Turning, Part III.

I need to give a shout here to Joan Didion for the way she did it. 

When the Afternoon Holds Just Enough

Life and dying,

Should be familiar

In the narrow, empty spaces

Hiding,

In the confusing mass of briars,

And dried or mildewed berries:

Take your pick,

While the shadowed visitors of place

Sneak back home.

.

Somewhere, crosses a stretch ,

When memories,

Stretch further

Than the longness of stories

Our present circumstances

Polished in Elaboration.

.

The corner of life is turned

In some broad sweeping arc

Penciled in years,

And hidden in a dozen tin cans

Buried in the yard

Over a period of irregular years.

.

The day’s path gives a ride

A good long while,

Moving, really moving along.

The time, like the knob of some old radio,

Cranking slowly one way,

At once fading and boisterous.

.

Nobody talks about this stuff,

Like politics and newcomers,

Poking,

Unless we can all turn askew,

Upwards. All of us.

‘Cause we all see it our own crooked ways.

And one more:

Don’t fall for the witching hour,

Telling you, this moment:

Some speck of time,

that could turn the day.

No. Don’t.

Just watch this time,

like it was back then.

How we Count tombstones;

The graveyards of climate:

Like fishing,

where a scant few days are easy.

.

But mostly,

August’s forced languor

to some other eden,

Far from this nihlitude of sapped topographies,

Calls us down.

Now: the dusty dry interludes of impossible

Hell hole hermitages of heat.

Oh, Hell yeah!

.

And those cruel, cheating soft years.

.

Neah, the feint tries of Autumn:

Failed shadows of yesterday’s

Arguments over long drives

Through once watery green valleys

Where tiny creeks had life:

In those old memories we write about now,

And dream of,

Before the tiny earthquakes stir us,

From the empty, dark hour before dawn.

.

All this:

Left behind now.

.

If I could wish on a genie,

Just for this time:

Give me the geologies of water,

Grandma’s fountain,

once again.

Enter left, exit hopefully (draft)

March, April, May

Those hideous months of spring

And dying.

Times to drink to oblivion

Or get sober

Because things have gotten that bad.

More than once.

.

Summer is just a known

Constant staleness, defying perpetuity.

And time of asking calendars

About the rules of a waiting game,

Measured in drought,

Day length,

And sometimes tomatoes.

.

Give me those 4 days in October,

September, November.

Doesn’t matter:

It’s when the counting ceases,

And the shadows come to stay.

A Gathering Gale

Overhead: the soaring sounds,
Calling.

Down here:
The edgy electricity
Jostles limbs,
Loosening blackened blooms
And thickened tassels
Of tiny pears to the back porch
Wind chime chatter.

Damn these winds!
To stir stale oceans,
Stomping seasons,
And lifting life anew
In their leaving.

Another Poem on a Windy Evening

The jostle of limbs,

Loosening more tiny pears,

To the erratic beat of restless wind chimes,

While overhead, the soaring sound persists.

Down here: an edgy electricity.

Damn those winds!

That stir oceans,

Recharge life,

And change seasons.

In one fell swoop.

West Coast Therapy Sessions

Remember the winter that barely passed a month?

And then came the sun.

Yes, still cool enough

To host lingering frosty mornings.

Until the heat came,

And February anniversaries

Were forever changed.

On that exact day thirty years prior

Snow, days of snow

Then ten days of ice five years later

Frozen,

With the surprise light dusting

Of sea level snow for a casual two year memory.

.

And then the rains would come again.

Now,

I tenuously hold on to a line in an article

Discussing the human experience

Of a changing climate:

There will still be good days.

Climate: part IV

Your voice,

Hoarse, crackled and thin,

From the still shadowed corner

Of a landscape, starving,

And touched by the end

Of a once great circle,

Now warped

And faded away from time.

.

Will you walk with me again?

Sketching the Klamath in November

The River is now a great bridge:

The one constant stretching morning

Across the entire day

All the while folding it,

Neatly

Gently,

Back into night.

.

In between:

Freshly poured green water,

Water of life,

Calling water.

Water that hides things

And

rarely reveals them.

.

Even the rocks revel in their newfound tones

Shining on their neighbors with the latest

Deepest

Hue of translucent

stained

Distant

blue.

.

Born of morning,

All the shadowed eddys,

Boxes,

And dark watching spots,

curiously,

Slowly,

Lengthen day’s best work,

In their icy stillness.

.

Dinner is jars of old elderberries,

And struggling greens, lost

Between the miseries of heat

And bugs and thirst

nearly quenched,

While seeing the path ahead,

Pitted, dense,

Still tough..

To where winter will set stride.

.

Cravings of sweets

in the soft, cloying dampness.

Chilled, but

cleansing.

All this:

From vistas of feet

on velvet landscapes,

To the endless jostlings,

Riding across this great bridge.

Sketch from the Orchard

As leaves loose summer’s grasp

They become ghostly ballerinas of the still air,

Glistening,

On the annual pilgrimage to winter’s soft cradle.

.

Morning here lingers well into the afternoon

And shadows replace light

As the preferred method of telling time.

.

Soon, the first winds will stir,

And the old days will be back,

If just for a moment.

Journey to the Rain Latitudes

The pink clouds are a surprise.

A glowing refreshment,

Then a long exhale

Of a wearied man having trudged so long

Through dust,

Succumbed to the dull stone,

Scraped in thorns,

Pasted in stickery sweat,

To a vista:

visited before,

Briefly.

.

The slow release into newness,

And old places returning.

.

This thirst will not go,

It’s scratching, clawing,

Snatching nights,

And holding fast in the haze of dawn.

.

Give me the sweet smells of loam,

And damp leaves.

Passing edens

Languishing

In the softness of decay.

.

My long exhale,

Reprieves from these gasping anxieties,

Before I sit and listen,

To the sharpening air,

As the first water

Falls on the dry grass.