Tag Archives: rivers

110 DEGREES @ NOON

Midday siesta, I dream of water running

down the Tule, ouzels dipping, or 

beer cooling in an eddy on the Kern—

of you and I, our faces streaked with rain

as if we were crying—love in our eyes.

All the mud-stuck trucks, leap-frogging,

winches whining as the clouds cracked,

bursting with more of the same.

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What else can we look forward to

this afternoon, inches from the Solstice,

what else can we do but dream? The air

is thin and burns the lungs. Leaves curl

in the garden while cows commiserate 

in the shade of sycamores and oaks,

all their stories stored within rings, 

chatter from the good old days.

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And what of native wisdom banked

in their massive trunks, or smooth gossip rocks 

in the living Live Oak shade?  All the secrets

we have lost to progress, all the important

unimportant things that have not saved time,

but accelerated it and our poor hearts

just trying to keep up. 110 degrees at noon,

what else can we do but dream?

JUST ANOTHER SISYPHUS

 

December 10, 2015

December 10, 2015

 

1.
Small at first, rivers spill
High Sierra snowmelt,
water pure as it will ever be

falling to the call of gravity
and time’s relentless roar
over granite smooth, worn

by cataracts and cascades
dressed in rainbow mists
ascending to the whispers

among a million pines—
a timbered mat of arrows
headed to the sky.

2.
We have been there
in our perfect innocence
before our courses

changed the world
as it changed us.
I think it was the waiting

for the war I never served
that made me see that
spilling the blood of boys

could not kill ideas
or forever eliminate
a differing philosophy.

3.
Like water pooled
I am damned again
in someone else’s business

at the whims of men
I’ll never understand
beyond their lust for power

and their addiction to greed
while dancing to the tune
of men and women working

with their heads and hands.
I stay the slope and cling
to the sound of the river

chasing lyrics on paper
since the war—poor poetry
released like mist ascending

to the muse that must
report my plodding progress
to goddesses and gods.

 

RIO DE LOS SANTOS REYES

 

A man gives up early in the summer,
too warm for wine, too hot for evening
poetry to endure, before darkness closes

the oven doors to bake in the black.
The Kings River calls, trout singing
from the riffles, asking why, when

trails of natives and early settlers rise
into the mountains, spread like webs
into the pine cabins and camps

beside the mantra of running water
through the night. I go early to bed
to get there in my dreams.