Call Me By My Name Ornate

caddisflyFrom the outside
I may look like a clumsy tumbling acrobat
dragged across the bottom of things
by lawless currents

but those gold flakes you see
the ones woven through my back—
those I found in the basement
of life

where the shed skin
of mighty mountains
and delicious detritus live
awaiting their new forms in me

I spiral pink granite
and coil chips obsidian
around myself
and make a home of it

call me by my name ornate
or not at all
my cave is cast-off
sedimental sentiment

plucking lucky earth
vulnerable to the elements
and resurrected in me
as Goldworthy-worthy art

until the sun pops
my feathery wings
and I carve a mansion
among the clouds

sipping ambrosial air
like a poet and his words
drunk on draughts of light
and buzz madly like a riot


Lean Into the Wind – 10 Mountain Haiku

mountainLean into the wind
from atop granite ridge, but—
don’t fall on your face

Mountain scurriers
stealing my stuff at midnight—
have fun with my knife!

Even Neruda
didn’t write a lovely ode
about caddisflies

There is a reason
you don’t drink from waterfalls
hanging upside down

Model wearing furs
posing for a photo shoot—
a marmot beauty

Walking off-trail
under blue Sierra skies—
pounds of bear scat

Sleeping back to back
in the freezing mountain air
we survive the night

At ten thousand feet
the June sun is closer and
cities don’t exist

He’s just a rodent
but looks so fashionable
in my old white sock

These granite pack rats
grabbing every loose thing
up on mouse mountain

The Shape of Love

IMG_5389Sometimes the way love abandoned you
takes the shape of a shimmering lake
in the desert

miles from safety, miles from reason

But you must go anyway
in order to find the final tear.

In order for the final tear to fall
you must fall
further than the times before.

So you walk step by step
descending dry
descending deeply

you walk hand and hand with death
your first ally

you walk tenderly
with regret and forgiveness
with love and release

You tell all of them goodbye

You keep falling
further than the times before

until you discover the lake is a mirage
and always has been

And the desert takes its due
and the sun is not your ally

The ways love abandoned you
comes in the shape of a parched throat
and parched thoughts

but the truth wants to form a syllable
inside you
and it whispers your name

and you know now:
You abandoned yourself

And it hurts.


Everything is on fire.

You are so thirsty.

The fire says, die here or climb.

It is not a koan. Die here or climb.

If you abandon yourself now
you abandon everybody you claim to love

You can’t love
without taking yourself
into the big heart

So you begin.

Your body moves up the mountain
and there’s nothing pulling you up
except one thought—
you have too much love to give
to lie down here forever
under the big hard sun

The way love finds you
comes in the shape of hot heart rocks
the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen
that appear as you climb your way out
hand over fist
over hand over fist
claiming your life with everything
that still is alive in you

They are screaming your name
with a strength beyond muscle

and finally
you reach the rim of the world

the desert and the mountain
and the heart of the world
have tattooed the shape of love
in you

and you know now you will never
abandon yourself again

This Breath

rainbowThe parts of me that are steep
you shall soon know

and from there the valley looks as one
dark green folding tattoo of belonging

and it will take your breath away

Soon enough we’ll get to the final breath
but this breath is reserved for climbing
a breath spent on passion

The valley needs the peak-point-view
and the mountain needs the valley eyes
just as the out-breath needs the in-breathe

Don’t abandoned yourself down there
and don’t float away like a cloud
forgetting your dark red root

Let’s be big like Gaia
in her all-season robes
and naked as her starkest desert

This breath now is a sigh of wonder

stepping off the high mountain nest
and finding finally how wind is your ally

your mentor since the first cry
on the first day

as everything is, you realize

when your husky eyelids dissolve
like water
under bold suns shimmering

Beyond Fences, A Meadow

mountain meadowSomewhere there is a meadow
beyond fences and the thousand rattles

that breathes in mountain air
and breathes out fuschia flowers

and from the edge one can watch
the world ceasing up

in all its fearful loneliness
through the seven seasons

and all its striving
like a child for its mother

grasping towards the toy
that got away behind the curtain

but the meadow up there
it keeps meadowing
butterflies and wild onions


the clouds come and go
in the big cerulean sky

where music lives
before the first note is born

and stillness that is midwife
to the storm goes to keep her peace

and all the colors
become their true selves

before the shadow
suffers their shine

somewhere there is the green meadow
just beyond the next peak

or perhaps it’s at the foot of the peak
that stands before you now

behind all the pretty fences
that you yourself put up

The Last Poem of The Last Poet

IMG_0436In the way summer never catches up with fall
and fall never catches winter,
and spring is a dream of winter
that winter never lives

In the way that
each unfolds an invisible season
from within,
she went up to unfold herself
into the mountain
one last time

to paint the sunset of her life
with words of affirmation

and share some unadorned moments
where the sky has eyes
and the rocks breathe fathomlessly.

She felt the lichen on her skin
before she saw them

arching her bare back against
a great granite boulder
bronzed belly
sipping the autumn sun

“There were so many I never got to,”
she whispered into the mountain’s ear.

“All my ahitas, the little aha moments
and sounds begun but never sung
barely sketches, mere glimpse of notes
could not be caught, will not be rung.”

“A title is all they have.

A memory of a True Account of a Conversation with a Worm
Got her musing about the Secret Chord
that the Sun-Eater plays, always
One Shore Beyond Desire
in his Wounded Vision
Drinking Water From A Wooden Bowl
Until the Bright Logic Is Won
and the Carefully Calculated Collapse
evokes all the Sextillions of Infidels
and we shall all be Moderately Immortal.”

“Perhaps a future poet
will find them scattered on this mountain
and make of them what I could not.”

From below in the mist
it had all looked so grey,

But now, above the clouds
atop Mt. Parnassus
there was nothing that was not
overflowing with color
there was nothing that was not

Including the splendid cerulean Sierra sky.

“What a great word,” she thought,
as sun bent seaward.

Turning her body over in wide embrace
her cheek pressed softly
against the hard rock
warm from late afternoon
flecked with silver, green, and pink
like stars trapped within.

“The moments I fully met are enough.”

Her breathing slowed
to match the mountain
inhaling and exhaling
in the marrow of her bones

“All is sound and color and texture,
a great coming together
and pulling apart
when we come to this place.

Have I been brave enough to feel it all?”

The great western eye closed its lid
as it sunk into an unseen sea

and with a tremendous sigh of love over fear,
she too closed her lids
lending her final syllable to the Deep Breath.