Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Through a Photo of Fog

It took a while
But eventually I got it.
The walk through the orchard
At first was a walk through a photo of fog,
My eyes would stumble from stem to leaf and
When I finally did see the fruit I hardly recognized
Ripe from raw,
Good from bad.
Hunger driven
I only plucked from those
That hung within easy grasp.

It took some time,
(And that clock still runs)
To connect tongue to eye to hand to heart,
So that impetuous desire may yet yield
To more deliberate ways.
The shape of good,
It's form and figure
Can make a fool,
And morph uncertainty within
The sheer short moments found
Between the choices of a novice
And the commitment to the basket.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Taking Poison at the Back of the Bus

The older boys held court
At the back of the bus.
Bumping its way home
They were released from the constraints of school
Now sequestered in rows of seats with steamed up windows
They were free to explore adolescence, 
Testifying to fantasies and fallacies
Free to laugh and spew
They joked and bullied
They tried out words that they may have heard
In locker rooms,
Basements and
Back yards.
Spurred on by laughter and not under oath
They crossed lines that they did not clearly see.
They talked of cars and cigarettes and sex,
And there was much talk of women and girls.
Desperate and driven,
Pinups were unfolded,
Marilyn Monroe was objectified,
There were how tos and why nots,
Misogamy was molded
At the beginnings of compass-less voyages…
Filled with flawed foundations
and lurid impressions
That might span well into the future.

The girls mostly sat in the middle seats
Sisters, shoulder to shoulder
They took on taunts and teases
Whispering both nervous giggles and guttural groans
Arms tightly folded across their breasts
Mostly in fearful silence,
Seldom having been empowered
To challenge or chastise.
They may have been curious too,
We all were,
Of boys and men,
Girls and women,
And of love;
Of the dance that gave us music
With such a driving beat
But with no sure steps.

We learned from uncertain sources
As we took our daily dose
Of poison
From the back of the bus.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Lake Sounds

I live on a lake shore.
The cottage I rent is perched, hanging
Clifted over the edge
Of the water
Which is in its winter state;
Vast sheets and stratifications of ice
Ever changing,
Stretching and moving,
Responding to the wandering winds
The constant cold
And the rare faint warmth of the sun.
I hear its voice.
And on this winter day
As I seek solace,
Burrowed and buried deep in my covers,
I am on the living end of its sounds,
A stem of a living tuning fork
Seated in the orchestra, hearing all;
Its groaning voice calls
As it rumbles basso like elephants talking,
As it keens and screeches like a ghost drowned,
As it peens on this frozen anvil,
A mournful moan like tympani being tuned.
There are clatters and clicks like some phantom dolphin
Swimming amidst roars and whispers and wails.
It speaks a language
From some ever-ancient time,
Messages and signals sent
That I might someday fathom.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A feather tumbled from the Christmas tree
And then a moth loosed up and flew out free
They came and spoke, as if they could,
Grow voice to speak from balsam wood:
There are stories here of days and times
That you might know from verse and rhymes,
Of quiet rain and searing sun
Of long nights passed and days begun
Of vigils held and moments mourned
Ovations received with outright scorn
Of births and deaths to celebrate
Not marked by stone to dedicate
The lives and times of pure plain stock
From wind and snow and earthly rock
The same old story daily told
The same great novel never sold.
And so they stopped and talked to me
This evening from the Christmas tree.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November Butterflies

What do butterflies know?
Of November days that seems of spring
Warm slanting sun
And blooming dandelions blossoms,
Open late for
One last dance,
Egg yoke yellow
With toothy florets,
Offering a free final meal of nectar
Before the butterflies, white and yellow,
Choose a loose bit of bark
Or a rolled leaf
Or a silken sleeping bag
To slumber the winter away.

Safe in their dreams
They are thankful I suppose,
And I am not surprised
By this mutualism:
Kindness begetting kindness
People might learn to call it.
Empathy at an evolutionary level,
It works both ways
Such prosperity,
A win-win
In these late warm days
Before the struggles
Of the dark cold coming winter.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Cup of Tea

Could you bring me a cup of tea?
And sit with me for a few short moments?
The view through the window reveals
The dulcet pasture
Now vacated by the cattle
Now the domain of squirrels
Secreting hickory nuts.
They are manic!
Or perhaps just being squirrels
Flush with the wealth of the mast?

I will place my hand,
Warm from the cup,
On the soft skin on the back of yours,
Knuckles and sinews
Stories of your days
Some of which I know
As I was there with you.

An empty cup
Signals the end of this moment,
Something will call you off:
 to tend to a chore,
 to empty your mind
 or to refill it.

The pasture will call me back,
there's a bird at the feeder...
As a gust of wind
Rattles the window panes.