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?


Why Should I Write About You, Water Bug?

24B7C278-306D-43F7-A8B7-F156FEC42189When the heavens are rolling out encores
of mulberry processions
and the river is performing not-stop
a cappella hits

Why should I write about you, water bug?

While the elegant bats somersault
in dusky diners
and the thunderstorm breaks its head
on distant peaks

what have you to say to me, six-footed floater?

Then, I see you flash and slide
and if I didn’t see it with my own two eyes
the way you disappear
only to reappear two inches upstream
I’d be inclined to think I was dreaming

and for the life of me
I don’t know what you eat
so I can only assume it is water and air alone

but now I know better
it has been revealed:

you are an advanced species
of micro-teleportation devices and magic
hydrophobic microhairs
dancing the river down
with sophisticated water choreography

not tiny and insignificant
in the scheme of things
but the whole show–
the entire mountain and sun extravaganza–
is for you

the moon-rise
the coyote rips
the distant storm
and towering pines bow
to your practiced patience
and river spells

That is why, water monk,
I write about you
and join them in the bowing

The Flashes Buried Here

2CC49FE5-E6ED-44F1-B17A-E0D70ED16A01There are flashes buried here
in the hot sand of this poem

Some are mirages
others are mirrors

Who put them there
is not for us to know

Some say it’s not a place
for people to dwell

but sometimes you must
cross the desert
to find your freedom sunrise

even though it’s been shining through that
ache within an ache
the whole time

If the rabbit has it
and the sagebrush is lush
and the moon shower
brings the cactus flower

you have no right
to just lie down
and bury your feet

What if the cactus
abandoned the moon
before it’s bloom had bloomed?

How would the bat makes his way?

So keep walking
Keep drinking in what feeds you
Keep gathering the shimmerings

buried beneath your feet

Some are mirages
some are mirrors
and some are red-hot miracles
awaiting the eye of your heart

How To Disappear Into the River

ED3EB96A-5C81-4996-AF32-893A06A7DF43I don’t wanna see the river
I don’t wanna even tell you about it

I wanna drink myself so far into it
I stop making sense
because I breathe it
from the inside out
sucking down the mountaintop
and spitting into the sea

squeaking like a swallow
until a flock of rocks falls
out of my banks
and something in me hears the shoreline giggle—

did she mean to touch up against me like that?

Catch the light, carry the wind
test the world’s ear

rewrite the land
with my side-winding snake of a thousand hearts

not delicate, but deluge
not going somewhere new
but creating somewhere new

Growing the fish and fisherwoman
the poet pelican otter man
inside my river womb
Abraq ad habra

Swim in me—
I’ll drown you safely
to the other side

I chant river forever forever
not to show off for the water birds
though yes that too
but because I’m full
and overflowing

I sing wet my wild
singing yet the while
Forever foriver
Singing river river

Until these wicked words
in the slow of deep July
and I with them
into the flow

-Ryan Van Lenning

Your Dewdrop Desire

4711150E-7631-4EFF-BFB9-7731312B1444Don’t make the mistake of believing your dewdrop desire is different than the tide—
sometimes high 
sometimes low
yet always showing up 

Without it how would 
the birds and the shoreline 
feed themselves?

How would the world continue to be created?

Don’t be fooled into thinking
your red raw art 
or that sunbow wow on your face 
are any different than egret wings
flapping into the new moon

Ok, if you came at it sideways
with a Crab-eye-point-of-view 
the doorways do look different

They might appear as pockets of mud 
waiting for your thirsty feet
even if you bring your shell 
far into the day

But certainly don’t make the mistake of thinking 
your feet are different than your fathomless heart
deep as the memory of the sea