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.