You are



Jim Bodeen
17 February 2018

The Silk Mountain


New songs and old photographs
from a library book
as she creates the extinct
mammoth from silk, placing
her soft touch
on a mountain of cloth
where she has created from cotton
this volcanic climb.

This the day after
the Empire’s Day.

Wind and rain from the coast
sweeps the man from the mountain
the mountain and the man chose
crossing in each other’s dream way.
There were grandchildren,
and because of this throw of chance,
children, public gaming, and the book
before him, you might have guessed
it was the book during commercial break.
All cut from cloth.
All work and game play.
The worker’s joke: We pretend,
they pretend. We to work.
Them to pay, pretending.
Then, el Salvador.
He writes the lines listening,
song from gone and returned, these months,
now not gone, here, old poems,
ancestors, psalms, the one in Ireland,
coughing, him having heard, been hearing-changed
from the concert. Dazed, dizzy, King-maladjusted,
offering these images, ultimate subtlety,
conscious-induced, and leaving.
Such still descending spell.

Jim Bodeen
5 February-14 February, 2018

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : Peace Train

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : Peace Train: HANGING THE MUSLIN POETRY POLE ABOVE THE SEAT ON THE AMTRAK PEACE TRAIN Eleven of us on this car pulling out from Meri...12 years later, the never-ending war.

The Clock Doesn't Stop in Debtor's Prison


How does it show itself, Curiosity,
waiting for Pride to make its entrance?
Bernard of Clairvaux, shrewd soul
visiting with me, sees himself
in the new mirror crossing time.

Have I been away from monastery
walls this long? Looking for myself
in others, or looking for others
in myself--either way,
I'm caught without what sustains.

Jim Bodeen
11 February 2018




A man moving, and a man on a bench.
Skis parked outside. A couple drinking beer
below the loft. Wind outside whipping snow.
Don't ask us, he says, those who seek
shadow and cover-up in snow beauty.
Don't ask us for formulas.

Montale so bright shining from blond
varnished pine table at High Camp,
snow drifts on double Dutch gable
in the window sill. The two of us here,
And what about your friend? the voice
inside the double glass asks, the one
who gave you the Montale?

The three of us, then. More than three, really.
Jody in every snow storm. Poems warming me
through storm-glass, the pine bench table
where I come on skis, midweek, for this white-out.


Moving on skis, and carried, up Great White
standing before the Goat Rocks on skis,
following signs to Paradise and the Coulour,
open trail through big firs, Hogback stellar,
and then down and around fast on the new skis.

They do fly, you have wings, my son said
taking me to this place. That first, once, flying,
knee-deep through light powder, lifting off a mogul
and bounced into cloud silk, over the creek
and buried, off-piste in old woods. My whistle
calling for evacuation, before one arrives
cobbling poles together to pull me out
before collapsing ridge-line drifts.

What comes for me now, approaching matter-less,
wormwood or honey, an almost-able greeting
gratefulness, what does, does not, give life
sorted on its own, the light test.
Woods and light in this place.

Mountain greeting call, what the city doubts
not mine, in and out of ancestral voices.
Temper flakes, a bottomless quiver
gone one song down, screen quiet.
Snow caves shipped into crevasses,
fir face, wind-braised, between and between,
ephemeral and ineffable.
My venture bears witness.


Somewhere Rexroth skis in the Sierras
at dusk, crossing through alone in deep moonlight quiet,
he records this ski talk,  Shh, Shh, Shh, over dry
floating light, asking him to be quieter,
and quieter still, listening for all of just this.

I looked for his poem all last winter.

All of this winter dark.
Snowing hard in trees,
beyond and through the end of snow,
dropping into joy,
the drought, too, with me descending,
a solitary day, the rare commonplace,
a family of trees in wilderness,
a darker and wilder side of the self
home of the ancestors,
these knowing old ones,

Just like a poem to show itself, like this snow.

Jim Bodeen
31 January--3 February 2018


The man was setting type. He was not alone in his dream. He is the one coming down the mountain. The same man. The man driving pulled his small car off the highway to let others pass. It had nothing to do with black ice or snow. This was only about the mountain. So happy in his dream holding the composing stick in his left hand, nestled in curled fingers with thumb over the last piece of type. Gravity holding it. Then there was spilled type. The other voice spoke,
Oh, you're sowing type. No, he said, Setting type. But I meant sowing, sowing type, she said.
He gets out of bed at this point, looking for his notebook. He wants to write a poem to his son on the mountain. He wants to thank his son for all he's given his father.

Jim Bodeen
4 February 2018