Monthly Archives: June 2015

OUTSIDE HANDS

 

IMG_2329

 

Afterlife outside
the scars on my hands overlap,
a crisscross map of urgencies

and feeble judgment,
of blindly reaching for
admirable manhood at ten,

digging a bullet from a post,
pocket knife folding
to the bone of a left finger.

The hay hook at sixty
sunk into the back of my right
wrapped in blue bandana

until the steers were shipped—
a long white mountain range
that intersects a short ridge

I have forgotten.
Outside white cuffs
they look like clubs—

but they have loved
from the beginning,
yet wear no scars for that.

 

OLD DOGS

 

IMG_3887

 

No ceremony, no celebration
when we arrive, when we allow
the shroud of time to embrace

all fears and then dispel them.
We hang on the edge, hold
each breath until the next

turn of the sun. How could we
have known such peace exists
when we were chasing rabbits

for the sport of it, wasting time?
Ask the old dog in the shade
if he is satisfied with his magnificent

dreams, with his clever editing
now that he knows he’ll never return.
Who would we be without them?

 

VISITATIONS

 

IMG_3120

 

I wake to dreams running
with Japhy Rider glowing old,
each awakening begins

a new act, a new setting,
new and easy conversations,
and we are grinning.

I am small in all this,
absorbing each moment
as it unfolds, and fall

into that fuzzy parallel plane
where souls gather,
the dead and alive—

where scientists and governments
cannot touch the caring core
of humanity, where Wall Street

wanes. I wonder now awake
if he remembers me
from last night’s sleep.

 

BEFORE SOLSTICE

 

IMG_4273

 

Outside, early summer heat stifles
the mind, bakes a hard crust
upon the brain beneath straw lids—

eyes roll and detach within flashes
of white light, falling towards delirium:
I cannot breathe or see connections,

I cannot think, I cannot write.
Small comfort that I am not alone
within this fuzzy circumstance.

Harassed by a squadron kingbirds,
a Great Blue glides and lights
upon the gravel, stands tall

to claim any open space,
grounded for battle. All supposed
sentiments have escaped to shade,

gone north to cooler climes.
Summer in the San Joaquin,
a damn hard time to write.

 

REMNANTS OF BLANCA

 

IMG_3109

 

Like furious gods,
magnificent thunderheads
rising above us.

 

ARTICHOKE BLOOM

 

IMG_3068

 

Tis not the season
to partake of artichokes
lest a bumblebee.

 

 

WPC(3) — “Off-Season”

 

WOOD SPLITTER

 

IMG_3033

 

One hundred and ten
in the shade, no need to feed
oak to the wood stove.

 

 

WPC(2) — “Off-Season”

 

RAIN GAUGE

 

IMG_3049

 

Not much to measure
but cobwebs and leaves in June—
ready nonetheless.

 

 

WPC(1) — “Off-Season”

 

BLACK CAP

 

IMG_4272-2

 

Selected to stay,
to be bred and have babies,
we must give them names.

 

OLD FRIEND

 

IMG_4091

 

So many ways to see the world,
all the details waiting near at hand
since we were children, yet

we take the well-worn road
without thinking. I was so sure
I knew the way around the brambles,

but you were there to open doors
when we were rebels, to suppose
other orders at play or work.

Now the bells toll, ravens wait upon
our window sills—we cannot pick
how or when we’ll go—

but where we know by the details
of our destinations. God give you
strength, old friend, to see the best.

                                                      for JCN