The day so far: still searching for that epic.
Seafaring? Great mystery of the shadowy deep?
Cataclysm? The earth opening beneath my feet?
No, just the measured stillness that slides
out of my pencil one word at a time.
The vision of my old friend, fresh from cataract surgery,
saying he can once again enjoy looking
at the stars, “connecting the dots.”
A modest return to wonder, the windows washed,
the old universe swimming into view,
Read more "It Never Ends"
a moment of darkness and silence and the awe
of retracing an old riddle, finding north,
In a room
with no books,
on the walls,
with a click
you can look
over the shoulder
of Marc Chagall.
With his brush,
you can glide,
fly a blue horse
through a mackerel sky,
dance over the yard
Read more "Things You Can Do"
in the garb of a bride,
or carry her
supine over Paris.
I watch the full moon struggle up the redwood
branch by branch and sympathize. So changeable,
tonight a little mirror on the dark, next week
a sliver of lozenge disappearing in the stars.
A wounded being, not a self-starter,
Read more "February Full Moon"
as the astrophysicists might put it,
just a cold misshapen rock made alluring
by a dose of sunlight and the silent longing
of millions across history, wanting to be—
even three days a month––illumined,
silvering the silent forests, meditating
on the darkened lakes of the Italian Alps,
caressing the high slopes of the Rockies
That spring, I was ready to drop piano lessons. I wanted free school day afternoons. I wanted to be driven far out of town in beat-up jalopies at high speeds. Put on greasy lipstick dark as bitter chocolate so that some boy would think I was at least fifteen. I wanted to dangle a lit cigarette and drink gin and gingers in roadside dives, like in the movies. I wanted the boy behind the wheel to say, “Hey, you’re cool and sassy for a girl.”
My mother didn’t fancy my growing up so fast. She said, “Give it one more summer, honey.” Meaning the piano.
I crumbled. “Okay, but that’s it.”
Read more "Piano Lessons"
you will pay for your coffee
Read more "Thirty Things a Poet Should Know "
no hat is right for every occasion
when you hear a bird call, give it a name
cows kills more people each year than sharks do
few can name the sixty-some English names for pink
death does not rhyme with health, but wealth rhymes with stealth
many writers composed their best work during pandemics
when your read a poem, your audience may think bear foot when you say barefoot
one of the greatest poets wrote an ode to salt
the world’s largest salt mine is 1,800 feet under Lake Huron
tears evaporate unless you catch them
when praise is needed, do not hesitate
embrace yourself as both title and footnote
learn from the wind’s scansion of a noble fir in a squall
Paintings with pale sky, wind-buffeted pines and loaded pack horses with wide rumps and blonde manes – ones just like these decorate ten thousand tavern walls. Or curl as calendars in filling stations in blow-away towns. Men in chaps slump over dollar-size belt buckles; their hats fold into conventions of cowboy. This artist painted a Navajo-red thunderbolt on one saddle blanket, an accent to trail-dust hues of boredom. What the armed horseback renegades who occupied the Malheur Refuge had in mind when riding out with an American flag for TV cameras.
Read more "Cowboy Art in the University Library"
I live in the lavender gut of a horse, a beating heart just beyond the wall. And beyond that two old ladies sip tea on a white porch in the crabapple South, hoping for something that might squirrel up out of the ground, the age-old ground, the Southern ground, the ground at the top of a hill: a thin line of angels listening all boneless and hospitable from above, managing nothing with their tiny, modest, angel hands, hands that might just as well be days of the week. The long-gone Civil War is wearing a small red-and-gold cap once worn by an organ grinder’s monkey.
Read more "A Clandesence of Angels"
soon after we parted
but then against the General’s command
we drove the boy out beyond the salt flats
to the northern edge of the mountains
where he said for a thousand years
no one would wake him
you spoke you remembered
Read more "Your Words Still in This Place"
how he could not grow a mustache
not like the revolutionaries and caudillos
he could not clear his lungs
in the desert air
we stoned him for taunting the Chihuahua
stolen from Arango himself
but he loved his family name and honor
more than all men
Babies, ice cream cones, umbrellas, cell phones, walking sticks,
Read more "Open Carry"
Groceries, the newspaper, a fresh pizza, flowers for the one you love,
Car keys, a purse, pen and paper, a snack, reading glasses,
A book, two books, a Bible, a pair of gloves, lip balm, a lipstick,
Bicycle helmet, a hairbrush, gum and breath mints, a hand mirror,
Earbuds and a pocket watch, a penknife, nail clippers,
Camera, screwdriver, hammer and pliers, a wrench,
Flip-flops and a towel, a folding chair, a handkerchief,
Which is a very strange word when you look at it,
A Leatherman, another strange word, but we got used to it
The cowboy entered on a gray horse. Wearing a white Stetson,
Read more "Confluence"
with tan hands, and tight jeans. He rode up to a Walmart
in Eagle Point, Oregon to buy dog food. He heard
a woman scream, pointing to a young man riding off
on her bike. The cowboy cantered after the bike thief,
threw his lasso, brought the kid down, tied him
to a tree and called a policeman who thought
the capture was totally slick.