Happy Thanksgiving!!



With much to be thankful for, not the least of which is ample rain to get the grass started, Robbin and I wish everyone a good-sized portion of our gratefulness.






                        — I’ll get there and back
                         and just for a second
                         maybe play.
                                 – Gary Snyder (“Sunday”)

The wood desk waits
beneath the bound
and unbound scraps

of poetry,
manila folders stacked
beneath unopened mail—

the ash and dust
of years anticipate
an inside job.

Shop repairs
count passing storm fronts
upon the roof,

want to work,
to be useful
after a rainy day.

So much saved,
all beckoning
can wait.

First, we must graze
these green grass hills—
maybe play.






Not like Redbuds
rooted laterally
towards moisture,

or Blue Oaks
chasing a granite crack
of snowmelt,

we can leave, anytime:
sell the cows
with the place,

go anywhere, retire—
feet and glasses up
to toast new skies.

But who would want to
at this late date,
we’re not that kind.






Long dead,
it sheds its limbs
atop the knoll

where generations
of women bent to
grind granite

for acorn meal.
No longer shade,
a bony spire

for our pair
of crows to make
feather-quivering love

balanced in the light,
has finally succumbed
to gravity. Perch gone

we hope and trust
they’ll stay on
another season.






The scouts arrive to paint
blue denim skies with fuzzy
promises of rain.


Trio (2)





Weekly Photo Challenge (2): “Trio”







Weekly Photo Challenge (1): “Trio”






The storms line up
like diesel trucks
in the slow lane,

hills green
and scattered cattle
graze ridgetops.

I had forgotten how
heaven looked,
learning to live

with dust and smoke,
all shades of brown—
years without water.

We cannot reduce
all the ghoulish skeletons
to cordwood, clear

these monuments of oak
from mind or eye.
They will remind us

of who we came to be
to survive
what they could not.






The ant, his sting—
the scorpion, his horn—
the lowly on this earth
rise up, adapt.

The cactus spine,
the thistle’s quill
survive the brilliance
that has blinded us.

The coyote knows
we have never been
that exceptional,
except as providers—

making his living
knowing how we think,
then waits
to clean-up behind us.

All our wealth and power,
instant ease and comforts
feed him, yet we are starved
for something more secure

than convenient hearts
carved to hang bejeweled
around our necks
on heavy chains.

It is no secret,
we have lost
our humility,
that sense of awe

that boils us down
to nothing
of any real

                               for JEG


                         Layout 1

In response to a request for my contributions to “Reflections of the West” I’ve posted “John Cutler’s Cowboys” that is also included in “Poems from Dry Creek.”

                    We at last struck a trail that has recently been cut
                    for the purpose of bringing in cattle. It is at an altitude
                    of 7,800 feet. Here is a succession of grassy meadows –
                    one called Big Meadow is several miles in extent.

                                        – William H. Brewer, 18 June 1864

I know the place
my grandfather’s grandfather found
to escape the drought, heard the voices

of his vaqueros when I got turned around
in the tight pines near Ellis Meadow – easy
to lose yourself and time altogether – feel

them close to the black rings of stone.
Up from Eshom where the Yokuts held
their last Ghost Dance that upset the settlers

in Visalia and over Redwood Saddle
to graze Rowell and Sugarloaf bunchgrass.
After nearly a hundred summers,

the cows knew the way.
It’s much the same once off the trail:
pine needle carpets and granite cut

by snowmelt creeks and green stringer
meadows, wind and river talking loud
enough to hear damn-near anything.


“Cloud Waves”

“Waiting for Daylight”