Sunday, November 2, 2014


So the alone-days began.
My steps led up the valley towards the mountain. 
Under the narrowing sky
the cool air rattled the dry leaves.

Deep into the quiet trees I traveled, 
through the long shadows and cold streams.
Berries for my hunger led me to the higher land.

I sang my father's hunting songs;
his voice echoed in my ear as I climbed with his pace.
Chilled by sweat, my song chattered 
like the chipmunk into the long nights. 

A third day passed to the bright moon rising in the sky.
The night air bit my throat and tired eyes.
Blooming bear grass began whispering their old stories, 
chiding me to stop; to listen. Sleep soon held me warm and tight.

From my dreams I rose up, seeing far beyond the white mountain tops.
My outstretched arms flapped with ease
as I flew with many crows, each one calling out my name.
We all sang loudly and beat the air with our wings.

We soared over the mighty river, then east over the plains 
with my people sprouting everywhere from the land below.
Then a great blue wind rode through the Wallowa’s,
scattering all the people till they stood no more.
I can still see the proudest, deep black crow turning suddenly,
tossing a shiny black stone to me and laughing.
Fire bursts from the stone, warming me deep inside.
The bright flames burn brightly cradled in my palms.
Standing around the edge of the fire are all my people,
holding up their hands, chanting and waving good bye. 

Crow rises up in the middle with tilted head,
staring at me with one great yellow eye.
His wings held wide for all to see.

Once more he holds the black stone in his beak
and strikes the ground three times.
The sky suddenly flashes white and thunder beats his drum.

I awoke to rain on my face
and thoughts of the warm fires of home.
I feared nothing but the coming blue winds.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Each wagon cradled another handful of dreams
through mud, fear and the endless seas of dusty buffalo.

They followed the ruts of those that had,
and the past graves that hoped
to find their way to Oregon.

Legions of fat beaver, mighty elk 

and even the land bid them, "Come." 

Offering it's timber, salmon and furs; 
all wild and good.

Here, to what was not yet America 

but home to others
the travelers from the north lands long ago. 

Here, to the mild green valleys of plenty, 

home of the mighty flowing Wimahl, 
provider for the many.

Here, to the last long shore before the far-setting sun,
where faded days bow their head

in songs of welcome for the rising moon.

Gathered in the final valley, 
the seekers finally revel in the face of plenty.

All here have been lost, then found the way.
Now is when we live again
and cry out,

A Certain Age

Random late September apples thud into the yard 
while the garbage truck, dressed in its squeaky brakes,
grazes down our street, stop after stop.
Early walking voices from the sidewalk 
slowly fade away.

The sun finally climbs though my window
and stretches out 

across the morning wall.

It seems to yell, " I'm back, did you miss me?"

at the top of its lungs.
I am never really ready for it.

My sleepless shoulders 
have tossed since 4am
but I did not give in. My conscription number 
to an age that rises extra early
only to water the yard
has not yet been called.

I see it coming though, wearing 

it's Members Only jacket of repeated stories, 
monochrome memory and dank gray hair.

Some days as I wander towards the comics
it stares back at me from the obituaries
with an, almost, unintentional gaze.

The projector whirs through action and not, 
past all the cameo's and out-takes
of my starring role so criminally short.

In Praise of Loafing

It must have been long ago that
loafing fell from favor,
splashing into the deep end of ill repute.
A v
ictim of the times, left there 
bobbing in the pool, face down. 

Gone are the days when I cast a younger shadow,

when I dared loll in the grass and watch the clouds
reinventing themselves just for me. 
Now the world yells that we are late and don't have time for that.

My eyes always liked that old picture

of Walt Whitman staring back from the page.
His eyes earnest yet relaxed; a hand on his hip, 
wondering if you can find what he did.

He seems to be almost confused by us chasing our tails, 

kicking up so much dust over nothing 
and really needing so very little.

With a comfortable hat pushed back on his head,

he questions us with a Will Rogers smirk on his face.
I’m sure he found the truth.

Where's the wrong in musing and watching the world go by?

Time to loaf, to ponder and think
sounds delicious on so many summer days.