Saturday, December 20, 2008

Turning 2009

Poplar pond is brimming
up and over countless toes of trees
that bask nude
in the steely sun of a solstice sky
walking with a black dog
in the lavender twilight
we savor the moment
watch Venus and Jupiter cavort
always westward
heralds of another day
another chance
to count our blessings
in a new world
so fresh and full

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

harvest home

It must be the fat curves in 2008

that inspire this belly of harvest

that hangs like whole notes along a musical staff

that rivals ADM and Monsanto

that invites me to fill the cracked jug

that seeps empty, fills and seeps again

while moments blow away from us

turning the rose dawn into

lavender moon, March into September.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Swaddling Babies

Best swaddle our babies in veery song suspended on a breeze.
Light meets day in its bud, gently uncoil each hour.
They expect warm milk and kisses, we savor their sweet perfume.

Find children as fresh earth, as body of amber clay.
Layer on layer, by moments etched, we mold them home.
Best swaddle our babies with apricot sunrises that open into May.

The feast is not in the kettle when elbows dimple the cloth;
only picnics of stories so satisfy like desert rain.
They expect dragons swarming the castle, we savor paper cranes.

Decades unfold a family like an aspen clone claims its slope -
pushed open with birth and marriage, deepened in woe.
Best swaddle our babies in butterflies laced in lucky saffron.

Waking hours hold the key to Darwin explorations; we’ll set
their brilliant minds free, feathering daydreams with angels.
They expect to track a creek forever, we savor safe returns.

Raising children pours like sand for a painting, every grain counts;
they’re not ours, they belong to the water and the wind.
Best swaddle our babies with sundogs hanging in the summer sky.
They expect warm milk and kisses, we savor their sweet perfume.

Daphne's Peace

Why bury your wildness?
Honor that rakish salvation
from soap and Jane Austin.

It’s neither silk purse nor
sow's ear. Why bother with
some chase across Mongol steppes?

Tunnel worm holes into
a ninth dimension later.
For now study your own

notions of life and duty -
how easily they fill with
dust like puddles in August.

When you neglect the beveled
lips of crystal framing you
with feral kin, your light

bends obliquely from this
nebulous sky. When you
giggle madly as a pod

of girls in skirts scarlet and
billowing, veils swing apart.
Holding patience like April

holds spring, this good earth desires
your seed and feathered song;
desires timid fingers

to probe iron laced fissures
that map your fault line. Follow
the dark thread home; nose to wind,

chase sanguine urges. Crave
the Golden Salmon roasting
on hot coals. The best morsels

wait for your hungry tongue.
It sings to your wildness.
Don’t bury her again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Paradelle for a Proud Argentina

“Argentines have watched, horrified, as the meltdown dissolved more than their pocketbooks. Even the rich have been affected in their own way. The tragedy has struck hardest, however, among the middle class, the urban poor and the dirt farmers. Their parts of this once-proud society appear to have collapsed -- a cave-in so complete as to leave Argentines inhabiting a barely recognizable landscape.”
Washington Post, August 6, 2002

Morning climbs up the sleek skin of skyscrapers.
Morning climbs up the sleek skin of skyscrapers.
Our broken bourgeois dines on cracked china.
Our broken bourgeois dines on cracked china.
Sleek china dines on the cracked bourgeois.
Broken of skyscrapers, morning climbs up our skin

Proud Argentina sleeps with a growling belly.
Proud Argentina sleeps with a growling belly.
There is food on the freeway and it’s still alive.
There is food on the freeway and it’s still alive.
It’s a proud freeway still growling with food.
Argentina is there alive and the belly sleeps on.

My tiny planet simmers with a fever of billions.
My tiny planet simmers with a fever of billions.
How can the good fortune fatten so few?
How can the good fortune fatten so few?
How the tiny fever of fortune simmers, so
My good planet can fatten with a few billions.

A bourgeois planet dines on morning. How good
is the growling of food alive. Fortune sleeps
there on a tiny few and our skin simmers
with the cracked fever of broken skyscrapers.
Still China climbs with my sleek Argentina.
Its proud billions belly up so the freeway can fatten.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Daphne's Warning

Don’t bury your wilderness!
Honor that rakish salvation from
soap and Jane Austin; it’s neither

silk purse nor sow's ear.
Don’t bother with the chase,
down stone steps

all the way to Mongolia;
forget tunneling with worm holes
into a ninth dimension.

Instead, remember how slyly
your own reflection fills
with cobwebs like puddles

in August if you neglect
the beveled lips of crystal
between you and this feral kin.

Bend your light as obliquely as
a sky is full of quasars, giggle
madly as a herd of girls

in skirts scarlet and billowing.
Don't bother with the chase,
your savanna patiently waits.

Find the nerve instead
to trace the iron laced fissure,
defining your own fault line.

Find the nerve to huddle
like Persephone beside Hades;
embrace your Jerusalem.

It shelters an Irish salmon,
you'll roast on hot coals. Feed
its best morsels to your yeti;
and don’t bury it again!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Winter Cottonwoods

“Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw…” – Georgia O’Keeffe

1954
she paints the canvas
Winter Cottonwoods East V.

Burnt umber
and raw sienna
render limbs

to transcend
all sense
of sleeping sap.

Within her
smudged pigment,
out of wintry light

emerges
an odd alchemy.
Countless living stems

press into thin air
in a maze of wands.
Even leafless,

slow and steady
respirations
stitch tree with sky
in secret marriage.

2004
she is the canvas
Winter Cottonwoods East V.

I draw in
burnt umber
and raw sienna

to assuage
my melancholy
since leaving

olive tammies1
and silver sage.
I make a pact

to swap mirror
for trees
naked now

beside my bed.
This morning five
purple finches

pried open black hulls,
plainly melding
bird and flower
budding in song.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Winter Cottonwoods East V

“Well, I made you take time to look at what I saw…” – Georgia O’Keeffe


1954 - she paints canvas
I test young legs
later we intersect
at Winter Cottonwoods East V
where a simple landscape
of burnt umber
raw sienna
mars brown
belies my assumption
for sleeping sap
absorbs me
in fresh wintry light

more in smudged paint
than fine line
she imparts a
deep alchemy
between
tree and sky
each broad stem
tapers to blur
like fabric frayed
in steady wind
each breath trades
sky for tree

desert canyons
send me home
full of sage and tammies
edges smudged
by steady diet
of wild water
strong light
her trees replace
my mirror - I am
winter cottonwoods
finding old folds
like new roots in granite

2004 -I rest
tired legs
she is canvas
we meet at the edges
swap moments as
maiden – mother - crone
breathe in
burnt umber
raw sienna
mars brown
trust a naked alchemy
my mirror- her trees

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

River's Ruse

You felt it

as your heels sank slowly

into gummy grains rimming

a finely sorted shoreline;

from sandy lips

fluted like crinoline skirts

you felt siren song

tucked away among gritty runes.

Good time to get up and walk away.

This river loves a ruse.


Temperamental bards

require a lazy audience.

So you slow down

long enough

to watch alluvium drop –

down

three inches to rusty sand

six inches to fine mud

two inches to silt

outlining

nine coon tracks.

You sit satisfied,

thinking

blessed are the patient,

and the river leads you on.


You feel a rhythm,

it hooks your braided logic.

Good time to get up and walk away,

good time

to seek a Heisenburg translation

for river speak – he’d say

it’s never here – never now

always here – always now.


You could take an hour

to mouth

one syllable,

you could love mud

in your teeth;

but a river hoards its lore for locals -

heron and chub.

River tongues sing beyond us,

so you must slide deeper

than your days,

descend darkly

into the hottest August hours.


So what

if silt becomes a second skin

and you glisten with mica sand;

so what

if ruddy clay gilts your body,

and the sun bleaches your bones?

You must slide deeper than the Devonian,

fall deftly into waterless respirations,

bear the burden of a billion tamarisk seedlings

nursing the aquifer dry.

You must witness

coyote willow and cottonwood

negotiate treaties with russian olive,

witness them

council with equisetum

on thriving three hundred million years.


Stuck in the mud,

you might lose your bearings

long enough to notice

how shadows hold the foreground.

Stuck in the mud,

with your teeth in its mouth,

you might take three breaths with this place:

one for a pink canyon

one for a thirsty sky

one for a rakish river.

Stuck in the mud,

porous as fossiled bones,

you might snag some tattered tune

strung together like prayer flags.


Be the flags!

Be the rhythm

pushing water and wind,

folding sediments into a shoreline

where you sunk your heels

just moments ago.

I tell you

it’s a good time

to get up

and walk away.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Little Lila Raine

She is home in Tennessee
Little Lila Raine

Pretty as a willow tree
Little Lila Raine

Caterpillar on the floor
Little Lila Raine
Sunshine dances in your door
Little Lila Raine

Oh, little Lila
Little Lila Raine
Oh, little Lila
Little Lila Raine

You’re my little sugar bean
Little Lila Raine
Lucky clover on the green
Little Lila Raine


Tell me what you did today
Little Lila Raine
Skip and sing and laugh and play
Little Lila Raine

Oh, little Lila

Little Lila Raine
Oh, little Lila
Little Lila Raine

Black cat purrs beside the fire
Little Lila Raine
Red squirrel runs across the wire
Little Lila Raine

When the moon drops off to bed
Little Lila Raine
Put a rosebud by his head
Little Lila Raine

Oh Little Lila
Little Lila Raine
Oh, little Lila

Little Lila Raine

Tiny mermaid loves to dream
Little Lila Raine
Splashing down a lazy stream
Little Lila Raine

Kiss your mama, hug your pa
Little Lila Raine
Crows in the tree, go caw - caw
Little Lila Raine

Oh, little Lila,
Little Lila Raine,
Oh, little Lila,
Little Lila Raine

Always tell the day hello
Little Lila Raine
Night’s your time to sleep and grow
Little Lila Raine

Button mouth and bluebell eyes
Little Lila Raine
Sing your rag doll lullabies
Little Lila Raine


Oh, little Lila,

Little Lila Raine,
Oh, little Lila,
Little Lila Raine

Oh, little Lila,
Little Lila Raine,
Oh, little Lila,
Little Lila Raine

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gorilla's Rescue

He loves the chair that groans,
loves its quaky threats to fail;
loves to settle at five thirty onto

its cracked leather cushion that
sags from steady affection - joints
rickshaw shaky, legs chestnut strong.

“One day,” he thinks, “gorilla glue
to the rescue.” The chair is a lifeboat.

It has carried more than backsides.
It’s held whole vituperative lumps,
huffing and mottled, waving fists
like distant lines on the Serengeti.

He loves stories about species saved;
smug on his faithful quay beside
unsympathetic seas, he watches
for their note in a bottle.

The chair is an eddy - it swirls
dread like fetid foam, clings to
the bitter edge of sweet. The chair
is a nest – sticks and skins wound

over centuries, middened with
sweat and worry, securing his kin,
night after night since Lascaux.

The chair is tired too, it moans
for empty moments, prays for
just reward, threatens to give in -
seeks rescue from gorilla’s glue.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Bawdy Tide

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know
- Percy B. Shelley


Valentine thunder shakes logs, wakes frogs;
they rise to rim a brimming pond.
Be aroused, bellow the teeny beasties;
there’s tadpoles to make before dawn.

Crickets appear, their imperative clear
rub legs, lay eggs, avoid birdies.
Wood thrush returns from Panama jungles,
odyssey skims the canopies.

Song soaks the air in sponges around them;
finding lungs in belly and skin.
When green tides surge across umber fields,
June arrives awash in new kin.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Threading Light

As a bone crescent drops into dusk
bandy leg peepers climb with the sap
and jet streams thread light with thunder.

Be aroused, bellow the beasties,
in serenades whooshing like waves
as a bone crescent drops into dusk.

Owls and bugs swell the ruckus, weaving
their cacophony into night’s cloth
and jet streams thread light with thunder.

In bedlam so blatant, this spring tonic
wheedles even the woodcock to cheep
as a bone crescent drops into dusk.

Sound soaks the air, and we must inhale
with ears, belly, skin - must exhale
in jet streams threading light with thunder.

Now a green tide carries us to May,
breaks over June awash in new fruit,
out of crescents dropping into dusk
and dreams threading light with thunder.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Aqualine - 2

Be as water
quicksilver thin
magic carpet pioneer
dispersing
up, up and away

Be as water
crystal lattice
intertwined elbow to elbow
willow
now basket, now boat

Be as water
brimming edge
courageous surrender
five hundred feet
headlong in full song

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moons Rimmed in Walnuts

Stack your babies tightly; it allays their fears about the corduroy road ahead.
Bumps are certain, so be adamant about how you uncoil the hour.
They expect warm moons rimmed in walnuts, you know the day is more serpentine.

The duty of family is to handle life like a vintage harvest;
days brim with opportunity often missed, but always kindled – keep the coal alive.
Stack your babies tightly; it allays their fears about the corduroy road ahead.

The bounty of brave parents, what fills sparse blue nights, and brightens pinched faces
is the picnic of stories after a lean meal. How papa unfolds each mind behind blue eyes.
They expect warm moons rimmed in walnuts, he knows the day is more serpentine.

If only we had centuries to grow a family, like the Oregon Coast; trusting
the liquid space between strong siblings, and danger just a splashing surf.
Stack your babies tightly; it allays their fears about the corduroy road ahead.

But the sky in not a tin roof and fog lets in the rain. Every mother knows
that years unfurl faster than a vanishing shoreline and hungry babies cry.
They expect warm moons rimmed in walnuts, she knows the day is more serpentine.

With bumps so certain and opportunity taking flight, what handy script
can rescue us from a lemming race to the river; where is our raft upon the sea?
Stack your babies tightly; it allays their fears about the corduroy road ahead.
They expect warm moons rimmed in walnuts, you know the day is more serpentine.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Fishwife's Chair

He loves the chair that groans,
loves how it carps like a fishwife.

At five thirty he settles onto its cracked leather pad,
sagging from family abundance;
every joint rickshaw shaky
still holds legs hickory strong.

One day, he thinks, gorilla glue to the rescue;
shore up this damn thing.

The chair, a relic of family opinion,
has cradled more than bottoms and legs.

It’s throned vituperative lumps
red faced and hissing at Murrow
reporting tanks in Warsaw,
at Cronkite questioning the TET,
at Mandela’s climb to president.

Wonders why blood in Haditha matters.

This chair is tired.
It creaks because it's full and worn.
Patina coats its bony arms, oiled mocha
with worry, hands bearing up under the news.

It knows what complains hangs around –
sturdy as a dirge. What complains
settles deeper like the bitter edge of sweet.

It creaks to remind him - even the sturdiest
welcome empty moments when thoughts
settle like dust; when silence rescues
frantic frays to fix the world.

And it creaks in hope that maybe tomorrow
he'll think to remember the gorilla glue.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aggregates (phase 2)


Each morning I meet my crazy quilt
bright eyed, in from the edge,
spectacular as Easter’s ilk
eggs tuck in ditch and hedge .

What’s so crazy about a mantle
pieced from robe and shirt,
summer culotte, tartan flannel
destined for the dirt.

Each day a junta erects regimes
Of arms and legs and balls
Time is bottled, black deals are sealed,
piked heads fill the halls.

What’s best about hegemony;
when sovereigns step aside?
Begets a tidge of larceny
and mayhem for its a bride.

Crazy Quilts

"Think of chaos as dancing raspberries."
- Judyth Hill from "Wage Peace"

I.

How the morning meets us matters.
A crazy quilt met mine.
I woke with a pigeon’s view of Easter
processing down Peachtree.
What’s so crazy about a blanket?
Pieced like family jewels
from denim jacket, brocade skirt -
my clan spread eagle.


II.
Truth is - juntas stalk regimes
with kudzu enterprise.
They’d freeze time to collect enough
arms, legs and testicles.
What’s amiss with coup d’├ętat?
Glorious in stealth,
they bring justice home by its scruff,
savor the spoils like Hampshire boars.


III.
Luck
finds the writer who consummates
work with good whiskey.
Good and bad saturated Thomas.
Catlin's fire matched his muse.
Nothing kindles like lust and duty
to goddess and queen -
purple robe lifted by salt wind,
her ruddy fuse goading the tide.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stolen Glory

I would trade for a better dessert,
Trade it in for the white skirted waitress.

Her chocolate and cream holds its own allure
So does thirty three footsteps

When there are bullies in the play ground.
Give me a hop for good measure.

Instead of snapping gum in this cold depression
Between Sir Hillary’s expedition and the cold comfort

Of sliding home alive, I could be still as a pond
Crouching under a roof of stalactites,

Dodging the icy daggers that pin me to my word.
Summer rain comes so seldom, especially now

Under the January skies of the northern hemisphere.
My unwashed hair chides me to trade it for a better season

Trade it in for apple blossoms and hummingbirds
and wilted lettuce salads.

But these icy daggers have their own allure,
They hide me from the bullies – across the playground

now chasing the scent of some other prey.
I’ll give it a hop for good measure.

Aggregates

Every morning my crazy quilt meets me
bright eyed, in from the edge.
I might as well have a pigeon’s view of Easter
processing down Peachtree.
Tell me what’s crazy about a blanket
so carefully pieced from robe and jumper,
summer blouse and kitchen curtains.
It’s my Ursula Clan spread eagle in slatted sun,
stitched together with more than thread.

Every day a junta pieces together its regime
arms and legs bound in testicles.
It bottles time – cramming clock into calendar.
Even in sleep it’s abuzz with jolts of blood
bullied by heart and lung; abuzz in kudzu dreams.
Tell them what’s crazy about conquest; tell them
even the tightest stitches loosen, even the best fabrics fray.
When water and sun exact their tithe,
everything red fades to green.

The force that drives that fuse drives the Fundy tide;
drives Thomas to down 18 shots of whiskey,
drives Caitlin to hedge her bets that he’d ever make her happy,
drives her albatross view of the corduroy sea between Wales & Milk Wood.
Tell her what’s crazy about a life fat with lust and duty,
tell her she's queen of the bard.
But talk fast - she’s halfway down the hill
purple robe whipping, back bowed to the wind,
fingers sowing sand with salt.