It was always so easy to find an unhappy woman
Till I started looking for mine.
– Moe Bandy (“It was Always So Easy”)
Young buck with broken horn
on the scent of an acorn-fat doe
and her two blue yearlings
slipped from the bunch
while the boss was busy—
the urgency and wild design
of “cheatin’ songs” plays before me,
lyrics shuffled and embellished
to fit the dim barroom lights
of my imagination
steals my senses away
from the most recent
political intrigue searching
for music—for a tune that might
sell millions on the truth.
all is consumptive
We have grown fat
on the numbers since
we lost our taste
for words that matter.
Like waiting for a rain
to settle dust
and bring verdancy,
the storms will come
to cleanse this earth
and thunder verily.
Casualty of drought and time,
no shaded bed in the tangle of dead limbs,
no burnished fruit to harvest—
but its temporary grace in death
teeters beneath the heavens.
What histories yet reside,
what sights saved within its centuries of rings,
of native talk recorded lest
forgotten of wilder beasts and men
teetering beneath the heavens?
I see myself reflected
kindly, a lifetime rooted in the same place
that I’m thankfully becoming
in a harvest of verses penned
that teeters beneath the heavens.
Little passion in the dry,
hard hills and dust trails—
little fire in the leaves
of sycamores and willows
preparing to undress.
No foreplay sure,
no long-range rain,
we feed more hay
and wait with cows
in the cold,
by growing babies.
We taste the air and search for sign:
manes and tails and moon dog rings—
our annual drama of hackneyed details
we bury our hearts and heads within
instead of the direction of a nation
without honor or integrity—
in God we Trust.
For days, nothing to say,
as we wait for rain, like always
in the dust we stir,
both wild and tame.
Cow trails deep and soft,
Chinese scrolls of pad and hoof
pressed into silent verse
moving freely in the dark.
Coyote, bobcat, rattlesnake,
bear, deer and mountain lion
leave their poetry at night
to be erased each day.
Fat and happy bovine string
of shiny-hided flesh upon their hay
somewhere wrapped in a dusty haze
apart from the appetites of men
and women like them, hungry for more
ground addicted to water wasted
Good company, these young heifers
who can read our minds and hearts—
perceptive beings who trust in us
that we prefer
oblivious to the ravenous
machine designed to incorporate
everything with promises of hay
until we’re gone.
Moonrise, mottled skies,
jigsaw clouds like islands
floating between us and the space
old eyes need to find sanity,
but tonight’s fractured skyscape
Bob has been waiting for this cow to calve for a week, checking her and her tribe of first-calf heifers in the evenings. I am impressed with the iPhone’s ability to capture a wide range of light, and if held still, its sharpness. He’s also captured the maternal instincts of this new mother #8118, a Hereford-Angus X cow, with her fresh Wagyu X calf – exactly what we’re looking for in replacement heifers.
On the horns of an infant moon,
the creek shrinks and pools
between sycamores and live oaks
as babies come to first-time mothers
bringing the bear tracks downcanyon
on the scent of spent placentas.
Black progeny of the river nymph –
white heifer driven madly by Hera’s
gadfly Oestrus to cross continents
and populate Asia – find maternity
perplexing at first. Yet, lick and nuzzle
the stumbling wet struggle to stand,
suckle and rest that enflames instinct
in all flesh. Worthy timeless worship,
no better mother ever than a cow.
“IO” is included in POEMS FROM DRY CREEK, Starhaven, 2008.
Laugh when you can—
there are enough unfunny days.
Let irony dance nakedly,
hand in hand
with the unspoken,
beneath the flesh of humans
dying for confirmation.
We have become too serious
for our own good—
to be believed as real
representations of this nation
wrought from imperfect men,
and women, trying to forget
their sins—and I among them.
Let the wild calculations
of hawk and coyote confirm
our impetuous natures
to gain a better sense
of who we truly are.
(click image to enlarge July 2012 photo of Cooper’s Hawk)
It’s early yet for rain,
for distant silhouettes
of cows and fresh calves
beneath oak trees
with murmurs and licks
on a young mother’s tongue.
A slow rhythm and meter
for weeks in the womb
that rumble clearly now:
grunts and moans—
a universal language
forever between them.