Monday, December 17, 2012

December Fourteen

Banshee in the headlights,
sleek quiver of points bristle -
Fly little arrows fly!
There is no kindness,

in this moment only broken hearts.
No one should find such such a day.

Grendel in the headlights
the growling ache of Saint Lucy.

Her bright party sinks with a mired night
and stars ring the winter sky.
Ashes turn to dust, 
we all fall down.

Cherubs in the headlights
lifting on frozen beams.

No time to say goodbye,
no way to accept surrender,
our most precious forever, and 
we could only promise to be brave.


Monday, December 10, 2012


Be at home in the heart,
who cares what extends beyond your brittle hide.
Home gives space for light,
lets it feather the soft unformed.

Be at home with the hunger,
who cares that we tremble.
Home makes room for mercy,
lets it cushion the sharpest edge.

When you go
follow warmth,
the ochre,
the golden rod,
each umber and ecru,
the endless green,
the lavender and rust.

These signal our songs
and bring clues for what twines
the plucky hours of July with November.

Be at home for the peace,
join its long name:
Mother's milk
First light
Gibbous Moon
Morning fog
Lemon balm
Black dog
Red tide
Oak pollen
Boney night

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Missing Pluto Again

Crowing glory glory, we expected
to float back all together,

even raced to be first
to ford the asteroid riffle.

Like children reaching in glee
fingers and arms wide as

rice paddies, we embraced
the flood of song pouring in

like stardust off the tongues
of dancing galaxies- but we lost

Pluto – even before the chorus began;
before we could ask IAU to reconsider

what makes a planet; before we could
implore 134340  to bring its moon home,

convince it  that turning in a slow whirl
like a dervish around the sun

is better than flying wild with legs
clutching an icy braid of comet tails.

But they don't hear us,
they're already three billion miles

gone and outside we notice
the stars have never been so bright.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kindness is a Rake

Even under a merry morning sky
Her mind drags its shirt tails through gray slurry.
Best medicine - work, she thinks and 
The yard offers her a blanket of leaves.
Rake in hand, she starts at the sidewalk.
It's a slow transfer, this brittle, brown tide
crawling toward the street, still
Worry chafes her shoulders.

He just shows up, 
Blind to the melancholy under her rake.
He fixes instead on his favorite fall ritual - 
Can I help? with kind chatter, contagious.
Now the sycamore and maple surge swells 
With ample energy to waylay her troubles.
Gloom tumbles with every tarp load to the front ditch.
Soon two rakes return to the shed, and

Thank you - her prayer to him.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sanity Has a Pocket

My back pocket fills with moons
Orbit as friend, and I’ll choose well.
I stand beside you, we touch crowns,
Stars chase us, our penumbras race ahead.

Orbit as beloved, maybe I’ll choose again.
Heroes rise like cream with a little agitation
While shadows cross penumbral paths,
We wait for what was here all along.

Heroes rise like dreams with a little work.
Now we come to save the day!
It wants for nothing, safe already.
Best hang travail behind the favor.

Here we are to save the hero!
I stand beside you, we touch tongues.
Ready to kiss the shadows away,
My back pocket fills with galaxies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nine by Four

The Braeburn thought, “Gone again,
gone the work of summer; 
spread along the stream,
fed to Plastic bags;
succumbing to one eddy
and another, rosy skins
lifting like dervish skirts,
leaving tender nurseries empty
as flotsam drifting below clouds.

The late afternoon whispered,
we are children of nothing
and Everything,
two hands fanned wide -
no point in worry;
bliss doesn’t forget,
our story is a sling
to set space Dust
swimming across the sun.

The Eider down explored
the good in getting
caught up in Something;
like a boy with a new book
curled and snug among
shelves of dust mites
and Dewey Decimal codes,
eating words from a page,
growing fat on dragon lore.

The north wind yearned
to run steady, still Greedy
for the next moment,
shoving nimbus clouds
so brilliance would turn
the day supple as mare’s tail.
Duty is like this, sometimes
a thorny vine climbing
to push its perfume skyward.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


you decided to say yes
and sensed now
and believed possible,
this road is yellow brick

you say yes
just so luck
will unwind from
bone and tendon
it felts new geography
like moss to stone

and now
yes twins no
work twins play
bliss twins sorrow
all side by side
kith and kin

when you find river
yes rims the banks
it rides a downpour
fills the well
and rises
deep and clear

worry is an old cat
let it nap in the sun
what vexed you
drink like silver song
how dusty a traveler you were
now you open like a door
hinges oiled – it’s ok        
life is ready and vast
a kudzu invasion
a mayfly hatch
each moment a menu
today is hungry
a Serengeti plain
and your legs are long
wings wide - don’t wait
kiss the road of yellow brick
make it yours with yes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Winter Cottonwoods

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

she paints the canvas
Winter Cottonwoods East V -
it’s a thrifty landscape
burnt umber
raw sienna
mars brown
it adores assumptions
of sleeping sap,
her alabaster basks us
in the fresh winter light -
with breath of gray
trees fill the thin air,
each knobby body
surrenders its precise edge
like fabric fraying
in steady wind -
their stomata breaths
quench a thirsty sky.

o’Keeffe lives in painted canvas
Winter Cottonwoods East V,
I'm inspired with the landscape
burnt umber
raw sienna
mars brown
I’m flush with
sandy canyons,
weedy with tammarisk
smudged with sage, and
grateful for my assumptions
of the Cumberland Rim -
I swap the mirror
over my bed for
her naked cottonwoods
in open sky,
they quench a soul
thirsty for such thrift.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brown Trout

Okay - let’s push.

It’s brittle outside,
it’s a day dry as a carapace
begging to split and fall away.

Follow what rises
out of the claustrophobic
the rot of dark dreams;

what feeds rootlets that push life
into fresh buds that swell with
a sweet tang that makes love to bees.

Okay - blush at the newness, at the innocence
that cleaves to this bawdy verve.

Even when we try, there is no hiding
what breaks open with each bloom -
Each breath is a well spring.

Today - I believe
my shoulders can bear everything that wants a ride.
I believe I am the lake
who carries flock after flock of geese,
splashing down, dithering -

to travel on, to stay around.

I believe my spring tonic
is spider bites and brown bats,
blessed with fireflies, already out in March.

Together we admire Mars among the poplars.

I believe I well up
in purple, yellow, green, softest blue -

another chimera circulating with galaxies
around this moon and that sun,
my own big bang – birthing universes.
Tonight we can sleep like brown trout in deep water –
an easy, drifting shadow,
dreaming about everything and nothing.

Then rise radiant in the morning,
solid as wren chatter- golden and present;
so beloved, no trying.

let’s push again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I might appear decisive.
Ideas resting akimbo, black on white
framing passage to the emerald kingdom.
Can I give you a sure thing, some solid ground?
Don’t count on it, no need -
If uncertainty frames each portal;
then as flower finds fog, melding edges incessantly hued,
we court vibrations that triangulate me
with you and you and you -harmonizing wavelength.
We lift each other up.

I could rise from sodden sediments
bare breasted as a sycamore,
the one down the gravel drive.
She pulls water droplets from the deep rock pores,
gives them a penthouse view,
opens her lips and pushes them out.
They connect with brothers and sisters.
We see cumulus clouds -water laid landlocked for centuries,
one rootlet closed the hoop.
We lift each other up.

I could sit like frog with eyes bulging
above a rippled surface, meditating on digestion.
Until in one violet flash, a horny dagger,
we never saw coming, drags us up and out -
tosses us down a rose gullet to a dank acrid pit.
Hell… we cook beyond done in foul yellow juices.
cook to molecules, deconstructing our sleek frogness,
reconstructing with shaggy feathers, stilt legs.
Now to break open the air in one motion,
a woman,a frog with wings.
We lift each other up.

Love says,
“Let me deliver you this instant!”
But I don’t long for deliverance just now.
Fold up those cozy red blankets, let me sit sullen for a little longer.
Let me grind my teeth,my aching jaw will remind me
when it’s my stomach turn. Let my gut clench
one muscled band over another
again and again.
NO exhale…holding my breath I can stop the world!
Stop the world -
only to find black and white are kin.
Add a pinch of light and rainbows lead the push up a Sisyphus hill.
And when I neglect the rock,
I inhale and love enters.
We lift each other up.

-rm mist
revised 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine in a Dragon Year

I know

I'm no simple valentine,
pearls don't grow in mud,
still thick and thin binds me with you
heart to heart – so clear our love.

How insolent rises this shadow self –
stretching wide as Saskatchewan,
full of wild flax and brambles -
I tried to press under glass.

Still you hold me like open prairie
kinder than any velvet glove.
Even orchids take a dormant year,
resting tightly in a bud.

So what makes our congress anyway,
tantric dances for the rain?
Love flows like that - fresh and fast,
changing tempo on a dime.

Can we soften like a spreading fog
rising up to fill a sky - satisfied,
still full of stars, even
Venus and Mars watch us now.

It's valentine in a dragon year
and the affection I treasure most
rests in an easy smile, thank you.
I'll savor the simple and the small.

I know

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pickett's Charge 2012

“Courage is grace under pressure.” - Ernest Hemmingway

My mother needs replumbing.

Its her heart - it wrestles with globs of
klondike bars, angry daughters,
medium rare marbled beef,
dusty secrets, tired grief.
Clutter collected for decades in discreet passages -
those dark catacombs, out of sight.

Tough love doesn’t work for her.

With kid gloves she escorts everything through the front door.
Here’s a warm hearth,
air of cinnamon and raisins,
comfort of paisley pillows .

It’s no wonder a generous heart struggles.

If seven liters were all her heart must push from head to heart to hand.
she’d be dancing up
the gentle rise of Johnson Street
even at eighty three.
But a heart can only bear so much.

Perhaps she will live to one hundred.

If only she screws up the courage to say yes to a split sternum,
yes to fresh pipes stitched around the tired ones,
yes to certain pain,
possible departure.

She’ll tell you no courage required, only grace -

She wants what carried soldiers into Pickett’s Charge,
what led Amelia across the south Pacific.
And make sure it’s in the surgeons’ hands
there's stories still to share.

--rm mist 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart...”
– rainer maria rilke

We want things to be easy-
easy as editing lines by pressing
a plastic key – there, alignment.

Life revels in its struggle -
difficult as kin off kilter with growing
pains and broken hearths – here, discord.

If we could tweak problems by lifting letters,
set dilemma precisely in the good next place-
simple would be the road to heart’s desire.

Maybe patience is the only medicine and
when we survive the swirling murmuration
of longings as they tumble like starlings

on a soggy afternoon, we find that spirals
align best with open space and there is
no plastic key to lift tendrils of pea vines

sunward nor to steer disappointing news away.
There is no easy in the orchid’s bloom, and
even plastic uses millenniums to arrive.

--rm mist 2012