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Gray skies
flowering trees
watery days
oleander blooming
lilies opening
ravens chasing
a sullen red tail
dipping
swooping
dog sleeping
like winter
never left…..
Stove glowing
squirrel staring
tail balanced
hands to heart
a nibble
a walnut
you gift
on the fence
a lost ray of sun
glazes it
shimmering feast.
Geese honking
river rising
clouds shifting
day ending
night beginning
years passing
dreaming
or
remembering
your sweet
savory
scent
when you pressed me close:
mother’s milk.
Waiting
hoping
praying
for the new girl child
you’ll not see
but only feel
from the shadows.
Bless her
with
garlands of eucalyptus
from the Andes
may she sing
in sweet tones
of her ancestral tongue.

In your name,
I’ll touch silver
and champagne
to her lips,
but not before
honoring
Pacha Mama
a cold drop
touching
the earth.

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Under the full moon
I stand
gatheringDSC00426
dreams
woven
long ago
into my spine,
stars
frame the lake
radiant halo
of tears
dogs
howl
stories
of broken
promises
land
broken
by the sword
and golden
cross.

Oh warriors
children
of the maize
gods
born
as sun
and
moon:
where
have
your songs gone?

The owl
screeches
from top
the cave
winging
lightly
over
sleeping
souls:
their dusty
shoesDSC00491
by the door.

Once these
diminutive
gentle
folk
worked
night
to day
and back
ran
rocky
hills
grew corn
laughed
happy
for the sun
the wind
stars
but most
of all
the sacred lake.

A boy was a man
when he could
cross
alone
in his canoe
the widest
length
of the lake:
loincloth
adorned in parrot feathers
bringing gifts
of sweet fruit
and precious shells
to his
one and only gifted
child wife
waiting
dressed
in fine
embroidered
skirts
the color
of violet sunsets
and tangerine sunrises.

Once they played
pok a tok
sang
from the heart
swam
at duskDSC00517
and slept
under these same stars.

You,
sons and daughters
created
from the lake
not of mud
or wood
but molded
from sweet corn.
I see you still
in San Marcos
carrying bundles
to market
on your
brightly adorned
braided heads,
or herding
goats
on the hillsideDSC00479
smiling
waving
gold teeth
catching the light.
I hear you
whispering
in Mam
Sunday morning
rushing
across the plaza,
the guttural sounds
echoing
on the cobblestones.

Two little girls
laugh
and saunter
side by side
toward the lake
three dogs
thin
and mangy
follow
tails low:
warm wind
blowing
morning mist
away
so they can
laugh
and build
castles in the mud,
adorned with stones
while the dogs
stand
guard.

Tonight
the lake
quivers
with stories
so many
and I hear…..

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Margarita(for all my Portland peeps)
I’m done with the long
dark days
wet boughs
weighed down
daffodils
bowing
heads tipped
to the mud.
Green
crawling
tenuous
on the hills
smothered
by rain clouds:
somewhere
a flicker
screeches
loudly
voicing
what is in my heart:
done
so done……

Plodding the same
morning route
past rivulets
draining
into lush
rain gardens
and flowering
daisies.
It’s the rain
that brings
colorful
days
I tell myself:
be a glass
half full
kind of gal
I remind myself –
lift that head
toward the sky
and drink in
this wetness:
remember
that day
long ago
when you
ran
naked
free
wild
burning
desert
child
drinking
drops
sacred
lapping
tasting
clear
blessed
monsoon
rain.

Remember
be kind
be free
be wild
the heavens know best:
keep on keeping on……
sun is sure to come.

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(for you dad, because you loved ravens!)
Ravens rule my hood:
Perched on the oak tree
whose branches
skirt the bedroom window
they bob from low
to high
their pitch
changing
as fast as this
early spring sun:
high
low
high
barely a whisper
hoarse
dense
light
here now
gone in a flash.

In early morn
they cackle
rattle
shriek
trying
to shake
a solid beam
of warmth
down to their
purple black
cowls:
ruffled
from the night air.

Its the break
of dawn:
humans lay wrapped
in the night warmth
of the hearth,
squirrels curled
nose to tail
in nests
deep in hollows,
a dog beside
his human
stretched
in dream bliss:
all one long sigh
of dark silence-
till the dreaded ravens’ call –
all at once,
stirring traffic
summoning loud
garbage trucks
speeding cars
breaks screeching
children rushing
and the indeterminate clanging
of a million
city sounds.

They rule the roost,
ring the bell
run the show
wear the pants
and they know it.

The dog rushes out
his nose
reading
sordid
night tales,
snout high
sorting out
the details,
tail swaying
in the morning mist,
they swoop
down
landing
close
but not too close
suddenly silent
marching
side to side
in that menacing swagger
their beaks
black
and hard
as African ebony,
jabbing at the wet
muddy earth,
parading
always
one step ahead
curious
playful
scornful
of the sad
domesticated
creature.
They let the dog
have his silly
moment of glory
let him think
he’s chased them off –
and sit on the fence
watching
him lift his leg
under their roosting tree,
marking
what they know
all too well
is their territory:
later in the afternoon sun,
they’ll laugh
in scorn
loud and free
from the highest
branch
and close their
beady eyes
to the world below
confident
spring is sure to come…..

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IMG_2724It’s been three years since my father died – and 7 years since we started this blog together.  His birthday is March 15th and I would like to celebrate it – even if he is not on this earth anymore.  He is still with me – more so each passing day.  I promised him I would keep writing – many times during his life and now I am trying to keep the promise.  I admit it has not been easy – without his mentoring and love, I have lost my words for months at a time…..I wonder why we poets even keep writing – no one reads poets, but poets – I think we all know that, but I remember my father’s words – “it’s the process, the doing that matters.  I write because I can’t live without it.”  Well, sometimes I feel as though I write because I can’t live without you, father – I write to keep our dialogue going.  I write to honor you, and despite the absurdity of it –  know you are a witness – if ever silent.  But not so, as I hear you on my long walks in nature.

This winter has been long and hard for all of us – I don’t know a soul who hasn’t felt the darkness of our times.  But as you once told me, father – “poetry saved your soul.”  I feel that all the more these days.  I lift my voice looking for the “light” and in your honor.  Know that you are cherished always.

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The city is eerily
quiet –
snow
covers the streets,
ice the roads:img_9963
12 inches in one night:
Portland bows
to the rush
of white –
in it’s usual laissez faire
attitude: let the snow
stand where it may,
we’ll plod our way
about
ski
skate
or just plain slide about.
No one takes things
too seriously,
it’s all “cool”
way too cool
for the squirrels
forging
nose first
in the drifts
piled highimg_9955
on their usual
highway of fences.
The juncos eye
the snow beneath
the suet feeder,
hoping for a morsel,
but the bushtits
are too efficient
in their dining.
Finally at sunset,
just before
the full
moon rises
and lights up
this sea of white,
a ruby crested
vireo
and his plain mate
appear,
their huge eyes
peering in the window
as if thanking
me
for their feast.

But by morning,img_9968
the word is out:
starlings
song sparrows
and even a flicker
feed in plain sight,
seed falling
where the juncos
happily
partake,
and in a corner
two
less loved
creatures
share the wealth –
their bald tails
gleaming
against the snow:
young and bold
hungry
to be out feeding
in daylight.
God’s creatures all.

Yesterday at dusk
walking the dogs
plodding
past mounds of snow,img_0005
a peregrine falcon
buzzed me:
the air
so bitter I heard
his wings
before I saw him.
Just as sudden
a murder
of crows
scolded him
from a top a walnut tree:
their calls so loud
the dogs
stopped cold
tails down.
I wanted to laugh
loud
so loud
the ice
would crack
the snow melt
the people run
everything
stop:
so loud
it would carry
to where you’ve gone
higher than the treetops
or the highestimg_0008
building
higher than
the damn full moon
foolest of all –
because
my heart
recognizes your hand
how it sends me
avian messengers
to let me know
you
are still deep in my heart
like the thinnest
sliver of winter ice –
I wanted to sing
and call your name
but the sound
got stuck in my throat
like in dreams
when
we contort our faces
in horror
and open
our mouths
wide
but utter nothing –
gasping
wordless
soundless…..

Instead
I shed a frozen tear,
from the joy
and
clarity of your message.
It’s the same
light
I see in my grandson’s
eyes,
when he looks
wide eyed
enchanted by all
so new
so pure:
it’s this gleam
covering the city,
and golden
around
tonight’s full moon.
And they say
Friday the 13th
is bad luck –
they know nothing.
Bring me a ladder
and let me walk under it,
for there I’ll find you
having the last laugh.

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Cloudsimg_9210
engulf
the Madison range,
its
huge
mass
solid
swallowed
fitfully
in early dawn
jagged
crags
struggle
for breath.

Hoar frost
coats
brittle
sage,
dry grasses
stiffen
sharp
blades
of pain,
witnesses
to the birthing
of a winter day
all too soon
deer
lift
heavy heads
knowing
sounds
of death,
tails
pointing
toward
safety
in the hills
counting
heartbeats
between
rifle shots.

Empty
valleys
not an antelope
elk
jackrabbit,
or sage hen –
only the wary raven,
and loud magpie remain.

Walks are dull
all too calm:
dogs beating
the sage,
rounding pine
and naked aspen
tails high
in pathetic
expectation
and constant desire.

This is the quiet time,
the shift between
light
and dark.
Soon the valley
will shudder
under mounds
of snow
blinding
bright
light
for miles
of white,
creatures
burrowed deep
others
herded in the lowlands,
nose to tail
for warmth.

When the leaves
have all fallen
and the river
slows it mighty flow,
men know:
now is the time
to gather wood,
clean the chimney
and stock the whiskey.
They know,
the long nights
will come
as sure
as the moon
rises
over the ridge
full
of promise
and desire
for the open road ,
mad with
the drone of
the long winter silence.

In the distance stands
what’s left
of a homestead                                   img_9170

broken roof
its walls
sunken
into remnants
of rotting wood
dirt floor
covered with owl pellets
but the doorway
still announces
shelter.

I walk the 2 miles
distance every year
dogs in tow,
to bear witness
hearing
voices
in the summer wind
of those
who lost
their souls
and beat
their fists
against the odds:
this is a harsh land,
demanding
mistress:
she ravages
all but the wildest
most stubborn fools.

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