Showing posts from June, 2017

Surf City, Here We Come


Dogsbody Dreams

It’s like this when you wake up early And your eyes follow the new light where it will go Along the curves of your own body to the folds of the sheets To the dog at the end of the bed Resting there to be as close as possible To the window, The cool air of the outdoors, The steady breaths and the distant dreams The softness and the warmth And the early light and birdsong. I resist rising To curl myself around the little dog To share her sleep and read her dreams And to be there by the fire Part of the pack Ready at any moment To howl Except that this is no time For a song to the moon. Only now on this new day Under these soft sheets and At a remove for the pack Whose representative lay at the foot of my bed Am I learning my place.

Summer Picnics

Drying last night’s rain From my plastic Adirondack chair This morning, I recall all the web-seated aluminum lawn chairs You would weave into new furniture When dampness rotted the material Over the years And the plastic chairs you had us tip Against the patio table so any water would run off And you could sit down when we came outside. We have been through a lot of lawn chairs over the years. All that time outside: Despite the rain. Wind. Humidity. Greyness. All those picnics despite these conditions: Drying chairs, preparing food, icing the beer and soda. All the laughter, jokes, gossip, old stories whose endings were no surprise. Now, as heavy clouds badger me into going back inside, I am thinking of which books I will bring to the patio This afternoon And wondering how long Until the deck will be dry if I run a towel over the boards. Nobody will come today. I will sit alone with so many poems and myths And memories and

Betting on the Rain

If we don’t have the Paris Accord anymore, We do have the rain coming down with such force That no featherless biped dare emerge from the cave As the feathered ones and the rest of the fauna Stay tucked in and waiting. Growing to the steady rhythm of the rain Are all the potted plants and every wild green thing Along with the domestic. Here is a rain forest, And we are its smallest occupants. When I take a tentative step onto the deck To dry the chairs and to swab the floor That I might expedite my return to this Breezy wild space, A chipmunk scutters past my feet, A sparrow lights on the patio table And the crows laugh their commentary On what I think they see down here. The rain does not engage in politics. Like Putin, like Trump, It takes what it wants. All we can do is watch it happen, Knowing how small we are. This is participation If you’re betting on the rain.

Luscious, Alive


Wild Irises

These wild irises aren't waiting for the party to start because they are the party.  They have been blooming, fading, blooming, fading for the past several weeks.  Show me a swamp, and I will show you sunshine and life marching to the beat of painted turtle time measured by a blue heron guarding the movements of beaver creating a perch for Canada geese tired of playing hide-and-seek with snapping turtles.  This is life, and this is the party.

Wild Things

This little rose had wrapped itself around the trunk of a birch tree at the edge of a pond near home.  Once I noticed it when  I was out for a walk, I noticed there were many of its kind wrapped around the base of birch and other trees. A parasite?  Once thoughtful landscaping gone wild?  Who knows.  Sucked in by a pretty face, I was fascinated by the play of light on the contours of the petals, the waxiness of the leaves, all of summer in a blossom, and that grain of sand...

Windham, Connecticut, Art Project Puts Style on the Grit of Life

Artist Jerry Montoya created this installation by painting Arm & Hammer laundry soap boxes with black-and-white images of urban life.  Together, the boxes create a complex, close urban world.  The work is a storybook rich in personality and character but also deep with despair.  This is a hemmed-in world where the measure of a hero is his or her ability to push against limitations. Please check out the Windham Art Project site.  Windham is an edgy, artsy college town that has a great story.   Windham Matters .

Missing Stars

Guarding the sea-turtle nests Alongside strangers Under a full moon in the still air of midsummer About the time the turtles should hatch We look into the starlit sky Curving around us like so many distant conversations Too far away for us to hear And note that missing Is the Big Dipper. We wonder where it went. There, after all, is the Little Dipper and, There, the North Star. So where is it? Like small children who believe in a divine plan, We wonder who took it away, And then we forget about it. Believers in something, We wait for the turtles, Ready to guide them into the sea, To life inside a deep mystery Amid other conversations we will never hear, According to plan.

Worry-free Rose

Water spills from the birdbath In a tsunami That snaps a neck of my Worry-free (R) Rose And lands two blossoms in a lake of mulch. Drops of water collect on the petals As if the stagnant birdbath water Were drops of dew. It is a beautiful death, But it is not over. Other blossoms from another neck Crane and strain to reach the sun beyond the Rose of Sharon-- A greedy, weedy thing with vague pretensions of a religious past That sucks up all the air and light around it-- It’s what happens when a Maker outsources story, And the story becomes a brand-- But I was speaking of the Hydra, Or, should I say, my Worry-free (R) Rose In whose world water stands in for swords and fire, This small garden, for Lake Lerna, And me, for Hercules-- Oh, and these broken roses now perched in a vase, for myth.


This winter The plants in my bedroom turned To face the morning suns.   Tonight, they face the reflected light of the sun In the face of the full moon. I stand behind them in the unlit room, And I find myself listening To the wordless dialogue Between poinsettias and the moon, Geraniums and the moon, Coleus and the moon, Philodendron and the moon. I listen, and when I stop searching for words that do not exist And never have and never will Describe the understanding in this silence, I, like them, find myself In the moonlight, The reflected light of the sun Feeling the magic: Heliotropism Wherever you can get it.

Litany, Affirmation

One blue heron in the sky Two Canada geese overhead Two in the bog Cedar waxwings everywhere, it seems One robin Crows large enough to deserve a landing crew White ducks I’ve never seen before Red-winged blackbirds calling the news across the sky That blue heron again With three others in a tree now A blue sky, a blue pond Hawks eyeing my little dogs A breeze whispering stories to the pines Of peepers, painted turtle babies Possum joeys nesting in those pine tree bodies Another robin, singing back the same story From the soft moss below These are everything This is the story As I heard it Though not every word.


Where I had cleared the heavy, leafy debris Left by a winter of cold winds Following an autumn of neglect, And a summer of mild indifference, The dried strands of last year’s ornamental grass Float among the golden pine needles Fragrancing the spring day With a memory: The summer aroma of solitary sunshine in the treetops. Into this stasis flies a robin To tug on the dried grass until it yields. He flies away with it and a few pine needles And life continues.