Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sticks and stones



    a single stave of wood
stands between a man and son
   love would build a fire



Those Days



Certain days can simply start with a shift
to one shoulder while lying in bed
waiting for the night to yield

or with the familiar scratch and smell of burning sulfur
as a cigarette begins to glow in mornings early dark,
long before the alarm clock fails to
shut its ringing mouth.

On certain days the thoughts of what is coming or the loss
of that good and certain thing, now stiff and dead,
overtake us and will not let the stillness be.

It shakes you with its two cold, black hands
and tries to eat into your brain,
paralyzing the mind
and growling that it is today
you must choose.

Certain days require the lifting of a finger
and choosing to push only one small button

live

pause

stop or

done.

Milepost 739



The fence posts beat an even pace,
their passing wires are strung with blackened
varmint-hide notes resting on their staffs.
A few blowing tails conduct
the wind's whistled dirge.

A passing deflated steer seems to have escaped
his life and the vultures
but had to leave his skin behind
among the scattered rocks of this roadside
purgatory.

Random, tumble-down shanties arrive
for no one in particular
as the horizon unrolls all day,
flowing like a treadmill under our tires,
disappearing in the rear view mirror.

A dozen spired dust-devils
chase us down this faded road,
shimmering through the emptiness
to the dusky ends of light.

Tumbleweeds grip the wires
waving to us, longing, for the other side of life
and their last chance for a taste of Canaan's honey.

Re-collection


The ocean collects
the mountain slopes
and hides them beneath the waves.

All the mighty peaks trickle down the valleys,
unaware of the request to kneel.
The Judas-kiss of rain’s soft tongue,
delivers what gravity so badly wants
with its unrelenting pull.

Tiny sprouted seeds become the mighty trees,
risen higher and grander and stronger.
They remember the finite days of passing kings and ships,
their gazes fixed upwards to the clouds.
When is their return to earth, for the ground’s last long embrace?

A faint and tiny beak pushes from within a shell
can but scarcely fathom the world
to unfold beyond the breach
first to think of what it is
and then of what to be.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cedar



   two smells of cedar-
one freed by the carpenter
   the other by fire

    twice fragrant cedar
one freed by the carpenter
   the second by fire

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gertrude





A grandma tall among cousins walking down the railroad tracks
eyes searching for the oldest date nail amongst the ties,
with arms stretched out we walk the rails
like high-wire artists; our mouths tight in concentration
swaying back and forth we seem destined
for the roadbed with each uncertain step.

In an hour or so our slow train pulls into the army navy store,
thick with the smell of dank canvas and old lubricant.
She does finally reel us in and it's time to settle up.

Gert discreetly turns to retrieve her tobacco-sack,
her "grannie-money," safe from thieves in her brassiere,
for she is the quartermaster for our summer war machine.

With one crossed eye, she never drove a car
or wore pants and kept her hair braided in a high, tight bun.
She walked those cinders past old Judge Parker's gallows
in hooked shoes and glasses that were already old when I was born.

She never napped as I recall and cooked like it was a career.
Her laugh was quick and had the best rope swing in her walnut tree.
Time stood still in her house and nothing ever changed till one day
she just wore out from livin' every day till long after dark. Gone.

{Move  up?}
The small town girl from her dreams 
quilted and built caskets during the war,
and her older sister dipped snuff and  spit
in old coffee cans throughout the house.

{Move ?}
Whenever we stayed with her,
the faeries dressed up like fireflies
and protected us at night while we slept.
She said so.

Seasonal Clock




– my calendar looks a little different than yours,
 mine looks familiar like a clocks face but
travels backwards through the year,
around and down through fall to winters darkened cold

Thanksgiving sits at 8 then Santa arrives around seven
and then down to New Years, resolutely living at the bottom.
The  newly diapered year takes the first tread from the basement
the upward rise, bringing the birth of spring

Somewhere near number four, March or so I think,
that's when the world begins to wake.
May sits on three and opens the door to warmer days

Summer lolls between 2 and 10
spread all across the top nearest the sun
finally giving way to autumn just before nine
and the returning smell of rain.

Porched Again


My new year has begun,
settling and getting comfortable
in the cardboard continuity
of my newest moving box fort.

It shelters me on a new front porch
from thunderstorms,
gawking eyes
and driven drops of loss.
Each splat is wet and heavy
on my newly unpacked roof.

Turtled in my shell,
safe and suckled
by corrugated walls
in this new
promised land.

Crocus




Somehow the crocus
found their way,
almost too soon.
Scattered stippled eruptions of tender heads
dipped in lavender and maize.

They giggle while reminding us
the promised birth of spring

has arrived
at last,

just now.