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.

Weeping

Tiny flashes of light sliding down,

Her tears reflecting Sunday morning,

Invited in

Through the wide windows,

open, lingering bright

over wide streets.

.

She draws music, slowly

To counter this urban jostling

Unknowingly sketching a memory

Just as the years turn to days,

And seasons linger on the palate,

While our scant strides,

sometimes made while leaping,

Are hardly noticed

In the narrow spaces above

this great wheel.

.

But that day.

Who knew,

The songs it pulled from her then,

just a pause now,

Goosebumps on a chilly night,

When a lamp might trace the path

From the lullaby memory of a city street,

To the damp path,

Through a new forest

Thriving in the rain.

Big Fish, Patience and Loss

How Fish bite

I once spent twelve years trying to catch a fish,

In one particular place

Deliberate in my fantasy

Lured on by this water

That fancied a fish.

And when it came,

In the space where afternoon

Begins to turn golden

And quiet,

But long before the time of frogs,

Or the last of summer’s blackberries

Cast their liquored spell,

A slow motion swirl,

A great heaving beacon across the flat water,

Slow motion, now,

In the way that memories become.

The jolt through arm and body

Letting out a great whoop,

Before it went silent again,

Suddenly.

And Evening resumed it’s course,

And I stopped counting in years.

Wait for Me

Wait for me

In the place past midnight

Where the second hand marches into eternity

Away from the banality of hours

And the drudgery of minutes

We are told these dark empty spaces

Should raise us from sleeps

Or at least tighten

Our fetal clutches

In some unmade terror.

But this is where we come to meet

And stroll freely through

These dark hills

Shouldering winding paths

Fringed in the bright flowers unfolding

After a passing spring shower.

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 thirsty 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.

The Solstice Snare

Even now, A thin glow hovers over summer’s dying sky.

The clock chimes ten,

the pull is there:

tomorrow will be imperceptibly earlier than today

And the next day will check out just a wee bit sooner.

And so on.

We said our last goodbyes sometime the evening of June 26:

the latest sunset of the year.

It didn’t pass off in fireworks and cheers. In truth, the night before seemed grander: an open sky, first stars, and night herons,

Squawking from the inky darkness painted in twilight’s corners.

Sunset was a scant few seconds earlier that night.

With no hint of the big swing into winter commencing two days later.

.

But I digress,

It all began on June 14th,

When the sun broke the horizon at its earliest point.

Celebrations began,

As the coastal fog had not shown that night,

And birds sang loud, in a pre-dawn clamor,

Along with a rooster

Still in its coop.

.

Those 12 days of summer’s solstice,

Perhaps more magical in memories

Now that they are slipping away.

In the subtle agony of my machined throes:

hold on, rewind, see it again,

Like I missed something the first time through.

Like last year,

And the year before that.

And so on.

.

Now mid-July

This slow fall long resumed. Gently pulled.

Through the staleness of what summer will become

Into the honeyed glory of Autumn, and winter,

Days gone meek,

Where mornings struggle just to raise a voice,

Resigned to a short, hopeless bridge between nights.

.

Forget that we should hold these times.

Turn, instead, so that we might fly on golden wings,

Sparkling eyes,

Above this great turning wheel.

Trailer in the High Desert

The great blue sky, expansive here

Like nowhere.

Billowing clouds, travelers,

Shake yellow flowers,

And comb green grass

Across bosomy hills.

.

Silence will not fall here,

Held back,

Until summer evenings,

When this landscape sparkles in memories.

.

The road here,

Part gravel and slop and long,

Gives way to the people:

An elderly couple,

Easy and rehearsed in their manners,

Anchored by a faded travel trailer,

Rounded and rehearsed in its place,

Matched by cows and sagebrush

in this brief, bright visit

To the thread of a stream,

Where small fish still hold,

Messengers from other times.

On the Death of a Friend


A telephone call
Is marked by the fearful urgency
That death will bring.
Suddenly,
We don’t have the practiced luxury
Of coming together for a last time.

But you will bring this great pause to us,
Moments of bird songs
And moving water.
Inward, I can see years as spaces,
Filled with people, moments, and habits,
And maybe, in this, Grace:
Saving us from the curse of time.

And now our words,
Wrapped in a fearful gauze of hope
That there is some neat way
To package it all up
Send you on,
Send me on.

These are the useless words,
The real words were then,
Filling all those spaces.
Now, we can only unwind something in us,
Take pause,
In this calloused space of no stories.

There is no book sitting on a table,
Waiting to be read.

And neither of us cared to anyhow.

We would be careful
not to reflect and linger
too long.

In the fleeting grasp,
Of those struggling moments,
that precede absence,
How I will remember our speechless last words.
Only in,
“I love you”
Is there summary
Of time’s wrenching hands.

Despite our rehearsals,
We are not so good
At allowing death
To be the one fluid motion it longs to be.

I love you too, Paul.

Apricot Afternoons in the Central Valley

In a summertime kitchen,

The hissing whisper of an old woman’s gossip

Under the dings of ceramic, cast iron clangs and

The thwaps of the back screen door chasing kids

With freshly picked great-grandfather tomatoes.

Soon, the afternoon wind will pick up,

Gradually pushing the cigar men inside

From their circle of backyard chairs.

Then, the mocking birds will come

Eating the last of June’s apricots,

Sweet and perfect.