Monday, April 1, 2019

March poems

Light pouring through the window
into the living room,

passing through comment free, 
touching everything.

Moon’s search-party, 
still here.


I hitchhiked once, when young, 
from the west-reaching arm of Florida,  
to a small beach town 
on the continent’s western edge, 
just beneath Los Angeles.

Most of the details of that stretch of road-
life have long-since slipped into space 
far more grand than the Pacific, 
every last one still vital,

critical components of tidal influence, 
of life enabled 

to feel and to further 
this yet gentle wavelet, 
its own flavor deeper west. 



shelter from the rain
on a vine-tangled branch
of the pine—true to time, true
to place, we, doves and me.


Just when I think I’m lost, breath 
reminds me it’s holding my place.


for Hayden Carruth

“Poet” is a “way of being…” 

Pen speaks love of world
to the page. 

Voice is kissed resistance 
for those who would cover 
it over.


Occasions of contact 
can be arranged, created, 
purchased even. 
Understanding and love 
are different.


Bright sky light blue,
scats of cloud-brush

and beneath rooted feet, 
scattered shadows.

Trees and grasses hold,
while sun climbs.


Rains leave for longer now, warm-breathed light 
between hints of final growls—long mornings waiting 
for clearing skies, satisfied, we pull weeds 
to show spring we’re ready. 


Off to the side, my shadow races,
winner determined by the direction
of the light.


the heart bent 
to quiet-smile release,



makes eye contact.

Palms together chest high, 
elbows either side 
wheelchair arms,
she smiles.

At me, or Buddha,
she doesn’t say.



The true poem 
isn’t about the moment,
it is the moment,
in breath, and out,
in and out.



Morning, watching hills appear
in final trails of night’s rains, mists low 
and thinning, shadows grey under the pen, 
lines and words, haloed peripheries,
lifting black.

To attempt other awarenesses
than those certain happening here,
seems almost ludicrous.

To think to study the self
is to attend to other than this
is to think self away. 

Open attending is foundation—wonder, 
praise, reflection.

Pen scratches silence. Words give
of themselves the silence
that welcomes 
them back.


From out of the house sounds,
my name on her voice
stops my heart.


Everything whispered this morning,
splaying fingers in front of my eyes
that look just like mine.


Salmon-pink’s steady glow in the east
prompts promises of gladness
from the last of winter’s showers.


An open-winged crow
swoops low, lifts, a’lights
a’top the pole, to state its name
to drizzling rains.

Eyes washed clean of sleep, 
I raise my feet above the street
to state my name too.


“A poem is not an expression, nor is it an object. Yet it
somewhat partakes of both. What a poem is

Is never to be known, for which I have learned to be
grateful. But the aspect in which I see my own

Is as the act of love…”

        —Hayden Carruth, from “The Impossible

                        Indispensability of the Art Poetica”

Friday, March 8, 2019

The sound of our poems

“No ‘path.’ Let us follow the sound
                                    of our poems.”

                             —Vincent Tripi—

Sun meets clouds, 
gold-flamed windows
the other side the valley
dull to silvered grey.


Winter’s garden: 

last season’s root bits
overflowing the potato box.


Lifted, the pen returns to the page to scratch 
the padded past. Fingers pull forward  

the unknown new, trusting that sound
always marks now.


Rain drops 

on the hood
of the poncho,

soaks jeans
low on the leg,

rolls off boots
into street-running streams,

here at sea-level—in the Sierra,


Mary Oliver says, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

I say, attention is devotion.


Always, the pause between is always
there, always carries whatever
to whatever’s next.


Slowing down enough to consider deeply,
most of my life I seem to have missed.

So glad to have caught up today,
before too late.


Just now remember hearing
of Mary Oliver’s death, I take her volumes 
off the shelf to bid farewell in that open warmth 
of her poems of perennial hello—look, listen, 
she said, over and again, and did over and again, 
to show us well, how that might be done.


Clear intent is not a goal.


The gift of language is
how the world tells us our place 
among the other things
belonging here.


Bare bones…

Breath delivers:
fingers touch, eyes
and ears feel, 
heart takes note,
tongue tastes,
mind minds

and intellect 


Beginning to think absence
had become too obviously
conspicuous, then realizing
no one noticing anymore.


Were you there, wherever you were 
this morning when the sun burst gold 
across the horizon into your eyes 
closing tight—were woodpeckers there 
behind to signal the wild blue above
to open its eyes for you to see…

you were there, too, weren’t you…


a poem by Robert Lax: