Monday, September 30, 2013

in the yellowing

The first yellow leaves separate
from their tree-bodies
dry and light like sloffed skin
lifting off into blue space
one by one, elliptical
confetti in a continual float
at the end of the parade,
spinning across the barn’s
coffinal roof where walnuts thunk
like falling teeth, spiraling
around empty sunflower heads
lolling against shoulderless stalks,
or circling round and round nothing
like ashes—nothing that looks like
something, for the wind—
until after almost all down
hovering above the grassy ground
they bump against yellowjackets—
madly drunken satellites droning
in a shapeless galaxy around soft pears,
already languishing in ferment under them
at the end or may I rather say
at the beginning of their slow mellowing ride

Thursday, September 26, 2013

If I could change one thing

If I could change one thing
in the raising of our children
it would be me, change me
cooking supper in the pearl light
of the kitchen, away
from them the first time
all day, wrestling with daddy
in the other room, and again
after supper, escaping
to wash the fragile dishes, alone,
ferociously alone, without them
with me, learning slowly together
about this practical, breakable life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The unsolved mystery of sumac’s fire

I invited silently.
(so sure)

“Speak to me,”
I implored then
with a little sound.
(less sure)

“Show me what is inside,”
I pleaded out of a rising spring
of words living with hope.
(even less certain)

My feet heavy with dew.
Morning sun walled behind the pines
though its arms wrapped around the meadow
and would soon snuff out
evidence on the sumac
     —flames upon flames—
                beads of water shining
                    atop each burning leaf

      I cried!
in frustrated tears!

O excruciating desire

not to hear them say!
not to hear them say

To hear myself
say some, any thing
from inside
that disappearing flame.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Too much salt in the oatmeal

Too much salt in the oatmeal
and too much heat for September.

I make these judgments
surrounded by thriving stands

of bamboo, pine and cedar.
There has been enough

rain so all is green.
My belly fills and sloshes

— grain milled for easy prep
and milk, berries, pecans —

deconstructing what I feed it
as it always does, morning

after morning. The orchard
drops and drips fruit. Frost

will come perfecting the apples, that’s
a fact, nothing subjective in it.

There is too much salt
in the oatmeal, and too much heat

for September. It can be argued
that these are the fault of man.

But there are also the berries,
the blackberries sweet

and soft, the ones we picked
from among thorns.,

knowing how they would
balance everything.

[Note 1: Trying it without the final couplet; see comments.]
[Note 2: Adjusted penultimate stanza; see how that works.]

Thursday, September 5, 2013

If I were to swim for misery

If I were to swim
for misery in the sea
would it be less
than for bliss?
Each wave marked
with its own beginning
and end, I would skim
only the thinnest
taperings, not
the expanse, the ever
out and down, the bottomless
dive, the somersault
in velvet black. If
where waves end
were always it
right where sea
dissolves in sand
where the smallest
life invisibly thrives,
if I championed loss
crawling and crabbing
along the ever diminishing
feed — if this were all
I had, would it then
be misery?