HYBISCUS

 
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One load of pollen
on one busy bumblebee
for Flower Friday.

 

Lightning

 

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Last evening, a small lightning strike just before, dark half-mile from the house, as monsoonal moisture sailed up the west side of the Sierras. Easily accessible, we count our blessings.

 

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Neighbor Tony Rivas had the fire pretty-much corralled with his shovel by the time I arrived with the skid steer. Another neighbor, Chuck Fry, had the gates unlocked for the CDF insuring we didn’t have to fix fence when the fire was out. Still flashing in the mountains this morning, 0.09″ rain.

 

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RAILROAD 2015

 

October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

 

June 27, 2015

June 27, 2015

 

Built for more than the cattle needed,
I reflect upon my one extravagance
now dry and cracked around its edges

like discarded dreams, having shed all guilt
exchanged for emptiness and worry
when every trail leads to Railroad Spring.

 

THIS PAPER BLESSED

 

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Ripe raspberry stain
on a yellow tablet—
one of several waiting
when I got back
from busy somewhere in the heat.

First-year canes producing
delight again and again.
You speak with gestures—
this paper blessed
with remembering.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Robbin!!

 

STATE OF GRAVITY

 

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We are not spirits only
when gravity works
flesh into dirt, pulls

bones into the womb
of all things as roots cling
and search for water.

Like drought-dead oaks
with loosened bark, clumps
of mistletoe hanging black

on the other side of Christmas,
Apollo’s hot breath
on our burnt lips kissed

with summer’s revenge.
It is not the dark rain
that dissipates strength,

weakens wooden handles:
the hands-on tools
for arms and legs

as hoe and shovel twist
and bow, decompose
beneath unrelenting heat.

We are not spirits yet
to defy mortal forces:
the bodies politique

that wear us down to find
our own ascension within
delirium under the sun.

We will walk with gods
soon enough and envy
this state of gravity.

 

EMPTY PEN

 

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A hundred and ten degrees
in an empty pen
where we watched him
stumble to his feet,

where we forget
twenty years of trying—
that a man was king
with all he needed

to get the job done.
Time swallows memory
like a snake
chokes a meal down

to the present tense—
outliving horses
before we fade
from this landscape.

We can ask too much,
plead for compassion
from invisible gods,
compensation for

the heroic hearts
we have held
within our fingers,
within our family.

                                        for Red Hot Montana

 

RIO DE LOS SANTOS REYES

 

A man gives up early in the summer,
too warm for wine, too hot for evening
poetry to endure, before darkness closes

the oven doors to bake in the black.
The Kings River calls, trout singing
from the riffles, asking why, when

trails of natives and early settlers rise
into the mountains, spread like webs
into the pine cabins and camps

beside the mantra of running water
through the night. I go early to bed
to get there in my dreams.

 

RED HOT MONTANA, RIP

 

March 12, 1990 — June 25, 2015

 

a.k.a. "Red"

a.k.a. “Red”

 

Montana Doc x Easter Chex

 

Water, Water, Water

 

Greasy Cove, Lake Kaweah June 17, 2015

Greasy Cove, Lake Kaweah
June 17, 2015

Capacity: 185,000 acre feet
Irrigation water stored June 23, 2015: 50,905 acre feet
Kaweah River Flow, June 24, 2015: 546 cfs (cubic feet/second)

 

Roughly speaking, 25% of normal.

 

Weather Journal/2010-11

June 27, 2011

Greasy Cove, Lake Kaweah, 6.27.11

Lake Kaweah, behind Terminus Dam, has only 4-5 more feet to go to get to the reservoir’s high-water mark. The river peaked at about 5,600 cfs for an hour on June 16th, but for 24 hours, cumulatively, June 22nd recorded the highest flow amid four 100º days. Currently about 2,200 cfs inflow to Lake Kaweah, 2,100 cfs outflow. Dry Creek has dropped to 14 cfs, but a lot of water yet for this time of year.

 

NOT KNOWING

 

Late June, water scarce for cows
heavy with September’s calf
reclining like hippos in the shade

of thin-leafed oaks. On vacation,
gathered to catch a breeze, they
gossip silently, chew their cuds.

They don’t know, don’t worry,
watch us scurry from the distant
well to tank to empty trough—

listen to us talk with tools
as the morning’s entertainment.
Miles from asphalt, we make

our circles on dirt tracks
from pasture to pasture until
the rains might come November.