Tag Archives: poetry

IF ROCKS COULD TALK

 

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                     The old granite stones, those are my people;
                     Hard heads and stiff wits but faithful, not fools, not chatterers;
                     And the place where they stand today they will stand also                            tomorrow.

                                 – Robinson Jeffers (“The Old Stonemason”)

Some like headstones thrust into the earth,
or weather-carved phallic outposts
natives knew by name, those are my people,
my landmarks nodding now as I pass.

They have grown cold and taken shape
from the fires of molten violence—
cracked and fractured piles, wisdom
scattered in the grip of gravity at rest

to hum as homes for rodents and reptiles,
a tunneled settling of colonies to feed
a wilder world. Some pulse with life,
dress with thick green moss, after rain.

But those tattooed with colored lichen
first draw the eye to unravel art,
question what they seem to say—
all good listeners, patient to a fault.

 

TRAPPED

 

 

I once dreamed I might have been
a mountain man in another life,
trapped cats and coyotes

instead of beaver—
learned to view the world
through untamed eyes

assessing sign as I became
the prize and placed my twigs
and scents accordingly.

               I sifted dirt
               to hide the jaws
               while writing poetry:

bird-wing fluttering
from a fishing filament
still fascinates me.

 

EARLY JANUARY

 

 

Five Western Bluebirds
at the local water hole
after the fog lifts.

 

OVERDOSE

 

 

There is a hidden pack of cigarettes
waiting
                    after the patches, gum
                    and incessant vaping,

                    the midnight bellyache
                    and rattly ambulance ride
                    to a chair in Emergency

                    visited by young, head-scratching
                    teams practicing medicine
                    by consensus

                                        find nothing wrong
                                        and send me home—

                    and the second ride
                    two days later
                    across the parking lot
                    from the Doctor’s office.

There is a hidden pack of cigarettes
waiting
                    after Sepsis
                    and the gut-wrenching antibiotics
                    and mind-bending pain
                    medications:

                    I build loops in my sleep
                    and shoot bighorn sheep
                    from my hospital bed.

There is a hidden pack of cigarettes
waiting
                    six months later
                    after the surgeon tells me
                    what I cannot eat

                    or drink—after we agree
                    to wait a little longer.

 

TOURIST

 

Courtesy: The Summit Post

 

If ever there was a table set
on the John Muir Trail,
it was picked clean
between meals
by Steller Jays
impatiently waiting,
screeching, falling
from Tamaracks
in the midden around
a black circle of stones.

The trail is wide
through Rae Lakes
beneath Fin Dome—
slick leather soles
on the Serpent’s back—
my name is in the box
above the fractured chimney
where I held a tourist
pregnant from falling.
Saved two risking one.

I leave again without the work,
without the pack stock,
without the traffic on the trail
whenever I want
to cast clear water
to green submarines
cruising a hidden lake
that I suspect
the world has found
and picked clean.

                                 for Tim Loverin

 

MULTI-TASKING

 

 

Busy finding myself
between unfinished jobs
I have forgotten,

                    words leap
                    to start a line
                    of another poem
                    I’ll never finish:

half-baked epiphanies,
humorous futilities
like litter left behind me
doesn’t get the job done,
                    but makes the work
                    a little more fun.

 

HOMER COVE 2019

 

 

How I crave the feel
                    of an old soft rope
                    in my hand,
                    spoke-balance loop
                    like an open mouth
                    hungry for heels
in the branding pen.

                    Fifty years
                    I’ve marked calves
                    on this spot,

                                        chicken-coop corrals:
                                        bog in the gate
                                        that Giz built:
                                                            hog wire stapled
                                                            over a 2 x 6 rectangle
                                                            I drug through the mud—
                                        replaced and almost forgotten.

It’s hard to let go:

                    same horseback look
                    south down-canyon,
                    creek meandering a bowl
                    of fresh green feed,

                    safe and apart
                    from a hazy world
                    beyond the narrows—

the feel of my rope
among neighbors
roping calves around a fire—

reliving a dream
on a borrowed horse.

 

WEATHER REPORT

 

 

Up early, awaiting
confirmation of the storm
slated to rain out plans
to brand calves
without complaining,

                    feeding hay
                    on slick roads
                    to thin cows
                    as grass grows
                    against the cold
                    Winter Solstice.

Nothing on the news
but red and blue politics,
mass shootings
and fog on 99,
ads for fast foods,
wonder drugs
and old age—
not one damn thing
I want. Nothing

                    I can change
                    but feed more hay
                    to hungry souls.

 

WEST 32nd STREET

 

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I lived in town for a moment,
a neighborhood around the Shrine—
                    Black on one side,
                    college kids, the other
in a subdivided,
old two-story
peeling paint
we called Big Pink.

Weekend mecca for loud
electric sounds, Janis
and the Revolution wailing—
the street would teem
with strobe-lit kids,
weed wafting sidewalk trees,
trying to ignore the War,
Kent State and the M-16
awaiting graduation.

Landmarks close,
I had no plans to map—
yet found myself asleep
retracing trails
to High Sierra meadows,
                    bell mare edging
                    a snowmelt lake,
                    pine smoke and
a leaky bucket sky at night.

 

‘TIS THE SEASON

 

 

                       There’s a dragon with matches that’s loose on the town
                       Takes a whole pail of water just to cool him down.

                                 – Grateful Dead (“Fire on the Mountain”)

After rain,
willows aflame,
green on black:

photographs
of germinating
truth taking root

after fire—after
the smoke clears
and dust disappears

with seasons changing—
we begin again
with grass.