Record of Life

42A39B67-64DC-4E1F-907C-381F60EAACBEIf you use your nights to forget your days
and then forget to write your nights
where will the record of your life be kept?

take leave of nights long looted
of amnesia and mere filling
and make a monument
to your unforgettable days

not by some big gesture
but by letting enormous hellos
and open skies
pour through you like water
through endless fingers

then you will be the pen and the paper
the indelible ink
the book that flies off the shelf
haunted wild with life

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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
jubilation

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  put his hand in yours.

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.

ORDINANCE 38-SECTION 400.1

IMG_1607WARNING:

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.

Legend of River Woman

IMG_1103She stepped out on the back
of the night
shining the lending

no one knows what calls her out
dressed in flowing gown
of sky black and mountain blue memories

the sea?
the moon?
the play of her own flow?

A legend was born on the river
on the face of the wet rocks
blushing the white kiss of the moon

in the hour of birth
before the birds break
their succulent silence

and in her crawling
the river crawls

and in her drifting
the world drifts
across the wakening land

Heron is her first—
he knows without talking

the legend born here
before the humans came

owl heard it from jackrabbit
who heard it from mallard
who was told by a furry friend
of otter’s who knew heron’s sister
the red-cheeked merganser

they heard it because they too
were born of the legend
and it flowed like ripples in her gown
a silver memory over the land

the river and the spirit of the river

the one within its banks
the other at the tip of the leaf

the tongue of the otter sipping
the sun drying the feathers of the cormorant

and the kiss of the wind
inside you

one flows around these rocks
the other flows as the rocks

swirl of the swallow
shape of the soul

the legend continues

The Smell of Joy

IMG_0977Have you ever seen the color of the evening bird’s song?

It smells like joy.

It’s one of the things they rarely print in the park brochure.

It’s probably different for everybody
But for me it’s a spring breeze
floating an orange and turquoise shell
out of an ancient canyon

It’s a red and yellow whistle
petalling through me like bubbles splitting
and swallowing themselves
out on the limbs of twilight tree.

That’s the smell of joy.

The brochures don’t say that.

They do mention to stay on the trails
but they don’t mention that
when you walk the fallen log
stretching from shore to shore
of the red forest

strange things happen

with the birds
and the scents
and the hearts of the forest

They don’t say that when you see
the 7:30am rays interplay with the morning dew
hugging the gentle green arms of the old oak

you will have to change your life.

Sometimes the truth gets told
and they say “Enjoy the Park”

So you do.

And the creek jumps up to kiss your face
and the smell of joy
floods your cells

and you know you will never leave.

Palm Sunday

palmThe way the palm fronds
rub against each other
reminds her of debris circulating
on the surface of the sea
carried by currents beyond their control

and when she puts her ear
on the window sill
a 1000 quail sing

and she doesn’t want to fall asleep again.

But when the big love announces itself like
a falcon from above
her face falls into her palms

and the fingers of her mind
grasp the hand of her heart
and the palm of her body
arm-wrestling
for the gut of her soul

no beautiful bullshit, it cries

The big love is not her next step

It looks too much
like the hard ground far below
that she can’t quite see
from the nest
stretching

So she puts her four palms together
in a prayer against the Predator:

“Please protect me against my ancient patterns.

I am my own hearth.”

Who knows
whether the ground
will come hurtling up so fast
breaking her to pieces
or whether the ground
will disappear altogether?

Or whether the ground and sky
are the same thing
seen through different eyes?

Trusting the belly of her wings
against the invisible hand of the air

she flings her frizzy hair
and fuzzy feathers out

I am at peace
and long for all the beautiful bullshit

and the quail begin to chirp

her springtime resurrection
is a spark in the dark
flying from the stones
in two of her hands

and the other two
she holds out

palms open