I’ll be thinking of my friend Jack this coming week in Elko, Nevada, one of the first hands I shook at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1989, as we waited to get our schedule of sessions, poetry and song. I had to introduce myself, having watched him perform at the Ashgrove many times in the late 60s. Our direct link to Woody Guthrie and the pure heart of the working man, he’s been magically expressing himself on stage for over 60 years.
WPC — “Express Yourself”
Twining Brodeaia – May 1, 2011
Late to the party
in the thick of spring—
just chasing space and sunlight.
Sierra Tidy Tips – May 15, 2011
On the edge of where I’ve been
a vaster world waits
for me to arrive.
The big dogs are drilling deeper,
pumping the last of a million years
of underground water, each river
dammed into furrows to farm
the empty Laguna de Tache.
Sixty years ago, when red lights
stopped in every railroad town,
colorful cornucopias spilled
from billboards onto Highway 99
bragging fruit or vegetable capitals
of another world, and huge Big Oranges
squeezed juice every ten miles.
On the semi-arid edge of change,
we beg for rain and dream of floods
to take this Valley back in time.
* * *
1876 Tulare County Map
Wiki: Laguna de Tache, Tulare Lake
Posted in Poems 2015
Tagged Drought, Kaweah River, Laguna de Tache, poetry, rain, San Joaquin Valley, Tulare Lake, underground water, water, weather, well drilling, wells
After rain in spring, I see my father
standing among a half-dozen others
atop fresh mounds of dirt, hear him
praise the Great Blue Heron as the best
‘gopher-getter around’. As the creek
warms, he glides up canyon early,
spends his days wading shallows,
coasting home in the gloaming.
Punctual, you could set your watch
by his circles to work each day,
depending on season and crop.
When it all mattered too much,
he’d slip up the road to check
the feed and fences, the condition
of my cows grazing with his herons.
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2015
Tagged birds, Calves, cows, Dry Creek, father, Great Blue Heron, photographs, poetry, water, weather, wildlife
March 10, 2014
Riding rafts of red above
clouds of dust,
we could breathe for a moment.
Posted in Haiku 2015, Photographs, Ranch Journal
Tagged Drought, Dry Creek, haiku, photographs, poetry, rain, red sky, signs, weather
How easily she could say,
‘it’s all in your mind—’
deny, dismiss what she knew
could be true, if we let it
when we were children
pretending to be grown up—
with our imaginations,
mornings drumming music
on eucalyptus roots
before the school bus stopped
our spontaneous chants.
With rusty tools and sticks,
horse drawn relics
and Model T wrecks
we took off for town—
took turns driving
wild steeds or hot rod cars
depending on time—just
as much as we wanted
to get there.
WPC(4) — “Serenity”
Looking back at tracks in the clouds,
you spring the gate closed—
WPC(3) — “Serenity”
Unfolding into space, hills
from peaks to plains unending
time beyond and past
the horizons of this moment
resting among the eroded
where I am near-nothing,
these specks of rock
spread out before me
like petals opening—
as part of the landscape.
WPC(2) — “Serenity”
Fence of my youth still standing
where birds of prey rest,
repair for soaring.
WPC(1) — “Serenity”