--for Karen, A birthday poem
You there, ringing bells.
You are the alternative obedience
I'm looking for.
I'm listening to you with my camera
My eyes take in all that vibrates.
Sound waves ringing in my year
confound the chaos of the I Ching.
Harmony is not sameness.
No growth in sameness.
Bet on the child.
How is it possible,
This ringing testimony
of yours, you there,
on the Seventh Day of Christmas.
I hear you!
I hear you!
After coffee, before worship,
let's see what happens.
A quarter century ago
I cross a river saying
to myself, Let's see
just how far I can get.
I got a ways.
Thing is I still talk the same.
24 December 2017
PUTTING THE MOUNTAIN TO REST
for Alex and Josh
Being the last ones on the mountain.
Getting their assignments.
Hanging out. They'll know it's dark.
Asking about the word lost.
Taking them out where they are lost.
Away from their buddies.
Away from parents.
How could it be any darker than this?
Making them wait.
How could anybody find their way
in all this dark?
This is about waiting, too.
Advent. Keep your ski boots on.
What we don’t talk about.
Skiing. How to turn.
Where to hold the shoulders.
What you’re doing right and wrong.
We don't do any of that.
26 December 2017
POEM FOR TWO 12-YEAR OLD BOYS
WHO CALL THEMSELVES MUSKETEERS
ON WINTER SOLSTICE
--for Alejandro Zepeda Reyes and Joshua Anthony Meiser
The boys know each other.
They've winter camped in the camper on my pickup,
and built snow caves at midnight, but haven't been
together in two years. They're 12,
at the end of boyhood, and when
they get into the car for the drive up the mountain,
they don't say ten words until they
get their ski boots on. Their first words
to me, "Can we go?"
They learned mountain skills
from me and a snowboard program
at White Pass, Cascade Mountains.
Snowboarders with a tag: SOS.
Young volunteers with
a course of mountain study
for city sidewalks. Core Values.
Courage, face fears, and thrive,
being yourself without being stupid.
I'm down with the prairie dogs.
Discipline. Massive dreams, and a roadmap.
Pathways. Hard stuff. Not giving up.
Integrity. The right thing without anyone asking.
Using your head with the big word, wisdom.
Wisdom is also taking risks.
Getting the Grandpa thing.
Seeing beauty. Stop and open your eyes.
Grandpas have nothing to do with genetic code.
Grandpas are all about chance and circumstance.
I'm your Grandpa because you say I am.
Children make the grandpa legitimate.
No more than that.
I'm yours and I'm on probation.
Look at that mountain. What do you think?
Humility and compassion.
Knowing you're human, too.
Compassion. What do you feel?
Recognize distress when you see it.
Being kind is another way of being strong.
A course in miracles. Carrying a book
in my pack. This isn't a test.
It's crossing into what's real.
They wear packs too.
I don't care if they know the poem..
Can you spot what's fake?
What's in your packs--
I have a stake in that one.
The elephant balancing on the teacup.
What are his chances?
Imagine babies born in the margins.
Thinking the unthinkable.
High Camp Lodge at 6000 feet.
Peanut butter sandwiches. Satsumi oranges.
As many as they want. Drinking water
Todos de los marginados
nacen en casas de cartón.
At the end of their boyhood.
Bringing the mountain down to the size of the elephant.
Turning the teacup upside down.
How to help them understand.
Light in dark places. Solstice
Everybody on the mountain thinks it’s Thursday—
four days until Christmas. They’re counting days too.
Keep them on the mountain
until day light’s gone.
Take them into the Patrol shack.
Can these boys help you sweep the mountain?
Put the mountain to sleep.
Handing the camera to the boys.
Asking them the name of their movie.
Making them come up with seven words
for the title. Hearing their ski boots
on the metal stairs of the ski shack.
Hearing the last words, We’re going to Paradise,
come from the ski patrolman.
21 December--26 December 2017
BOB DYLAN AND LEONARD COHEN
SWINGING ON THE MOUNTAIN
THE DAY BEFORE WINTER SOLSTICE
You want it darker? Leonard Cohen
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there. Bob Dylan
The cars are plastic
and there is no key.
Keyless, clueless, blueless,
Rocks and Mountains
don't fall on me
Live a humble
We were living foolishly today, friends.
Solstice mountain be mine
with children, making fun of it all,
sweeping the mountain,
listening to Dylan
and those Gospel singers
from Muscle Shoals
in the late 70s. Want to let go
and I can't let go, like that
over and over.
Who wants watered down love?
Come home and shower
do my advent reading.
What a prayer from Shane Claiborne
invoking Harvey Cox.
I might put the whole damn prayer
in this poem and then on Facebook.
Let it happen. I'm not under
new management as much
as not being managed at all.
18-24 December 2017
The tiniest of differences
is the difference
that makes the difference
when the elected
create disappeared people
unmade with forbidden word
because of language
what happened where to
invisible in white out
Snow climate base storm
19 December 2017
DECEMBER 14, 2017
for John of the Cross
24 June 1542-14 Dec 1591
for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary
2007-8--14 December 2012
I was so far inside,
so dazed and far away
my senses were released
from feelings of my own
--John of the Cross
Coffee with Karen reading mail
online with spread honey on toast,
each of us separated
by this singled-out day
five years ago. Our grand-children
doubled in age. They have out-grown
the Chief Joseph Vest Karen
made for the children of Sandy Hook
with their names stitched and sewn
into the lining, fitting them forever.
Karen shows me photos of grandkids.
Holding the vest in one's hands, asking
how does one take a child down
from a cross? Chief Joseph's vest speaks
for Joseph now, refusing to fight.
How many picked up that cross
when the children came down?
Who were they? I can't see.
John knew this dark.
John said words can be like the sun.
14 December 2017
CATCH FIRE, FLAME
What the seeker Hopkins knew--
he could never catch Christ. Could
he, then position himself in a way
Christ could catch him?
Pilgrims lose so much
walking into the no way out.
There is no need to write back
he will write, his strange pen
just that far in front of his fingers.
The premonition of the cost hidden
before the in-scaped heart
grown beyond yes and no.
14 December 2017
DAILY WORK, DAILY DEVOTIONS
On Guadalupe's Day
Load up with more work
than what I can do,
that's always been
my path, my sin,
my sin, my path,
adding great gobs
full of hidden lids,--
So, what's new,
plus the old pastor
sending me Barth's
sermons to prisoners--
that one added
to New Monasticism
Yesterday and today
giving me Merton,
giving me El Mozote,
a psalm, Isaiah, NT,
asking only turn.
glimpse light denied.
12 December 2017
PSALM FOR KAREN
Hear me out Karen
wife of all my days
everything good that I carry
anything containing any worth. Karen,
place of God,
who knows my protest
who knows everything coming from me
making claims of achievement,
who knows how wrong
it all sings,
in spite of your love
and hymn of devotion.
You, who wait with great patience
for the work to fail
and I come to my senses.
Only in my exhaustion
may the song come from God.
12 December 2017
WHAT WOULD'VE HAPPENED
TO ME, IF I DIDN'T FIND THIS MUSIC!
Soon , the voices sing, soon,
opening the present. Swing by
and touch me with hope
coming on the carry of the song.
Vacate the wait. Re-up
as soldiers say, smiling.
Blushed and buked in gardens
where no-body walks.
You won't find no sycamore
unless you find water first.
Lay me aside by that water,
tinder-sparked and burning.
THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT
It's becoming clearer, to me, this Monday,
this morning. My grandfather, Victor,
who named my father, Wayne Emmanuel,
before they locked him up for his craziness
(Where they locked up the mentally ill
in North Dakota, there being no treatment),
did a wonderful thing, naming him,
and my father, Wayne Emmanuel,
often embarrassed about his name,
never-the-less, signed that E
with such flourish. I have written poems
about this from my beginnings--
returning now to what I began with,
the clearing--it is no more (but all of it!)
than this, thrown out, though they were,
cast asides, they held to their names,
Victor, Emmanuel. Their names, long denied,
were always who they were.
11 December 2017
LOOKING AT SINGERS
IMMORTALIZING OUR TIME
WHILE LISTENING TO THEIR SONGS
Miles turns his back.
Miles says to John,
Take the horn out of your mouth.
Miles gets angry
just thinking about Jack Johnson.
Merle Haggard's wavy hair
Uncomfortable before praise,
I don't have a clue about
his true feelings for Oklahoma.
My friend saw Johnny
walk out in that black suit,
it hangs here beside him
singing his death song on video.
After I bought my Navajo pipe
with Mountain Smoke in the Canyon
I listened to native flute sounds
for three thousand miles.
Not a Star War fan, I just
walked a different way.
That concert for Bangladesh
shook us up when we were young.
Did you dance the Stroll
to Fats singing in 1960?
Did it change your life?
Did you end up somewhere else?
Clothes of old rockers
glare like flashing police lights.
Those jazz men in suit and tie
cross into gospel-riffing solos.
That small picture of Janis.
Jimi asking where you've been
We were raised on blues.
We would never go back to others
Even when mirroring them in dress
We would always be found out
Sheet music Ella looked at
with her own eyes, held in her very hands
When I took that photograph
How I listened is how I belonged
Cante Jondo y Lorca
Camerón de la isla
Lagrimas de gitanos
Who's singing? What's the name
of the band? Stone Ponies
Transfigured 50 years
Different drum had me believing
I knew Thoreau. Stone Ponies.
I would return from war for the song.
Richard Johnson taught me what
I carried in my body was the blues
when he played The Thrill is Gone
The thrill came back. From as little
as this, I learned how disease
stores itself in the body.
We'd just moved out west
from North Dakota, I was ten
or eleven. My cousin, three years
older, knew what was going on.
Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog
and the Elvis Christmas Album
with I Believe and Precious Lord.
I still thought Thomas Dorsey
was the trombone player.
I knew that hat the minute I saw it,
Stevie Ray's black leather jacket
with shells. My son brought me
to Stevie Ray Vaughn, connecting
him to Jimi. But I didn't know
about those boots. I don't know
if my son did, either. What skin
do you suppose that is, goat?
I knew songs, but not the music
of George Benson. The photographer
Darwin Evans also made guitars.
Benson showed me how smooth
Jazz could be, how that guitar,
plugged-in, carried family tradition.
When hip-hop hit I wondered
what would happen
and I said, No. At the same time,
I knew about the Dozens
and how they worked. I took
H. Rap Brown into the classroom
and showed the kids how
they broke you down
Stevie Ray Vaughn's boots
and then built you back up.
That all made sense. Bad
language taught me once more
how to turn the world upside down.
Twinkie and Tommy Dorsey.
Precious Lord. Mahalia,
The Bessie Smith Collection
wild as the Mississippi River.
26 Nov--7 December 2017
Museum of Musical Instruments
IN BELL RINGING IS THE INHERITANCE OF THE WORLD,
AN INQUIRY INTO THE PLACE AND LEGACY OF THUMB PIANOS
Music runs all of the time, everywhere,
I have known this since the day of the cymbals,
so long ago, now, it comes up in the forge,
emerging from fire, before the hammer.
Along with the surprising accompaniment
with the bells, and their strange alloys,
diversity in sound survives
under the surface of the empire, ringing.
I live in the country of Ella and Miles
in the era of Bob Dylan. To be sure,
this is still whispered out of hearing
of the cognizanti writing their papers.
It's a big world, isn't it.
A big world made up of nothing but music
and all of its silences. Living
in the land of song carries with it
vast invisibilities, moving you
at all times. My country
is not a safe place. My country
is not a safe place, either.
Harmony is not sameness.
Oh, the pearl work inlay on guitars.
The resonator. The guitar is under stress
even at rest. The best ones are built
at the edge of self-destruction.
Look at the yellow and gold
about to make a match.
Watching Janis in those old clips
feet stomping the floor, her foot
separating from the heel of her shoes
to make a better hammer hitting the floor,
she is not yet 27, but she's nearing
the time of her leaving, already singing
break another little piece of my heart.
On a day like this, one is tempted
to say, I just listened to all the music
of the world. Madera de mi tierra.
Salute the four cardinal points.
Shakuhachi inseperable in its roots
from early modern Japan.
I don't have any remaining tears.
Noh masks and flutes, staging the sacred.
Kultrún drum of the Mapuche
where the healing of the machi took place,
where I was born after the reading of the urine.
So many instruments running through
walking ears, ears for the people.
Even the walking stick a drum.
2-3 December 2017
2-3 December 2017
WALKING INTO MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM
OVERHEARD CONVERSATION ON LONG MARRIAGE
Helen, your bracelet just fell off your arm.
Your bracelet just fell off your arm, Helen.
2 Dec 2017
Creosote leaf chew
Oil-coat savoring water
Text desert tongue test
Sinagua at crossroad
Karen comparing time lines
Seed pods of mesquite
Forest flour ground into meal
Baked into cakes
Mesquite sap candy
Adhesive and medicine
Common cold tree part
Writing all morning
Talk with Karen day and night
Ear and eye event
Her long loneliness
When I can't access wonder
It's a public death
These are the women who played with courage.
These are the women. These are the ones
who explore the virtues. Deciding
is the virtue of the will
temples of spirit radiating
from bodies, merging
with the fabric of sky.
These are the men who played with blocks
These are the men. These are the ones
who explore the virtues. Love
is the virtue of the heart who live
in house wonder, wondering in hallways
of house history. These are the ones,
women and men of the imagination.
These are notebook lines
IN THE TIME OF DYLAN
How to read houses from paper models.
Hands on wet clay shape a new thing.
Building it. Desert shelters.
Living in the time of the cantalever.
Sheer force, moments developed
in beams. Wind and earthquake stresses.
Midpoint balance. Frames for lateral loads.
Go fetch me a 5-man.
You and four others.
A friend from home sends a poem
about the dark time we're in
and it's that dark.
Where I was last night
walking on lit path
Cosanti, the thing first
Ready, fire, first word
orient house proper
5 weeks to 5 years
Pull built environs
Each one hand thrown pot
Craftsmen on five-count
Urban sprawl offense
Only cars connect
All in the notebook
House before the thing
A bell in the yard wants wind
28 Nov--2 Dec 2017
20 ANGELS LIGHTING CANDLES
WHILE KAREN AND I WALK
LONG LOVE THROUGH TIME
Full Moon Luminaria
Yo Yo Ma strings sent our way
Churros dripping brown sugar
2 December 2017
READINGS FOR THE 29TH OF NOVEMBER
COMMON PRAYER POCKET EDITION
A LITURGY FOR ORDINARY RADICALS
SHANE CLAIBORNE & JONATHAN-WILSON HARTGROVE
--for Pastors Jim Engel, Obispo Medardo Gómez y Abelina Gómez, Ron Moen, Shane Claiborne, Paul Benz, Jill Ross, Mike Scheid, Eduardo Cabrera, Ladd Bjorneby, Emilio Benitez, Esau Cuevas, Mary Bosell, Eric Anderson, Alex Schmidt, Abiut Fajardo, Carol Nelson, Carroll Hinderlie(s), pastors all, Lars Claussen, Paul Palumbo, Eliseo Pérez-Álvarez, Chris Wogaman, Harvey Blomberg, Caroline Hellerich, Ron Marshall, Kerry Kesey, Phil Nesvig, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, Dean Stewart, Martin Wells, Susan Briehl, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, and especially for Pastor Harald Sigmar;
--for Fr. Stanley Marrow, S.J., Pastor Rudolf Bultmann, Fr. Thomas Merton, Fr. John O'Riordan, Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J., Brother David Steindl-Rast, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, Fr. Rutilio Grande, Fr. Jon Sobrino; for the Mary Knoll Sisters of Chile and El Salvador; Sister Elizabeth, Sister Mary Ellen Robinson, SNJM, Kathleen Ross, Sisters of the Holy Name, SNJM, and Sister Roberta Rorke, Sisters of Providence, Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM, Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary, and those classmates from SUMORE at Seattle University.
--for those poets with begging bowls and without collars, and in other traditions, monks all; all catholic workers, inside and out.
I. PRAYERS FROM THE POCKET EDITION
"We dream of a holy village in the midst of the urban desert"
"Advent is the season when Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood."
"Becoming the answer to our prayers: A few ideas"
"3. Dismantle a bomb. Or dismantle a theological argument that dismantles bombs."
"With his coming, we learn that the most dangerous place for Christians to be is in comfort and safety...Places that are physically safe can be spiritually deadly."
To find each day's scripture readings for the morning office, consult the following table. For information regarding the person or event commemorated on a special day, consult the 'Annotated List of Special Days.' pp. 105-151.
II. MY TAKE ON THE READINGS
11-29 Dorothy Day. Psalm 139: 10-16. Micah 7: 1-10. Mk 13: 24-31
Micah first, post-harvest, gleaning.
Woe, woe, woe. To men and MSNBC.
My desire for first fresh fruit.
In your lover's arms, don't open your mouth.
50 years ago, when I was 23, newly married,
I found William Stringfellow's book
in Jerroll's bookstore in Ellensburg,
My people is the enemy.
Salmo 139: 10-16. Lo contrario!
Aun allí, tu mano me guiaria
ni las tinieblas serían oscuras para ti,
y aun la noche sería clara como el día.
Sabe todo de mi, Señor.
Aprendí esto como joven
en el estado de Dakota Norte
en mi pueblo. Supiste todo
de mi, incluyendo que yo
identicaba con los indígenas.
Begin by reading the wrong verse
in Mark. Go back to it this morning,
perhaps rushing now. Do I have
to do my lesson over? Fig branches
in spring. Sap running. Time--time
is urgent. It is when you're hungry.
If you're out in the cold
chances your neighbor knows this,
are high. You got it.
You're the neighbor.
What you gonna do, bro?
III. DOROTHY DAY AND THE ANGELS AT THE SPA
8 Nov 1897--29 Nov 1980
Entertaining Angels, title of the Paulist film,
doesn't Paul show up in the unexpected places?
An image from a friend in a moment of doubt,
You never know when you're entertaining
an angel. When you're working at this level
like Miss Day, you're blind to elevated talk.
It must come as epiphany, lifting and sustaining.
My take: she didn't see herself this way.
This film can be rented at Amazon
immediately for two dollars, 97 cents,
and for seven days, it's mine. Karen
says she's going to the fabric shop
to look for material. Epigraph on black
screen opens the movie: I wanted the abundant
life. I didn't have the slightest idea how to find it.
Moira Kelly plays Dorothy Day. 1996 movie.
Film opens with young black woman
screaming in chains--jail cell or mental hospital--
can't tell, Day with her, Camel cigarettes
and a Zippo lighter--I can still hear the click
from mine--set in NYC, 1963, year
I graduate from high school. Martin Sheen
plays Peter Maurin, who (I find out later,
Googling, wrote Easy Essays in verse,
If we are crazy, then it is because we refuse
to be crazy in the same way that the world is crazy.)
Eugene O'Neill, all the artists, right there.
Alcohol and cigarettes. Artists looking for more.
Day writing, wanting that. The unprinted stories,
looking the other way. Love at the beach,
and a daughter, Tamar--there's a good
Old Testament name. Tamar won't go away,
and she won't get off Scot-free. Children
off the obsessed may learn a better way
but they'll pay a price. Day write.
(After watching the movie, wondering about Tamar,
I discover her youngest child, Kate Hennessey,
has this year--2017--published her book,
The World Will Be Saved by Beauty.)
Day's granddaughter Kate says,
All of us are inside Catholic Workers,
outside the Church. Inside/Outside.
I think Buddhists the only ones to get this.
Whatever we'll have, we'll have,
all the great talk, passing the nun on a bicycle.
looking back at the old man, startled.
Shucking oysters. Cutting the hands
looking for pearls, what else?
Cynicism. The poor people--
they seem to like the church.
How the best stuff cuts both ways.
To be an honest woman.
Who says I'm not honest?
We have a good life, the three of us.
Why isn't that enough?
Who are you?
I am a Catholic worker.
Who are you?
You drink, you wet your pants, you vomit.
How could anyone love you?
I am not who I thought I was.
You look awful. That word. Awful.
I've been thinking about who God
wants me to be in a very lonely life.
(Title of her autobiography.
How faithful we are
serving the poor.)
Peter Maurin will lose the language
that I find online,
that I'll end with--
some unfinished business
for me at home--
The coat that hangs in your closet
belongs to the poor.
29 November--1 December 2017
How one works
how one can work.
Where one is
and resources for slowing down.
When you can go slow
and for how long.
Can you stop.
And can you stay.
How long can you wait.
Because you have to keep moving.
Movement makes it possible, too.
What can be absorbed.
Stop and go.
Set and release.
Spaces in between
where vortex goes.
we have seven nights
with bed and kitchen.
A detachable car.
Museums, pink jeeps, and guides.
National monuments with storyboards.
Exile, voluntary and involuntary.
Bookstores in National Parks
with the best books.
At Montezuma's Castle,
I have a choice. Stay with Kachina dolls,
take these books, carefully assembled here,
or, from Images of America,
expensive and superior local history?
How much energy available? To me?
I take the book on Sedona,
where we're driving to. Best history
on place I haven't been to yet.
Sandstone city named after a man's wife.
Taking it with these questions.
Will it open for me? And how?
Whose voice will it be.
In Sedona, after lunch, I try.
It doesn't work. But the jeep ride guide,
Pete, the one who says
I have new medications,
they're working and kicking in,
taking us over these rocks,
gives me the voice I need,
a half dozen details,
and a way into the book.
This is vortex for me this morning,
a swirling funnel of images
from yesterday, gathered mostly by others,
over time, thousands of years with people,
millions with the landscape,
gathered for me today
in luxury setting with the best coffee
in the world. It's all working.
Pete says this is his third day
on the job. Let's go.
Believe me. Vortex. A mass
of whirling fluid or air,
especially a whirlpool or whirlwind.
That fault line!
"We were caught in a vortex of water.
"We were in a pink jeep driving up red sandstone
"We were in a whirling vortex of smoke
Merging in traffic.
Traffic of book, ideas, voices.
Stopped in time, before time and after.
Dust from ocean floor raised by sheets
of tectonic plates into mountains
and worn down again. Cyclones,
eddies, maelstroms swirling.
Black hole of creation.
Vortex of the poem,
That one. That vortex.
A century long poem made new
triggered by a man driving a jeep.
Vortex is the art of movement itself.
A single image from ten thousand
daily frames, the swirl
of ecstatic sobriety
one man walking with one woman
over time's recording.
30 November 2017
EASTER SERMON OF KARL BARTH
TALKING WITH PRISONERS
LUXURY HOTEL READING
These cool sheets on the Heavenly Bed
with all these pillows
in white pillow cases
propping me up as I pray.
Pray and read. At prayer.
We know well are plight and Thou
knowest it better. Wherever
people are gathered today.
Because I live, you will live also
John's Gospel says. ¿y todavía
no me conoces? El que me a visto
a mi, a visto el Padre. I'm stuffed,
just back from barbecue,
pulled pork shoulder and brisket--
and I didn't eat too much! Finished
my cole slaw and baked beans!
Oh, those burnt ends!
Barth delivers the captives in God's name,
not because we enjoy dealing with God,
not because we believe he's easy to follow--
no, none of that! Not because of promotion.
I'm on vacation and I live a very different life.
I know what is at stake here.
My life is at stake. My very life.
Like the man in the starched shirt says,
People die for these white sheets
on the Heavenly Bed. What more
could we do to have you stay with us?
29 November 2017
HIKING BROWN'S RANCH TRAIL LATE NOVEMBER
Leaving my small town on a small plane
in the middle of the night, I'm reminded
what Emily Dickinson said about the mind,
how it needs what it can't know--
more than it needs any Aha! Take me there!
I tell the bus driver. Take me where news
I can't remember can't run intersections,
where everything from now is old. Older,
he asks, than Brown's Ranch settled
by E. O. Brown, a Scottsdale entrepreneur,
early part of last century? He ran thousands
head of cattle on 44000 acres. Before that?
Before that they were unwanted newcomers
to Yavapai and Apache. They came early 1600s,
hunting, occasionally raiding Pima settlements.
Desert farming Hohokam settled in valleys,
about 1300s. Before them, agriculture
became important about 1000 Common Era.
Earliest evidence places nomadic bands
on Brown's Ranch 9000 years ago.
Yavapai and Apache resistance
led to Army forts and reservations.
How far towards oblivion do you seek?
Tell me about Sonoran Desert mercies,
toward drought and famine. OK,
we'll pass under power lines before you walk.
The sun comes up over Tom's Thumb
and backlights ocatillo for the camera.
This is early light dramatic shadow.
Here, the beauty of oblivion, not knowing.
Exhaustion of trail or beauty? Water thirst.
Another bus ride back. A woman slakes fear-
thirst mixing what renews for one like me.
Organic frozen fruit chunks, clear cider--
sparkling--and Passionfruit. Float orange
slices on top with skewers of dried fruit.
28 November 2017
SHARDS OF MEMORY
When they all came,
they slept in sleeping bags,
they slept in the desert,
they build shelter from materials
that manipulated visions.
It was a manipulation
by nature of the self.
Coyotes, bobcats, javelinas.
No straight walls,
no smooth walls,
no right angles.
Flat sides of rocks
and no place to sit.
Public side, private side.
18 November 2017
WHAT RAY CARVER SAID
I'm searching for phrases
We save so many things Ray
said, but we never met. He said,
Use it up, going from short stories
to poems, until he gave the page
all he had. I stumbled
into the Oregon town he was born in
once coming back from the ocean.
We pulled off to have a sandwich,
snapped some pics at the memorial,
went into the small library
and took his books off the shelf
and read poems for an hour. The Dylan
epigraph comes from Tempest,
the song, Just After Midnight,
and Dylan's punching in,
going to work. Just after
he sings Searching for phrases,
describing his process of writing,
he sings, to sing your praises.
My take on this is the muse.
That you --you and I--we live,
Zev, in the era of Dylan,
and we know that.
Knowing that pretty much
does us in, finishes us.
We're so thankful for this,
we're speechless. The others
at the table, we owe them
the kindness we owe family.
With that one exception we're allowed.
I don't have to spell it out.
We don't have anything to add.
27 Nov 2017 /Scottsdale, AZ
PURSLANE AS SINGLE-ROOTED PARABLE
Don Eduardo y Luz walk us to the
community garden, late September
in Sacramento, where we pick
two kinds of eggplant, berenjena,
a small handful of serranos,
two California chiles, and I grab
the weed I've pulled for half a century in Yakima--
purslane with the tiny yellow flowers--
Jim, Jim, Jim, esta es yerba buena,
la verdolaga. Usamos en ensalada.
Sabroso. I'm wearing a Yerba Buena gorra
from San Francisco. Luz steams
the verdulaga before dinner, adding
it with beets to the salad. Part
of the resistance in her city,
Teología de la liberación es parte
de los raices de Pastor Eduardo.
Leo Los Salmos en nuestra recamarra
antes de dormir. En busqueda
de la felicidad. Gritos y clamores
de protesta. Gritos contra la injustia social.
Temas de Luz y Don Eduardo.
At breakfast Don Eduardo sings
the entire liturgy for me in Spanish.
El libro sobre los salmos está llamandome.
How is your liturgical life?
¿Cómo está su vida litúrgico?
22 November 2017
HIKING COWICHE CANYON WITH GRANDKIDS
THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING
All stones basalt, and I fear
we won't find much. Sammie
calls them meatball stones
and I call her metaphor
a find. Dheezus finds
a 5-pounder with a waterfall
down the center
we stash on the trail
so she doesn't have
to pack it both ways.
The girls smell
through it, picking
leaves, rubbing them
into hair, stuffing
into the horizon,
calls it out,
We're walking the Loop
to Cowiche Creek
stopping where out
before they were born.
The girls remember
their hike on Mt. Rainier
this summer, when
they refused the trail
because feet threatened
Sammie finds a
stone with a lake in it.
Dheezus curls her body
into a ledge. We stop
on a sitting stone
for the three of us
and shell peanuts
discussing how plants grow.
25 November 2017
Sky Canyon opens for children the way abundance shows itself in dreams. Oh, Jeez, we say, waking. Ears for the people is not everyone's crystal cup. How do we know the things we know before we were born? This is the mystery of children, and my option. It strikes me this morning that this was my mother's option also. At the time I thought it was a safe place to land.