Windowing Into Our Turquoised Truth

IMG_1452This poem is not efficient
nor convenient
and won’t make things easier for us

It’s doubtful it will get anything done
and it’s not going to fit
into a Saturday night gown
of 144 characters

or inspire us in the half a second
it takes to scroll past its first line
against a Lo-Fi filtered sky

The end is built into it,
like everything
but we’ll have to follow the thread to get there
like Theseus
who we can be forgiven for not knowing
because he hasn’t yet been played
by a well-muscled blonde Brit in the theaters

but whom we might resemble/play/admire
being so lost in a dark cavern
we haven’t noticed yet
and we’re not even looking for a way out

There may be a moment when time slows down
just enough when the incessant filling in
the incessant filling in
the incessant filling in

takes a sacred pause

and the gap looks like a giant darkness
windowing into our turquoised truth
but we mistake as holy terror

instead of our holy caduceus

We could try to google the meaning of this poem

Maybe the poem itself is the *clew
one might follow to escape
the cave we didn’t know we were in

but not without first looking the monsters in the eye

The sunset here
is made up of a hundred wide-winged birds
that fly down the horizon
of our thought sinking slyly

into the space between that
and the other thing
flying between them undetected
and unanticipated
not unlike a red coyote at dusk

who might just be the one
who brings the sun back too
plucked from the head of the monster.

*clew = ball of thread. This old English word shares a root with Sanskrit, glauḥ, meaning lump.

–Ryan Van Lenning


The Bee Leaves His Tavern – Seven Spring Haikus

IMG_0646Bee leaves his tavern
flying cross-eyed without care
full of daisy beer

An April morning
A fern dangles from fawn’s mouth—
Relaxed etiquette

Under the alder
Orion’s belt shines brightly
through the new spring leaves

I go and you go
to distant growing meadows—
two springs arriving

A springtime buffet
as for the fennel down there—
I ate most of it

First fruits and spring breeze
her thigh under fushia dress—
mighty writhing snake

Even in my arms
hearing the moon moan above
you long for my hands


Picnic on Beltane

picnic tableThroughout history,
the uses of picnic tables  were manifold

For centuries they were used as center-pieces
around which large swaths of public space
were organized
and they called them parks.

As observatories, the tables allowed
countless curious onlookers
to bring Ursa Major and Orion the Great Archer
three feet closer
so close they could almost feel the arms of the former
and loosen the belt of the latter

and the other side of the cosmos
never appeared so clear.

On some days of the year
locals indulged in traditional
almond flour tortillas
filled with fava bean pesto
and green juice—a midnight meal
under a 5-million star sky

and dessert was eaten
with eager fingers
without the mandatory attire
required at 5-star restaurants.

And thus, spring was celebrated.


My Sign

IMG_1632Am I one of twelve buckets
you wish to pour me into?

There is nothing you will find
out about me by knowing my ‘sign’

I am untranslatable.
I am a new genre.

Star patterns know me not
No list contains me
and my birthday will not unveil my colors for you

I will pour the colors for you
if you hold your hands open
at a certain angle

The hour of my birth will tell you nothing
because what you’re really after
is what you want
or don’t want me to be for you

and maybe I will try that on
if it’s what you actually need for a moment

But if you should want to know me
and my sign

I say: eagle worm
oak moss

oozing profligate rivers
out of my endless veins

I sing: soul turtle wing
sun thread red root

in my periorbic mastications.

Mud and cloud are my emblems
emblazoning rainbow wizard
mountain heart
from horizon to ludicrous horizon
swelling like May plums.

I bring the Kiss of the Catalyst
and will introduce you.

If words will not do—and they will not—
then I say discard the ordered charts
and sit with me
on a lichen-loved boulder
soaking the big sun
on a deep lake

Walk with me over duff and dirt
through fern and unfurling fancies
and feel my sign beating slowly
under our skin together.



Home no more among the bays
the end of redwood forest days
is what the notice seemed to say
(…required to vacate in three days)

An invitation to travel big
to join the broader rainbow road
(…remove all your belongings
and tear down your simple abode)

A deeper groove on path unfurled
(…a misdemeanor in a dominant world)

The work is to Re-connect, in fact,
(…but it is an illegal act)

the people to the parks
to flowing water and redwood barks
to sense and skin and quiet within
to mighty oaks and ferns again
to the natural rhythm of things
and the blessings that it brings
To each other’s hearts as well
Cracking open in great swells
to soil, birds, and old horse-tails
and the scent of your biggest tales

To re-root a civilization
(…but that is subject to citation)

To bless the land with prayers and poems
and remind us of our proper homes

But this too, must be stressed,
that you are subject to arrest

If longing for true Belonging
is the only song you sing,

The piece of paper that they bring
will offer quite a different thing

An authoritative-sounding proposal:
all your things are subject to disposal.

So like a pilgrim or a tramp
(…illegal to erect a tent or camp)

Carry your house upon thy back
like a turtle with his pack
For true Home is your deepest root
whether in a mansion or on foot

And enter the deepest stream
the one shown in your wildest dreams.

Coyote Moments

vetchYou look familiar,
we said to each other
emerging from oaks and vetch
and rattlesnake grass.

It was just barely the kiss of the morning
and her big ears were up
and so we’re mine,
eyes round with wonder.

The ears of the oaks
and eyes of the rattlesnake grass
remained the same.
The vetch watched in curiosity.

“You’re different than I thought,”
I said.
Her reddish-grey coat caught
the morning light
and she replied,
“You’re different than I thought.”

We were tempted by habit
to replay an old script—
skittish and wary, averting eyes,
running towards safety.

But instead the evernew wind
danced through the limbs
of the oak
and the rattlesnake grass
and the spiraling arms
of purple vetch stretching.

and because our ears were up
we heard it
and one or the both of us began singing:

🎶 “You’re so beautiful…I like you…
I want to know you…”

And so we stayed
sharing moments
in the wind
as new friends
in the kiss of the morning light.