Tag Archives: 8

Smugglers

Smugglers

Easy enough to call the contraband
Memory but is it? We didn’t mean

To find ourselves at the border
Of the moment with unexplained

Stuff in our bags. Mood altering
Substance. Clouds move away

Inexorable as a tango. The earth
Rolls us forward with everything

Every hour’s hand has held.

Summer Midnight

cactus1

Summer Midnight

A man wakes in a hotel room
In an unfamiliar time zone. He has all his memory

and yet he carries nothing with him from that time.
Like the new summer from the spring he is all effect and no cause.

Outside in the dark he walks as if on the floor of a great sea.
But the ground plants have sucked all the water from the place

And have taken on a strange bristly beauty as if floating upwards.
Opening his mouth to say a name the word dries on his tongue.

One hundred and eleven degrees: three above auspicious.
Of the river his lover grew up alongside and the low-tide’s waves

Of the bay he knew as a child he hears nothing. But he hears
a message as when a great wave has washed over you

And floating in the foam you find a scrawled message
from the past forecasting that a wave is about to crash.

The hotel swallows the moon like a horizon.
One lizard on a row of stones.

Mid-day coffee, garden path northeast of Phoenix

PHO sky in coffee

Mid-day coffee, garden path northeast of Phoenix

Sun is a small white speck on the liquid’s curving edge
Halfway down the paper cup. In the depths

The trees are turning, turning on the caramel sky
That has already consumed half the day.
.
Wakefulness branches out across the surface
Of consciousness.Inside the hotel, thousands

Of my colleagues are putting a lid on such thoughts
To walk quickly to the next meeting. I will leave

It all uncovered, walk more slowly than I need,
Carry the sky inside like an open notepad.

The Present

The Present

Last day of May, first night of fireflies.
All the details of the day a blur and flicker.

Try to catch one and you’ll miss the all of it.
Look up and the leaves have turned black.

The sky pale as a wet cloth absorbs their dark.
The bat caroms off air with a voice we can’t hear

And at ground level the day stays a little longer
All that little lightning and no thunder.

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

mantis1

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered

Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away

After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping

It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more

On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now

For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing

And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer

One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down

The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada

Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything

That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days

We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again

 

mantis2