- surrounding embracing breathing in
no shadows, no lines, no other than me
what is so. this is.
food or sleep or wandering inside my room,
small pleasures to make one life smile.
why are they not working.
my heart. not a broken crack. an open door,
letting wind blow both ways.
as it may so please to do. enclosed, do you see,
meaning. being embraced.
did you think there was any path that did not come to me.
so spoke the wind.
cross your fingers as a sign,
like falling feet first.
I live on an island you know.
it’s not water that surrounds me here.
it’s all of you. I see faces in the sea.
I’ve been afraid of getting wet.
but water was never really my fear.
I was afraid of faces seeing me.
maybe I was afraid to drown.
yet, to dream in you would be
a different kind of being
there is fire in dirt. see it swim. remember half that’s unseen.
fragments, they gather themselves. stories laid on a plate.
dirt is a wolf waiting its turn.
just wait. patience will reveal a face.
in a dragon-dream dragons are far more
flexible, threaded well. carefully whimsical.
a head may be nothing more than one
sidewise glance. no flame ignited.
if you wondered, red is where I’m going,
yellow is what I’ve already eaten.
nothing is now a mystery.
a father, a mother, want being known.
it is the desk. it is the lamp. the lamp is turned on right now.
it is the stack of three books. thesaurus on the table behind and left.
it is the pen. it is the ink. it is also a luminescent screen.
this movie I see. even like, right now I am. a movie I mean.
I am this big. two hands held this-much apart. that much.
see? got a match. responding to a change in scenery. please,
warm me up like one white star. just enough, the bear, she says.
I like dirt. dirt feels comfortable. in my hands, seems a natural of way to be.
like rocks are, you know.
as a kid, I had a simple rule about clothes. if you couldn’t sit in the dirt, stand up, brush yourself off, be alright. then your clothes were too fancy to wear.
OK, a boys rule, fair to probably say.
think my feet have grown too far from dirt. barefoot as a child. dirt, burrs, twigs, rocks, no matter. now, not for love nor money. well… maybe love.
under-rated I think. starting from nothing, tell me please
how would you make dirt.
god had that problem once upon a time.
sometimes you know, dragons like to roll in the dirt.
can you detect their smile.
alright sometimes dragons look like a dog. good boy, you roll in that dirt.
sometimes a cat, both house and wild, sensibilities shared.
dirt has a scent of prayer you know. ripe.
maybe a bird, some do, or a badger perhaps.
or a big ol’ pile of leaves, that will do.
words are a lot like dirt. a lot like leaves.
best if you get a running start. crossing my fingers, means it’s true.
image: Zen in November #1, Laura Bloomsbury PoetryPix
a very worthwhile collection of poetry and masterful photography.
image used with her kind permission (and my big thanks!)
please do be sure to click on the header image above, else you’ll miss something really good. (I know some folks don’t. so this time, do.)
still don’t like question marks. no excuse.
a shape the river makes
there is a curve,
it’s not what it’s like,
it’s what it is.
the door already closed,
where open once, a moment before.
then someone said, brother,
sister, your moving lips, they are
speaking a name I already knew,
a moment before.
your eyes, your cheeks.
across the river I’ve seen,
a curve I recognize.
it’s kind of a zoo inside my head. pardon please doubtless mistakes I’m near bound to make. but I’d like to think kindly of each and every wild critter here contained. fair warning though, they might just lick your face.
old adage. you are what you eat. I have one, more my own.
you are who you appreciate.
so that’s big half of what I’m doing here. neither is that meant figurative.
you, you’re included too. let’s begin. join me please.
mother, Virginia. fair enough starting there. grandmother, Janet. great uncle, Louis. young uncle Robert, we said, Bob. blood family.
Carolee Bennett. do what’s different, unexpected, as often as you can.
Ren Powell. prose is poetry. she taught me that. organically.
Laura Bloomsbury. photography is poetry. see, she is.
Cindy Knoke. colors like this woman. I do too.
Kerfe. she’s all over the place. thankfully.
not forgetting, Julie. she who cares for me. my life is hers.
have you noticed. I have. who you appreciate becomes more beautiful.
again, not figurative. maybe my eyes just open more, really see in front of my face. whatsoever the truth, it pleases me. sincere.
due regard, William Stafford. he who openned poems to me. no less, my life. American poet and pacifist. Appointed the twentieth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 1970.
Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean. Stafford
why write. said before, however. bottom of an unhappy barrel, I made a prayer, said, what do I do? commonplace thoughts swarmed round my head. next day arrived. no clouds parting. no face of god overhead. but more clear than blue sky, one word. write. just that, nothing more.
I took it as genuine. besides, if I posed a prayer, least appreciative response would be, take the answer to good heart. I did. what’s that not mean – not write and publish, not a great novel, not even poetry (my choice, that), not write well, not fame or recognition, not one whisper more. write.
I took it like a father might say to a son, please go mow the lawn.
that’s the gravity beneath my sky. I feel thirsty when I don’t. yes, true, I have self-centered thoughts, like anyone and there are issues about what poems have for a result. sometimes I’ve nearly stopped. but the boat remains. now, current has more draw.
not much book schooling on my part, except for those I read myself.
fish in the net. I try to pay attention. I work to learn.
I am friends with words with language, with meanings and good faith.
I like poems that talk with themselves.
I like fresh caught words. not the same porridge every day. please.
I make my own rules of thumbs. what works is what works. nothing else matters more than shoes & socks.
faith to me means, god never took us out of paradise.
so remember who and where we are. no lies.
no world traveller. so write from where I live. small observations.
free associate. this process I trust implicitly. ask, what response comes to mind, trust that it relates. why. because it just did relate. someone wisely once said, in life understanding is the bobby-prize. accept what you receive. some call that grace. me too.
engage. that’s the part that rubs the most. writing is a solitary process. fine. but later, can we talk, writer to writer, person to person. curiosity. (honestly, lonely sometimes). (don’t play if you’re unwilling to pay the price.) (but still, you understand.)
some bowls I bring to this feast. a few more pages wanting me.
poetic minimalism. big words for small things. fewer words that shy from contribution given. more focus laid to active words, old habits require labor to break. but look, where the meaning rests. as well, more like real life casual conversation, corners rounded off.
space & form. these do matter to me. constantly. regarded like commas and periods. like music is, the space in between is how the notes take needed breath. confess I’m as much visual as audible. maybe I think they are the same. can’t help myself.
and a tail I hope forgives me some. or not. I consider no-sin to try and fail when the labor is of good heart. some new path through the briar. learning smiles more on failure than any otherwise.
last and first, slow drum that it is.
there are issues afoot. two doctors examine and treat and say, doing well all considered. yet that’s not how I feel inside myself. don’t know last pages, not yet I think. however aggrieved if I move out of sight with no due right thanks given to some ones who’ve been good company.
odd to say, but, explicit serves better fare than implicit, unknowing.
I want to appreciate being alive.
know this. to write is one gift. to read is another gift.
no poem. not once. recluse, unqualified.
mother. I can’t hold only one vision of you, much as I think trying to be single minded.
Llagas creek, near where you grew up, beside a road ready to leap into the western valley hills, more scrub and oak and red-skinned Manzanita. a scent my body recognizes as home, no matter what.
green spring grass rushing head-long into dry brown summer fleece. should I apologize. no, I don’t.
a small graveyard in my hometown. far far days older than me. so many unfaced stones who aren’t even stories to me.
gravel, dirt, stone, concrete, iron. all things being unmoving now. we hear our silent steps when we walk. a couple conversations I could wish to resume.
a large old house standing above the ground. but even it won’t stand still in my memory. it too goes back farther than my reach. although what I see now, you’d probably see them too as ghosts.
high stairs to the coat room, behind a front door. unlocked (I forget when).
matching East side stairs given way, becomes a screen enclosed small room for grandmother’s plants. the place, sitting on a stool, where I ate my very first-in-life-ever grilled cheese sandwich. obviously, memorable.
my great uncle’s shed. for tools. for memories. for bottles of old nails removed from salvaged planks, hammered, bent right again, sorted by size, enclosed in glass with a lid. where he taught me, how to fill the spaces between hammers and saws, beginning with wood. old farmers practical thoughts. this is how we eat the land.
someday none of this would be mine, because it was forever his, even if he didn’t know it was. I loved him all the while. he sheltered me in his thoughts. kindness, kindness. no ordinary man.
shape shifting. really, it’s real. sometimes it means, right next door. that’s where we were moving to. mother and me, fifty feet farther West.
in between was a driveway made of grass, a line of three plum trees, ripe. I’d climb onto the roof to pick all the high fruit within my reach. Summer, plums were soft to the touch, sweet, past my lips. many never made it off the roof.
at night. in the dark. beneath the sheets of my bed. scratching on the bottom of the floor. mother possum attending to her kids. I met her once outside in the dark. she was not glad, meeting me. jaw opened, a hiss rolled out like a tongue.
big old English walnut tree claimed half of the back backyard. long arms reaching out, dropping leaves too acidic for anybody else to be taking root. strength came from a black walnut trunk, more sturdy than the grafted tops, rough like broken skin. farm folk who studied herding trees. bags and bags of walnuts gathered every year. a certain reluctance left behind.
uncle Robert, the youngest of grandmother’s boys. not like the rest of us, not a farmer, not even a seed. rather, an artist and adventurer. me, too young to be his friend. then he went away. no one said where. he would have been a right father to me, but no. no return.
a half-sister I only know from photographs. beautiful. olive skin, long dark braids. early wishing learned.
this is how a bird builds its nest, thread by thread. who would have ever guessed this result this far away. not me.
all this is dangerous, remembering.
but I keep remembering, is my life not poem enough.
Dark in the forest a path
goes down, soft as moss
a voice comes on: my hand
on bark, my stilled face alone –
Then water, then gravel, then stone.
William Stafford, Identities
image: Llagas Creek is a perennial stream in Santa Clara County, California. The headwaters rise near Loma Prieta, from there flowing northeast till reaching Uvas Road, then turning south. The creek passes through Chesbro Reservoir and the cities of Morgan Hill, San Martin, and Gilroy. Continuing southward it joins with the Pajaro River (meaning bird in Spanish), which eventually flows into Monterey Bay.
credit: Wikimedia Commons, Wahn, View of Llagas Creek from bridge on Oak Glen Ave in Morgan Hill, California. Photo taken March 28, 2017.
pronunciation guide. If unfamiliar with Spanish words & names, a double-L is given a “Y” sound, so Llagas is pronounced like “Yagas”.
California golden poppies in outer space
These so called poppy super blooms happen when Spring rains are just right.
The blooms can become so dominant in the landscape they are even visible from space. I take no credit here except for appreciation. All three images will expand into substantially larger views as you wish.
Having lived the better part of my life in California (now a Washington state resident) I’ve seen these kind of blooms for myself (homesickness rears its head). I’ve known several folks who comment that California lacks the deep intense Northeast Autumn orange. Here presented, Nature’s response of California Spring gold. Wikipedia
say hello when you meet another face. △ any face.
listen. △ that noise you hear, that’s another universe. let it into you.
speak kindly, appreciate. △ no excuse. none that won’t cost you dear.
let your eyes speak for you. △ a smile is nice, but eyes are genuine.
notice the smallest things with the rest. △ we’re pretty small ourselves.
you may have more mind than some, but not more △ Light.
remember, meditate. △ questions & answers are one coin.
say goodbye. for real. △ circles you know, they complete themselves.
wave. △ use your hand. it’s good practice, like grandmother did.
remember to check the Like button △ after reading. granted, only a mouse worth praise. makes me wonder, where’s that Love button at. used to regard that labor with disdain (hardly just). retired now from that history, meaning, yes I’ve been here and read your words.
my finger is on the page with you.
Children at Raja Yoga Academy, Point Loma, California 1915. Public domain.