Also, The Sun

The sun does not rise.

We chase
we spin
again and again bright dark bright
dark.  With birds above us

surrounded by grasses or hills,
washed by rain or pond or river
we chase into the sun's face
and call it rise
we spin into this day, then night
calling it set

riding our circle of what into when



First Frog

All first frog song here.
No news-reading amphibian
blocking the barked croak.

Year after year the same sorrows,
our confusions stay intact
revolving around the hard weight

of the all too familiar.  I think
I'll go kiss a frog.  An ancient
promise filled with high hope

older than all the guns in the world.



I staggered around inside myself
bumping into wall after beating wall
stumbling through winter dried

to husk.  Too old to start again
I start again.  Life, it would seem,
wants life.  Furious or bored by turn

the turn is the thing.  One movement
then another.  Another.  A staged
event says I.  Not at all, says body.

We are a kicked hive.



Small explosions green
the hillside.  Daffodil.

we come, straight up
fearless in our greenery
bold our sharp blade

cut through cold ground
to bring a flute of sun
we are here, there

everywhere, suddenly
and surely YELLOW.


Second Month

One red-budded tree, then hundreds
of red-breasted robins in and out
of winter bleached grasses
laid over the high meadow,

a stubble
close up, scandinavian in distance,
a feast of tiny seed, ancient beetles

That was yesterday.  Today, sky's
eastern portion of blue is chased
by snow clouds rushing from the
west peak of Stone Mountain

ready to rumble, ready to have
more of February and less of robins
and their false promise of early green

in these second month quarrels between
what was yesterday and what is today.


Red Wrapped

A red wrapped tree
misted into the hillside
today talking about
spring.  Talking about
the tight bud barely
there but here, here

all red singing spring.



We made candles.
We made sandals,
silver rings and
beaded necklaces.
We made skirts from jeans
and puffy sleeved shirts.
We loomed, we dyed.
We preferred the crazy
quilt and unglazed pottery.
We picked fruit we canned
and sheared the sheep.
We made tin-can music
danced in mad hats
lived in a tent
at least one summer
in the mountains
or by the sea.
We baked bread.
We wove flowers.
We liked velvet and
sparkly things.
Denim was our
truest document.

We made love.  Not war.



On this quiet day in January
the crows have news
of things forming underground
in a first lazy shift of matter

a murmuring here, a bit of hum
over there.  Small beyond measure
the press of skin moving upward,
a skien of fur or a small piece

of something hungry for the sun
of something that wants to be green.



wild turkeys
walk the frozen pond
on this side of sanity
on this side of beauty.

For a handful of seed
they restore my soul.

With a low murmuring
I receive a benediction
filled with promise
of peace and goodwill.

I have not heard from
God in many years
but the turkeys come



Causally Ours

Two variables get together and become a relationship.
Land turns into a ship docking in future time....
                                               ....we call it a New Year.

a small wren wraps her twiggy feet
around the smaller branches of maple
crunching and chittering her way 
through seed of last summer's sunflower

Our approach creates a fulsome mapping of sorrows,
or a regret that becomes resolution for this a new year.
Champagne glasses fill our joy, mark our happinesses
and we kiss the clock in a countdown of spinning ball.

an underdown of insulation blows her feathers
high upon her back crossing her wings just so
as her brightened eye surveys near possibilities
for map-less, clock-less black oiled sunflower seed

What relationship with this new year, with this clock,
with this creased map soiled by self-resolve, soiled
by the dancing shoe also.  What marks we make

her's all tiny hieroglpyh melted as quickly
as they are laid down, as they are born
and born and born again and again

what marks we leave behind.  Happy New Year.


I ate a grapefruit this morning
and thought of Wayne. It
was red, messy and delicious.

Someone sent him a box,
a beautiful box, of fruit
every month.

Peaches, apples, papayas,
melons, oranges, lemons
and limes, each had their
special month, like books.

When grapefruit month
came around I would 
get the call  'Zoey, do you 
like grapefruit?'  Every year.

I know he remembered,
that's why he called, but
ritual was all to Wayne.

'Yes, I love grapefruit'.
Every year, same answer.

'Well I have a nice box
for you. Come by, have a
cup of coffee.  I'll show you
some paintings.'

'OK. I'll see you, maybe
tomorrow, if not, the next.'

No grapefruit this year.
He's gone.  I miss him
but still I remember and
smile.  'Zoey, do you like
grapefruit?"  Every year.

Red, messy.  Delicious.



I will trade you five bright
no clouds, no wind: sun-filled

for two full days of rain, wet
and grey, backdropped  in mist.
The ground soft, leaves heavy.
Mud.  Glistening branches

shimmering in the briefest lull
then downpoured into rivulets.
No breaks in a sky

dense with the promise
of wet day into wet night.

Five?  Let's make it ten
if you throw in a wind

loud, and sharp enough to sting.


Political Thoughts 2

Knowing nothing about nothing
and everything about everything

the present seems tense
the past irreconcilable
the future someone else's

dream.  Revolution seems
impossible in these conditions

and I wish I were a deer.



Stone Mountain caught
the prettiest little cloud today

and pulled it down
into the ridgeline treetops
for a very long embrace.

The cloud temple danced
back into the right-before-sunset
blue sky, stayed for a moment
maybe two

then dropped back
into Stone's highest valley
and has settled in for the night.

Lovers.  Everywhere.



A sudden civility of white
standing in black water
near a muck of low marsh

then a brief tangle into air.
A great white heron has
given me what I need:
a smaller portion
of myself and a larger
one of her.  One moment

but enough.


By the Sea

On the white sand, by the sea
I laid down a beating heart

where salted water spreads

near the feathered and finned
in a great push and pull of tide.

One wave, then another
one beat, then another

until I no longer knew where
I ended and the sea began.

I laid down a beating heart.


Sufi Brother

A last leaf twirled a slow descent
down onto the rooted earth, home.

A whirling turn into one thing
from another.  Belief moves closer
as the Sinai dervish whirls, whirls

whirls for his god, for union.

He will not
dance again

but I will.  In the last leaves,
in the promise,  in the open sky.


Archivist of Leaves

All airborne things were known to them:
the storms, wind.  Birds that flew in rain
and those that did not.  Largish creatures
that tore them into their mouths and ate.
And the smaller ones that climbed aboard
to nip and chew.  A few, crawlers mostly,
left eggs to be cared for and they did this-
some willing, some less so - like all mothers.

The dangling jewel called butterfly who
sheltered in the night was especially welcomed
and coveted as a sign of favor.  The bold lives
of those lived on the perimeter were admired,
certainly, and perhaps even envied by a few
but not so much as lives lived closest to the
thick branch.  To the beloved root.


Chamber Music

RED leaves listen to my beating  heart
a tremble and flutter for all things red.
Small songs barely heard, but played
throughout the four strange chambers.

For whom do I play, how would I know
the pleasure my own self might provide
tree, the stone or grasses of the meadow?
That I might be admired by shrubbery,

wet-growth lichen or thorny bramble?


Able in a Citron Wash of Rain

Crows call to prayer barking psalm

in praise of the citron wash of rain.
They call to the heartbreak of Cain,
a call for resurrection. Able. I will be.
We all will be Able.  Resurrected
by a crow's call in a late morning
made pale yellow.  My truths will
also be resurrected.  The one about
the laughter and dance of the meek
when they inherit the sweet earth,


We Sleep Here, Together

First, the rise into green

then Fall, the red leaves,
the yellow and the gold
over this ancient hillside.

We might be/have been
here for years, thousands
of years, billions of leaves

talking about how good
the ground, how fine
the air.  That bird then
this squirrel.  All of us
sleeping under the same
luminous October moon.


Water Worship

Great masses of water
fell through the sky
and became stream,
pond, became river
then sea catching to
keep in the current
maybe you or maybe
me.  Became puddle

through which a child
splashed, a sparrow
bathed and the blue
sky smiled.  Became

every living thing
by drop by flood
for which in equal
measure we pray
to come or to go.
To have enough
or to be enough.

To begin or end,
our ancient prayer.


First Chapter

There was no apple.
It is true that I knew the
woman.  I knew all the
women.  But there was
no apple.

And the man, the man
and I were friends.  We
talked in the evenings.
Everyone spoke the same
language then.  We had the
same words for everything
in the garden.  Bee and
flower.  Honey.  The tree.
Sky.  Clouds.  Cherries.
We all liked cherries.

Nothing had been forbidden.
We didn't know that word
until much later.  Too late,
it would seem.  But that's
hindsight, another word
we didn't know.  Then.

We didn't know about then.
How something could be
past.  Or could happen later.
It was all pretty much the
same day.  One might have
a bit of rain in it.  She liked
the rain especially and would
dance when it came.  She
was a beautiful dancer.
Sometimes she would even
pick me up and shake my
head and tail at the sky, at
the rain.  We had a good time.



Yesterday clouds
laughed and rolled
a golden ridgetop.
But not today.  Today
is a day of mourning.
The darkening sky
presses a hillside
suddenly somber.

The barnyard is filled
with despair.  The great
bull bellows and bellows
and bellows yet again.
The mothers demand
a return of their young.

Only the sky listens.



A great roll and tumble
of gold, green and red
has moved the hillside
with a wave and crash

that says nothing about
winter, nothing about
summer and leaves out
spring altogether.  This

is now.   This is first love.
This is last love.  This is.



A corner of the meadow fell
into yellow, red and gold,
spread itself on the ground
and began writing out novels,
a peace treaty and daily horoscopes.

All the novels were red, one line
repeating itself at the beginning
of each paragraph.  Something
about a night, stormy and dark.

The one peace treaty was
kaleidoscopic, forming into
and out of all the other texts.
I watched it for some time.

I could not quite make out my
horoscope but I read yours.  An 
auspicious alignment of the 
planets has made it possible 
to reconnect with someone from 
your past.  A  Venusian conjunction
with Mars promises a deeper 
understanding of what you may 
mean to one another.  Send a gift.


Yellow leaves chasing irridescent rain
in the slanted light of late afternoon

and two rainbows.  I thought I was on
a small country road.  I saw a rabbit.
Then I saw a deer.  There were birds.

And two rainbows.  There was no war.
There was a stream becoming a river
and a river becoming the sea.  A tree
held a family of squirrels.  A cloud
laughed its way through the blue sky.

Water wrote loveletters to the sun:
one about quick sparkling things,
one about the sweet softness of fish
and the ticklish flash of her tail,
a long one about Ripples, then another
about the one tree that turned red,
dropped her color into the stream and
sent the crayfish into ecstasy.



Red Tree

Crows are singing red tree,
red tree, in the key of black

one red tree in a sea of green
one red tree saying you to me,
you to me, come with me

lay down in the green field
on the green grass, you and me.

Corvis, she knows everything
about what's coming and what's
still here.  She knows the sweet
tenderness of last leafery caught
up in the rush of smallish yellow
and that one red tree.



The good sun laid an emerald
crown over the ridged meadow
of the eastern hillside, his
beloved of the morning hour.

He'll take another lover
at noon and yet another
in the low light of late day.

They will not wear emeralds.
They will wear diamonds mixed
with pearl and burmese rubies.
But not the emeralds.

Those he gives to the eastern hillside
as she sings a song of young, tender green
for her sun, pale gold and not yet hungry.


And so we go spinning into yellow
tossed here and there a daub of red
splatter.  But mostly green.  I would
be very pretty if I were green.

The mountain has rolled in green
all summer, wave after wave of
chartreuse, then celandon:  first pale
then dark.  I would be very pretty
if I were green, hatted by periwinkle
sky, shimmering teal for my boot.

I would be happy every day if only
I were green.  Content, and possibly
faithful, an earthling at last.


I'll miss your heat
and your long day
thick with scent.

I'll miss the deep
green rustle of wind
strong in the hillside.

I'll miss the ease
of the slowed motion
you insist on.

I'll miss the water
warmed to my foot
and the quick fish.

I'll miss the berry
the bird the flower
the grass the leaf.

Take this smile
to remember me.
I would kiss you

if I could, August.



Poet Stevie Smith didn't think much of the gamboge colored flowerings of late summer and early fall.  I thought she had golden rod in mind, not the robes of Cambodian forest monks, but a saffron robed Buddhist monk is where I ended up this morning chasing the word.
Down through the dictionary page I went, careening past gamboge, considering many possibilities of games and gaming until finally surrendering my papery search for an on-line dictionary.  I don't use paper dictionaries as much as I once did and I find I miss them.  I miss the chase.  I miss having a look at a neighboring word and the flights of fancy their incongruity often provokes.  Like finding Gandhi and gangbanger in a proximity a literal landscape would not allow.
I digress.  But then that is precisely what the printed page of a traditional lexicon might encourage in a less than disciplined mind such as mine.  Not that an on-line search is going to put me on the straight and narrow.  Right now, rather than considering the deep greens and yellows of late summer where I began, I have found myself thinking of people who have chosen to live lives committed to a deeply meditative experience rather than the hustle of a more commercial world.
I imagine glimpses of deep yellow moving through an occasionally clattering bamboo forest.  I imagine a nun sitting quietly under a canopy of small slender leaves.  I imagine a bamboo tube filled with the sticky resin of the gamboge tree that will become dye for her robe.  I imagine the cracking sound made when the bamboo is broken to release the hardened column of resin inside and the stained hands that will carry it to a waiting vat.
One word, isolated by defining considerations, has become hundreds, could become thousands, could become infinite moving across barriers of specific language.  Language is a restless thing, without interest in borders and mostly indifferent to grammatical rules of engagement.  I consider a word through its possible definition and a world opens to me.
Gamboge, found in a poem, is followed by this morning's musing half-way around the world.  Beautiful, too, the sound of its music.  I think of a cello calling the not-so-distant first winds of autumn and am returned to where I began:  the deep rust-twinged greens of late summer and the yellow flowerings that accompany them.  Gamboge.



A moon-painted sun came into afternoon,
became evening then afternoon again.

One illicit glimpse of newly-born-white fitted
out a crescent that if it were the moon would
be for wishing so I did.  Everything.  I wished

for everything.  


The meadow calls us home today:
grass-filled, bee-filled,  possibly cow-filled.
Swarmed with butterfly, called by crow
we go in with rabbit, vole, wild turkey,
groundhog and if good fortune comes
also a smallish red fox by the treed edge.
Overhead a hawk keens a high-pitch,
swallows chase and the goldfinch flash
a code that says sun sun sun and sun.

We have come home to see you circle
black.  We have come home to see you
return from a night's journey set middle
in the day.  We come home one by one

or two, maybe twenty, maybe hundreds
to your great creation:   the meadow.

We may chant, beat a drum or dance
for you today.  The spider will unweave
her webby house, dogs may howl, frogs
croak, roosters roost and for one moment

we will be silent, made reverent by awe,
that in itself also:       a miracle.

for Sharen and Tom


My Sister, She Married a Stone

My sister, she married a stone.
High on a hill overlooking the
soft blue French Riviera they sit.
She touches him, leaning in with
a chaste kiss.  She considers the
depth of him profound and thinks
one day to linger with him there,
quietly, and breathless at the last.

Me, I married the rain.  It comes
and goes - this gender then that.
Cloudbound for days, a tease,
then the deluge.  My neighbors
curse him then pray for his return,
measure him in inches and have
falsely married him to thunder,
who I am not, and the wind, who
I long to be, eager for perfect union.

My sister, she married a stone,
he in dark grey suited to business,
she with the flowers in her hair,
barefoot, content and secure.
Me, I married the rain in the rain
and I hope he comes tomorrow

as the rent is two months overdue.



Desire goes satisfied in this last dispensation
of summer: the apple falls warmed,  ready
for hand's lift to the red lip, the white tooth
 ... and all the rest.


A large rectangular wedge of green
has been set down on the big meadow
down by the bank of the Watauga River.

Its dry rustle mixes it up with crow talk.
Talk about corn, all silky tassel and
rows I want to run though every year

but never do.


Privilege of Green

Privilege of Green
watches the sleeper

opened briefly by a shuttering
of education and indifference
to all law, both Newtonian and
court-appointed.  Into this opening
Privilege brings flight, immortality,
visits with the dead, secret lovers
and an occasional chocolate cake.

Persephone returns Privilege
to the sleeper every spring
in a six-month deal struck
by her mother and the devil,
whose minions clamoring claims
the rest of the year are enforced
by gun, by government, by stock
market playlist, by hemline,
by calculator, by asphalt roads,
by beartrap, nuclear power
and the addition of artifical
flavors to anything edible.

But that is then and there
while here and now is all

when  Privilege of Green reigns.


Fifth Dispensation of Summer


picked in the afternoon
still warm from the sun
laid across pistachio




Haiku crows
praise the apple:

pale in the green, small enough
to carry away

ancient tree, an ancient race
murmuring in  the branches:
green then black, then green again.


Third Dispensation of Summer

And was it radiant?  Were you filled with wild joy?
Are you changed by having seen such a thing,
by having felt it on your skin, by having heard?

by, the sweet
by and by, and by

the taste on your lip, in your mouth filling
for a moment, just a moment really but that 
one moment shedding time like skin?                

First time, last time.  Anytime.  Summertime.


First Dispensation of Summer

Everything.  He said E is for Everything.
All this leafery with the wind blown in
silky but loud?                        
                                                Definitely that.

The bullfrog's twangy Chinese lovesong
for a lily-pad-kimono wearing geisha
on the other side of the world?
                                                Always included.

A small orange salamander living deep
in the woods without any kind of alphabet,
without numbers?                  
                                                 Couldn't do without her.

And the happiness that suddenly becomes
sadness.  The bitterness, the hate mixing it
up with compassion?            
                                                  Let's have it all.

The first taste of charred food, toes bared in
sandals, vacation bible school, vases filled
and windows opened?            
                                                 All those pleasures, yes.

Skin filling with tan, sunglasses, breezy dresses
and girls with shorts up to here eating ice cream
eating sherbert, eating teenage boys' dreams?
                                                 More pleasure, certainly.

And god looking in the window, peeking
through the wide open door, dancing through
the sweet song of yesterday's heartache?

                                                  Everything.  For you.                                                                                                                                                        




I have brought a tree to this page,
Ten. Twenty.  Hundreds crossing
the southern hillside:  evergreen,
deciduous.  The bearers of fruit,
bearer of nut and flower...home
to crow, to jay, robin and the dove.

Generation begeting gerneration:
squirrel, racoon, squirrel, racoon,
sharp-nosed families of possum.
Voles, starred! and moles, tiny
soft creatures tight in the root.

Having seen these wonders
through sweetest union I return
to this page bearing a small
gift of memory:  to the needle
and the leaf, to the fur, the claw
the sharp tooth.  To the shimmer

and glisten of every brown eye
alive from a wet and trembling
birth to last breath.  For each soul
singing, singing through barked
branch to the star and the sun
every leaf and each heart's beat.



The tiger is bloomed
by the roadway
by the footpath,
by the creekside:
an invitation to summer.

And the sun corresponds
with the eastern hillside
in greeny loveletters
to  Persephone's tree,
and slenderness to grasses
while writing in white
the dasiy, the queen anne

and my morning dreams.

For You Whom I Cannot Name

The wonder of green, those lush coverings.
The wonder of soul, that wound deep inside.

Even in the city green appears
in the small, unattended places
refugeed from enclosure of park,
refugeed from the deeded plat.

The sky, of course, they cannot touch
and perhaps this is why so few look up.

Inside the hearts of torturers,

all those who work wire, plier, water
and burning cigarette to such effect,
every morning astounded  at the luck
that brought good pay to their pleasure,
off their gridded chart of need for pain

inside this beating thing called heart
inside a beat that comes every four years

a soul....and the lawyer, every ten?



Up from the great green wave
of green grasses: a thousand shades
and one blackbird rising up and up
into his red wing, into my heart.


Once Upon

Once upon a time in the faraway
the first and foremost of why

was not.  How  followed close
to here and now now now.  Now

a flower, or snow or a fish. Or
you and me, a full moon in every

pond.  And the smell of wild cherries
and how brown cow ran the hillside

kicked up her hills and laughed.



The cool of a May morning
with foxglove, with wetfoot
with columbine, with daisy
with small apples just formed.

And fish swimming red then gold
and frogs under snapdragons
and calves running the meadow.

With every green, blessing.



A soprano:
the first western wind
in the first greenings
of the first day of May.

There is no pain
there are no burdens
everyone is free.

These are soprano
dreams dreamed
in green, ribboned
in pale blue and
white and pink.
Violet.  Magenta.
Blue then black
then blue again.



The river is a god
we heard her roaring
all white and frothy
this morning.  Come

here pretty man and
yes you can bring 
that woman I think
I might like her too.
Bring me a bridge,
I'll take the old tree
and maybe a couple
of young ones all
green and leafy
would be lovely.

She is our god
today as we watch
today as we pray
for the bridge to hold
for the road to hold
for the tree and the
house and the newly
planted garden filled
with snapdragons.

I don't think the fish
will drown but you
can never know when
she will be satisfied
this river, this god

and I think she may
like snapdragons.


Here, then there

The pond, a bullfrog,
a small drum of rain

then birdsong, just a
note, here then there

a wash of white petal
caught in greeny frond

here, then there again
a piece of music, one

note, then two, rising
into a multitude of day.



Careening up the steepest slope
of Big Rock Candy Mountain,
guided only by an apple blossom
whose refusal to designate east
west or time of day or fact of
night or day, concerned only
with the arrival of her lover,
the bee, who appears as
intoxicated as I am,

enough to seriously consider
if I, too, could somehow
contrive to dive into the open
petal and collect a bit of pollen
for my very own in the hope
that a smear of yellow dander
across the top of my forehead
could be enough to re-open
the gate closed by steeple
to me and mine so long ago.

A fool, utter and complete.


Singing Green

On the highest ridge
by the oldest tree

I heard a red mist
singing  to green
leaves wrapped
tender in the tight
pouch of the bud,

singing the pleasure
of the wind, the rain,
and the yellow light
floating in the blue sky,

singing the pleasure
of  a bird's caress
of thunder's outrage
singing the pleasure
of a lullaby life lived

in spectral coordinates
of chartreuse, of celadon,
of sap, of viridian, of teal
and olive and emerald

a hallelujah chorus
singing green and green
again and again and again.


Yesterday the Crows

Yesterday the crows

gathered in the pines,
and with a high, harsh cry

called to the newly green
spread of meadow

called to a hillside forest
misted in redding bud

called to the silvering stream
pocketed with small new fish

called to the pasture,
calved by live birth

called to the cherry trees,
first bride in bloom

called to the thrush
singing Ella Fitzgerald

called to lost belief reborn
in the power of beauty

called:  This is spring.

My Pleasure

An unauthorized magic
whirl-winded four deer
up through a stick strewn
tawny taupe forest floor
this third day of spring

to play, nuzzle and graze
breakfast right along side
the morning windowed
in sunlight.  A morning
covered by a cloud rolled
blue sky made only
for this day, no other.

The pleasure they took
-along with just opened
blackberry leaves,
a seemingly delicious
rhododendron, and
the stalk of tiger lily
lifted just yesterday
up out of the ground-
was truly all ours.

Come again.  Anytime.



He built a house
big, plenty of room
for everybody:

Jimi's guitar burning
genius re-writing
the national anthem

canadian dandy
Leonard lamenting
lost lovely Suzanne

thousands of english
stratocasters howling,
freed of their ancient

moon, alchemicaled
into Keith, magic
and LSD and more
magic and smasher
Pete, Eddie, Page,
Stevie Ray, Duane,
Eric and Wha Wha
who is that woman
her name is Benatar
her name is Joan
her name is Nicks
she is Janis screaming
and Yes everyone

screaming John
screaming Paul
screaming George
screaming Ringo

finally free.



Kong plays with the babies,
a dandling coo coochie coo
on top of the soft black pads
of his largely perfect feet.

Kong plays with the babies,
bowered green, silverbacked
smack dab in the middle
of that continent we could

all call home.  Ancestral.

Kong plays with the babies
and watches Matilda, her
every move a wonder, all
black in that green heart.

Kong plays with the babies,
they tug, they pull, they roll
over his great drum of a belly,
pull his toe, blink then sleep.

Kong plays with the babies.


Standing on this hillside
under a blue struck sky
the softest wind of crocus,

all blue all purple all white,
has blown against my face

holding this small wind
keeping this small wind
against the bitter human
storm of shout, of stomp
can be and will be done

by the flag of daffodil
to whom, on this day,
I  pledge my allegiance.



Once I brought it
into the studio
where it drove me
into madness,
layer upon layer
of nerve bitten nerve.

I was a wreck,
beached and shaken
under all the sudden
sharp brightness
beyond reason and
beyond care for reason

which are probably
one and the same.
Neither black,
as gossip would have it,
nor the singer's blue,
it was yellow

and it burned.

Tossing Yellow

Tossing yellow across the day what could be more generous
than the daffodil?  Holding nothing back, fearless in the face
of the sure possibility of a late come killing frost, this most 
common of offerings must surely be the most tenderly brave 
among us...must surely be me, be you, at our loving best.



Two octaves above merrily merrily
I go where ferns sing: sing of green
sing of the small vole living close
and brown.  He listens, hums along
and in my dream catches a beat.

A walking, talking dream spanning
300 million turns of earth, sweet
and wet, held close by the burning
sphere devouring me, vole, fern
and quite possibly the high E sung

in praise of this hungriest of gods
responsible also for the daily bread
she feeds us and we in turn feed him
golden and delicious.  A Vivaldi
of one note, this fern - and green.


What Crop?

Kansas clouds line in stripe
the great lake of blued sky.
An even hand, it would seem,
plowed  row stretching row
of a white field, rolling seedless,
furrowed by light.



The same small bird,
a chickadee, glides
a winter snow as easily
through the Ukrainian
state of siege as does
his sister in Vermont.
Snow, the same white.
The sky, blue also with
clouds. Starred by night,
thousands and thousands
of nights.  Millions.

And one small bird
smack in the middle.
I will pledge him,
I will pledge her,

my allegiance.


lkjs  eljdif n kljdi
d njltu  ldu dk 
vlua c hfo ejhklaob 
dflbf  dlfjburt 
a clv gjekw dnis


A mouse came
in the night
and left this poem
about a wolfhound,
about the low soft moan
of white snow drifting
down into the meadow,
about a dried berry
and the sweetness of grass

about the moon.



The indifference of rain
cares for me, cares for you
in equal measure of not-at-all.

Blow-me-down winds or
today's warm caress explore
what they can of me, of you

as early evening star spangles
include a dominion of squirrel
as easily as a 'tis of thee.

Pulp, both deciduous and pine,
has been pressed into service
of words:  lordly, kingly, me

a forest of letterings we carefully
pin before our names, or after
our us, our we, our me

while waiting to be burnt
as one by fire, drowned,
dried, blown away.  Salt.


A soaked-coat fox
moves steady
through the swish and sway
of  high altitude grasses
moves steady
from where I first saw him
into today
roaming time
roaming memory he is a
twenty-years yesterday fox.

Wet and thin, he was also,
on that damp day,
a late winter early spring fox
not so glossy as he had been,
a little ragged but still - fox!

Tented, I was laying
in the cleared fill
of long  grass
when I saw him
moving through
Russell's Field
on his way to way
and his here to now.

He is a lively and excellent
companion, little changed
after twenty years traveling time
with its great abundances
of rain and wind and sun.

Fox tells me
the meadow
is as it was,
with him and me
in the long grass
on the high hill,

in the meadow.



I walked into your dream,

The door was open.
I heard the music.

I saw the dancers.
I began to sing.

I began to dance.

I held the hand 
of a child. 
I became a child.

I was embraced.
I embraced in turn.

I drank.
I tasted elixir.

I ate.
I knew ambrosia.

I was black.
I was white.

For a brief
moment I
was shining.

Like the sun.

I walked into your dream,


for all who loved him, on his birthday


Dream of Snow

I saw two deer
standing quiet
in the little clearing
below the pines.
Their eyes, luminous,
their coat, golden.
That was this morning.

And now, on their too
slender legs they have leapt
from the whiteness of snow
onto this whiteness of page
to hide in a thicket of alphabet.

Luminous eyed, shining gold
they cavort, they dance. They
leap from my screen to yours
back to mine then
through the room's glass window

into the little clearing
below the green pines
into the dream of snow.

This bright clear splinter,
I'll send on to you.  A talisman.


Tree History

A tree holds tree History:

Of a storm loosened branch
that now dangles and is dry.
Of generations of squirrels
and their scratched hieroglyphic.
Of leaves, each tenderness
each green, every gold then red.

The old man's first
offering of the season,
the snow that came this
morning, will be written.
And my name paired
with yours in the long ago
summer we chased and
played in the green cave.
A heart, carved initials

an arrow,  snow covered
today, but still warm.


Birds: A Day

There was a day...
it was late afternoon
when the sky was golden,
and my friend and I
were standing on a street
in Columbia, South Carolina,
a town known for being hot
really hot but it was not
especially hot that particular
day, an early fall day,
and we were at ease,
my friend and I, standing
on the sidewalk, waiting
to cross a not very busy
street down in Five Points,
a part of town filled with
good-time bars and restaurants.
We weren't in a hurry that day,
standing on the sidewalk
just looking around
when in the sky
we noticed a large mass of
birds flying above our
heads.  We looked to see
where these birds had come
from and in cool-shattering
wonder realized we could not see
their beginning  nor their end.
This flock of birds flew from
eastern sky to western sky.
We stood and watched this
miracle for a good fifteen
minutes. The flock's end was
still not yet in sight as we
finally crossed the street,
got in our cars and left, both
of us in a daze, for appointments
long since forgotten.  But

this, that golden day, when
birds ribboned the whole of the sky,
calls me, calls me to witness....

...there was a day.



There was talk about a star
and a woman, hugely pregnant,
whose husband had been turned
away from the no vacancy
tavern and given an armful
of sweet hay for an overnight
stay in the cow, sheep and goat
filled barn.  A horse maybe,
and chickens.  At that time
everyone everywhere
had chickens, a couple of
ducks. The donkey she had
ridden came to rest with them
too, his bridle removed then
given a bit of cabbage, wilted
but still a special treat.  The
journey had been long for him
and he was not a young donkey.

There could be worse places
to give birth than in a barn,
but not many.  The book
skips that part:  the long
hours of labor, the blood
and Joseph out of his mind
with worry with regret. The
night in its mercy was clear
was windless was moonlit
and he was able to keep her
warm. The innkeeper had
warned against fire and he
dared not chance losing this
small shelter to the street.

The horse, the cow, the sheep
the goat, the chickens and the
duck all knew about birth.
That a human woman would
come to lay down in the sweet
hay to bring her child into the
world as they did was of great
interest to them.  As was the
babe when he finally arrived.
A human child, corded! They
too came corded! And oh such
a beautiful child after he was
cleaned by Joseph, swaddled,
given to her arms, her breast
her soft song, her heartbeat.

And then the visitors. Suddenly
the barnyard was filled with
wealth. Three kings, golden
crowns and servants, camels!
sent by dream brought by star.
Gifts, wondrous caskets filled
to overflow. Suddenly Joseph
could see a small house, warm
fires, food on the table he would
make especially for her.  And a
cradle for the child.  The beautiful


for Tom and Sharon


Every Night, Every Day

The doe moving in and out
of the morning with her friends,
playful.  And him watching.

Everything for her, always.

The hills have bared their
flank, red burned russet
and silvery all the way up
to the ridgeline.  Then blue

with clouds.  Everywhere.

She is his wish come true.
And there are no hunters.
There are no men with guns.

I dream this dream
every night every day
every night, every day.



time, this one
and space, the here
of the now that
you've been given,

a gift, the biggest
through which your
fabulous machine
passes in dance, love
or anger.  Games

for the mischief maker
(notice the chief) always
pleased, except when not,
to be in charge. Sex

for the miracle of
the moving mass
called body.  We are
fruit of those loins.

Singing dancing
carrying guns through
alien desert lands,
your choice
your gift
your miracle.


Advise, Columned

Live as long as you can.
Do something well,
if at all possible.
If not, enjoy what others
may do well.

Go outside, as often
as you can, if you cannot
then try to spend
some time at the window.
What you see is where
you are from.

If you can't see
a bit of a tree or
a clump of grass
from your window
then look up, eventually
a cloud will pass.
In this situation it could
be worth waiting for.

Take pleasure in weather,
if you can, as rains,
snows wind and fogs
are one of life's consistencies.

Whatever you may read,
or hear, there is one word
that might be worth
keeping in mind: could.

Because whatever you may
read or hear wordwise
describes an experience
or a thing and is not
the experience or the thing.
You are the thing.




The wren terrorizes the cat
back and forth landing just
this side then the other.  He
pounces, twisting mid-air
then dives into a vacancy
suddenly created just for him.
Humiliated, he sulks under
the house for an hour maybe
two then a snack.  His day.

I yelled and waved my arms
during the entire event
but to no avail whatsoever.

My cat, the bureaucrat.



what goodness what pleasure
to be windowed by fog by rain
to be shut in
to be shut out
of the crowd, of the road
of the human mess.

Sometimes it sings, this mess,
and sometimes I dance.

There has been an embrace.
One here.  One there, smiling.

But the rain!  And the wildest
winds!  And the inscrutable
unknowable fog,

Lao Tze
come to the meadow,
come to the window

existential essence, delight.



fog, ancient essence,

banking low along a once-blue-now-grey
ridge top closed down for the season


The Cuban Boy

The boy brings to mind
another time another
story of an old man,
his boy and the sea.

Hemingway wrote that
one a poor grandfather.
Yes, they had it rough,
the boy, his grandfather.

He battled a fish into
Nothingness.  That was
where he liked to go
best, really into nothing.

And if not nothing maybe
a good long disappearance
into the landscape.  I like
this as well.  You could say

I understand.  I really do.

And that is what they did,
the boy and his grandfather.
They disappeared into their
poverty into their blood,

into their beautiful island life.


come and go blues

me, you
the cat sitting
in the window
the window
watching the bird
singing in the tree
that also comes
and goes.  big

moons the same
size they were
yesterday. big
moving small
and small into
yeah yeah yeah
big again.

old party or
new neither
really turns
the trick for
me maybe
they should
maybe they
could if only

this bird would
stop singing.


November 3

Burnt orange, a bruise of yellow
with red splashed here and here
and a bit over there on the hillside

we are fading into the bared branch
beautifulfully but without fanfare
without extravaganza.  Muted, cooled

this morning by gray fog, by mist.



I started calling him Bobby a couple of years ago, a way of keeping him close when so many would have made him an idol or a god (although god-dylan sounds a bit too close to godzilla to work really well).  With this new prize I think I'll need to keep him Bobby more than ever.

I walked into my life with him always around somewhere, background mostly but around.  He came and went, like most men in my life, but had a way of showing up fresh and with something important to say that had not been said that would make me love him all over again.  Like the time a couple of years ago I turned on the radio to hear him singing about having stayed in Mississippi a day too long.

Every part of me broke hearing those words.  How strong the hold a place can have on a person. Especially a place like the South, where there's never been a really good reason to stay.  I cannot adequately explain to myself or anyone else why I have or the price I have paid to do so but I didn't have to when I heard those words.  He knew.

He knew too, all the terrible and beautiful prices we pay to love, how ridiculous the whole affair, take your pick, so often is. All the same, he knows the wondrous storm and soothe of our bed. He knew the madness of war, of greed. He knows exactly who the monsters are with their eagerness to tie you to a dreadful life just to turn that dime.  He knows who has been betrayed and why. He knows all our stories, which ones are true and how important to us the ones that aren't.

After all these years I'm still walking into my life, into my story.  And Bobby... he's still here.  I won't be at all surprised to find him writing out these next few chapters.  Both of us making them up as we go.


Peary Gates of Glory

Six pears,

blushed red over yellow
straight stemmed, hand sized
carried back to the valley from

the city of the dead from which

not only have we returned intact
we are victorious, we have plundered
the magnificence of pear.

One of the six, through a bite,
through a lick, through the sugary
smack of a lip, have consumed me

as I, in turn, consume the day, also
blushed red over yellow and waiting

for rain.


Anniversary Poem

A smallish yellowing
has married brittle edge
to a still mostly green leaf
softened by yesterday's rain.

Softening, too, my heart
whose edge had also gone
brittle, skitterish in my chest
after too many days moving
on indolent, indifferent asphalt
whose only blessing is speed.

Anointed by dinosaur grief
the mountain itself moved
back and forth, up then down
and finally up again
depositing me and mine
under leaf married yellow to brittle
but still, at the last, mostly green.



this is not bread
you cannot eat it

this not-bread
nourished me,
it was your gift
and now I give
this not-bread
to another you,
and to myself
knowing you

and I cannot eat it but
hope for nourishment

all the same.



Light, moving quickly
thorough the day, has
begun eating  the


A branch or two here
and there, then suddenly
yesterday an entire tree

gobbled and left yellow.

Beguiled by carnival colors
we are easily seduced.  Flags
waving over hideous music,
the more hideous the better,
does the trick for the human

century after slow century.

As for me, I'll be dancing
singing colors in a week,
maybe two, sorrow all but
forgotten for my beloved



Untitled Cloud Poem

A small but well-made cloud
has chased the western ridge
of Stone Mountain for days,

white and green with bits of blue
patching in hours reduced by late
summer's orbit into September.

I think the cloud may stay
through the now cooling
nights as well, enjoying the
darkness as all lovers will.

Their time together clearly
has a limit as a cloud will
and must go and generally
sooner than later but today
the small well-made cloud

stays, just a little bit longer.

Just a Little Bit Longer

A small but well-made cloud
has chased the western ridge
of Stone Mountain for days,

white and green with bits of blue
patching in hours reduced by late
summer's orbit into September.

I think the cloud may stay
through the now cooling
nights as well, enjoying the
darkness as all lovers will.

Their time together clearly
has a limit as a cloud will
and must go and generally
sooner than later but today
the small well-made cloud




the blue sky chased
great Stone Mountain
out of the cloudscape

and back into the
land where she thought
he, by rights, belonged

thereby keeping the
enameled space
claimed as her own
inviolate as set forth
in the agreement made
long ago with gravity

which permitted passage
to the winged, the blown,
the cloud, rain, lightning
and the mad, for whom
she had a special fondness

considering the price payed
for such a brief embrace
of her periwinkled blue.

Occurrence Appearing


long lean light of late
afternoon carries hundreds,
thousands of gossamered
beings, tiny and winged

all in a great do da
a who ha as gay as
a Siberian day finally
thawed and turned may

in this august afternoon
however many miles from
spring the party, it would
seem, is just



In August

me, you and a marriage of high hill to cloud
and endless sky.  Leaves heavy in the last
green bitten now and then with small dashes
of yellow touched ever so lightly with red.

winds still warm enough to turn my face
into, glad for the sweet caress.  A foot slips
into river water with ease, glad to be cooled

as careless as a fish way too small for the pan.


Bee Balm

bee balm
oil on canvas

the summer delights
as we fret and vex
delights in an outrage
of color indifferent to
all but the bee, whom
she loves much more
than me or you except
of course when we're
lying on our backs 
considering the cloud

listening to the sea.




Queen Anne's Lace

I've missed being up to enjoy the sunrise these past couple of mornings, more precisely I've been missing daybreak.  How easy it is to say the sun rises, to speak of a sunrise when that is not at all what happened on this mid-August morning.  We spin.  We circle.  Moving at fantastic speeds we chase, then flee our great and utterly still sun cycling in and out of a long-standing engagement of 24 hours.

A remarkable swathing of Queen Anne's Lace has bethroed our landscape to the sun in this season of summer's engagement.  She lifts a face crowned by yet another circling, this of small white blossom, to her golden lover.  A great explosion of heat will marry them one day, or so it's said. We pray the engagement will be a long one.



A yellowish moon has settled onto the surface 
of the pond as stars settle onto the surface of  
evening.  Frogs sing through diamonds

calling beloved.

Softened by citron and rain the canvas brightens,
then darkens.  A black line settles on the surface

also calling beloved.

I have so little I want so much, beloved.
I have so much I want so little, beloved.

A pretty little wind lifts the leaf filled arm
of the tree.  Lift then sway but only a bit.

I have so much I want so little, beloved.
I have so little I want so much, beloved.

The words of a Swedish poet, two years 
dead, settle on the page of an opened book
to call and sing through my hand. 

Forty words. So little so much.  Beloved.


At 90 Degrees

Dogged by heat our day drifts
though the heat of the afternoon,
a small boats circling small waves.


Without Warning

the forest was suddenly thinned three days ago.  An enormous blow of winds roared through, reached into the trees and took what it wanted, which was some of everything.  Root, limb and branch were tossed and shaken into the slapped and dashed puppetry of a maddened god. Leaves were given what must have been one of the wildest rides of their life. Water - pond, lake or stream - whitecapped and roiled, swirling and feverishly turned dervish. All we could do was watch in wonder and awe as it passed over and through our valley, as it bent every living thing to its willful power.

Afterward, we stumbled through piles of leaf-filled branches and climbed over downed trees, thinking ourselves much like photographs of people sleep-like walking through a seemingly instantly and irredeemably altered landscape.  The silence was profound.  Birds were not singing.  There was no sound of traffic in the distance.  All machinery had come to an absolute stop.  We had entered a newsreel of disaster's aftermath and in that film were cast most fortunately as somewhat dazed survivors: glad to be alive and glad to have a house still standing.


More Rain

Wet.  Mid-summer  has come wet and heavy to the Bethel valley.
Winds start, stop then more rain falling into the great greenery.
Onto also the great piece of machinery bordering our outlines of self:
a country, a county, a city, this town. You. Me. This race. That race.

It seems the revolution has begun.  Will it be violent or peaceful?
You  and I decide.  Every day.  In word or deed, everyday.
Then more rain.  We are so small here, even so.....


Transparent w/Crow

Six black crows have flown in and out of the apple tree this morning, coming for their annual harvest of transparents.  They've been watching the tree for a week, waiting for the perfect pitch of ripeness, and this morning decided delectable was the day.  So far they have been plucking and carrying the apples to the bottom of the nearest meadow to immediately devour the green feast.

There are probably four or five different varieties of apple trees in our small orchard but the crows have no interest in any but the transparent.  I, too, share their preference for these above all others. The apple is smallish, pale green and very smooth.  They are tender from the start and that is why they have little or no market:  they do not last long enough to ship and refuse to ripen once off the stem.

The green of the skin is pale and flawless.  The inside is white and juicy with just enough of a crunch. I think surely the painters of the Renaissance did not know this apple, otherwise the one Eve offered Adam century after painted century may not have been red at all but brushed lightly and delicately green; a celadon, if you will.  As for the snake...might that have been a crow instead?




this woman
she thinks
nothing but

i know better
i have seen the
wild mustang


better dead than
in any ring rigged
up and ridden



these scraps

The long day
rolled into night
leaving scraps
along the edge

a bit of love here
some hate there

we gather
these scraps
we cherish
these scraps

we create
for these scraps

will often
fight to the
very death
to preserve
these scraps

while yet
another day
rolls into night
green then blue
then black and

filled with stars.


And a Dinosaur

Circled into the day
through the day
then into the darkness,
wherever I may be

I will be standing
precisely above
the very center
of the earth.

I share this trajectory:
beetle and earthworm
underground waterway
bones of the dead
root of the tree
an occasional vole

dirt dirt dirt
fossil embedded strata
which could include
a perfectly preserved
woolly mammoth
a tiny horse
and a dinosaur.

Then the molten juice.

Everyday I ride
circled into my life,
ignorant as hell
like everyone else

but happy to be
here on the topside
covered this early
summer day in


for Arthur Isaacs



We catwalked to the dancefloor in the shortest skirt
                                                     in the highest heel
with the reddest lips
with the longest lashes.

Our earrings dangled and called.  We were answered.

I danced with a man who had just kissed a man.  I danced
with a woman and laughed at the men who watched.  We

were all laughing.  We were all drinking.  We were all
snorting cocaine.  We were all shooting poppers on the


It was beautiful dancing midnight across the darkness into
the next morning.  We were beautiful.  I have no regrets.

Body to body we throbbed.  Body to body we tossed.
Body to body we raised our arms to our gods who loved
us.  We were adored by the night.  We were loved.

I have no regrets.
The only regret would have been not to have been there,


This Other

A small boat painted yellow
could be a perfect thing
to move through the sea of green
Bethel Valley has become this day.
Splashing blossoms of  a green walled
hillside holds this sea, this tide of meadow
of birdsong, of berry, of rabbity thicket
in this small sweet hour of eastern light.

On this the other side of a mountain we call Stone
reality holds itself to the tree bridging earth to sky.

One perfect moment: written in green.


Lush Life

As deeply dense as a forest can be is the passage through George's Gap on this early summer day. A friend in the north country writes that the green there is greener than any he remembers, and he is a very old man.  Meadow grass has become long enough to plait into itself and blackberry flowerings test the strength of their stem further with each passing day.  If this blossoming continues soon they will marry the ground.

There are worlds we have thought into existence, this green one is not among them.


Singapore Sling

Up and out the window yellow brushes of gold are gathering in the poplar.  For these the tree was named, by these the tree is known to those of us behind the glass reading a long, complicated history of geographical society's survey of the deciduous.

There is something of the tropics in these flowers.  Something perched on the top edge of a glass filled with a cocktail typically served only in a grass thatched hut by the sea, a reflection of Cole Porter's tuxedo still lingering in a window of the adjacent resort.  Reflection of vast legions of dread-locked dancers have more recently moved into the glass and are also caught and held.

The infinitely slow movement of glass is said to never stop. Plenty of room in the infinitesimal for tulip poplars, me, the beat beat beat of the tomtom, Bob Marley, the sea, the mountain, a blue sky, the whiteness of clouds and you in your chair by the window.

One Love.



In the barest of touch,
almost a caress,
a metal brush is held
against a large brass cymbal
and allowed to linger
for a long second
before being pulled away
down and across
the shining disc.

This is the sound
the long grasses make
as they touch one another
in the meadow today.
A swishing. 

If I could send you this sound,
laid over the silence of the valley,
I would.



Winds, small or large but steady, have blown morning into afternoon into evening here in this Bethel Valley.  Young leaves quake and shimmer, turning this way then that into their greenery.  And the butterflies!  Twenty or thirty yellow monarchs surround the barn, a jeweled revelry.  The party is on: all the birds of the neighborhood have been invited to fly about and sing, the weeks-old calves are frisking, young rabbits are on the move and everything that can bloom is doing just that. This is about as far from the world of human-made news a world could be and I have to stop and wonder which is real.  Maybe I've entered some sort of dreamtime, this greentime.  I could easily think to be sleepwalking but the winds are brisk and the chill of them keep waking me up, insisting, it would seem, that the green world is still the real world.  Who knows?  Not me, certainly not me.



Green has gathered green
on the ferny hillside above
the cold water spring in this
tenderest of seasons in this
paradisaical time.  Eden,

an Eden.


White-Faced Red Bull

We are fully and gloriously green at last here in the calf and colt filled Bethel valley.  All the calves in our neighboring pasture are white-faced this season, all progeny of a white-faced red bull brought in for a lengthy visit this past year.  Everyone looks at him and smiles.  I think he may be smiling too. Like the song says, good work if you can get it.


leafstruck chartreuse

all is shimmer
all is shine
in the leafstruck
chartreuse climb
into the blue sky
of this birdsung
spring morning

how to go about
a reasonable day,
how to go about reason
surrounded by this luxury
of sight and sound

may be beyond
my green filled grasp
my green filled eye
my green filled soul
lost at times perhaps

but not today.

Sacred Groves

One more blossom and our apple tree will surely fall to the ground from the weight.  Yesterday morning I looked out the window and was actually startled to see the tree in suddenly full and glorious bloom. They came in all through the night I think, under the proverbial cover of darkness.

The more I see of trees the less I know.  The ancients of Greece often referred to a sacred grove and I once was foolish enough to think this meant a particular grove: maybe here, maybe there.  Perhaps the one down by the river or the one holding court on the highest hill.  Did the oracle call out her prophecies from a forest hidden deep in the high valley, inaccessible to all but the truly chosen?

Nothing sacred about that little patch of trees down by the shopping mall, squeezed between this road and there?  Or... that scraggly group of locusts waiting to be cut down as soon as the nearby construction site under way is finished?  Or those six or seven pines holding steady on the less-than-scenic spot by the local recycling center...ridiculous to even think such a place could be sacred.. isn't it?


Every Chair

Every chair in our house once had leaves who fed it. Every chair in our house once knew a bird flying over and around it. Every chair in our house, in a formerly root-bound life, knew a bee, a squirrel or possibly a deer. Or maybe had a raccoon raise her surly brood in a pocket, the small scratch of her nightly climbs perhaps satisfying a certain itch.  Several knew the pleasures of an egg-filled nest.

Some of these chairs once flowered, some did not.  All knew the wind and rain.  All had the sun come up over them each and every day.  All knew moonlight and the ecstasy of lightning. All knew the silence of a dry season and the terror of ice.   Every chair in our house knew these things.

And now they know me.  The curve of my body relaxing into them.  They know how I move. They know my many moods.  They have heard my laughter and felt the sharp needling weight of my anger.  I have drug and carried them across my floors.  I have polished them and beaten the dust from their cushions. They have known my tears, small and salt filled, hardly like water at all.  They have held my friends in a sure embrace.

What part of them may still live in the memory of tree I do not know.  I have let go the hands who brought them from tree to chair and by this dissolution into meaninglessness I am returned to the chair's beginnings in a time of leaf and blossom.

And in this leaf and blossom time I, too, am allowed  a life lived outside the window. Outside the biosphere. A life, it seems, I may have really never left after all.



Pale color rides branch and twig above the celia blooming high on Georges Gap.  A contrarian, this small white flower year after year proves herself indifferent to the law requiring spring to begin first in the valley then climb, slow and steady, to higher elevations.

Laws, she says, are made to be broken, as she lays white across the top of the highest peaks.  Laws are language, she says as she delicately perfumes the forest floor.  Laws do not laugh or kiss the back of your neck in the spring night.  Laws are for the dead, she says, and I am alive.  Climb up to me.  Come home.


White Coat

No one wanted to approach the truck
immediately after the accident as they were
sure they would find a dead man inside.
That's what the woman first on the scene said.

How could it be otherwise with a dumptruck
sitting on his lap?  Some years of working
a firetruck prepared her somewhat for the
blood and mangled parts but not for the man

who looked up and asked her if  she could
please move his seat back.  Astounded she
ripped the rearview mirror, now resting
on his face, from the debris and apologized

for her inability to comply.  Her companion,
a nurse, removed her white coat and placed it
over him best she could with the dashboard
now swaddling him as closely as a newborn

by his mother. This white coat, how ruined
it must have been by the bits of flesh and
floods of blood, by the long machinations
required to remove him from metal's embrace.

No more tears for the man.  We've other work
required and tears hold only empty promise:
salt water but without the shells, the sun or sand.

For the white coat, however, I think I'll shed a few.


Late, Last Kiss

Last night late winter
wrote white kisses

into young greeny grasses,
into the yellow daffodil,

icy kisses for Spring,
who shivered, slipped into
a sweater, lamented her lost
magnolias then ordered up
extra apples, juicier berries
louder birdsong, and laughed

knowing she could be
slowed but never stopped
knowing this kiss would be

his last
her first.

for Jeff Gage