Green rising into a white sky—
granite out crops and trees
pushing upwards, like yesterday
beneath clouds clinging after
rain. The earth is clean
and damp. Birds nod, wake
and wonder, waiting to fly.
Nothing else will sell today.
Gods and sermons pale
downstream, murmuring churches
between canals of muddy water,
beside parking lots of cars,
here and there, the steeples
reaching as high as they can.
The coyote stretches, tastes
the air, pisses and returns
to his warm bed hollowed
in the rocks and waits
for the first scent or sound
of life. Everybody waiting,
trying not to spoil the day.
Breathing heavily in the dark,
long gusts moan against the timbers
of the house, tree limbs dance,
new leaves shiver beyond the porch light,
the near world all but swallowed-up
with this storm come out of the black.
Like the scurry of mice, light fingertips
play upon the roof, caressing metal sheets
with promises and soft talk, and so
it begins: the drawn-out love making
of gleeful showers teasing trees,
growing louder, pouring steadily
into long crescendos—each drop
pressed into streams and rivers,
cascades loosed above as I grin,
safely hidden, beneath the waterfall
at Soda Springs, behind its veil
spilling, roaring downstream:
dancing colors in the light, blurred,
high-pitched voices of child friends,
some wondering where I’ve gone.
Echoes grow louder, the sound
like a landslide roaring closer
and I want to fly—feathers
and wings I can’t have.
No one likes palpating heifers,
the electric air, the clang, clatter
and confusion on the surface
of every eye—a betrayal, cows
ultimately accept, but remember.
For a moment in this life, I can tell—
feel the ones with empty wombs
worn on the outside, on the hide,
each hair like a brittle spring
triggering flight from steel,
wriggling against any invasion.
Hidden behind a veil of tender
leaves, the hawk upon her nest
watches the commotion, allows
the world its intensities, feels
the eggs push against her soft
under-warm, above us all—
an ascension scattered within
greening oaks on little pyres,
their clutch of sticks like thrones.
Some day I shall learn to fly
and feel it all—see the world
from a safer distance, smell its
differences and acquire tastes
beyond logic. I will carry home
every secret I overhear, and leave
them like feathers upon the ground.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Trying get around before the forecast rain, I checked the cows and calves on the Paregien Ranch that we will begin weaning in about 30 days. Considering the inconsistent moisture this year, they’ve done well, just now beginning to lick … Continue reading
After awhile, everything seems
symbolic, our natures entwined
with the wild and unattended,
we wait upon the whims of weather
like devoted children grown wrinkled
squinting at ridgelines, measuring
the leaves of trees against memory.
O’ the love making of crows
atop the skeleton of the Live Oak
that once shaded the native girls,
women come to heal the days
and nights together, escaping men
upon this hollow hill under hooves
of horses still—since I was a boy—
seems the perfect stage for silhouettes
at dusk, lovers not returned since
their last lusty performance
before stacking sticks in limbs
somewhere up the draw, hidden
in the Blue Oaks, feathering
new life beneath a tender green.
Perception blurs beyond communities
and all the near totems
that have drawn us together in time.
April 5, 2012
Robbin & I escaped to Cambria for a couple of nights. At 4:00 a.m., we sat on the balcony and watched the moon set this morning. It should be full when it rises over the Sierras this evening at home.
Most summer days, the mountains are opaque,
flat and fuzzy from Visalia, from the irrigated
fields they have become, steaming beneath them—
silt and snowmelt settling into verdant orchards
between a grid of decomposing roads. Too much
close-up to notice where our bounties begin,
the Sierras cease to exist—blurred, faded in the haze.
I was one once, a would-be mountain man, a child
chasing fish upstream to the heavy breathing
of the river and me, of the breeze in cedar dreams,
eyes upon the water, in the eddies along the cutbanks
where all the long, dark shadows I wanted, waited.
Across Chagoopa’s desert sands, a long time camps
within the jingling rhythm of a string of mules,
when a boy begins to talk to himself, tries to be
interesting and honest with nothing but reality
decomposing for steep miles around him. Always
the same, up or down the Big Arroyo, he leaves
part of the conversation there. It marks the trail
where tracks are erased and scent posts wane,
only to be revisited and revived, a lifetime away.