October 25th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
October 22nd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
Crazy-making’s what it’s called
when two labyrinthine humans get down
to deciphering love.
They knew each other and now they crudely decipher
patterns in each other:
the veins in their minds,
the shadows they cast one afternoon,
a catastrophe in tea leaves,
the trajectory of encroaching vines.
They are mindless of the thresholds
they scuff at;
they disregard the splintering door.
Affection seems impersonal
and hostility personal.
On reflection, it all seems mechanical.
It is all love. And such love.
It’s all love. And such love.
There’re twenty people in this two-person room,
and we’ve got to make space
for some wildflowers,
for the roots of evergreens reaching, inter being,
and our mystery:
where we haven’t yet touched.
October 7th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
(feeling like a little doggerel)
My bones don’t stack up some days.
The tibia juts, an acute angle.
The vertebrae fall like dominoes
across the kitchen table.
From my skull,
two jaw bones hang ajar.
and my lips want to laugh…
Well, have you ever tried to put yourself back together,
bone connected to bone
and joints relaxed?
Some days I say,
throw bones to drooling dogs
sat out on the sidewalk.
They are glad just to chew and slobber,
but I have to try
to put myself together.
September 14th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
The desert during monsoon is greener,
like wetback hope,
how it overcomes acacia thorns
and trails through nettle,
how migrant feet outrun floods
through mosquito canyons,
like ankles roll on rocks
and jump back up…
like cool tears that drop from blisters.
Monsoon green shades resident quail,
quail and timorous rabbit.
Its blooming calls through corridors
to orange butterflies, purple birds,
to people who follow on foot,
leaving to live.
When desert ocotillo forests go yellow
and harvest moons ripen over orchards,
armies of ladders lean against trees,
waiting, chink-chinking change–
what migrants come for,
while irritable autumn wasps graze
at so many heavy Northern tables.
August 6th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
Sometimes I wonder,
when our heads are wrapped in news of catastrophe,
are we shifting any karma with our minds?
are we doing any good?
eventually, might our being informed
heal an injured man, from our bombs,
an injured child, from our bullets,
the women holding the injured
and the dead?
Their voices splinter themselves,
we hear them, but they are extreme and strange.
I heard too, I’m so informed…
Every day we fund genocide with our earnings
and our spendings,
and we begrudge ourselves peace.
Our guilt and anger are right.
But remember to live awhile
with the countless lives in our gardens,
where there is no religion,
no fumbling, lethal machinery of empires.
Remember, we give of ourselves unevenly,
like breath from a wave
on a windy ocean.
We need our gardens.
There, we will fill our muscles with heart blood
that will stir and stir us:
to true and beautiful action.
July 31st, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
June 24th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
All afternoon clouds grew overhead
the vapor of mountain chill against prairie heat
and vice versa
I watched them roll east from sundown
and made prayers for rain
the release that animates and slakes
as it descends and rises
Just to see them smell them
to listen for thunder
Often still skies are near-silent static
make something of the day
This evening’s skies gave a blue rain
as chill and heat spread out together
on the garden
orogenies at rest
Where i live
clouds roll off mountains most days
I need do nothing
June 2nd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
On the annual conclave of The Ancient Order of Firegigglers–mad musicians, singers, and poets–and the placement of
Crazy Cloud/Michael Adams’s ashes.
River reeds dry by bonfire
for tonight’s song flutes.
Their in-breaths taste burnt sugar,
their tones, night birds’
in the indigo copse.
We sit and sing to woodsmoke,
to auroras in the fire,
to the shoulders alongside us
that sway and shake like ours,
fail and square like ours…
Singing blue notes and lightning,
we affirm to the owl, the mockingbird,
we’re here, we’re still here…
Yet, someone on the hillside is laughing–
a crazy cloud, side-lit by sundown,
dances above his own cairn.
May 13th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
On Colfax today,
the aproned grocer asked about my pendant.
Were the copper characters on silver
the seven chakras of the body?
They say the central Tibetan mantra, I said,
that there is good in everything.
He wore a beaded mala on his wrist,
a string of buoys on a blue pulse,
as he gave my rolled oats and receipt,
calm as a cushion.
West on Colfax,
the bookstore cashier said,
–wherever your journey takes you, may it be truly beautiful–
And I thought, where ever my journey takes me,
it may be beautiful.
He only said the truth, he said.
I thought, this pond floats the lily.
A young man’s hair waved
around the collar of his woolen coat.
He held open the door for me,
as an in-breath sees its exhalation,
as brother eyes see a sister on her way.
Here, on the retail strip,
where so many receipts
pass through so many hands
and get it over with.
Others go empty.
Today, it seems everyone could be fed
from the cups of each other’s palms.
We really must come back again,
like this, tomorrow.
April 23rd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
is for something
I am not waiting for.
Fertile waiting is somewhat blind like that.
I don’t wait for thoughts that ride the narrows
when the canyons flood,
that scramble en masse through tamarisk,
on collisions of rocks,
or where one stops in mud,
dry but not dry enough.
My hope is for some thoughts better
than matter snagged
by woodier, stonier stuff.
Not something grabbed
It’s for the eloquence of canyon light
along its own blue shadow.
It’s the planet’s age alive in ancestral rock.
It’s for someone who knows like I know, this:
that the wren and the wind raise songs
when we aren’t intent on them,
that bees and bats make us bloom,
that ravens gorgeously outsmart us…
The planet thrives on beautiful tricks
played on our vigilance:
delicate flickers knocking their skulls through trees,
a cat’s firm selfness dissolved to a liquid slink
by a mouse in the garden…
same cat that looks at our eyes,
just no more deep.
Tricks like this clear the way.
No thing good comes whole
through a closed door.
April 8th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
comes from somewhere
and sits in your throat
like a wad of dough
a dumpling swallowed whole
that no vindaloo
no berry fool
can wash down
and no cough can force out
sticky in the narrows
and somewhere it came from
it must go
to find this place
you sleep for days
dream behind doors
while waiting outside
is anger proud
thinning to a ghost
the master with a cane raised
drops its arm
in a dumb trundle
and is gone
your throat blows breath
and your tongue
rings on the lips
of its oiled bell.
April 1st, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
Don’t dig the brown sapling from the yard.
It was transplanted last year,
is in shock,
but its roots could give
a fresh shoot.
It is too soon to cut the dry one down.
Every day I see it
and make a meditation on beings,
our various ways of passing by,
on potentials that realize themselves
in our efforts,
though we claim the successes,
on failures manifested in individuals,
but which reflect us all.
The green shoot may come,
grow bark and branches,
I would care for it,
but now, while the brown sapling stands,
it is my teacher.
Neighbors may misconstrue it
as an eyesore,
just as I do,
briefly, but every morning.
February 24th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
and force me back to the life I left,
to be stalked by the vapors of battle,
to choke on sweet mornings.
But nightmares lead me
to shed skin in my sleep.
I sometimes awake refreshed,
a peeled peach.
Nightmares prodded me repeatedly
through Midwestern temblors
toward a harbor of young mountains,
toward breadth and awe.
Belonging to no one,
nightmares go where they want.
I don’t know where or when they rest
for such a vigorous vocation.
To nightmares, then, my gratitude
for their guidance and compassion.
My thanks, and a sack of oats.
February 22nd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
i am waiting for air to clear
i am waiting for greed’s extinction
i am waiting for eyes to stop only searching
the surface of the water,
below where worlds of sentient beings
shape themselves in connections
changing shores in inevitable tides
of breeding and dying.
i am tempted toward the surface
yet i rely on the water to breathe
and must balance my mind
dunno if it will.
February 20th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
The fly wakes up in a pond of warm air
left by a cascade, a chinook wind,
pushed by a chill wind
through mountains to our high plain,
where it pools warmly, briefly.
The fly makes me recognize it,
announces its trajectory,
then returns to rubbing its filaments
on the soggy mat of grass
that is our garden.
So moist a sky today
it drips a semblance of Wisconsin,
and a slow tune
to an audience of napping birds.
It makes me look for flocks of ducks
returning to nest in the North,
but this is not the Midwest.
I live on the Eastern hem of the Rockies…
as crazy as a fly
with only minutes
to be awake
before the dictates of
the one or two last snows
of the season.
February 12th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
The remaining silence holds on
to the last
then stretches until thin
with rays warming
our wooden floors
and silence fades first
coffee made for me
I pursue content
in a tangled Net
tune to radio-tangled noise
journalists are almost silenced
Cronkite is gone
with footage of
foreign killing fields
but Scahill will show us
Murrow is gone
with questions smoking
through the cathodes
but Greenwald will tell us
I want this
telling truth to power
with my morning coffee’s
near the turn
when hush happens
is at hand
across our bed
in down-soft shadows
when we light fat candles
’til just before dawn
and we cannot
be made to remain
in sweet silence
January 16th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
The big one was plumply lopsided in October,
unevenly expressed fertility or turpitude,
was an orange thick bloat of seed-belly smeared with summer green
stationed as season-greeter by the front door.
It harmonized with Aspen’s leaves, more yellow,
the Maple’s, more red.
Nothing fazed it.
But, when lifted from the concrete step in November,
The little one was bright,
the right shade of pumpkin for table decoration.
On the cloth of harvest feasts
it was nonplussed, convenient,
and when relocated to the November garden,
it left no stain.
Inside, it had dried to fiber.
Freezes followed frosts.
Big ‘kin sat on limp grass
and the little one atop it.
In the yard, we watched it.
They blanched, alike, to lighter skins,
the effects of warmth and cold were softening.
Lookalikes now, there they sit…
seeds for a thawed garden.
January 10th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly
Bear circles my camp in last dark,
before Raven’s first grumble.
It hums hunger under its breath,
from deep in its rib-cave.
Its head sways, tentative.
Intent, its belly.
known as, Love That Wants Food…
often, with its belly full,
it warms me so,
and with its hunger, makes music.
See how—and why—
I feed it?
November 22nd, 2013 by Deborah Kelly
From a detention center,
courage fortified by maize
smuggled in by their daughters.
With loaded patrols all along the border,
daughters who run with babies
even in their mothers.
The jailbroke hens
toe the countryside with care,
walk the gusty sand
and frozen mud, traceless.
Some then are led by seed
to the roosters’ cornrows,
or by pennies to Northern orchards.
When hens outfox loaded borders,
They piece together homes,
full to overflowing…
feeling nearly free.
November 14th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly
I want to push away from the chatter
with a teaspoon of blue agave between
my tongue tip and my throat
burning like the stroke
I want to try sometimes
to see with my eyes only
to get beyond the spat sprayed
to some little wisdom
like red leaves on bent grass