"That's the way that go!" August Wilson

THE WAY THAT WORKS

You don’t have to work too hard
with poems that come from me,
I’m kind of like those basketball
players coming out of high school,
the one-and-done ones,
on their way to the pros.
Poems though, aren’t
on their way to anywhere else
and I’m good with that.
Good with my poems too.
They are what they are,
arriving daily. I don’t
always get them written
and that, well that takes
my breath away, yeah,
knowing they came through me
as they disappeared.

Jim Bodeen
22 March 2017

BLUEBERRIES AND DESIRE--EL DESEO Y ANORANZA






















AFTER ALL YOU'VE DONE

So many people to thank.
So many whys for gratefulness.
Even with snow melt and flooding.
I've been without blueberries

on my cereal for two weeks.
There's no place to hang up my phone,
but that's not really doing without.
It's Lent. I'm going to try

for the whole 40 days
without blueberries.
Don't worry.

Jim Bodeen
14 March 2017


SETTING OUT TO ACCOMPANY MIGRANT MINORS
DISCOVERING INSTEAD, HOW MIGRANT MINORS
ACCOMPANY OTHERS DURING THE LENTEN JOURNEY

"Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice...
"No le niegues sus derechos al extranjero...
            Deuteronomio/Deuteronomy 24: 17

Having been uncertain of fathers
most all my life, a father came to be
what I wanted most to know.
That's how I started out, walking.

I found myself with others,
mostly women and children.
Not having anything to say,
I listened. Escuchaba, ¿Sabe?

Mostly, they told me what happened.
Mostly, it all sounded true.
What really hit home,
they sounded like what I felt.

This longing..la gran añoranza--el deseo.
Es para El Señor, no? To know a father's love?

Jim Bodeen
14 March 2017







PUT THE BRACELET IN THE URN WITH THE ASHES

"SHALL NO MORE BE DONE?"
            --Laertes, Hamlet

This bracelet, made of Old Man's Beard,
by a child, put it in the urn
with my ashes, living word.
This is my life with children.

This is the full response to adults.
My necktie on Facebook.
I'm the empty chair at sit-down dinners.
Absent during the film discussion--

Dinner with André?
What did they discuss on MSNBC?
Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Each resistor resists for children.

Trees are nominated in all categories.
Lichen Ceremonies ask
who you listen to.

Jim Bodeen
12 March 2017




















WINDY MAN ON THE KEYBOARD

Talking with Karen earlier
at kitchen table while writing
post cards to the President
for the Ides of March--Boo!
scared you there, Mr. President,
ah, it's just me in Yakima--
My wife says, No, no, no.
I'm not sending any post cards
to him. I want to get back
into this country when I travel.

Jim Bodeen
14 March 2017










NEEDLES IN A TATTOOED TIME

 COLLABORATORS IN SILVER,

Karen, these lines are threads
running through your quilt,
dropped off at the post office,
and delivered in the mail.
These lines track threads
that make the story suitable
for what comes. These threads
bind us in genealogical mystery,
Biblical. Names written
on fabric with needles
in a tattooed time. Your name
in all of the poems.
Silver can be mined.
Devoted love aims at exhaustion.

Love, Jim
10 March 2017

























ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THOMAS A. DORSEY

        --post card to Kevin Miller

These songs, Downward Road, Creep Along Moses,
didn't come to me through car radio,
but the counsel in the North Dakota living room
before television. Not these songs exactly,
Tennessee Ernie Ford and Sons of the Pioneers.
My friend's Mom dies at 97, and I turn to Mavis Staples.
I'm trying to cross the Red Sea myself,
As is my habit, I'm walking the other way.
Still trying to have one more word with Pharaoh.
Precious Lord enters me before memory.
Tommy Dorsey was a trombone player.
I'm halfway through my life before I know.
When I hear who he was, what he lost,
who could I turn to but his song?

Jim Bodeen



EVERY LETTER MAKES A NEW SOUND

an acrobat of ash
            Graham Foust

From the poem in the mag
I've promised myself
slower progress
a re-dedication to all
I have loved so poorly
It's time to see a few movies
take that course
on clowning
this necessary angel
hovering sleeplike

Go meet that friend
for coffee see what he looks like

Jim Bodeen
8 March 2017




















THE GOSPEL SOUND

What returns me to myself,
always some song-like shout,
Hey, Good Lookin. The car
salesman, showing me
how to play the music
finds Van  
and I ask him--
Do you know?
He shakes his head. No.
I like the man, too.
Sitting in car world bawling.
How did Ray find me
55 years ago, I was 15.

Jim Bodeen
10 March 2017


















TOUCHING THE EARTH

On skis, held to the mountain
by  metal edge steel-sharpened,
penetrating here and now
snow, one more than one
full wonder. Cheek-flushed
dry lips, wind-aided,
Sun in and out, silver-yellow.
Cloud-disc
sky-running dizzy.

Jim Bodeen
10 March 2017






Old Man's Beard and the Imagination with Sammie







Day One of Winter Camp with 9-year old Sammie and Grandpa
downhill skiing, and snowshoeing at White Pass, Cascade Mountains, Washington State.

This is one-on-one country. Skis are part of it. Snowshoes, too, but this is exploration of landscape and the imagination. Childhood spirituality and relationship.

Old Man's Beard


















OLD MAN'S BEARD BRACELET

Granted Ski Patrol permission
Sammie says she wants to take a run
through Sniper, which means
through trees, deep snow,
and out of bounds, merging
with a trail back to groomed slopes.
She pulls up under a cluster
of fir trees rich with Old Man's Beard.
As she stretches to reach
hanging pale grayish-green lichens
growing like leafless tassels
anchored on bark, I reach
for the camera. Bad things happen
when you bring out the camera,
Sammie says, and the camera's
running when the snow boarder
comes from nowhere
interrupting our solitude
and is taken out by a broken limb.
I told you, Grandpa. Bad things happen.
"What'd I hit?"
This broken limb. Head and neck.
Declining assistance,
he says he's ok, but he's not too sure either.

Sammie hands me handfuls
of the treasured fungus
for my parka pocket,
Usnea, the scientist's name,
our story for starting fires
if we get stranded in woods
and we ski out of Sniper
having seen what it can do.

Back at camp, in the mothership,
Sammie puts catsup and mustard
in snow, while cooking
on the portable grill. The mothership
warm. When she comes in
she says, Grandpa, close your eyes.
When I've been cleared to look
she's placed a woven fungus bracelet
over my wrist, restoring me
to a more natural state of wonder.

Jim Bodeen
10 March 2017