Bless the animal that gives its left side for our sandwiches
and drums coming from Native Americans in the dark hours
of this September morning moon dance. For wood chips 
bringing smoke, remember the hickory tree,
and for the dangerous carbons, too.
Let us be frank in our jeopardy and in our privileges.
Bless the fire and the smoke and the simple kettle grill.
Remember irons holding back charcoal providing indirect heat.
Smoke circling the kettle cooks the meat making sleep possible.
Bless the great kitchen of our valley whose rivers makes community
a possibility to gather in, for we gather as friends crossing time
given to us always as a gift of which we are mostly unaware.
We know the music does not reside in us.
Bless the tiny insight that gets away from us in our distracted lives
and in our morning showers.
Music is the blessing blessing us.
Bless the music of this hour and bless the music on its way
carried in the thrumming hearts of friends,
who are in fact spirits of song singing themselves in contradiction
of our natures, singing from songlines
that cannot be tracked in their multiple convergences.

Jim Bodeen
3 September 2010


—for Dan & Amy

We did not corrupt the integrity
of the blueberry pie
scooping Root Beer Ice Cream
onto the crust formed by Dan and Whitman.
We ate with gusto with friends from another country.
We still have the Cajun spices
and plans for the gumbo.
That day, like this one,
whether it be your birthday or anniversary,
or some other some such reason
for cooking what we have,
the common table will be on our minds.

Jim Bodeen
3 September 2010


For friends coming for music, bless the sandwich
For friends coming for coffee, bless the table that pulls us together

Jim Bodeen
3 September 2010


—for Tom

The praise poem from my friend
arrives on my birthday
and names my dog, my trails,
the garden, and even walks me off to the side
long enough for me to remember
those not here. The short poem
does so many things with language,
and more things with me,
including this favorite line,
...still search for the line/not written.
That line feels good
coming after the line bowing
with half a breath's too much kindness.
The parable sounds itself in the note
after the poem accompanying the gift:
This is a blessings journal.
Record them so you can keep track.
That, now, sets a task before me
by a friend who knows of whom he speaks.

Jim Bodeen
3 September 2010


—for Vance

Afterburner honey trap
End of summer with cherry wood pellets for smoke
Images from Vance and juice from the peach
How is it and how it is

The left-handed brisket
all rubbed up by my left hand
Mexican dichos and Jesus in Spanish
Giving up a side of one's self for sandwiches and music

Boys on their way into town
The poem rides a kicking horse
Solitary touchstone and desert ambience
The knife in the sculptor's hand is part of his hand

The photographer doesn't have to listen to police commands
Facing the peach a man is always a fool walking a dog
Walking to Third Burrows I'm always smaller than I thought heading out
Put more mustard in that potato salad and don't overcook the potatoes

My friend writes the story in the Times about the shooting
Karen's latte wonders what music the sculptor heard in the gun's report
Skin makes such a suit for the galaxy of gods making way
So this is what peripheral vision is all about

Jim Bodeen
2 September 2010

Banana nut bread
Last two Indiana eggs
Rise over corn rows

Jim Bodeen
1 September 2010


Lord, people send me poems in the mail,
and slow music for fast times surrounds me.
I go from one shower to the next
and find myself walking a stairway
with handrails wet with black enamel,
a naked man who has paid no attention
to pool news. Three songs
from Cowiche Canyon, Karen asks,
Are you going to take the dog?
Junk cars greet us at Canyon entrance,
and you're as gracious to rust, Lord,
as you are to me. Sumac, red already,
takes us to creek crossings
on railroad ties. Sadie wants
the worn path for her old paws,
pushing me onto gravel with her hip,
where I slough and slip.
Ever deeper into basalt
what gets turned by my feet
again and again remains unexplored.

Jim Bodeen
31 August 2010

1 comment:

  1. good glide from August to September, love the sumac.