High-Tech

July 31st, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

 

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They bombed the donkeys!

as they stood tied outside the bomb shelter.

They bombed the shelter!

Air full of concrete dust and the scent of blood…

they killed the children!

See the uprooted fruit trees burning in the night?

They crushed worlds and worlds within worlds…

with

their

precise

teeth

These Skies

June 24th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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
is contenting

Often still skies are near-silent static
that command—
make  something  of the day

not this

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

 

 

 

The Firegigglers

June 2nd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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On the annual conclave of The Ancient Order of Firegigglers–mad musicians, singers, and poets–and the placement of Michael Adams’s ashes.

 

River reeds dry by bonfire

for tonight’s song flutes.

Their in-breaths taste burnt sugar,

black earth;

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.

 

 

 

 

On Colfax

May 13th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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: the pond floats the lily.

From there, 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.

Where?
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
and filled
from the cups of each other’s palms.
We really must come back again,
like this, tomorrow.

Waiting Within

April 23rd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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My waiting

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

like that.

 

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…

each other.

 

The planet thrives on beautiful tricks

played on our vigilance:

delicate flickers knocking their skulls through trees,

unharmed;

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.

 

 

A Lump

April 8th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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anger
comes from somewhere
and sits in your throat
like a wad of dough
a dumpling swallowed whole
that no vindaloo curry
no berry fool
can wash down
and no cough can force out

it’s tired
cranky
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
unaware
thinning to a ghost

anger
the master with a cane raised
drops its arm
goes wobbling
in a dumb trundle
and is gone 

then un-choked
your throat blows breath
and your tongue
rings on lips
of its oiled bell

in celebration
a feast of harmonious foods
sauces ad-agio
at ease
we sing

 

 

Practice

April 1st, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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,
through,
and away,

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.

 

 

Gratitude for Nightmares

February 24th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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Nightmares come
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 years,
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 love and gratitude!
For their  guidance and compassion.
Thanks, and a sack of oats.

 

Waiting

February 22nd, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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,

to see
below where worlds of sentient beings
shape themselves in connections
changing shores in inevitable tides
of breeding and dying. 

in my subterranean springs
i know this is chaos
and am tempted toward the surface
yet i rely on the water to breathe
and must balance my mind
on this:
dunno if it will.
that’s okay.

 

 

 

The Fly

February 20th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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.
Soggy.
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.

Remaining Silent

February 12th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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The remaining silence holds on
to the last
before morning

then stretches until thin
with rays warming
our wooden floors

and silence fades first

while lucky-me
coffee made for me

I pursue content
in a tangled Net
tune to radio tangled noise

journalists are 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
fragrant steam
and yet

welcome it
when
silence visits
the afternoon
near the turn
around two
when hush happens

and silence
is at hand
when night
spreads
across our bed
in down-soft shadows

when we light fat candles

all right
’til just before dawn

and we cannot
be made to remain
in sweet silence

January Pumpkins

January 16th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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,
it left
a puddle.
Inside, liquified.

The little one was bright,
the right shade of pumpkin for table decoration.
Darling. Symmetrical.
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,
effects of warmth and cold were softening.

Lookalikes, there they sit…
Might we use them for a  spring garden?

 

 

 

In Bear Country

January 10th, 2014 by Deborah Kelly

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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.

Morning Bear,
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?

 

 

 

Border Hens

November 22nd, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

 

 

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From a detention center,
hens escape,
courage fortified by maguey juice
smuggled in by their daughters.

With loaded patrols all along the border,
daughters who run with babies
raise courage
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,
it’s henmigration.
They piece together homes,
full to overflowing.
Nearly free.

 

 

Red Leaves

November 14th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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I want to push away from the chatter

of perspectives

and try

 

with a teaspoon of blue agave between

my tongue tip and my throat

burning like the stroke

of  morning

 

I want to try sometimes

to see with my eyes only

 

to get beyond the spat sprayed

pinhole

tight perspectives

 

to some little wisdom

 

like red leaves on bent grass

cupping rain

 

 

 

 

Epidermis

November 7th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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one,
hidden in a binary place so wide
it overlaps itself,
is minutely archived.

place and planet,
wrapped
in this electronic skin,
are strange to stand on.

neither net nor web,

it surrounds ones like
the walls of a bubble,
fascia on muscle.

oh, the muscles.

tongue to heart
to the arch of one’s foot,
one remembers them,

some on sheets of social media.

while the garden’s gone wild.
real wild.

one goes there,
tosses off shoes.

cycling one’s
water and salt,
breath and blood,

among one’s familiar.

 

 

 

Memory

October 20th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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memory,

like the layers that ring within trees,

is never overwritten by other summers.

it embraces interiors

while tenacious after light on its leaves.

birds rely on this,

wrapping their feet around the present twig.

the present is all there is

except always

memory and imagination.

a tree burl is an opportunity

for a bowl to hold memory.

 

around seasons and burls

still

 

a tree rings itself new.

 

 

 

 

For Michael Adams, Poet

September 28th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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When Michael Adams died,

I thought of pollen,

not ash, but pollen,

ripe, drenching the invisible air with

what light can reach and color golden.

 

Pollen must be dispersed

and breath must be made visible,

so they join with sunlight in that angle,

disclosing poems.

 

Mike’s Appalachia,

his steel valleys,

red wolf and white oak, live

more visible in poems than in photos.

 

And all the minds Mike lead to dance

his unstoppable songs,

move their feet in time over floorboards,

unfolding, joining, singing themselves awake…

 

for the sight

of Mike in an angle of light,

as always, across his pages.

 

 

Colorado poet Michael Adams died on 26 September 2013. 
His webiste is: http://www.michaeladamspoetry.com

Exertion

August 24th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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A young man stands

in against a river

to bend its course against his body,

to bend its course against his courage.

 

He singly challenges a river

shaped by rooted landforms

and metamorphic knobs,

by cataracts of snow pack,

the sweat of muscular clouds.

 

Once and again,

he discovers the river licking trillium,

glinting under the Pleiades,

finds it drinking duff,

birthing creatures…

changing everything.

 

He uses the heat of words

to fortify his body,

to dam and redirect

a Tigres, a Nile, a Mississippi.

He insists, repetitious, on the shape he declares,

and grows too old.

 

When the river enters his bones

and marrow,

his skull sits, a nearly still bell

that vibrates near silence

with particulate movements.

He croons along,

he howls and hums,

letting it in, letting it out,

even letting stillness fill

the creases of exertion.

 

That is how he greets the ocean,

when he arrives,

with a river that feeds rogue waves

at it’s riffling delta.

 

 

 

Tattoo Song

August 10th, 2013 by Deborah Kelly

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In the tattoo parlor
to be etched permanently…
And that’s the problem with permanence:
it doesn’t exist until it always has or always will.

Pain and skin and pen and ink and pain.
Stoic, transcendent, present.

Try making some noise!

Really?

I  gave the long out breath for a long black line
the vital rib-vein of a leaf,
voicing the breath: aaaaaaaaAAAhhhaahhhhaAaaaaaahhh

Singing pain out, out
from behind eyelids into orange eyelid light.

Rising or falling,
buzzing or ripping,
I learned that pain respects an honest song.

I learned to focus on singing
or the pain in the mind would out-shriek
pain in the body.

No self-pity
and no derision,
no thought of an idea.
Only the song.

Sensation comes and goes.
Only sing an honest song.