Wednesday, March 18, 2020



These are odd times. If you are reading this then perhaps you are in the close-knit circle of readers who know I have not written in a very long while and will forgive me if anything I say here lends itself to a sense of tone-deafness. 

But since life has slowed down a lot, working from home, going almost nowhere except the grocery, and that only occasionally, I feel the need to say a few things about this time that we are experiencing. First, I hope that each one of us, in our albeit (hopefully) limited interactions with other members of our species, try to interact with each other in a way that leaves the other person better for that interaction. We should all be nice, love one another and have empathy for the fear each one of us may feel, the uncertainty and the recognition of the fragility that is this existence. My heart wants to burst that people are out there showing up for one another, whether they are front line emergency or medical care workers, or grocery checkers--there are some who are risking so much to keep things going along as normal as is possible. Thank you for this every day heroism of showing up. 

I have been walking more. Here there are Huisache and Redbud trees blooming, Mexican Buckeye and Dogwood, poppies, lantana and verbena. I will reiterate something Annie Dillard write that I have often quoted, advice that seems timely:
 
"My God, I look at the creek. It is the answer to Merton’s prayer, “Give us time!” It never stops. If I seek the senses and skill of children, the information of a thousand books, the innocence of puppies, even the insights of my own city past, I do so only, solely, and entirely that I might look well at the creek."

Now we have the time. I want to look well at the creek. Really see everything around me as if for the first time. 

I remind myself to pause and be thankful for this body that has worked so hard for me, carrying me over mountains and through childbirths, this body that has no choice but to go along wherever this brain wills it, regardless of how healthy the choice is. 

This world is a miracle, nothing less. We are blessed to walk a moment in its forests, swim in its oceans, laugh and love beneath its stars and sunsets. I hope if nothing else I learn from these difficult times to take nothing in this fleeting and exquisite life for granted. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

colorado

at 4am I cross the bridge
over the black water
the one that, like a vein, has carried
molecules of longing to our  hearts, 
etching the map of
our coming both together and apart,
winding east, then back upon itself as it carves
southward to the source
where water comes together with other water.

the wings of sand hill and whooping cranes
draw a line in the sky
tracing a path
from where we lay on our bellies
at secret beach, watching the fishing birds,
to the mouth of the bay
where at night the stars bore down
with fire
aching to be seen,
where once 
we beheld the slick backs of pilot whales
in the surf
illuminated by the moon.

here
is where I will always find you
searching for the wild part of yourself
that somehow remembers
what is was like breathing
the water.

Monday, October 10, 2016

lovesong at 6pm

it is just dusk
and my crazy heart is filled
with love for the flitting of birds about the yard
not noticing
me,
here in this chair
bursting with desire

the screech owl awoke me at 4am; I swooned.
over coffee the wren, concocting a plan
to build a tiny nest on the porch.
sun set the blue of the jay and the cardinal on reddish fire
who am I but some lovesick
schoolgirl
mad with longing for the settling light in the leaves
the barely perceptible breeze,
the birds,
the night

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

poem at 9pm

Roatan, 2013

the moon's slivered crescent
rises and the light puddles
 on the surface of the water
quiet except
for the breath
steady and calm and
comforting
 in the liquid ether
that is more home to me than air

why
can't I stay here
forever?
a mermaid
with tangled hair
and a mournful underwater song
trailing 
in a wake of sorrow

sometimes I miss you
but here in the deep cold
no one can see the tears

Friday, September 30, 2016

chrysalis

shannon halley, oil and ink on paper

4,  finally sadness creeps in
I dreamed about you last night,
as usual, driving too fast
in an anger that only found its expression in traffic

I awoke relieved
not to be tangled in your quiet traffic rage any longer--

Am I happy now?
I think so, yes.
I feel alive, and the wanting pang of desire,
and the vast breadth of Being
that I had ceased to feel
with you.

Yes,
there is sadness
but it must be much like the sadness
a chrysalis feels 
when emerging, with wings, 
and leaving behind
 its shell

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

abiquiu



 herman pipkin, palo duro canyon, c. 1935



cool light slanting through dust
early morning Abiquiu
 silent but for
faraway thunder

piñon, red earth, and stones laid out along the sill like prayers

and bones--possum skull, blackbird wing, the twisted horns
of a mountain sheep

I have heard the whispered "bruja!"

exile does not translate otherwise
and you alone know why I have sought refuge
here in the desert--
 that my heart is aflame with love for things both fragile and wild

and that
each day requires a ritual of quenching the heat with the cool hues of canyon and water

You write, Come back to the City

and I wrap my shawl more tightly around my shoulders
strike a match and watch the parchment burn, your words shriveling like a spell

only here can I be what I am
a woman on fire

Sunday, September 18, 2016

elegy


for k.c.c.k (9.19.68-1.7.13)

It will always be winter as we walk down the dirt road with our chapped hands shoved in the pockets of our little checkered blue jeans
The wind is so cold it bites the delicate membranes inside our noses,
and our eyes sting in the bitter air

Geese clap into flight
We dare each other to touch the teeth in the grim smiles
of dead coyotes hung along the barbed wire
For some reason these are the things I vividly recall from our life in the old hotel on the plains
I remember your birth-
the fear I held within me that you would come
and break my heart

It will always be your call that wakes me up in the middle of the night,
Baby brother
child of straw hair and blue eyes
 
What does it mean to you now?
Can you hear the songs I sing when I am lonely or
the prayers I whisper in early morning dark?
Do you think of the cold, the rasp of dry bluestem, the sweet early morning call of the Sandhill Cranes passing overhead while we sleep, warm in our beds, just children, 
safe