Cynthia Moe-Lobeda



This Day [1]

"I stake my life on this claim."
            Cynthia Moe-Lobeda

Nothing obscure about that,
Cynthia.  I turn to Karen
reading the morning
paper, ...flying in today,

flying out tomorrow. She
didn't have to, any of it,
for us, in this place.
Turning and turning, tumbling.

Jim
6 June 2018

[1] This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems, VI. 2012, Wendell Berry.






"God's Gift of Justice-Seeking Neighbor-Love," parts I & II
Central Lutheran Church, Yakima, Wa
June 6, 2018



WHERE GRANDPA GETS HIS HOPE


GRANDPA IN THE GARDEN
AFTER THE 5TH GRADE FIELD TRIP

Grandpa's not the sheriff
anymore, but he's still grandpa.
He faces the Japanese Black Pine
in the clay pot, formal, upright.
He doesn't feel old, walking
the yard, but he nods to the candles
on his upcoming birthday cake.
Grandpa wasn't a real sheriff.
He was never elected.
He called himself
Sheriff of Three Corners,
walking Bell Avenue
with his rake in that old
Mexican campesino hat
from Michoacán, slowing
traffic and talking with kids
coming home from school.
Where he lives now,
there's no traffic, not many kids,
but lots of Republicans. 
He wears overalls. Cigars
are gone, but there's swagger,
and those bumper stickers
on his tiny car, women promising
a tsunami in November.

Jim Bodeen
12 June 2018

THE TALK WHEN THE BUS BREAKS DOWN


WHEN THE BUS BREAKS DOWN
GRANDPA ASKS THE KIDS TO NAME THE TREES

Grandpa's thinking about the rest stop
before the bus breaks down near the summit
on White Pass. One of the kids says,
We hit a deer, but it's the engine.
Teachers break out breakfast bags
and put students in charge
of checking for litter on the floor.
Grandpa's not the only one
who needs the toilet now.
One boy says it's all part of the adventure.
Another wears the t-shirt,
It Ain't Over Till It's Over.
The girl across the aisle
asks who want her milk.

Grandpa's reading The Old Tea Seller.
This isn't Kyoto Gardens.
The subject of trees comes up.
Grandpa asks the kids to name
the trees outside the window.
Cypress, fir, pine. The girl asks,
Why do people cut down trees?
5th graders know science and Fox News.
Grandpa says, We are living in the anthropocene.
The exotic word gets their attention.
You tell me, he says, about climate change,
showing them the photograph
of the wine corks beside two great jars
in the museum. Yes in this jar,
No in this jar. Where do you put your cork?
Grandpa won't say. A boy asks him
how old that book is. Grandpa
shows him the ink drawing
of the old tea seller Baisao with chin whiskers
hauling his tea pole and bamboo tubes
on his shoulder, emptying
one tea pot after another.

Jim Bodeen
11 June 2018

Grandpa Rides the Bus


WHEN GRANDPA RIDES THE FIELD TRIP BUS
TO NORTHWEST TREK AT THE END OF SCHOOL YEAR
CELEBRATION FOR 5TH GRADERS MOVING ON,

he's given four boys to chaperone.
He tells them, This bus
is our Mothership. The man at
the steering wheel, dressed in blue cap,
blue shirt, says, My name is Bob,
you can spell it either way.
I'm the captain.

Jack, James, Julio and Tomás.
are Grandpa's boys. His granddaughter
whispers in his ear, Jack is a handful.
Grandpa says, I got it handled.
Jack says, I make amazing sounds
and makes the sound of a goat.
He repeats his goat-sound
called a bleat, sounding
like a child crying for its mother,
until the entire bus bleats after Jack.
Grandpa says to Jack,
You're the goat. Let's go
meet the buffalo.

Bob says, There's a bathroom
in the back for emergencies only.
Boys, if you have to use it,
you sit down, ok. You sit down.
We don't want to use it because then
it smells, and if the bathroom starts smelling,
listen up, I'll go back and get us
a yellow school bus.

Jim Bodeen
8 June  2018


BATIK LITERATE


THE MOVEMENT AND THE MOVING

Moving closer to the trees, then,
for intimacy, ok, comrades,
and camaraderie.  Photographing
notebook pages getting closer
to myself. Even the salad,
a rainbow of fruits. Beets,
my favorite. That tiny piece
of salmon, almost un-noticed.
Karen's eyes, batik literate,
reads where wax was
before dye. Chicken blood
colors cloths. Maybe taboo
enters at this point. Why
men do certain things.
Why that blue and yellow plate.
How the palette blade works.
the Oh! of primary colors.
Banana pulp, fermenting casavas,
the screening of evil into fabric.
All in front of me, before my eyes.
Sudden moments sudden
like that. Like that.
Gift of the yellow flower
matching the hat
from the national park.
Who wouldn't button-hole that
to make him more of a him
if a him is who he is
in the up-to-you-of-it-all.
Another picture with Karen
in front of the river. That one.
Writing those post cards
to kids coming out. Like they know
the code of the poem
before it arrives. Spanish verbs,
picnic tables, Bible on a painted
table blistering. Like this. Beginning
beginners. We work the poems,
we carry notebooks. We know
our IPhones are political cameras.
We are recording devices as well.
A person gives birth.
Sex is our science.
For a long time we thought
the binary system was only destroyed
in ancient Chinese poems. Ha to that,
as I nod. Good bye pork pie hat
subversive night train tracking
good and evil, night and stay,
day and night. Winding a string
into a ring for the color of it.
An allied guide to term limits.
Timed, untrodden terminology
emerging. Siblings in Christ,
not brothers and sisters, Oh!
how I'll hate to lose that one,
Dearly Beloved. The critical statistic,
boys. Look what happens
when you go to school.
Help! Help! Help
in getting across. Over.
Portage itself. Rope of elk-skin
and old man walking.
Walking! Accompanied
on the best route. The grass
and the barge. The Columbia River
on a solitary Sunday afternoon.
This is the harvest at Celilo Falls.
The 10,000 things as years.
Seminal image. Financier.
Misspell a word because you heard
it the way you heard it, everything
in its tumblingness
in the rivering.

Jim Bodeen
June 2-4, 2018




Say the word, Say the word!
















RECONCILIATION

Never been my strong suit.
These old trees
still breathing for me
doing the lung thing
high and hot
This girl who skis
This river still running
Fish with deep memories
Justice rolling because
that's what justice does
Finishing the Grant biography
Reconstruction dead
Civil Rights Bill of 1875 not enforced
How we end up on this river
Crossing Bridge of the Gods
and what do the natives have to say
about the naming of that one
all of our words
tracked and counted and sorted
into neat piles by men
with security clearances
Hey man! How ya doing this morning!
Shout out to the censors
give them a heads up
what's happening sibling!

All the lonely mothers!

Pay attention to the chart
with the statistic of what happens
when people go to school

Doesn't look too good

One group see if you can
pick that out
They need some of your love
Call them out with language

Jim Bodeen
3 June 2018




LAST SPRING EDGE-RUN BREATH


STEEPED IN BREWING LEAVES

Too hot for baseball
Too hot for snow mountain skis
What to do, just what

Stashed low out of sun
One more hour before last game
Six innings of ball

*

CLOSING DOWN

Blistered lips word parched
Tethered twisting in mare's nest
Sun mountain descent

How notebook returns
harvesting May emptiness
Nothing doing trade

Nothing to weigh
Late May word branch breeze
Summer grass blade chew

Jim Bodeen
26 May--31 May 2018