Thursday, March 05, 2015

"I hope I'm not imposing,"
I say to Nature, as birds
explode from the bush
In front of me,
as the heron pauses
in mid stride,
as the coots glide
to the other edge of the pond,
and the rabbits freeze in rhe
grass like garden statues.
I am an interloper here.
As I pass,
the heron lowers his foot,
the birds reclaim their perch,
the coots dive once again,
and the rabbits return
to their endless nibbling.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A White Guy Hearing Selena’s “Siempre Hace Frio” for the First Time

Two souls, one car, roll on a dark South Texas night.
We ride in silence, my eyes on the road,
her face bathed in her iPhone’s soft, blue light.
“Why don’t you speak Spanish?” while still looking at her phone.
How could I explain that my clumsy tongue,
shattered the Spanish against the walls of my mouth,
and turned a babbling brook of a language,
into a dark muddy puddle?
How could I explain the words batted like butterflies
 against my ears, refusing to land?

“Hey, listen to this!” A tap on the screen
and a voice filled the car.
If voices had color, this voice would be a
dark amber. If voices had shapes, this voice would
look like a dark, wild honeycomb.
It was full of the emptiness of anguish and loss.
I understood every word, even though I didn’t
know any word. The voice told me all. Someone
was gone, someone was lonely, someone was sad.
The voice transcended the language of men. I needed
no translator, no guidebook to navigate this land.
It was all clear.
The singer was teaching me a new language-

the language of love and loss.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The fog, made luminous by
a one-headlight moon, thickens
around the pond. I can taste it
as I walk. The fogs wet kisses moisten
my cheeks, and her wet fingers
leave traces of drops on my jacket.
My moonshadow walks in front
of me, more tentative, less definite,
than his daytime brother. He is shy
like a coyote caught in the sudden
flash of a porchlight, cautious like a mouse
exploring a darkened kitchen.

Moonshadow, sunshadow,
we all have shadows in our lives.
They walk with us in the sunlight,
They walk with us in the moonlight.
The only choice we have is to let
our shadow walk before us,
or to walk so that it is behind us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Glass and wire are always close to me now,
like the amulets and fetishes worn
by a tribal shaman my
discount store glasses
are always within my grasp.

On my bed stand, in my desk, around my neck
I reach for the seer stones, the Urim and Thummin,
I find in Dollar Generals and Family Dollars
that miraculously bring clarity to the
hieroglyphics written on the backs of medicine bottles,
the cuneiform directions on soup cans,
the runes of recipes on cracker boxes,
 and the faded imprints of credit card receipts.

It is the irony of aging,
the paradoxical evolution of life,
that finds my eyes fading
as the vision of my mind resolves,
clarifies and focuses. My younger self
could see the tracks of birds on the
the uppermost limbs of trees, but my
elder self is just starting to glimpse
what is really important.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Poem by my dog:

Last night I howled in my sleep,
I dreamt I ran in a forest deep,
Hot on the trail of a frantic deer,
A man ran next to me holding a spear.
I was no longer small, white, and frail,
I was six feet long from head to tail,
With seven-inch teeth, and terrible claws,
Not my normal fuzzy, white paws.
The moon was bright, the scent was clear,
My blood was up, my prey was near,
The deer stopped his running, his antlers caught in a bough,
The man brought back his hand, the time was now.
The spear sailed through the air, towards the deer’s head,
And I woke up in my little red bed.

Monday, January 05, 2015

I am already behind in this cycle of the Writing Novena. I've only posted one poem on the Facebook group and we are supposed to be on the fifth poem already.  Aaargh! The poems this cycle are to be "surreal".

Last month my dog
ate a black licorice nib
of a catepillar. He gagged once,
and then went on his business
sniffing leaves and weeds.

Three weeks ago
an iridescent dander appeared
on his bed, as if a woman
had dusted it with her
blue mascara brush. He left faint blue
paw prints around his waterbowl.

Two weeks ago, I noticed
his tongue was now a pink jellyroll
under his chin. He licked every flower
we passed, and bacon no longer
held its old magic for him.

One week ago,
as he clambered out of
bed in the morning, two
spider-thread thin wings
blossomed from his shoulders,
unfolding as he shook himself
like he had just emerged from a pond.

Tonight, on our evening walk,
he circled my head, his leash holding him
to me as if he were a rock I was about to throw
at some invisible Goliath., and pee'd on
the tree's branches instead of its trunk.

Now, he bumps gently against the window
with fluttering wings and scrambling paws.
It is the moon that pulls at him, I know.
And now I wonder, do I let him go?

Friday, January 02, 2015

Starting the writing novena again....

Perched on my stool, safely through security,
I watch people stream, wheel and turn
in front of me. Some children, a school trip perhaps,
travel in a line, like migrating geese. Some travel in small,
whirling flocks, sparrows crossing the concourse,
pecking at vending machines, feeding in airport shops.
Some stroll in pairs, hands clasped,
swans mated for life. A gate change is announced,
and passengers rise, a flock of starlings, fleeing
from one tree to another before resting again.
Out past the the security gates I see two
people, they can only be reunited lovers,
fly to each other and embrace, the way
two eagles will join in flight and tumble towards
earth in ecstasy as they join in the sky,
risking death to create new life.
In front of the cold, gleaming,
deli case, a lone traveler eyes the prepackaged salads,
motionless, like a heron standing still
in a pond, waiting to strike. 
Do we have the same ancient homing
instincts as birds? We plan for years, drill
for fuel, move earth, pour concrete,
pave fields, and light the night
to travel the heavens in
the same way a hummingbird,
without prior thought or intention.
and fueled only by the promise of flowers,
flies. Maybe we are just birds, cursed aeons
ago. Birds whose bones have grown dense,
whose feathers fell, whose beaks
softened and withered. Maybe that is why
we try so hard to reclaim the sky.