Tag Archives: NY Times

AT MACHI’S

 

 

The Elko undercurrents
often missed by journalists,
the thoughtful streams
of love and long respect
retained for old friends—
those profound associations
not secreted away,
but obvious.

My right hand offered
held in his both
as he contemplates
my eyes, and I his.
We breathe deeply.

Two gray old men
standing silent,
face to face
stretching time
within a loud crowd,
we block the aisle
beside a tableful of friends,
warm food and wine.

We know we are rare
birds in these fast times,
reading, writing poetry—
reaching for what we know
exists: like the language
of horses, cattle and people
who live on the land
it takes a lifetime to learn
and understand.

                                  for Joel Nelson

 

IN SELF-DEFENSE

Easy to get emotional on the Senate floor, misspeak
extemporaneously to take the snipers’ potshots while
trying to save the arts for humanity like a little girl lost

in the crossfire, or before investing more on war.
Katrina came and left New Orleans underwater
slick with oil. New England fracks for natural gas

and Fukushima leaks real radioactivity to California’s
happy cows. Still hungry for energy, it’s difficult
to live in the moment, as we wear ever-changing fear

and panic like uncomfortable underclothes, like
sackcloth. On the surface, we exchange living green
for speed and comfort, swap our aching knees and

yesterday’s horses for more horsepower mid-stream,
planting houses in the San Joaquin that used to feed
a more patient population. The sun will dawn despite

our hopeless battle with the clock, despite the weight
of addictions we can’t escape – I write in self-defense
as if there were only moments left to live, one at a time.

                                                                       for Harry Reid