Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ravage Her, Ravage Her, Leave Her in Heaps: Update

courtesy: Kickstarter

courtesy: Kickstarter

A film clip from a documentary in the making:

“Things of Intrinsic Worth”

about Clint and Wally McRae’s efforts to save their ranch, community and culture.


April 29, 2013

May 31, 2013





                         “It doesn’t matter,” the better angel said,
                         “they have been dead for years.”

                                   – Jack Gilbert (“The End of Paradise”)

All the goodbyes we never said come to mind
with jumbled names and faces framed
in other times and places. We had our moment—
touched the tender part of innocence, grew stronger
for it and survived, or not, somewhere out there, yet
that moment lives, revived as they come visiting
when I have the time to entertain and be polite.

You see what we have done, my friends—so easy
to deny those passions that enflamed us then,
the fires we shared in dance and song that rose
with smoke to these same stars that hold our dreams.
I write notes for envelopes without addresses,
because no one stays in the same space anymore—yet
that moment lives, revived as they come visiting.


The Tiger Swallowtails arrive
the day before the Monarchs
floating to hibiscus, hills

yellow or dirt bare.
Calves come in a month
as evenings turn breezy,

flies thick and annoying.
At a distance, the top tomcat
entertains upon the welcome mat

to your mother’s trailer.
Over a month of 100 degrees,
everyone’s ready for a change.


I hear the vowels but miss
the consonants of my bird talk—
hear ‘awe’ or ‘ah’ instead of ‘caw’

from crows. What intonations
of breath reside beyond
my ear? The Cooper’s hawk

crows like a rooster at dawn.
All talk clear enough, but
enunciate what I’ve yet to hear.


Much too eager to be innocent,
we pressed years of letters together
and lay upon a putting green pressing hands

before the summer moon rolled behind
the pines of Sequoia Crest above
the Rio de San Pedro, its prickly silhouettes

in a golden glow before an ascension
that burns behind my eyes yet,
as bright as fifty years ago. Naked

winter oaks with us stand and wait
for the pendant to rise and illuminate
her supine flesh while she sleeps,

from her throat or soft breast, she stirs
alive as you and I hold our breath—
from her toes stretched to Sulphur’s peak

to her long hair spilling into a dry creek
bed. Native women gathered here
for and by this same old moon.





It would be near the beginning of my autobiography,
right after chores before dinner
and wanting to be ducktail-cool with a waterfall-curl
and moan like Paul Anka when
I wasn’t packing high sierra mules—
before I left for school, before Viet Nam.

Smog check and service, I bring your book
and read your road trip north
as if I were with you, from the Ford garage—
to relive that ever-readiness to try anything
to get high enough to see that plane stretch
into forever, where innocence becomes invincible.

It really did begin in those days of moral turmoil
and rotten politics, our lust for love we could not find
comfort in without purpose or partnership. Sails
on the horizon, we have let our separate ships
lean with the wind to circumnavigate the seas—
all just to find ourselves again.

                                                                     for Chip


Do not count the souls that rest
upon your attentiveness, the pump
that failed that must be fixed
to fill the only trough for miles.
Hundreds wait in shadows
while cattle graze unknowing.

A dragonfly watches from the edge
of emptiness, woodpeckers attach
themselves to nearby trees—hawks
roost and rabbits check for leaks.
Do not count the souls
you never knew before.

All you need to know
is how it works. You can
jerry-rig a poem to hold water
with few tools, or fix it right
so it will last, but don’t count souls
come just to watch the dance.

July Buckeye

Pipe-stemmed Clamatis on a California Buckeye

Pipe Stem Clematis on a California Buckeye

You can find a spring photo of Pipe Stem Clematis under the ‘Wildflowers’ header, but never have I noticed it in the summer. Perhaps our rain in early May came just right for Pipe Stem Clematis, as it has attached itself to anything it can climb. It’ll be interesting to see how and if it lets go of the Buckeye.