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.

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,

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.