Category Archives: Poetry

Presence

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The year has rocked this world to its roots.
What if for one day each being put down
their burdens, their words of hate, their inhumanity
and breathed in the presence?
Stopped fighting for history, for fears, hopes, dreams
and stood facing the morning sun
letting the warmth of the moment
and the next, the next, accumulate like dust at their feet
Listened instead of spoke, acknowledged truth,
embraced silence.

What if for one day each being acknowledged the fear
and let it go? Suspended beliefs
opened their arms, drew strength
through earth, grass, rock, sand
Found the sparrow singing from a lone bush
the small heart-shaped cloud
Felt the currents of air wash over them, mingle
with the breath, and let the seams unravel
borders blend, walls dissolve
and be
one.

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Narrative for a May Morning

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Mist lying in the deep valleys,
sunrise on white windmills, fresh cool air
blowing down from Canada after the rain.
Heard the mate-seeking brag of the rufous sided towhee
before I spotted him posing at the top of the thicket.

On my walk home, I passed a pair of teenage girls
boarding the school bus, talking animatedly
oblivious to the morning chill
in their summer shorts and tiny tops.

A kid pulled out right behind the bus in a banged up Toyota.
He grasped the wheel at ten and two,
wearing a frown of concentration and a baseball cap pulled low.
His studied air made me think he had timed it just so!
Because who wants to be stuck behind a school bus?
Except a guy with a shiny new driver’s license and a second hand car.

Did he hope that every time the bus wheezed to a stop
the girls would turn in the back seat and sneak glances at him,
gazing casually off into the distance,
and note the slight bob of his head keeping time
with the rock tune playing loud through his out-sized speakers?

Perhaps he dreamed of catching a small finger ripple from the redhead,
a half wave that could be turned into a hair flick if not reciprocated.
Did he hesitate for a second – who me?
Before realizing that yes, there was no one else around,
so that yes, that slight dimple in the cheek and finger flutter
must be for him. And yes, I imagined the slow creeping grin
and the deep hollow of lust and loneliness in his gut
flooding with happiness.

Cardinal Sin

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Dear Cardinal, I am so sorry
the cat who we keep as a pet
ate your partner.

You advertise for a mate
all over again
from the top of the forsythia.

Is it my guilt that detects a sad note,
or does that beating nugget of flesh
pump regret through your veins?

Either way, I absorb your loss,
buried no doubt as cat shit
under the earth freshly dug for peas and spinach.

Wonder Valley

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The cottage pulls itself apart at the joints in the heat of the day
settles back into itself at night

high desert wind clatters in the fan palms
fine dust coats the mirrors

In the yard husks of coyote melons
blow into the roots of the brittlebush

small things scurry across the wash
leaving shallow indentations in the sand

lizard, ground squirrel, jack rabbit
burrow under the creosote

beyond, a crust of manzogranite
oceans of baking salt flats

garrulous hunkered down shrubs
with the resilience of rock

a feral landscape of burnt out, boarded up cinder block
half-savage dogs behind chainlink fence

transient human purchase
slippery as sand

the highway lined by salvation—
liquor stores, animal shelters, churches

sun bleached cars drift
from one side of the yellow line to the other

air too dry for ghosts
signs scoured bare of their messages

crouch, bristle, burn
hold tight, bend with the wind

learn to pull yourself apart at the seams with the heat of the day and settle back into your bones under an exhalation of sky.
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Bear

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Bear belly crawls out of her den
limbs heavy with winter lassitude
paws her way up through rootball, fieldstone, clay
two wide-eyed young nudge her flanks:
this bright new world is safe?

She noses the air
examines numerous scent trails
wild garlic, beetle larva, dead deer
food sources for her depleted body

Too many options

For a moment she sits and basks
black coat a magnet for a patch of sunlight
The muffled thrum of her own heartbeat—
sole companion under the snow—
quickens now with the sap pulsing through green wood
and the call of the cardinal from the top of the maple

She shakes her head, sending dust flying
swats away the young nuzzling for a teat
sways to all fours and sets off
pushing through briars
burrs catching in her winter fur
April wind cutting a ruff around her neck

She leaves a path of scuffed loam and flattened leaves in her wake.

RECLAIM

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. . . and then I returned
to the comforting leak of the pantry light

across the kitchen floor
reclaiming the hearth

the carved out space
to creep beneath, inhabit

the familiar echo off the walls
a hum, deep inside me

a coming to earth
solid weight

nestling into the embrace
of the small green chair

sinking back into the habitual
flow, feeling it wash over me

through winter chilled glass
reimagining myself with

familiar landscape
owl moon, blue shadows on snow

car headlights tossing snowflakes
shattering my silence from below.