I come back late in storm-freshed air
with a wall of faces from the past,
troubled spirits, some with derisive smirks,
one with eyes that know the dark.
We walk a moonlit path
covered with springtime leaves.
The faces enter my kitchen,
stare at me over a glass of wine
and watch the sunrise form.
A wind harp sings in the trees,
I walk down Third Beach
and watch breakers casting sea-dust
to the wind. Walking the sand
depletes my energy, resting on driftwood
the ocean-song recharges my core.
By dark I’m churned and sorted, and return
to the night kitchen, and a wall of faces
that stare at me over a glass of wine.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I come back late in storm-freshed air
Monday, November 27, 2006
fills summer pond
in weasel class
in the forest
the boat dance
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hell-bent for winter solstice,
autumn leaves mark an end.
No time for thanks giving,
short days still come shorter.
Autumn leaves mark an end,
sad weather still grows sadder,
short days still come shorter,
embrace the season of despair.
Sad weather still grows sadder,
fog and rain just get colder,
embrace the season of despair,
one more material holiday.
Fog and rain just get colder,
hell-bent for winter solstice.
One more material holiday,
no time for Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
in the dark
smell like snow
in the garden
fermenting in brine
out on the mudflat
a plover calls
in the dark
star or car
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Three holding buck saws and peavies,
thumbs hooked in suspenders,
stand on a giant log. Eight following
a vein of grime with lamps and hard hats,
wait at the elevator. Five stand
by washtubs with hang-down arms.
Six with helmets in infantry-churned mud,
wait for the next attack. Seven with hats
tipped back stand outside a saloon,
wait for the shutter to snap.
Six-mule teams with hang-down heads stand
in harness, wait for the next gee or haw,
always in harness. A broken down mule,
off the job, waits six feet under,
no camera to picture a bent back,
broken bone, torn out knee,
crushed skull, lungs without air,
heart run out of blood.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Ghost of Silver Lake
Late summer’s dry mud
is scraped to a pattern of ridges,
low dikes set to direct
spring melt to irrigation ditches
and stock tanks,
a scheme of tracks and trails,
a place to walk away
the spring evening, watch the sun
dive behind the horizon,
listen to a twilight breeze.
Spring’s melt-water recharges
the boot sucking mud, washes in
and washes out the rat holes,
until the ruptured dike ends in a pit.
The scheme is broken, the evening walk
is a confusion of ditches
and dead ends in the dark.
A wailing voice fades
on a dead-of-the-night breeze
until obscured by hoots and howls,
Sunrise scrapes away the dark,
a reprieve until dusk,
until the sun abandons the day,
and twilight howls and wails fill the moon,
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
An old parade is coming down the road
around Animal Hill, other processions
have gone by but this one is mine.
A carnival leads the way with food and games,
bells and trumpets, drums to measure the gait,
flags and streamers glide through the trees.
I get in line with a red and white banner,
gold trim and tassels that bob in the wind.
It’s hard to keep in step, there’s pushing
and shoving, in the dust and noise
I get all blundered up. Patsy comes over,
we march together, fall in trouble, agree
it’s best to walk alone the rest of the way.
On the bridge at Cloud Dream Creek
the parade quiets down, we listen to stream
sounds and watch purple blossoms fall
from a crack in the rock, then the band plays
‘Red Hot Dan’ and we march off down the road.
A faction stops and argues about bugles
and trumpets, which song to play,
who marches in front. Beaten and bruised,
their banner rumpled, they run to catch up
and get back in place, try to get back in step.
As marchers drop out I get closer to the front
where it’s easier to see what’s up ahead,
easier to keep from stumbling. I’m tired and dusty,
my feet hurt, I sit on a rock with a bottle of wine
and watch white clouds slide over a ridge.
The parade goes on and disappears around Animal Hill.
I can imagine a time when the parade gets brassier,
I can imagine it will end in a jumble,
I can imagine it will go on forever.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
This will never happen again,
there’s no copy, no clone.
The settling sun reaches across
the valley and ignites a ridge
of ancient cinder cones,
in rising shadows a flock of sheep
grow up a slope like a bubble
expanding through the sage, the bubble
reaches around the nose of a ridge
like a hand getting a grip,
twilight stars wink and pop,
the hand pulls back,
the bubble deflates into a draw,
coyote and owl take over the dark,
cottonwood bones filter the moon.
In the golden sunrise it’s all different.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
A bottle of gin on a summer dusk
is a fitting bird to dispel, flutter away,
pungent memories of a spring lost
to pointless alley fights between castles
Drums pound through the night
as the moon travels the River of Stars,
and cold shadows creep across the garden.
At dawn barbarian flags dress the eastern wall,
dust clouds obscure the west. For counsel
I turn to the bird in the bottle.
I think of my cottage standing quiet,
friends scattered like fallen blossoms,
and dream of sitting on a river bank
watching willows sway
with a proper companion,
a bird in a bottle.