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Archive for June, 2016

Sou’westers

Here on the mountain
sou’westers
roll in
like thunderous
waves,
steady
loud
through
the gap
of our door
thumping
the siding
sheering
tops of pines
keeping squirrels
tight in their deep burrows,
bluebirds clinging
to the deck
their tail feathers
splitting
teeter tottering
to the endless
whine.

The dog
has retreated
to his least favorite
spot
the sunless back deck,
but protected there
he can scent
the cool air
for moving
deer
or antelope.
The hair
on his back
stands
erect
like
the daring
squirrel
who
must
have been
forced out
from
the warm
earth
to check
and report.
The dog sees him,
on its
mound
and
moves not,
saving his
effort
for something
more worthy
of chase,
puts his head down
and waits.

I’ve grown used
to the afternoon
winds –
sometimes more
tedious
than others,
but today
the shrill
whine
has unnerved me.
It brings me visions
of homesteaders
rugged
and determined
dragging
small children
wrapped
in furs
and leathers
in snow
drifts 10 feet high
fighting
to gain ground
their noses
peeking
neath layers,
their little hands
brittle
red
brave little soldiers
side by side
with straggly
cow dogs
walking
into the wind
to the little
wooden church
by the river,
to sing
hymns
of gratitude
They sing
of love
harmony
and joy:
thankful for another day,

Suddenly the dog
barks
growls
and braves
the wind –
he rushes
through the sage,
his ears
flopping
less than gracious,
but I see nothing.

He is determined
loudly
defending
his homestead
from invading
marauding
invisible
foes.IMG_4705

Perhaps
he hears
the cries of mothers
disillusioned
and alone
fighting
the winter winds
while men
hunt.
Mothers tending
fires,
cooking
babes in arms
singing psalms
to mask
the ceaseless
winter wind.
Or perhaps
it’s the drawn
out calls
of men he hears:
anxious
to be home,
fighting the onslaught
of winter snow
lips parted
brittle
chanting
tedious melodies
lest they fail
and leave
their loved ones
to the mercy
of hungry wolves.

The barking stops
I hear him
at the door:20160616_101458
he looks
forlorn.
He rushes past
the opened door
and soon sleeps
soundly
curled
tightly
by my side
like
the little ones
who surely he
can hear laugh
as spring
clears the snow
softening the land,
and their lives.
Now they march
hand in hand
to the river
to see the swift
waters
snow fed
and lush
cascading
down their favorite
boulder
into a deep pool
which holds
their favorite trout:
the old
giant rainbow
they call Gus.
They sit in the
still cold
and wet bank
and watch
osprey hunt
their tails
dipping
lightly
over frigid water,
they hear
geese overhead.
Sometimes
on the best of days
otter
slide close to the bank
snorting
barking
playing
reminding
them
to laugh

and celebrate
that once again
winter has come and gone.

I hear the dog sigh.

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Some days time seems
to stand
stubbornly still:
and thoughts
keep drumming
through my head
like patterns
on the wall,
a flash
then another
of events
pieces
here
and
there
scattered
tumbling down
my memory
your voice
anchored
to the past
calling me
sweetly
in a song
we danced to
in the dark
naked
in the heart
of a city that never quiets,
“and so it was …
turned a whiter shade of pale..”

I only catch
a word here and there,
but your scent
sweet
from whiskey
and tobacco
fills my nostrils
makes me dizzy
“ and the room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away..”
your hands
delicate
strangely delicate
firm
round my waist
a vine
timeless
never to wither,
“i was feeling kind of seasick”
I look up
all these years later
astounded
my face
“just ghostly
turned a whiter shade of pale.”

There are no coincidences
only the illusion of coincidence:
25 years to the day we met
I sit in a cafe
far from anywhere
alone
and I hear the same song
playing somewhere
in the back
where a tired
haggard
short order cook
slings morning eggs.
“And we called out
for another drink
and the waiter
brought a tray..”
It’s a drink
I want now
not coffee
not this day
not this year
but a cigarette
and you
pulling my hair
far from my face
with that
same killer grip:
raging with desire
“turned cartwheels cross the floor..”

The last time I saw you,
all color taken from you:
pale
crimson blood
dry in your veins
I touched my heart
one hand,
and reached
for your lips
the other –
C Major
suspended
in time…..

“There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see….”
fragments
scents
sounds
dreams
visions
nothing
erases
these,
even
in the most confused
morning
somewhere
alone
in the middle of nowhere.

quotes are from Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum ( 1967)

 

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It’s four or close to it,
the southerlies have begun:
down the slope
waves of early
spring grasses
keep our prairie schooner
afloat,
her cedar siding
whistling in tune
with
ground squirrels
whose alarm
sounds
every time
the dog raises his head
in the direction
of their mound:
one stands
sentinel
at all times
unfazed
by the wind.

I set the kettle
in my ritual
of mountain
tea time:
the nutty aroma
of brown rice tea,
turns this sea of grass
to wet
fields of rice
and the wind
becomes
pure
deep
tones
of sacred Himalayan bells.

Green is the color
of the heart:
it sanctifies
and clears
the dark,
pulls
illusions
from my eyes,
to find
my true self,
at peace
alone
riding the waves
of these many years,
rid of so many ghosts
listening not
for dirges
but
for laughter:
in the meadowlark’s
morning call,
but always
always
in the coyotes’
concerto,
at dawn
the chorus:
amorous
yipping
snarling
barking
snapping
yelping
that sets
the dog on fire
responding
in kind
running
just
to the edge
of the sage
standing
guard
like the little sentinel
who watched him
earlier in the day:
but he
alas
unlike the proud
ground squirrel
can only stand
on four feet,
his tail thrust
high
in an adamant
gesture
of dare to go further.

There is joy
and laughter
in this,
and I am glad
to be here
to tell of it.
I am reminded
of what I told
you
once so long ago –
verde que te quiero verde.
They weren’t my words
and we both knew it,
you kissed my eyelids
and whispered
“Garcia Lorca.”

Tonight
under this endless
Montana sky
I’ll look up
and see a faint
glimmer of green
in the veil of stars
and laugh
for both of us.

 

“verde que te quiero verde” is from a poem by Garcia Lorca – it translates as “green that I love you green”

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Free

The afternoon wind
has eased us
from swarming mosquitoes,
desperate females
lapping our blood
to guarantee lineage,
I can breath,
and the dog
now wants
out
letting
warm winds
heal his tender
paw.

I stand on the porch
staring at the mountains,
feeling
mountain sun
burn into
soft
white
city flesh:
shirt off
I dare the dark
devils                                                                                                                                                                                   touch me…..

I can smell
the cedar siding
as the sun
sears my skin,
very near,
I hear
the silly trill
of ground squirrels,
their yellow splashed
heads
bobbing up
from fresh mounds.
Above me
swifts
twist
in unison
in the light drifts
drinking in
flying ants
and un- noticed
by the dog
an antelope
grazes close to the road,
his flat tail
reaching toward
the summer sky
nose deep
in the early summer
sweet
grass.

After a dark winter,
my falcon heart
is finally home…..

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