gilt-edged tanager hatched

          all the words I had lost or abandoned returned to me,   Kerfe

in the beginning I wasn’t a bird.   I was a circumspect rendition of what feathers might become.

in the beginning I was black.   well, everything was black, no hint of color.
     except for my Creator’s eyes.

     these eyes were given me.

in the beginning I walked the Earth.   then Creator said, oh, I meant for you to be kin with sky.   so Creator lifted me above the ground.
     then I was given wings.

from such heights I can see far away, or close, very close, like inside.   I see

          my blood is blue.   my blood is green.   ochre is my blood,
          the name I respond to when you call to me.
 
 
          I was an egg, and then

I was the lips of the Creator when she looked at me.   I smiled.

          I became the colors of blood.
 
 
I looked, saw companion stars and moons, and you.   I looked and what I most wanted to be in all of this creation was – free.   unbound.   no cage.   no leash.
     no treat tempting me to roost on a fingertip.

     then I am the fingertip.

I might be a djinn.   no, I’m a bird.   but really, how’d you know?
I don’t live in a bottle, but I do sleep in a tree.   no ropes, no hoist.
     just the sharp embrace of my prayers.

and every day I sing the colors you might become.   a room with more wings.

          first there was air, then there was us.

even to the shade beneath each leaf.   what it is that you expect,
but afterwards, obvious.
 
 
one story, one nest.   a binary heart.

close circled.    close.   manifest.
 

feather threads itself into wind.

wind becomes a wing.

 

found are

feathers, one sharp stone, obsidian.   a ribbon to cut.

a pebble shaped like a wave.   faith (maybe a fish).

happenstance.    genuine toes, one pair.

devotion.
 
 
 
 
 
image:   gilt-edged tanager, draw a bird day (ink pen with watercolor), Kerfe
                used with appreciation (and kind permission)
 
 
 
 
 

thirteen ways to ride a ferryboat


 
01
it’s the bottom of a bowl
where things tend to congregate
like boats and water and people
and gravity, going over across the way.

02
you stand ashore, near the beach,
near the ferryboat dock, you watch, you be sure,
you see them come see them go, make sure
they’re for real.

03
secure the ropes, pretend your floating feet
resemble land. although you’ll never quite
cease from walking up-hill.
fish feet first is the rule.

04
there’s a long wide thread, invisible,
but you can see its’ shadow in the water
scuffed right astern your ferryboat shoes.
it’s where you’ve been but are no more.

05
surely… someone… on the other side wants
your company.   isn’t that one thought when
you trade your coins at the gate?

06
water is blue, but no, it’s pale sun green
turning to veiled face.   ferry is mostly white
but partly it is busting rusting orange.

07
when it’s really calm your ghost
looks more real looking back at you.

08
dogs hang heads out car windows.
humans gather on the paws of boats.
tales wagging.

09
pull that string tight.   speak loudly
into the tin-man can.   it’s important for
stories to reach the far shore.

10
it matters to know the name of your boat.
it’s a mistake to feign indifference.   else if
you get lost at sea, how will you make yourself
found again?

11
a ferryboat is where water and sky
used to be.   but they keep changing
their minds about where.

12
ferryboats float on grace,
which is another word for displacement
you see.

13
ferryboats understand flowers
the way snow understands moss.
in a former life I was a ferryboat.

13 (twice)
here’s a small secret:

when you’re crossing middle,
looks like you could be going either way.

 
 
 
 
image: Washington state ferryboat, Puyallup, two miles from my home.

post: a refrain in thanks to Kerfe and her inspired image & poem & music
           post.   beautiful.    Thirteen ways of looking at Living.
 
 
 
 
 

First Woman on the Sun

we does our best, remembering.   like it was, yesterday.
the sun was shining bright.   she was there, higher than.

she held his hand, as if she’d been there since the starting start.
birds flew out of rocks.   their wings, with each stroke performing
     patterns of our speech.

then the way they glided, singing air, like they were her hair.
resting down upon a shimmered golden bluish lake.   shhh.

everything around was round.   everything curved, her face adorned.
remember me, she implied.   without a word.   one finger to her lips.

I need to stride above the sky, said she.   mother Sun calls me home.
because I am the first, to respond is how I keep this life alive.

when she walked, a forest moved.   how moss learned pointing North.
no Tuesday rush, an Autumn breeze.   surrendered place, making way.

she sailed above the dirt above the rocks above the trees, above all of us.
we stand witness, how far was far.   we spoke, hushed, fresh sown.

as we took root, rain followed her.   more like flame, like feet.   amber bright.
she carried him with both arms.   we asked an angel.   ten times ten.

sun kept watch for her breath.   blushed in dawn.   every noon, every night.
just like this one here.   she was, she is.   no scent of doubt.

the First Woman who Walked on the Sun.

then carried a man to her home.
 
 
 
 
 

haikai no ku

up close, when you’re intimate, the ocean is green more than blue.

 
I’ve leaned over, far as I could, the stone and concrete barrier wall at the cliff edge here.   I’ve stepped down rough slender stairs at low tide, then walked along the narrow sand beach below.   leaning forward, strangers walking by behind me here.   most glance, move on.   I adore.   I am lost.   willingly.

a few fish reflect each wave, moving more near, moving more far.
     effortlessly.   I am fish.   I am water too.

     I have no doubt.   going where water goes.
 
 
yet here I am, between water and dirt.   dust on my hands.
 
I remember standing there sometimes, confused, wondering why I was alone.
not the words, nor even thoughts.   but here, sight itself becomes haiku.
          am I not poem enough?
 
we don’t move.   the ocean does.
 
 

in Japanese, haiku is the contracted form of haikai no ku ‘light verse’.

 
 
 
 

starting with a shed


old rickety fence, more of a swayed-back grape arbor than fence by anything other than kindness.  grape vine about the same age.  not much harvest here, except behind in shadows where spiders called it home.  but familiar all the same and kids fit where big folks don’t.  same face shed but inside, a mystery.

broken except for this one moment now.

what you don’t see here.

back end of the yard, a huge walnut tree.  black walnut trunk for size and strength then grafted on english walnut limbs for better harvest nuts.  come near and we’d give you a bag to take home with you.  very acidic leaves however so nothing much else grew underneath the wide spreading limbs.  oh yea, except for a 50 gallon metal trash can used in those days to burn so much of the trash that would burn.  anything.  every yard had their own.  often that was Sunday morning neighborhood, smelling smoke.

fences were more about being polite than anything else.

east side the mostly shaded yard for the large old style raised farm house, almost Victorian.  originally two stairs to two entry doors, one now removed.  a mud room.  what mud?  to the right the designated parlor for visiting guests.  nobody cared about that formality any more.  straight ahead the actual family living room.  huge heavy wooden sliding doors that could open the two into one.  never used although I thought they were a wondrous thing not like anything else I knew.  high ceilings, cold in the winter all the good heat being another seven feet above our heads.  a large wooden floor footed radio with a lighted green dial.  exotic before there was television.

yea, and for years no one ever locked their front door.  no matter what.  till the day when someone said, there’s strangers in town.

mom and me shared the parlor as bedroom and grandmother Janet and great uncle Louis each had their own rooms.  big kitchen stove and a can of used and reused lard in the refrigerator – for about everything.  old English farm family weren’t so much on cooking except to make sure everything was well dead before eating.  took me years before I could eat liver again.

out back a tool and storage shed for uncle Lou and a small mostly vacant room where my young uncle Robert would stay when in town.  he left one day amid whispers not for childhood ears and never came back.  cancer maybe.  kind of a shameful thing in those days I think.  not something to talk about.

then mother and me moved next door into a smaller house beside that watercolor shed.  the timbers sat right on the dirt.  termites thought that a great welcome mat.  some nights mother possum would scratch at the floor boards under my room.  small room, enough that I could in one step reach the dresser, turn the alarm clock off and back to bed without hardly waking up.  then the Beatles on TV.

no indoor bathroom when our smaller house was built.  added on but insulation, none.  undressed, into the shower and out, five minutes flat in the winter time.

that was home for more years than not.

and why this here?   just because.   good enough?
 
 
 
 
watercolor by my uncle Robert Coates.   maker of paintings, oils and watercolors, carver of wood, figurines and miniatures, ceramics too, modern abstract and conventional.   a man who left this life much too soon.   now just these relics I know him by.
 
 
 
 

in review, “In & Of Itself” by Derek DelGaudio


an old well known story, yet Derek DelGaudio finds a point of view revealing something fresh something informative to appreciate about the six blind men and the unknown creature they encounter.

this film presentation of his live NYC small theatre production, about identity, is realized through a mixture of intimate storytelling, masterful slight of hand, and a profound reimagining of how we see ourselves and each other.    maybe the most amazing of all, is his engagement with the audience (maybe 150 or so).    with this film we get to see a greater expanse sampling of the over 500 performances produced.

Created and written by Derek DelGaudio, directed for the stage by Frank Oz.

the performance is beyond simplistic description, best when allowed to roam free in your perceptions and experience.    there are abundant reviews and interviews, even some who would try to explain.    but sometimes, yes, understanding like that is the booby prize.    best just go witness and take what you experience.

In & Of Itself is only formally available on hulu.com, one of the many streaming services.   (sshhh…)   however hulu allows one month free to sample their offerings, more than enough to view this film.

or watch the film on YouTube now.   2022
 
 
 
 

window with water in it


each day I look

same rocks, no, slightly changed
slightly less

here, taste

same fish down inside,
no, not even close

seaweed littered like a sailor
washed ashore, fingering

something round,
a circumference

in the sand, horizon’s well

no feet will say, where
they haven’t been

here, here I keep my
life, a tide between my toes

I am drawn and sketched

toward this home
 
 
look for me
 
 
 
 

words were poems first

what do you call a circular flourish in the air?     a bird

what do you call yellow and pink and blue?      dawn, maybe dusk

what do you call ten fingers like a cup?     finding your face

what do you call a combustable memory, then none?     a flame

what do you call a river between sky and land?     rain

what do you call the sky upside down?     a bowl

what do you call an idyll stroll from the west?     zephyr

what do you call a wrinkle in the sky?     summit

what do you call one eye open, one eye closed?     a question mark

what do you call a boy born from a peach?     Momotaro

what do you call room enough for one more?     bench

what do you call how earth sees your face?     bare feet

what do you call a mountain going home?     mud

what do you call hunger revealed?     spoon

what do you call the shadow on your face?     lips
 
 
 
 
Fair is fair.   The blog so christened, then shouldn’t it
contain a poem of its own kins sake name?

 
 
 

rocket at dusk

vision gets intimate with only a half-evenings blush.

standing on the porch looking south.   there.   you see?   half a block
over, what you could easy do in bare feet.   round past the white wood
trim shed in back, an open yard, no fence, just imaginary lines.
there.   the pocket market and gas.   Bill’s.

neon brights in the half-dusk-dark.   a yellow billboard with red ink
letters.   the door a shadow indent.   behind, silhouette trees make
the horizon seem high above the conjured water line.

there’s a rocket in my backyard sky.

tonight we’re going to the moon.   count my toes.   leap that far.

tonight we’ve a thin white feather and red tail shaped like wind.

we are leaning into sky.

moon & me will be in the same sentence soon.

breathless life.   was it the same before?

moving.   moving fast.   here we go.

hold my hand.
 
 
 
 

 
one from a gathering of personal snapshots, taken by residents, of shuttle-craft launches. I am immersed within by their ordinary intimacy of a shared exceptional experience.

counting, ones

do you hear? one wall plus more than three and a roof within.
that’s how it arrives. inside first.

rain, rain.

many voices offer names. none are taken home. instead,
willow cloud petal thirst. bright and bright.

meaning less. more free.

these received are your face in all the shades of light and sleep.
oh stillness beside. here, these hands.

drink, drink.

two palms will rend the drought. and you, you within.