December 17

We slept in a graveyard of trees,
a cradle of fire, formerly,

and the outermost edge
of the Southwest desert.

The sun slipped away
all afternoon as the wind

picked up across the further
steppes, traced mesas

with their new dusting
of snow–

So we slept early
and shallowly, as dreams

of deer passed through
camp towards the ice-clotted

spring further on.
Crystalline life,

all that I could need,
or want, breath

or heart, here inside
this ice-crusted tent–

A home is where
you are, no more,

I see it now
but had to go out

so far, the furthest
I’ve been, the hardest

edge, the deepest sky,
the slew of secret stars,

the sun spilling over
red rock to bring the dawn,

stirring bones to life,
all gifts, all rewards,

all greetings that say
welcome,

welcome,
now, farther–

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December 11

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Optional poetry is going on a non-optional vacation! Please feel free to peruse the archives, or check in next week for (hopefully) a slew of inspired new poems.

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December 10

Strange thing, an allergy.
An act of protest—

Even at the molecular
level I am in revolt.

Punky. Itchy.
It smacks a bit

of betrayal—
Why rise up

in welts
without clarity

of position,
or at least

a list
of demands?

I say
the unexplainable

should at least be
placatable—

each drag
of the nail

is relief
and regret—

to say, pick a side,
is only reasonable.

Here, I’ll even draw
the line.

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December 9

I woke with a want
for the ocean

gray and desolate,
with winter surf

veiled
under soft,

steady rain.
A desert

won’t be
the same,

too still and open–
the ocean

closes in,
relentlessly.

But the stars,
you say,

they’ll be amazing–
Yes, if only

I wanted clarity,
but the act

of waking
was enough.

Now I want
to be muffled,

I want to be
hidden,

to watch
the squall lines

build
and then

swallow up
the shore.

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December 8

You said

         sips of breath

but I remembered

         gulps of air–

I’m American, Rumi,
a Texan to boot,

but still I can
do nuance,

and know too
how the throat

tightens from peril,
at giving all

or giving up—
I’m leaving soon

for the desert,
winter-stark

and emptied,
with nothing to find,

or so I hope,
so tired now

of looking,
but God help me,

I can’t stop.

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December 7

After all this talk of phases
and phase changes,

of dawns where the fog
plays at being water,

the air grown palpable,
the most regular of things

seeming reachy,
not quite

as we thought, as if
caught in the moment

when a dream
is revealed as such–

Yes, that plane will leave
no matter what,

this modern migration
not accommodating

of stragglers
who stayed up

North too long,
outlasting the cold,

floating past all sense
of time and urgency,

it’s just so difficult
to be bounded now–

this minute is all
mine, and the next one,

and the next.

 

 

P.S. officially a published poet now:

pbmag

ha!

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December 6

The wind spent itself
last night–

it’s now so still,
the noise

from the far road
drifts up

from the valley
like some distant

ocean roar.
The morning

hesitates–
the sun didn’t show,

so must it go on?
Nothing moves,

not a single thing,
no bird, no branch,

not even the wind
-slackened  maples

down the bank–
the air is thick

with deliberation.

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December 5

This maple’s a mess
but might have been worse

there must have been
some arborist

come to cut back limbs
to stumps, I don’t

recall it but then
the evidence

was mostly hidden
by leaves;

it took
a lot of wind

to get to this
point.

I also had to ask
if this gate

has always been here?
Walking through

a door being
a cue to forget,

but still I wonder
about how hard

it is to see
daily presences,

requiring four
seasons, at least,

to get the full,
clear, picture.

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December 4

i.

Again with these nights
like oceans

they come in fast
and strong—

it’s easy to forget
just how much

of this earth
is coastline—

roughly the same
distance

as from here
to the moon.

 

ii.

Distance first
is cruel,

and then kind,
and then necessary—

our closest star is
alpha Centauri,

and it isn’t even a star,
but two,

a visual binary,
close, at 23 AUs,

or 3,440,751,030 km,
so take that as you will.

 

iii.

Everything is mostly
empty space,

99.999999999999%
or so of each atom

that makes us up,
and maybe that’s why

we tend to fill
our time

then top it off
with complaints

that there’s never
enough—

 

iv.

Or, a void
is tough work.

 

v.

There’s chemistry
or alchemy at play,

loneliness a liquid,
freedom a gas—

it’s hard to say
how solids

come in, except
that it’s all a phase,

nothing stays
or lasts

 

vi.

but so much
expands

to fill a space,
and it’s not

that nothing’s left,
it’s just so far

apart that only
from a distance

do things ever
still seem whole

 

vii.

But backing up,
things slip

from our grasp—
the moon

is illuminating
the air outside,

and to see is to know,
and to know

is roughly
equal parts gain

and loss

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December 3

In the weeds
and getting

pretty damn salty–
this week descends

into the colloquial–
no well-heeled

words could ever
do it justice,

too upscale,
they don’t get tired

out, stretched
to cover

multitudes,
they miss nuance,

don’t say just
how weary it gets–

preservation, versus
hanging on

the line–
only one hints

at the prospect
of falling,

but knows that
you won’t,

as you can swing it,
babe, you’re golden–

is hope in
the fucking rough

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