Friday, June 23, 2017

Veils and veins


The dragonflies are more colorful and inquisitive this year.

They seem to know me, and have something they want to say.

Veils and veins. Ready your wings. The angels are here.



Canvas 940



Canvas 940

June 23, 2017




Sunday, June 18, 2017

And as a father


And as a father, how do I see myself? I see myself as someone understood and forgiven by his children, who are bright flowers in a strange and beautiful world. I am their child now, and they are the guiding ones. They are windows, rainbows, and I am a passing cloud. There’s a game in the street. Every kid in the neighborhood’s involved. I look up from my notes. I ponder my hands. How could anything as common and ordinary seem so profound? I go out, only to find myself in a dusty valley long ago, walking beside a man who seems to know why I am there, and why he is there, and why his orderly vineyard rows are there, and why the sky is above them. He carries a shovel on his shoulder. It’s hard to match his pace. I fall behind. Or is it ahead? Or is it simply grace?



Saturday, June 17, 2017

My father wrote


In one letter home to my mother during World War II, my father wrote, “All I want to do when I get home is put a fence around the place and raise grapes and kids.” And that’s just what they did. Without the fence, of course. As if there’s ever been such a silly thing that could keep fear out, or keep love in.



For bugs and birds and words and lovers


The way some plants hold the rain until they need it,

or for others who may be passing by,

for bugs and birds and words and lovers,

pools and jewels for all they’ve suffered,

tender, the grass, tender, the skin, tender, the sky,

free at last from foolish thoughts of sin,

fearless in each perfection that makes faces of their hands,

O, where do I begin, if not this precious way to end?



Canvas 930



Canvas 930

June 17, 2017




Friday, June 16, 2017

And the answer is


Rain, enough to thrill the garden, but not to silence the scent of the grass seed fields. The delicate maples, red and green. The same towhee, in the same tree, sure each sentence must end differently. Flicker with an earth-brown beak, probing, searching, finding, swallowing. Little boy with a wet new bike, testing its frame against the curb, feeling the vibration in his bones. Funny how some words end up alone. And how a sneeze heard through the rain is bound to the grass seed smell, and a stop sign nailed to a rotting post. Abandoned railroad tracks, where the iron ghosts come back, and want to know, Whooooooo are you? And the answer is, the grass seed fields, the grass seed fields, the grass seed fields.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Canvas 928



Canvas 928

June 14, 2017




In my darkest hours amid my blackest fires


If you feel your difficulties are undeserved,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you feel unworthy of your good fortune,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you fear what is to come,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you are disappointed or angry,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you hate politicians,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you hate yourself,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you love yourself,
practice gratitude and think of others.

If you are numb, or broken, or spiritually distraught,
accept my gratitude and think of me,
in my darkest hours amid my blackest fires,
upon my knees, with tongue and lips too dry to say
what all most need to hear:

Practice gratitude and think of others,
until you see there is no you or me,
only one vast and subtle grace-filled mirror,
and all that is, is blessed, and all is blessed to be.



Canvas 927



Canvas 927

June 14, 2017




Monday, June 12, 2017

Canvas 924



Canvas 924

June 12, 2017




From the highest branch, a mourning dove


From the highest branch at dawn, a mourning dove,
one note short in his song — one note louder, one note longer,

one note more persuasive and poignant, one note
more present in each infinitely patient absence,

until I became the note itself — and although I had begun
by passing through the neighborhood like anyone,

I was now a sacred bell being carried up a mountainside
into the sweet gray mist.

And oh, the pilgrims’ gentle, careworn hands!
Have they ever felt like this?

Like mine do now, by this caress?
And yours, that find me in my nothingness?



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Canvas 923



Canvas 923

June 11, 2017




Slowly


Your leaves and her hair.

Her limbs, your grassy slope to the stream.

Your roots. Her sudden rain.

Her sunlit path. Your green.

And every thing unseen, slowly.

Is this what meaning means?

Her hair? Your leaves?

And all of it so tenderly?



Friday, June 9, 2017

The verbena will


The verbena will. It’s to the edge already now.
And that’s what I know about waterfalls.



A dance of light and a shiver through


A dance of light. Each leaf has something it must whisper to the other leaves and in saying be made whole. A shiver through a gray-green dress. The solemn sense you soon will fall. And what the moon might know as she dreams her dream of clouds.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ask me how or why


Ask me how or why, I simply do not know.

There is no purpose, only setting out.

No work as precious notion.

Or play that means escape.

Prayer, perhaps?

In the sense that love’s an ocean.

And everything is yes.

That the pieces I imagine, are one grand whole.

And each and every fragment, for ever more is all.

That my very absence, is the presence I will know.

And humbly confess, even as I must love death.

To grow.



So many strawberries


So many strawberries this spring, more fruit than leaves.

And so sweet. Fragrant space. Peace.

Berry necklaces. Berry crowns. Berry grace.

Each a call to rest here in the silence of this place.

And we shall love one another without measure.

The shadow and the bloom. The light-green runner.

Distance naught but the urge to meet.

To seek the lips, and kiss the juice upon the face.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Canvas 920



Canvas 920

June 7, 2017




Copper in your palm


Air so heavy with pollen and perfume, you wear it home.

Comb it into the bathroom sink. Some settles on the lacy fern.

A towhee face to face, not moving from her cypress perch.

Spinning song. Her eyes upon you. Spinning wide. Spinning round.

Like the neighbor’s old lawn sprinkler with three arms.

The one that would walk if it could.

And put its copper in your empty palm. Spinning long.

To the widow on the corner. In her faded floral reds and blues.

Corduroy. Long sleeves. Tea stains. Powder clouds.

Cutting back a rose gone wild. Says she must take it out.

Its old stump still can tear a glove or two.

A lone cactus in desert dusk.

You look up. Just in time to climb aboard a chicken bus.

And meet someone kind enough to take you home.

To feed you and spend the night.

In the morning the little ones laugh at you.

Weightless angels, bringing light.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A few nasturtiums


A few nasturtiums where nothing else will grow.

Fir needles. Who can count them all.

And the tales they tell of galaxies in dew and dust.

A calligrapher’s turn of the rake.

One lone sow bug crosses a cool stone step.

Almost as if you have been dreaming.

Of your absence.

Or have just remembered your uncle who died in the war.

You have his pipe. Have lit it more than once.

A smoky lantern in the dark.

Spirits become shadows. Shadows spirits.

Where the irises have bloomed. Their stiffened arms.

Loved ones lovers all around. Passing through.

Your blood and bones. To seek the precipice.

You are on. And find a cloud.



Monday, June 5, 2017

The time of year


The time of year when dust and pollen settle on the books.

Grass seed fields. Cottonwood fluff.

Old men and women, barefoot dolls wearing rice hats.

Scratching with their hoes, reeds through which sweet music flows.

Their hearts like temple bells.

And then you come upon a ground-nest with its broken shells.

Pale blue. Each a child inside of you.

The neighbors look up and smile as you wobble by on your bicycle.

Little do they know you are stitching them a quilt.

That when it’s done, they will be old too.

Just as they are now.

Your grief is that anyone in the world at all.

Might still not understand that they are the river and the soil.

That the rice they steam and serve is themselves.

A grief so light it makes you laugh.

As the one beside you writes your epitaph.

Of nameless wind and scattered ash.

And still they hoe. For love is what they grow.



May I know nothing in a way


May I know nothing in a way that shows my love.

Lips, hair, eyes. Grassy fields. Too much sky to hold.

Running in a photograph, man to child.

How it feels in your palm, looking up at you.

Just as you become a poem.

Not made of words alone.

But of the grand space in between.

Where we live and breathe.

And feel no grief upon the final note.



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Just as her song arrives


Just as her song arrives, the bird is flown.

Hope gives way to light.

Battered men dance upon their crutches.

Wise ones lose their sight.

They converse with stones.

Use their fingers and their bones.

Become the verse of butterflies.

Not as if. Or as when. Perhaps. But then.

It begins again. And the never is.

Is the is the is, you call unknown.

Oh, her fingertips, where once were feathers!

Oh, the way the wind is blown!

And leaves not one thing standing!

Save love, and the melody she’s granting!



Friday, June 2, 2017

You can see it all from here


What happens to pain, when the one who felt it is gone?

A shovel, planted firmly, in the ground.

Your thoughts are warm, familiar.

They are exactly where the wind has blown.

In helpless disarray. In uncombed rows.

You set them down. You see them sown. You are alone.

AM radio. Breakfast poem. The old gas stove.

Linoleum. Wash tub. Razor. Mirror.

You can see it all from here, the vineyard and the marigolds.

The sun goes down. Someone in, someone out.

What happens in the dark, is the lightest thing you know.

And then, your last breath . . . and . . . oh!