FORGET ALL GLAMOUR

5D94675F-E7F9-4A25-8559-350720BCCFD2If you begin each chapter
with ‘And the moon comes
and the moon goes’

You, who climb horizons
even with stiff joints will find

It’s always a new world
As it’s always the old one

The responsibilities lay
in the soil now
and with the webbed ones
caught in fear

and through the new doorways
which you pass
You’ll pick up pieces left
in a foreign land so long ago

Put them in your wide-brim hat
and home in on your belonging

Become an obsessionate one
like a convict who loves his fate

Tie those dreamland suns
around your dirty girth
Fill your grotto with flocks of fire
for all of hunger’s cousins

Forget all glamour
not worrying about who
is pulling who

It is enough to receive Time’s wounds
and blessings
and breathe like an ocean

So, yes, let each chapter begin— ‘And the moon comes
and the moon goes’

And bear witness to the season
like a winter raven

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HERE YOU CAN LAUGH IN FEBRUARY

Here you can laugh in February
the unexpected is to be expected—
a midnight creature leaves
bay nuts for you
and the creek is singing for its supper

woodpeckers and owls
tell you what time it is
but what about the new birds
that weren’t here in dark December?

You might think that February
is dreaming spring,
the equinox on her mind.

It’s easy enough to do
but not to get ahead of ourselves
is a good morning task—
February is dreaming February.

The season is laughing
stinging nettles
and coughing up hail

The month is grinning meadow flowers as pink ox eyes at dawn

and yes, a yellow saluting
affirmation of the still slanting sun
inching higher in the sky
day by day by day
like a toddler learning to stand

urging the arroyo willow
and wild currants
to see who can bud best
by the end of the month.

No, I’m not opposed to opening
my sun-starved belly to it all
skin smiling wildly
with mild stone fruit
freely singing its scent
into the canyon breeze
breathing.

Breathing
like only this season can

so see it while you can:

a one-tree performance
of Pink Petal Extravaganza
as the western wind applauds
and kicks his heels up
to play the eucalyptus
like a harp
and runs his fingers through
Cedar’s long hair
when he really gets aroused

and they seem to like being tickled in that way
letting out a moan
now and again
as if stretching for the first time.

It gives one ideas
on a February morning
here in the Nearby Faraway
which is not unlike a thousand
other mornings
that have come before
and will come after.

But it is.

He Intends To Devour Me

D3724ABF-B55C-43CD-82C3-8646506772BFHe appears in my dreams—
in the spring I kiss the grizzly on the snout
our eyes meet and I am blessed.

But in the winter he charges me from the forest edge.

And I know there is no escape:

He is wild and I am drunk
on civilization.

I wobble and then freeze in fear—he intends to devour me.

I accept my glorious annihilation.

It is the same bear.

And he is me.

The Hand That Got Away

28163785-1D80-4A42-810E-D3CA07C4C2ADWhen I awoke on the riverbank
I saw my hand once again fast asleep
on the egret’s wings

These things happen from time to time–
the best thing to do
is keep an even pace of breath

Don’t focus too sharply
but rather glide a soft gaze
across the surface of things and let it be

Somewhere downstream of the day
your hand will eventually shake the dreams
from its fingertips

It will take its waking slowly
gently stretch and remember
then begin making its way up river again

To meet you for evening dinner
with all the other parts
that got carried away

On My 86th Birthday

sea sunsetWhen I sit in the evening light
There are no cakes or candles

But a round pile of blueberries
From the two bushes that survived the winter

Bless the center of the cedar table
We made together at the dawn of our path

The size of marbles!
You would say

Now, looking out the stone-framed window
From my bed that faces the widening sea

My blood runs bright with memories
Of all the journeys

It’s the ones I didn’t take that weigh
Heavy upon me and clot me up

More difficult than the ones
Where I came out the other side

I wish I would have greeted the dawn more
And jumped in the water

Without thought of who would see
My ordinary naked body

I didn’t call my folks
Or tell my friends I loved them enough

To the women – did I thank you enough?
A hundred times I thank you

This word enough—how it changes
Its shape on my lips through the years

With each falling leaf I thank you
That we could help each other grow

The better rings of our trees; I’m sorry—
Our wounds sometimes caused more pain

I hope you had rich, colorful lives
That love hugged you in the final moments

Sometimes I hurt you
Sometimes I hurt myself

Sometimes I didn’t know how to connect
Or find the words

I built this room with my own hands
With stones from the creek

That we used to dip our feet in
Through all the seasons

Meeting months of sunsets
With sweat and peace and the tenderness

But now, I no longer need this room
So I give it to you and you

And hope you enjoy
It as much as I have

If my legs were alive,
I’d jump like my 8-year old self

In a pile of leaves
The colors of an autumn blast

Yes, I still dream of running
But I’m content with the dream I authored

Not unproud
Yet humbled

Still, the questions pour through me:
Did I explore the sparks?

Did I follow my curiosity
and lean into all the fears?

Did I share my gifts
and open more than I closed?

And if my eyes weren’t now masked like midnight
I’d look into the ox daisy of your eyes

I’d study the tiny hairs on your arm
How the light makes of them a forest

Delicate in the slant of the dipping sun
One last time

And not think of the words pomegranate
Or violet or any far-flung hue

But touch is still my finest tool
So place your long-loved hand in mine

Let us embrace
And feel the final fading

Of the warmth
Behind the darkening waves

The Push and Pull of the Thing

DC36226D-220D-419F-8012-6190468FCCF9What do you do when above all
It’s the rhythm uncooked, the rush of the raw
The moon-kissed river within and thawed
Most precious, unbolted and brightly awed
Original blood pulsed and odd?

When even if you owned nothing at all
Nothing else under silvered skies
But the sink of the sun, the startling rise
When the push and pull of the thing was the all?

And the goldupongold, the unlikely prize
wealth beyond dreams deferred or dried
not festered or stunk or sunk with a load
but light as a feather, finely floating
like a film on the water finally flowing?

What do you do but swim and ride
waggling and wagging and wild-eyed?