What Moses Must Have Felt When Looking Upon God’s Back

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

This is an older poem that I’ve dusted off and changed around a little. The end is entirely new but in keeping with the hike in Colorado that inspired it. I was so struck by seeing the one tree leaning upon the other I did not think to whip out my phone to take a picture of the sight. In that moment of observation of the trees, it seemed a violation to do so.


In the woods
two trees stand,
equally rooted,
firmly in the ground.

Yet, as if deciding
it a curse of solitude
to try and touch a Sky
who never reached back,
one turned 
to touch the other,
leaning its trunk
against its forest mate’s.

And so, I found them,
standing as lovers,
one resting upon the other,
limbs entwined in embrace.

I lowered my head 
out of respect mingled
with a bit of embarrassment
at glimpsing their
beautiful intimacy.


I  turned,
walked down the trail,
crunching dried leaves
beneath the fall of my heavy boots
as I continued on among the trees
in  silence and solitude.



Freed

Image courtesy of http://www.allthatsinteresting.com
As a child,
I survived the explosion of dreams
that left hot greasy remnants
dripping down the four-inch squares
of avocado green ceramic tiles,
marring their mirror like shine.

As a grown woman,
I survived the eruption of dreams
that poured down an encasement of hot ash
over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis,
leaving monumental statues of grief.

Thus, I chose to live
where silence drones,
a rumble in the ears.
Nothing left--
a hole, a void
made by echoes
of desires held long ago.

So, I have taken a corn broom
to dance with me
in time to music
only I can hear
to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs,
the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas
of me, my doings, my words.
Yes, from my words,
I shake loose all the years of dust,
the years of ash, the years of grease.
All words, oh, so many words
I never loosed upon the air
to float free upon the winds,
tumbling away, up, around,
then returning once more
to spring up as wildflowers
when things turn to green.

I begin to loose them now,
freed to scatter where they will,
root, spring up where they
find a place to rest.

Time of Year

It is the time
of grey skies
and dead brown grass
along the roadsides.
The time when the trees
are seen shivering,
their limbs quivering in their nakedness.
When even many of the evergreens drip down
brown, bloodied from the lethal knife wounds
of a sharpened frenzied freeze
as they sag into their deaths.
Yes, it is that time of year
when I yearn
for the green of spring,
for limbs to wrap myself within,
for a renewal of promises
I once longed to make.
The time of year
when I empty forty years
of myself.

Why I Have Always Wanted to Learn the Art of the Potter’s Wheel

Image courtesy of FireGallery.com
clay slapped on the wheel
shaped from spinning motion with
the control of hands

form, substance given
before the heat of the kiln
then give years of care

secured from breaking
ends in sharp edged shards broken:
mosaic in form

Where I Found You

Taken when she was still trying to work while going through treatment for ovarian cancer.

In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.


I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads 
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.

Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs 
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.

The Dirt of Chimayo

Image is my own
As if you erupted
from an eternal spring,
an immortal thing,
I gave you away
when last I prayed
here at Chimayo.
When kneeling
I scooped the healing dirt
as I spoke silent prayers of thanks
for my heart bravely facing
shocks of resuscitation
after years spent
barely beating
in stuttering grief.

Upon return today,
I kneel to scoop
the healing dirt,
asking in silent prayer
a blessing of forgiveness
for giving you away
too easily—
thus, killing you,
bleeding you of all hope,
beyond resurrection,
beyond resuscitation.

In the dirt of Chimayo,
this healing earth,
from this place of faith,
sifted through my hands,
I bury you, a mortal thing,
I gave away too easily
to an undeserving faith,
in this dirt of Chimayo.

The Body of Christmas

Image courtesy of Patch.com

The body of this day scribed

in the giving of joy,

sacramental life found

in a bowl full of jelly

shaken by the deep belly laugh

of a white bearded fat man,

remember the truth meant

to be kept in the day,

so, turn in mind

to those who cannot share

in the giving abundance–

thus, are paid in the blessings

of holy lip service, the emptied garbage

to fill the landscape with

glittering wrappings of the day’s

leavings to leave a day

of a soulful mask searching for a soul

it lost long ago

in eternal hungering for fulfillment

never filled with ever more consumed.

Small Jars of Jam

image courtesy of https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/apricot-jam/
Your lies hang,

apricots swaying
in the summer air
from the tree
of your despair.
You pick the ripest apricots
to make jam
you ladle into small jars,
gifting them to friends
who smile softly,
touched you think of them
by gifting your small jars of jam
made from the apricots
you pick from the tree
of all your despair
denied.

Winter’s Will

image courtesy of ALEX VASILYEV on wired.com

There is no understanding

how winter comes

for it comes in too many ways

at too many times

often when it shouldn’t

starting at the edges

creeping to the core

snatching away all the covers

driving out the flames

or

slowly, softly

almost tenderly

like a gentle, timid lover

will winter drift into days

as autumn delicately falls

little dip by little dip into winter’s icy arms

then a frozen world is made.

At times winter rides

with sword drawn

into spring

after life has begun

to wreck havoc on all things

green and growing,

make still all hearts feeling the flow of life begin,

at those times, winter rides

until sweated out

in the course of time.

Yet winter may freeze us solid

in the midsts of summer’s heatwaves

as we stand over gaping mouths of graves.

While some breathing in the hope of spring

as others live in winter’s black ice

suffering the bite of hunger and need

winter’s winter grows larger still

beyond Arctic, beyond talk of tundra,

or talk of some kind of permafrost—

but something too many know.

we will not end in fire

nor will we end in ice

in the end,

it will be the lukewarm breeze

of indifference,

the one to do us in.