—for Jim Engel

Then the man came with the bubbles.
Children had permission to run to him,
but no one, not even the parents,
knew about the bubbles. The man
pulled them out of a paper bag,
soapy nothings with all the colors
of the rainbow. They sat there,
the man and the children,
blowing bubbles. They blew
bubbles and made rainbows.
The bubbles popped and disappeared.
No one called anyone Bubbles.
They didn't talk about it.
They blew the bubbles into a paper bag
and they were gone. The Bubbles
were not asked about their bubbleness.
I watched it all from a distance.
For the life of me, I can't explain my joy.

Jim Bodeen
3 August 2010


No, No, No. No somos criminales.
Somos trabajadores. Sí, Sí, Sí.
Somos trabajadores.
Todos no aceptan la ley.

Este presidente no ha cumplido su promesa.
Llama el presidente: 202.456.1111.
Lunes a Viernes—Desde 6 hasta 2.
Todos les gustan nuestra comida

y los mariachis. Llama Obama.
Los Tigres del norte cantan
corridos para el pueblo mientras
la hermana Silvia está preparando

su oración: Venga aquí, Señor.
Venga, Señor. Tiene hijos en tus manos.
Cada uno de nosotros, todos somos hermanos.
Todos somos Arizona. Hagame, Señor, un instrumento.

Jim Bodeen
31 de Julio 2010
La Casa Hogar


—for Jack Large & Aekyoung, and the children of SE Asia

Has it been three years? this thread
of hope on my wrist. Now down
to one purple string, hanging.
I felt it on my hand yesterday

in the pool, water dragging it,
I could feel its drag against the back
of my thumb as my arm came out
of the water. It held, this thread,

made by children, brought to me
by a friend from Korea, and worn daily
for what? three years, through privileged
morning showers and doors opened

by children and their mothers.
These threads of chance make
offerings for anything one might carry.
I write my friend about threads

holding lives together.
"They're made by children in the Philippines.
Threads of Hope give them a chance
to escape sexual predators in beach hotels."

We know how little power we have
against those occupying children's bodies
in power spots of pleasure. We know
how dangerous home is, how close.

These threads of hope on any wrist
open doors of uncertainty, walking strangers
where all one has to do is listen.
Walk this line into your own uncertain place.

Jim Bodeen
31 July 2010

*Visit Threads of
and Penpride


Knowing I'm not smart enough
for underground irrigation
I run a hose through the fence
to connect with the hose by the roses.
I walk through the gate with Pete Seeger's song
in my head. He and his wife
in the same house for 61 years.
I attach one end of the hose by the roses
with the other end, walking back and forth
looking for the loose end to attach it to.
Drill baby drill, Spill baby spill.
God's counting on me,
God's counting on you.
They've been married 67 years.
He likes to sing with kids.
He's still learning the song.
Singing with kids, walking with them.
Uncle for an hour. Grandpa for the afternoon.
Walking with kids requires one
to carry hope, hand it off.
God's inside the kids. You want God?
You give kids hope and they'll give you
the end of the hose you're looking for.

Jim Bodeen
31 July 2010


My two hands, creations of exploding stars,
fold into a single thought—
Which star gave all to the left hand?
Transportation is part of our ancestral

tradition. Movement, moving.
"Hot, muggy, and I had the most
beautiful curly hair," Karen says,
talking to her girlfriend on the phone.

Jim Bodeen
30 July 2010


Jefferson and Madison Rivers
come together first. I'm throwing
the tennis ball into the Gallatin
as Sadie retrieves. I write in the notebook,
We're playing in the other two rivers.
The river system starts here
where we're ending. Karen fries
farm fresh eggs from Indiana.
I dry Sadie, and bunch sage in preparation
for the smudging ceremony after dinner.
We're cleaning up after ourselves,
remembering tires and motors
that have taken such good care of us.
We're asking Persimmon Pudding
to receive all we're grateful for
in foods placed before us.
We carry sage from sand dunes
from our first night out. We light sage
and bathe in its smoke, watching mosquitoes
disappear. Following the ephemeral path
of the smoke, we say, Sage,
asking to remember all fishermen and boats.
Our daughter, Leah, was called Turtle in high school.
We ask smoke to wrap itself around myeline
whereever it unravels.
So much news and no mosquitoes.

Jim Bodeen
Headwaters of the Missouri State Park,
Outside Butte, Montana

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