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.

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,

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.

Anniversaries

And Summer’s Dwelling.

Now:

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,

Descending,

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.

How Fall turns to Winter

After the rain came,

In a great pulsing return,

Like old friends reconvened,

Their hiatus, of generations,

Watching salmon move on

From the filling pools,

Only to falter in skinny water,

And return to the quiet depths,

And hopefully sweeter respite.

.

With storm winds fading over night,

Days resume their routine:

Morning’s great bridge aglow,

Providing free passage,

To the quiet witnesses

Of nights reclaim.

The Topography of Rain (a rewrite)

These are songs we rehearse

Only to ourselves.
Feigning patience,
In the thick stagnation
When the wind fell away,
And the sun is all that is left.
.
This time of smoke
And old valleys
Sitting low, in their once verdant chairs,
Bosomy ranges now creaking, tight,
Under their own thirsty landscapes.
.
In this time of waiting,

Rhythms are scribbled across a dry creek bed:
Brittle choirs of sand and pebble,

Playing to a listless audience,

Muted in dust.

How the Rain Might Visit

These are songs we dare speak

Only to ourselves

While we wait

Patiently

Through the thick stagnation

We encounter somewhere

Between summer and fall

When the wind falls away,

And the sun is all that is left.

.

This time of smoke

And old valleys

Sitting low, in their once easy chairs

Of coastal ranges gone tight

And creaking

Under their own thirsting landscapes.

.

You can just about hear the memories:

Water-worn tales amidst the dust and rounded gravels,

Once verdant glee,

All gone brittle,

In this time of waiting.

November on the Klamath

Night’s silent choir,

Patiently gathered around the roots of trees,

Inside the river’s long bend,

And in the shadows of boulders,

Passing time under morning’s great bridge.

.

Across:

The orange of maples.

Ahead:

Paws of a lone bear.

Behind:

Tracks of a fisherman’s boots

Through the damp, grey sand.

.

These might be cobblestone dreams

On a lazy afternoon,

But that was October’s rhythm:

Summer’s back porch, shaded

In creaky planks

And sliced tomato gluttons.

.

Now, the soft arc of light,

Chilled in air gone stiff and still,

Begging for hunched voices,

That dare not stir old winds,

From behind sedge and willow.

.

A conversation,

The groans and gripes of water on rocks,

Goodbyes of frogs and leaves and liquored blackberry sunsets,

The gratitudes of full moon clouds,

A gift of rain.

.

Hurry,

The long gaze of night

Will soon turn us to pebble and stone,

Smooth and round, barely colored,

In the fading light.

Slipping through narrow places

Wild, curly haired kids still chase candy-colored rocks

Across old sea floors, dotted with dandelions,

And the long yawn of summer gone stale,

All gathered up, into a lone rusty pail.

.

This,

After swings in trees,

and secret swimming holes,

down long, easy roads,

Soothed in watermelon dreams,

While holding hands, with our heads in circles, catching the sky.

Her eyes, sparkling stars of night and oceans blue,

Whisper ice cream cones and a first kiss, too.

.

Now, sun in smoke, searing

Cicadas singing,

That long dusty road of angst and dearth

All dried and sharp,

Our once cherished mirth.

.

Hurry!

Bring us giddy hopes of weather and water,

and grand tales on the coming of storms,

Let times soon turn, and days delite

Those same stories,

Sparkling in that honey-colored light.