poems by Joseph Zaccardi
Published by Poetic Matrix Press
87 pages, price $15.50
Render is a work that travels the path of a man who has seen the tragedies
of life and searched through them to find the art of understanding.
The Love comes through
level of contemplation...depth…tender...connection...
horizon...dig into earth...reach sky...hands into the soil
of the world...buddhist sensibility...the love comes through.
These words have connotations for each of us in our daily life. In this instance,
the common thread is the poetic writing of Joseph Zaccardi. I was introduced to
Mr. Zaccardi through three exquisite poems he submitted to Poetic Matrix Press and
its online periodic lettR (see online lettR 2 in the Poetic Matrix archives) and
placed in this volume. "Tea Ceremony," "Search" and "Mulberry Leaves and the Apple
Garden" implied to me a depth of understanding of Chinese poetry and sure enough,
Joe has extensive study and translation in this area. His poetry excited me, exactly
because I had no experience with this area of poetry.
— James Downs, from the preface
Fairfax, California poet Joseph Zaccardi is Associate Editor of the Marin Poetry
Center Anthology. He teaches Transformations: a Poetry Tutorial, and volunteers
at the Rafael Convalescent Hospital reading to individual residents. His poems have
appeared in Seattle Review, Runes, Southern Poetry Review, Baltimore Review and
elsewhere. He received a grant from the Marin Arts Council in 2003 for his first
book, Vents, which was published in 2005.
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From Baker Beach to the Golden Gate
I think of sand, how it reforms in the wind.
Think of wind, the formless. I have come back
to the windiest point in North America, to the light-
house and the lens floating in a drum
And recall the Japanese pilots of World War II,
flying Zeros, their vision so precise
they could locate stars in the day,
using locked points in the sky
And I think of the sounds and shapes
when we weren't here. No fingers
for sand to slip through, no voices.
And what of after? After we're gone.
Old thoughts really. Today's noon
falters as I walk back to my car parked
between white lines. I turn to look
again at the bare sea willow, the empty
Here the walking is good, the topography giving
under my feet, and miles of wet life overlapping.
A stiff breeze blurs. I top the sand dunes
by taking three steps to gain two, walk between
parked cars that look like graveyard
mausoleums, to the two-lane road. On one side,
the army housing of the Presidio, on the other,
ragged ocean, choppy cliffs. It will take me
an hour to get to the bridge, another fifteen minutes
to reach midspan. Already I can hear the hum
of traffic, the low growl of baywater rushing
under and out. My thoughts wander
to the last time I was here, nine or ten years ago,
making subtle shifts to memory, rewriting
the day colder, inking treelines as stark as pitch
against a gray sky. I am changing things. Pulling
the disparate together: those who leapt, those
who walked away, and the man who wrote
in his suicide letter that he wouldn't jump
if only one person smiled at him.
I reach midpoint, the two towers holding
steel cables, I lean over the rail, sing
to the blue-green gods,
to the quiet below.