, but Dragon Well, Big Red Robe, Cloud Mist—that’s where it’s at.
Here’s a tiny suite of poems on tea culled from two lonely but beautiful nights from years past. (The text follows the audio file.) Happy long weekend—drink some tea!
I. Dushanbe Tea House—Boulder, CO 2001
The seats are strangely cool
tonight, the tea is not:
its yellow-green mass
coddled in white clay.
New sounds splash on the air,
and still there’s quiet inside.
II. 3rd Street and Highway 101—San Rafael, CA 2005
Alone, I watch my step walking
a familiar street in San Rafael.
The air tonight is oolong tea—
glowing lights wrap me up
and tangled blankets shape the horizon.
The stars of evening shine and I
see them, knowing a moment’s peace.