The Sun migrates south, the day has hardly begun
and it's already starting to end, December wind
churns ocean dust off the North Pacific,
the wet drips from evergreens, dribbles down a cheek,
drips off a nose, dribbles across January.
I walk out to Moon Island with my coat
hunched up around the back of my neck.
A ship is in the channel, headed out
for better weather, logs stack the deck
from stem to stern. A song sparrow shakes dribbles
from its feathers and flutters into the driftwood
to find an overlooked seed, an errant spider.
In town I walk down a darkening street
and find a noodle shop where I get
out of the dribble, and endure the long damp night.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The Sun migrates south, the day has hardly begun
Friday, November 28, 2008
The stone walls in this jail are close,
the days are long, the floor plan is clay,
light drips from a too-high window.
I don’t know what put me in this dungeon,
I’ve been here alone as long as I remember
and it’s time to leave. I put on different clothes,
get near the outside door and watch
graceful people amble past wearing wide-brim hats
and walking small dogs. I call out but they have
different language and don’t understand.
I’m from another place, this suit doesn’t fit,
and there’s no escape. Back in the cell
I look for the color to my center
and get on with fading between stone walls.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The ground here shakes, it fractures, heaves and sinks
like brutalized bread dough. Long grasses break
across swells and waves, and on the wind
surf flogs the air. Tipsy trees bend down
their heads and toss their roots. The road bucks
one way and tosses another until
it can’t decide if it’s uphill, down or around
the corner. In a windy gust the islands
break loose, float across the lake and bunch up
on the shore. A slide here slumps across
the road and never runs out of rocks, sticks
and mud to troublize the locals.
This is not a place to put a
foundation. This is not a place to build.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sheltered behind a garden gate
winter branches reach for spring
time sun, orioles mark the end of cold weather,
tasseled banners wave for ancestral grave
cleaning day. Too early to sow grain,
it’s a time to watch plum blossoms
drift across the garden moss,
drink wine and carouse at the outer wall.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Over the pass the road’s
in bad shape tonight
like an icy boardwalk in a lumber camp
where Janet's only sister died
in a logging accident
nobody talks about.
There's blowing snow and
cars running out of slide
all over the road
lumbering into clumps
of slash and used parts
and nobody talks.
Falling trees against the weather
and driving into a blizzard
blow away a loose grip
and provoke the bad-luck fairy
whipping a choker
frisking on the fender
and there’s nothing to talk about.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I walk down a wintry path,
tree shadows echo the shadows
Mahli left on my heart.
Under frozen fog, footfalls
crunch on empty ears,
I set a stubborn thought adrift.
On a granite bench I mourn
cold years passed away,
resting in their shallow graves.
A silent snow enwraps bothered
shoulders, a chill drift buries
a wintry path, covers shallow graves.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
On a desert road I surprise
a coyote, he takes one look and leaves
as fast as crows mob an owl.
A small scruffy man is coming
down the road towards me,
there's disquiet in my inherited core.
My forefathers look at his scruffy face,
it has all the clues to judge risk,
decide if he's an unrelated tribe.
Ancient skeptics are quick to fight,
quick to run, quick to survive
until skeptic is built into my genes,
I can no more trust an unrelated
scruffy face than change the lines
on my palm. Scruffy notices me
and turns off the road like a coyote
who suddenly remembers where he has to go,
the crows satisfy their nature
and fly off, the owl goes back to sleep.
Friday, November 14, 2008
A Cat 16G with a ripper
hanging on the back scrapes a road
through the scrub juniper on Deer Flat.
The grader cuts deep and turns up
a precocious rock, imprisoned before
the dinosaurs, and pushes it
to the top of a berm.
Precocious looks around from
the new perch, is surprised
to find the sun still shines, the moon
still travels the night sky, is intrigued
with flowers, birds floating on air,
and is annoyed when a lizard perches
on his head. The grader comes back
for another pass, the lizard scampers
to shade. Precocious studies the wheels
when the blade catches an edge
and breaks precocious to shards
that are scattered, and buried deep
in a ditch.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
The television is dark but the people are still there
shuffling papers and watching, I hear the voices,
the shufflers are getting the script ready,
getting ready to send coded messages
to their agents. I see the code
at the bottom of the screen, I know their names,
their agents report on us and show pictures
of streets and highways so their secret teams
find where we live. The television is dark,
I can't see the shufflers but they are there, watching,
getting ready, making pictures, writing code.
I get instructions from the radio
but the shufflers knocked out the power
in the last storm so the clock is not right,
the schedule is screwed, our side is confused,
I keep the lights off.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The sun is overhead, a heron stalks
for prey in a small pool, insects buzz
in the midday still, patchy shadows
move slow. Crow spots an owl
sleeping in a cottonwood and caws
the warning. A pool of crows, a gaggle,
replies and mobs the owl like reporters
after a tawdry sex story.
Owl opens an eye with disdain,
the pool dives and swoops.
Owl doesn’t fuss, doesn’t flee,
the pool cusses and caws, struts and postures,
gets distracted by shadows in the creek.
The pool returns to the shade
of an old apple tree and feeds
on rotting fruit that fell to the ground.
Owl waits for stalking in the dark.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
No parking, no camping, no vacancy,
know the score, it's all in what you no,
no Filipinos, know your place, whites only.
No dice, no comment, no joke,
know your limits, know when to quit,
no hurry, no strings attached, singles only.
No shoes, no shirt, no service,
no ID, no fixed address, nomad,
no credit, no kidding, cash only.
No excuse, no regrets, no deal,
no coloreds, no exceptions, no appeal,
no chance, members only.