Monthly Archives: June 2015





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!!






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.






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




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.




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.




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.






They learn early
to be a covey,
to stick together
and look out
for one another—

where Bobcat walks
and Hawk waits
on a bare branch,
where water is
before they die.






Horseback, the girls work
cattle in the dust, sort cows
from calves before hauling

off the hill to the weaning pen:
a quiet dance to a rhythm
I can only see through boards

as cows ask with their eyes
before moving towards the open
space a horse has made

to leave their calves behind.
No loud bravado spurring
pirouettes into dirt clouds.

I turn away and walk
to the pickups and goosenecks—
remove my maleness

from these corrals that hold
a hundred years of urgent
echoes: men making mistakes

to invent new profanities.
Instead, the perfect sense
of girls instructing girls.






My pagan sunrise hangs over the black ridge
reaching for the saddle this side of Sulphur
Peak with blinding light, this native place

where women healed themselves—to endure
this longest day of hundred degree heat.
Each day shorter, we move with confidence

towards October, imagine gusts beneath
dark clouds that bring the storm gods closer
to bless this dry and dusty dirt with rain.