July, is a different world
In the trees, robins
Coax their fledglings
To fly from the nest—
One, or two, hesitate,
As if they know
how hard this life can be;
No, I did not bend down too near
To smell the yellow flower
Which grew in weaving lines through
The swampy crack, the scraggly creek,
Creeping amid mid-high, mid-spring grass.
We were at the base of Quartzite Mountain,
Nestled behind a tiny ski town, ghost town,
When the skiers don’t ski, or snowboard,
Or venture icy roads to snow-topped peaks.
You said the clicking was cicada,
I said, cougar, because I’d seen a video
Of a cougar making a clicking-ticking sound,
And decided the next clicking-ticking
Behind a bush, or tree, or grassy knoll,
Would be a mountain lion. You see,
We will never know who was right,
Because we passed safely the miles up,
The miles back down the hill, to the creek,
With those most beautiful, yellow flowers;
You could see them recede into the woods,
Like mystery, like scattered crumbs,
Showing us the way to an unknown truth.
I followed them for awhile, alone,
While you stayed back, and packed the dog;
Those irresistible, extra steps along their path,
Like blazing torches, luminous, yes.
When death gets a foothold,
You don’t know who it will take.
Souls grow heavy with guilt,
And the weight of silence.
Hope, a fragile light;
It fuels us.
Small, but mighty.
We wait for miracles;
They are fickle things,
Anger, Chaos, Civil War, CoronaVirus, Covid19, Death, Death Poems, Division, Fear, Fighting, Hate, Hope, hopelessness, Life, Longing, Loss, Memory, Napa, normal, Poem, Poems, Poetry, politics, Smoke Taint, Sonoma, Survival, Wine, Yearning
What does fire taste like in the glass,
Our fear, red with hate, the flames
of civil war? The skin, and the smoke,
cannot be divided; they say
it tastes like ash, what is left
when the smoke clears.
We can see the devastation.
Remnants of a vineyard;
what was there, before tragedy
made our eyes cry with anger.
The tree and native grasses
are poured out, consumed together,
while the vine exists in water it stored,
but cannot save its fruit.
Its creation, aging in the hot fog
of dreams. Life was supposed to be
the taste of flowers, plums, currants,
and only hints of tobacco,
swirled in our glass.
Alone, Chaos, CoronaVirus, Covid19, Death, Divorce, Dying, Fear, Forgiveness, Hate, Healing, Hope, Horses, Life, Loneliness, Longing, Loss, Love, Poem, Poems, Poetry, politics, Self, Soul, Soul Poetry, Souls, Spokane, Women's Poems, Yearning
In this season, of triple digit days,
Anger gives way. It withers.
I said, I’m argued out about living,
What it means to be free, and human.
She is right, after all, I’m not an expert.
What do I know about a virus,
Which isn’t informed by the trees,
or clouds, or the way a horse sounds
when it calls to me in the dark?
I can only speak of the heart,
and even that, with authority of one,
my own heart, and how it breaks
To see the growing cries for help. Hate,
A distant thrum, beating, what it means
To be hurt, and hurt back harder.
Is any of this new? Or unique?
But we sought each other anyway,
To stake claim on our opinions;
The lost way, of friendship and loving,
Something which came easy to us, once,
When we valued living over living,
A life we could touch with our hands,
sending our fingers deep into the dark soil;
To be truly clean meant dirt under our nails,
For weeks, for months, dirt under our nails.
Chaos, CoronaVirus, Courage, Covid19, Death, Dying, Emptiness, Fear, Fear of Death, Freedom, Life, Loneliness, Longing, Loss, Masks, Poem, Poems, Poetry, Soul, Souls, Survival, Women's Poems, Yearning
Imagine being nineteen again,
still pimply and awkward,
parroting a script
from behind a plexiglass wall:
Phone number, please, you say,
and imagine her fingers,
typing one in. You hear the click,
clicking of keys on the keypad,
music of the dead,
you think, you’re dying.
You’re maybe a hundred pounds,
just a little thing, whose mask
covers two thirds your fragile face,
and they buried you at the door,
the enforcer, instructed to say—
This door, not that, and arrows,
follow them, follow them,
do like I do, with this cover,
my voice smothered, my soul—
I’m sure I was just standing there,
leaning over my cart, watching
my daughter shop for cards,
when I heard her voice—
not the enforcer,
but a fellow peruser, like me,
another blank face, masked,
you’re going the wrong way,
she said, you’re not following
the arrows, she said,
and her bony, dead finger
pointed down along the ground.
I followed it, and sure enough,
she was right about me:
Rule breaker, careless
spreader of germs.
The shame, the shame,
she would have me feel,
for facing the wrong way,
Fuck that. My latest mantra. Fuck that
and fuck that, too.
Even as I do it.
Where’s the humanity in this?
I want to scream.
But who would hear me?
We’re too busy saving lives
by not living, buttressed
as we are behind masks,
She doesn’t even realize I’m not smiling,
Or, does she? Maybe there’s something
of, fuck this shit, in my eyes,
the only part of me she can see,
if she tries to see, but she doesn’t.
The mask isn’t merely the covering
for a mouth, a nose, —
it’s blanket, too, as in a morgue.
Covering the dead. And I know,
my time is coming soon enough,
but I’m not dead yet, covered as I am,
prepared for burial.
Yet, still pounding on coffins,
trying to pull back the heavy veil,
cursing my heart away,
fuck! Someone help us!
–into the emptiness.
Wasn’t everyone born
behind closed doors
praying it will passover
the ones we love,
how it swings
on its chain,
from cold days,
to warm—our lives,
which go on and on;
how can it go on
Sentient soul, to sentient soul,
he realized her panic
when he came barreling
around the corner; sundown,
and their eyes met
for just that second,
she decided to run.
He’d forgot to honk his horn,
thought she’d made it,
then the thud,
like the snap of twig,
a broken limb,
the doe, three-legged,
ran down the ravine.
He was amazed at her speed,
dismayed by his deed,
that couldn’t be undone,
or made right.
In fact, he knew
there was nothing left
except she would die.
He wondered at that,
and how death arrives
when we least expect,
and then, the frantic,
lonesome search for a quiet place
to lay your broken body down,
and the terrible waiting:
last fear, last tight breath,
a final severance from this world
on what had been a beautiful night.
Can you be in awe
of how much some
are expected to suffer
in this lifetime—
we are often given
more than we can—
I saw a moth
with a broken wing,
and though it struggled,
I could not crush it—
but placed him, instead,
among the leaves of jasmine,
and walked away.
Digging up some of my oldies about war. My thoughts and feelings have not changed.
January 13, 2007
Does the sand, there,
pile up like snow, here
Do grains of it rise like sun
floating crystals in a fickle breeze
Is its heat as unbearable
as our winter freeze
which makes a trickle stream,
thickens the water in the trough
I ask you, is the desert there
as beautiful as our plains,
as beautiful as winter wheat
snow covered, before amber waves,
as wide-open to life, as willing
when we lay down and die
These poems were based on news clippings from the time.
Sela-hammahlekoth (gorge of divisions)
We stand at the sela-hammahlekoth,
great gorge of division,
and we will not be sacrificed;
It will grow wider and deeper,
we’ll each back from the precipice,
further and further from one another
until, finally, we cannot see,
reach out to, or remember
we loved. My Lord, My Lord:
why have we have forsaken
each other, our sisters, our brothers?
This morning, over coffee, we argued about the war,
All this after the bed and what happened there,
When he loved me and said so.
Yesterday we worked together
Cleaned ovens, sprayed the deck,
Installed lights and tore down the bedroom wall.
We laughed over a movie and popcorn,
Surveyed our lives together and said,
This is good.
But this morning,
We argued about the war and WMD
And now I’m here at my computer
And he’s off
on his own,
Fixing the furnace.
Fear rises up inside us, she said,
But love can go clear to the bone;
Take it as close as you can, without breaking.
Maybe it’s okay to break, I said,
After all, a bone will always yearn to heal.
“Try to figure out some way to understand this thing the horse is so full of, and that he has such a strong desire to get from the person in return. It has to be togetherness. Mind, Body and Spirit is what we’re talking about here.” Tom Dorrance, True Unity
Our shared emotion,
Seventeen of twenty-seven:
Happiness, worry, fear.
What is it, rising up
Like spirit, from your eyes,
Like heaven. An open field,
Where all that matters is love
And connection, knowing
We are safe from what chases,
Knowing we are strong,
mistakes forgotten, and free.
I’ll describe early spring,
because it’s easier
than describing fear:
waking at one a.m.
in a terrible dream.
Where are you?
Why don’t you answer?
It’s forty degrees,
and the wind is rattling
the darkness and the chimes.
Everything is touched:
the willow, the aspen, and the roses
just beginning to break
into the tiniest buds.
Yet, still bare, still silent,
still waving their branches,
like I see you, waving your arms.
there is a reason
being in nature
makes us healthy
we find the infinite
under trees and clouds and sun
the rain wetting our skin
in that moment we don’t worry
about getting wet
belief is found
courage is found