Leaking In Like Rain

IMG_7027I’ve been immersing myself in the Japanese masters, Issa, Bashō, Buson, Shiki.

The haiku form is deceptively simple–more difficult than it appears, if you want to abide by some traditional conventions.

My goal is to create a total of 107 Forest Haikus and mini ‘zen’ poems over the winter. I’ll share in groups of 5-10. Here are the first few:

Not the only one
dancing naked in the rain
joined by Mister Newt
——————————————–
Going on a walk
enjoy your mid-day orgy,
lovely ladybugs
——————————————–
Light from autumn moon
casting shadows from redwoods
across my bald head
——————————————–
November redwoods
an unspeakable silence
jet engine roaring
——————————————–
Look, there’s a rainbow!
covering my shit with dirt,
I’m in awe of both
——————————————–
You dropped some feathers
Mister Peregrine Falcon
I’ll keep them for you
——————————————–
Just a few days old
and walking across the sky
my baby moon
——————————————–
I’m learning some things
Not sure what it is quite yet
leaking in like rain
—————————————-
No protection here
November’s got me knocked up
with baby poems
—————————————-
Deep autumn sitting
coyote yipping on verge
of liberation

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Drinking the Season

IMG_6974November comes to the forest
as an ocean on the head

something finally dissolves
and a man turns to mist
as struggle takes its leave

most birds play it safe
but some brave birds still sing
the rain makes the kid in them
get up and dance

Their whistle and the tappity tap tap
on the roof of the 20 square foot hut
are the only sounds

though sometimes the man swears he can almost hear the moss
grow by the minute
greening boulder
and bolder yet

conquering the forest
with Greenness
and thereby
settling it once and for all

drinking the rain
as the night drinks the dark
and the man drinks the season

 

 

Gone

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“If we have become incapable of denying ourselves anything, then all that we have will be taken from us” – Wendell Berry, Leavings

all but the one redwood
gone

took only 15 years

an entire forest
of giants vanished
in a single breath

hills scraped clean
like a quick shave

leaving stubbled hills
to build the places
we love
called Oakland
Martinez, Benicia, Lafayette
San Francisco cable cars

grandchildren
circle around the
stumps–
little ones
compared to the mighty ones

32 feet in diameter
bigger than any ever known

but one remains
a reminder?
a ghost?
a dream?

SCENES FROM STREAM TRAIL

IMG_6440Redwood Creek, Elevation 685 ft., Population 4.3 million, Temperature 61

old needles and a few big arms
thrown down by last night’s midnight wind
cover the perfect messy floor
the price of being tall
nice contribution, group effort

all green and brown and redwood
except the bright blue plastic bag
full of dog shit
so frequent (one of 11), you’d think they too were native
but it’s likely they’re an invasive species

“Come on, boy, come on. Good boy!”

so a story goes
rainbow trout named here
from this very creek
now more bed than flow
(they’re making a comeback)

that’s probably a good thing

(Stay on Defined Trail)
rock graveyard looking thirsty
in deep autumn

middle-aged woman tight yoga clothes
playing motown, trips on roots

“Did your dad quit drinking, or was it smoking?”
“I think he quit smoking.”

yet a flow finds its way further down
from a spring hidden like the
larvae of California newt
tricky toxic Taricha torosa
going through growing pains
also awaiting November rain
(a camper croaked from accidentally boiling one in his morning coffee)

heart appears among tree debris
floating on the water

probably a good thing

jet engines roar (Alaska Airlines)
woosh of the large bird
elderly chinese man shoes so white playing music

eternal wrestling match
with silence
or is that just my conflict mind?

“You know, I think I saw something about that on her Facebook,
she was gonna hike the John Muir Trail by herself. Crazy.”

probably a good thing

Ravens hopscotch on upper limbs
bounce from one bare branch to another
breaking them
can’t tell if they’re squacking from the fun of it
or fighting (also for the fun of it)
either way, tearing the forest down in the process

probably a good thing

poison oak brightest thing in the forest
burnt red rusty orange yellow green
like toxic newt skin, poison has its beauty

probably a good thing

Purple-and-blue-extensions-among-black-braids-girl
smiles wide at me
I’m looking talking with a small round bird
hopping up the side of course bark
breaking bugs

“I was thinking about getting one of those…”

Sequoia sempervirens sighs
breathes cool into my blood
making it redder
lungs lighter
never take clean air for granted

probably a good thing

Like a dog, creek birds tilt tiny heads
look at me like,
wuzup?

Staredown at Cold Creek

IMG_6447I left you ten thousand years ago
yet here you are
staring back at me in broad daylight
broad as a mountain meadow, a Magellan cloud

asking things of me
which I’m not prepared to answer

have you been stalking me?

a wry, smile gives me a hint
some things never change
but your face betrays a longing
but that’s not your way
or is it?

I’m on to you
it wouldn’t kill you
to tell let them know
what you truly desire

But what do I know?
I can barely track a 🦌
let alone the secret footprints
written across the face of Maya

For now, I dip my feet in the cold creek
feeling the ancient afternoon on my cheek
flashing my own smile
from this big rock,
for whom the trees move so quickly