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.

Ghost Marks

Image courtesy of depositphotos.com

Before
morning,
she wakes,
adrift
still
in half-remembered dreams,
dirtied by ghost footprints 
upon the waking
to muddy tread marks ever present,
no matter the hours spent in scrubbing—
the marks indelible—
tattoos of mud.
Leave her to the simple tasks of morning,
to her daily reckoning,
preparations of covers and cases required,
all the hiding away,
layering as if for winter,
this bandaging of tender spots.

The Coffee Mug



shattered on the floor
my favorite coffee mug
nothing big, not much of a thing,
just my favorite coffee mug--
sunshine yellow, with coffee beans,
and a coffee spoon printed inside at the top
along with a line from my favorite poem,
“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”
yes, trite, you might say, emblazoned upon a coffee mug
but still, yes, I loved the mug, love the poem.
and there it was—
shattered upon the floor
there she stood,
apologizing—ad nauseam—
saying she’d buy another to replace it.
But it was not to be found.
Of course, the store didn’t have them anymore.

The mug was the first broken thing.
The first of a few, if it wasn’t liked,
didn’t fit into the ideal 
of what could be
forged of me
if pinched in the grip of tongs 
and held in the fire long enough
to be broken down to a molten,
malleable state, pounded upon the anvil, 
shaped, dipped in water to sizzle cool enough
to start the process over again—
for easy fracture.

Many things ended up broken, 
shelved, stored in closets—
pictureless frames and frameless pictures,
parts of me 
hidden away, never to be seen
sitting on shelves
in black closets—

until I emerged
chipped but no worse for wear
unbroken into the light.

A Razor Sharpened Tongue

image courtesy of iheartdogs.com

When the devils dwelling

within humanity’s heart

show themselves

through the horrors

of animals beaten, tortured

starved, or treated                   

with the willful disregard

of neglect–

I do rage,

wishing, at the very least,

for a razor sharpened

renegade tongue,

with which I could do damage–

wreak havoc,

slice and dice with it,

and after I’m done—

take all my slicing

and all my dicing

into arms strong enough

to carry the weight

of cruelty bled out,

drained of all its bloody

need to hurt, ignorant

of the suffering it has caused,

and toss it all into a funeral pyre

built to destroy all these

blood drained devils dwelling

within humanity’s heart.

Finally, finally leaving us to treat

ourselves,

other creatures,

our world

as if we truly do

have the souls

God has given us.

But it would take more, much more

than a razor sharpened tongue

to cut all the devils out.

so I turn my hands

to help, comfort,

aid as I can—

small drops,

yes, very small drops

to wash the darkness

of all the devils out.

No Lexicon

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There exists no lexicon

For the echoes of emptiness here–

Where the azaleas bloom

Purple, pink, and white,

While dusty looking

Lavender sends up

Multiple spikes,

As roses yield up

Open, thirsting mouths

To the sky.

Though the soil here

Nourishes color and green

Growing things,

While life appears

Apparently abundant,

Although neighbors smile and wave,

The soil remains absent of truth, of meaning,

Of love—of a spirit—of a soul.

No lexicon exists for the emptiness

Echoing throughout the soil

In this place.