Tag Archives: time

CONFESSION ONGOING

March 10, 2011

 

Once the invincible gambler,

I was weaned on cowboy heroics

to wear the scrapes and scars

 

of chance and circumstance

stiffly—my bones now groan

ground under the pressure

 

of time, worn smooth as cobbles

in a creekbed.  Stride shortened,

my feet slide searching for stability,

 

having danced this earth as one

in my collected dreams aboard

four great horses I’ve outlived—

 

I am learning to change my mind,

to find the flavor in a moment

I’ll not savor another time.

 

 

RECHARGING THE BATTERY AS IT RAINS

 

The fine dust upon old tools I have forgotten

as I clean the shop: my brace and bits, some

long-enough to chew through creosoted

 

railroad ties while scraping granite gravel. Mighty

hugs to my shoulder in long, youthful spurts

that warmed the birdshot bearings out-of-round

 

where there was no electricity to hang a gate

miles from the asphalt. It was my third.

I wore them out. I knew no other way.  

 

I recognize the dead scent of time as mine

on the shelves, in wooden boxes no one makes

anymore, protecting stiff-leather headstalls

 

and rusty bits we’ll never use again. I must make

room for the cordless handyman, especially

since this old battery has begun to run down.

 

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

 

 

No time to rush! Let me linger,

relearn the mantra,

absorb the moment.

Time will escape me soon enough.

 

The forecast storm is bogged-down north.

We’re wet enough

to have a spring—

wildflowers blooming in our dreams.

 

Feeding horses, I catch the mist—

each tiny drop

upon my tongue

tastes like this passing moment.

 

 

RETURN OF THE SHY GODDESS

 

 

Damp and cold, her breath

slips through the door cracked

to push the smell of smoke

 

through the house while it rains

lightly.  I steal deep breaths,

pretend I’m young again

 

before I light another.

Though I miss the real storms,

the overbearing trepidation

 

that escapes its banks to flood

with heroic tales and wonder

when its over, I am now lifted

 

out of time on her breath,

this gentle rain, hillsides

running green—reborn again.

 

 

 

AFTER LEONARD DURSO’S “on reading Su Tung-p’o”

April 13, 2020

                                      Never arriving, what can we understand,

                                      and always leaving, what’s left to explain?

                                                  – Su Tung-p’o  (“After T’ao Ch’ien’s ‘Drinking Wine’”)

 

Leaving only the moment, I remain in this canyon’s swirl

of loose pieces, histories before me beckon memories

and how it’s changed in my lifetime to survive the storms

of wet and dry that forsake young skeletons of hillside families

to stand among the forgotten limbs at their feet.

 

I hold this landscape’s perfect smile of emerald green

in dreams, waiting for a glimpse of her velvet face,

wild skiffs of colored flowers entwined in her hair,

amid the planet’s storms for power, day and night—

always faulty propositions for the masses.

 

As I draw closer, leaving an uphill trail of time behind,

this place I have circumnavigated since I was a child

owns me—now that its desires have become mine.

My eyes ride the ridgelines at the edges of heaven

where I will rest easily when I finally arrive.

MELTING TIME

 

 

I study rock landmarks,
look for tracks
to see if they have moved.

The pipe gate swells
in the heat. Now only
swings but one way.

Resident ground squirrels
and immigrant ring-neck doves
share the dogs’ food.

On brutal days
over 110°—
there are no rules.

Like Dali’s clocks,
time is part of the landscape,
like it or not.

 

ZEITGEIST or TOMATO SOUP SKY

 

photo: Bodhi Rouse

photo: Bodhi Rouse

 

Never figured on a sunset,
children, grandchildren around
a smoky Live Oak fire,
the SoCal storm bleeding north

                    above a frost-bitten garden—
                    dry stem tomatoes
                    and peppers hanging
                    like ornamental gifts
                    for Christmas.

I thought I escaped California in 1970
to ride back through time, didn’t think
I’d camp in one place this long.

Never figured on iPhone photos,
satellite dish for shade—
or planning for a future
that depends on water
and obsolescence.

 

OLD SADDLE

 

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Long stiff with the sweat of years,
I see myself beneath its dust, retired
from the common ignorance of haste.

All the timed events, all the wild cattle
made by the chase are scars etched
in fragile leather, some in my brain

as sweet memories of riding high,
shoulder to shoulder in the gather
of good men shaped by this landscape

that will outlast us in the end. Too soon
old, they say, too late wise, I could
always have taken better care of time,

thrown away the watches and clocks
and invested it in the real observation
of other living things—even the smallest

of which has a mission to teach us
the hard way. And what I fail to see—
this slow creak of bones will illuminate.

 

TIME TO RIDE

 

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With crystal clarity, stars throb
before the storm moves in at dawn,
black air clean clear to infinity,

leaky bucket worlds peeking-in
the window as I wake from sleep—
another promised day of needed rain.

Once, we took the day off,
went to town, visited neighbors,
congratulated nature for the extra holiday.

A machine takes messages
from a nine-to-five real-world
ordered to make hay on rainy days—

and I listen, hoping no one wants me
but time, time to ride the prolonged rage
of a loud and sudden thunderstorm.

 

PAST

 

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Yearning is an easy look
backwards, a slow-moving canvas
colored to taste, shaded by habit.

Our war whoops but echoes
fading in canyons on trails of broken
brush long-overgrown, mocking

our wild-eyed blindness
since sharpened and tempered
by scars upon scars and time.

Now is the moment we begin
to be all we can—to revel
in its rich accomplishment.