Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Desert Gifts

Sunday, April 13th, 2014




Running mud cracks is a joy to ants
though their enthusiasm outpaces them–
a sudden party of the detained
racing though the low desert.

I like how they crunch underfoot,
the plates of dry desert mud,
the damp stoneware of oases,
each odd one and polygon defined by breaking.

Why disturb them, really?
their graceful concavity,
their edges curled in sleep,
colored lavender and rose before sunrise.

Why destroy the pleasure of social insects,
just to hear the crush and crush
of imprints under my feet?

By the grace of ants’ happiness
and the moonlight on supple tiles of mud,
I  walk dunes smoothed by night air.

Dunes, a desert body
where we drink and drink
water distilled on a creosote leaf,
a desert communion, let live.




A Lump

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014



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
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
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




Tuesday, April 1st, 2014



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,
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

Monday, February 24th, 2014




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.



Saturday, February 22nd, 2014




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

Thursday, February 20th, 2014



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.

Remaining Silent

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014



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

and silence
is at hand
when night
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

Thursday, January 16th, 2014




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 lift their food for the spring garden?




In Bear Country

Friday, January 10th, 2014




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

Friday, November 22nd, 2013






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

Thursday, November 14th, 2013



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


tight perspectives


to some little wisdom


like red leaves on bent grass

cupping rain






Thursday, November 7th, 2013




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

place and planet,
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.





Sunday, October 20th, 2013




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



a tree rings itself new.





For Michael Adams, Poet

Saturday, September 28th, 2013



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:


Saturday, August 24th, 2013



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

Saturday, August 10th, 2013



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!


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.





Wednesday, July 24th, 2013



The gulf between
the conjured belief
the objective illusion.

the truth trussed in steel
the truth dressed in shredded silk.

they are opposites that do not attract
abiding the sulphur between them

how remarkable
when they learn each other’s land
the territory of mind
the inexplicable common memories

relinquishing masters
and identities,
perfectly joined.





Tuesday, July 16th, 2013



Lila tosses her story from the riverbank
into a river that never reverses,
except where boulders in the current
push back brief waves.

When the night pushes Lila upstream
or the day to race where it goes,
Lila writes stories to vex
the orthodoxy of fables:

The dove flies sometimes with a flame in her beak
and the cat’s every step is heard
in the charred grass.

Despite all that, Lila knows
no natural animal poses for stories.
She knows that “A rose is a rose is a rose is…,”
and that no one ever really loved a rose.

Her story goes where scraps of stories go:
with the current, told as before,
but at each bend,

Central Park

Saturday, June 8th, 2013



We drop ourselves on the grass, face up,
and look past blocks of windows–
stacks of squared lenses to look from rooms
for the sight of sky-moods.

Our view is like that of fish
in the city pond,
eying flashes and shifting shades
made on the surface by sun behind maples.

Fish, like cave-dwellers
watching shadows made by fire.

The sky, the pond, the fish’s eye–
one collapsing telescope
we get behind,

interrupted by dogs jumping
for a wet ball.

An ocular Earth.



Having Cake

Saturday, June 8th, 2013


for Michael Adams (in chemo)


Ninety-six hours of voluntary poisoning,
not to kill time
but to have it.

On the ninety-fourth hour
he played the banjo and sang
to stay awake.

On the ninety-fifth he walked a mile
on a loop of carpet squares
to stay awake.

Ninety-fifth-thirty, listened to poetry,
hmmm’d when so-moved,
and stayed awake.

Unplugged from his meter,
he stayed awake,
drove home

to sleep when his lover slept,
where she slept,
in the hours of breath.

Says he that other nights
he could not sleep?
Was the fever-bird singing
over a river of steel.

Blood rushing to cool
his face,
he baked cakes–

had, given, eaten,

food for unstoppable songs
of being awake.