Fractured granite baked in clay,
drought-bare slopes now soft with grass
in waves of sun-bleached blond

await the eventide of shrinking light
as shadows climb, retreat into the black
of night as we raise a glass of wine

to gods returned and sigh—knowing
nothing will ever be the same again
in our minds, or how we pray for more

holidays of rain than we need
in this canyon envelope of heat
we graze from shade to shade.





Dawn waits beyond the black
robe that cloaks the undulating
ridgeline before we spin

into sunrise, most everyday
without clouds or rain
that we hope for, that we forgive

in our routines plodding toward
little change. Horses wait
for the screen door’s slap,

dogs rush to clear
the well-worn path,
quail scatter to start the day—

small details wait to be seen,
hide in the shrinking shadows
of unwritten scripts.





I’ve got no complaints,
but with all the details
the gods must attend to,

it’s not surprising that
some get overlooked.
Too good to be true,

the gods may be lazing
in a Max Parrish painting,
our fate more accident

than meant, but
still good to think
they’re paying attention.


So Far, So Good



Last Friday, I underwent knee replacement surgery. I was able to walk with a walker by Saturday. Rehabilitation will undoubtedly be slow and posts to the blog may be less frequent.








In the fenced and ungrazed barn lot
where water rests before it rises
when it rains to find the culvert,

a thatch of summer flowers tall
all face the dawn—a photograph
to match with Calflora—

I’ve learned the names
of most wild and local flowers
that have survived our occupation.

Fifth generation in the same place,
I don’t care that these are non-native,
these immigrants established

year after year, flashing color
‘midst the bland and blond dry grasses
as they chase the sun down.





On the edge of irrigated green
grazing toward morning shade,
she’s on vacation, calf gone

as another stirs in her belly
to fulfill the appetites of a reckless
race she’ll never know.

Behind the barbed wire, safe
beyond the thistles, she’s content
to gossip days with girlfriends,

to contemplate a moment
for undisturbed hours—perfecting
poetry within her heavy skull.





Bullfrog pollywogs
leap to gasp warm July air
prior to croaking.





On the other side,
senses tuned
to the endless spectacle,

I have not time to waste
on unresolved plotless dramas,
soap opera sideshows.

Disbelief and bad acting
have held me paralyzed
at the gate—it’s time

to turn away
and let my mind graze
on its own.

                         for Ted Waddell





Another ant
in the anthill,

another bee
in the beehive,

another cog
on the treadmill—

I was bred to like work,
crave approval, but
make do with feeling good

about a job done better
than the last time—
an inclination to improve

the world around me
if I don’t stray
too far from home.