Celebrating the 4th Rain

Like old days come to visit again,

Now the dampness will live here,

For a good long while, Defining


This place and this time.

Soon, the waves of hungry cold

Will take the leaves,

Peaches, pears, finally the apples.

Always the last apple.


Released, now

To a brief ease of playing in a fickle sun

Soon covered by the gauze of quick rains.

Rains that sneak through,

Leaving grand dripping choirs

And the late night sounds of wet soil.


The day opens to waters passing,

And the joy of new light.

Rivers and Funerals


The world tilts far enough now

Where summer is almost a secret,

And lifetimes can easily pass in the still air.


During our walks, then,

Over brilliant orange, gold and new sky,

Her sadness came to be:

Neatly placed

Into the yielding grasp

Of a freshly fallen maple leaf.

Then, sealed into a shiny blue envelope:

Scribbled on,

When short notes were a thing

Of long Sunday afternoons.


Moving water is still great at counting time now,

And will soon lap at the stone steps

Of a clapboard church out there,

Hosting the wailing choirs

Of straggled people turned sane again.

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


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,


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.

Turning, Pt III (draft)

The afternoon holds just enough

Life and dying,

To be familiar

In the narrow, empty spaces

That keep to themselves

In a confusing mass of briars,

And dried or mildewed berries:

Take your pick.

While the shadowed visitors of place

Return home.


The day’s path gives a ride

Good sojourns,

Moving, really moving along.

And this time:

Like the knob of some old radio,

Cranked slowly one way,

Boisterous and fading

Again and again.


Nobody talks about this stuff,

Making for poor politics.

None, really.

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.

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.

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,



Back into night.


In between:

Freshly poured green water,

Water of life,

Calling water.

Water that hides things


rarely reveals them.


Even the rocks revel in their newfound tones

Shining on their neighbors with the latest


Hue of translucent





Born of morning,

All the shadowed eddys,


And dark watching spots,



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


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,


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.

Day Three at the Astronomy Office

The dense moments:

A perched and waiting infinity

like the slow approach

Of a December storm.

This will give way

To clusters of days

Grouping themselves into months and

somewhere listed in years and futility.

Some of these more relevant than others.

All this in hindsight, of course.

But all of them eventually get listed equally

Despite their distance from now,

And the patterns to deceive.


Maybe all these places and spaces are appropriately

Filed as leaves falling from trees,

As they play the light floating down,

Ghostly ballerinas of the wooded air.

Each one it’s own scratchy day

Wringing the counting out of us,

Collecting in the patches of light

And shadow.


Of course,

Back at the office,

all this started during the pragmatic era,

Which preceded the declining epoch,

Where the rusted pot of drought

Boiled dry, until the metal turned glowing blue

And this time of light appeared as some

Barefoot church-goer:

Enthralled and enthused,

Ready to shake, but still too worn and stiff

To let fall the remaining leaves.

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,



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


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.


And Summer’s Dwelling.


The soft urgency of evening comes as a call of light.

Light in windows,

And the closing edge of shadows,

Where far off night calls for tomorrow’s respite.

The last places fold themselves into corners,

Where sounds hide,


Slipping into a quickening stop now,

While yielding to the hills beyond

Staring down at our polka dot splendor,

While they wait their turn.


Now, the calendar gets marked,

Not in numbers and squares,

But in these lines,

Those corners,

And the rough shapes of passed time.


Now I remember this path,

Where it led,

How it was worn somewhat,

But tread in new shoes,

At a steady pace,

To the whims of clarity,

And the luxuries delivered

From the old shadows

Lurking all the while

Among the familiar.