Clouds and Sky

Those lost days
I remember so well
the obscene sky
emblazoned on my eye
driving around
a courier in greater metropolitan area
delivering things of importance
things worth more than insignificant me
worth the rapid wearing–down of my vehicle with no recompense
and, I could not believe that such a bold sky ever existed
how lucky must farmhands have been
we were a nation of farmhands years ago
and the sky so obscene and bold every god-loving day
Fifteen years later, I trudge hours on my bike
those precious clouds god got up early in the morning to bake
startling contrasts and textures
why masterpieces every day?
as I scurry back and forth
as mouse under hawk's eye
Oh, God, I felt so privy to those secret havens in plain sight
mountain majesty of wondrous delight
thumb in the pie
After so many unexpected enthrallments
feeling so small
so small

Deep Gaze

I see you
beauty of my beautiful world
a gentle desire to know you deeply
exploring your depths.
I lose my world in yours.
Are you part of my world
or I yours?

Sea Creature

I remember when I was a child
Wading into the ocean
devoured by the waves
pulled under by the undertow

I swam and swam for breath
until the realization dawned on me
I no longer knew which way was up
tumbling around and around, head over heals

I let go
Stopped worrying
entrusting fate to eventually yield back to me
sunshine, dry breath

A strange peace
so long
I find myself
looming in the depths
sea creature in a vast, uncharted kingdom

Partaking

Dogs are natural scavengers
 They have the stomach for it
I remember Beth swallowed some
 decaying squirrel whole
Its tail hanging out of her mouth
 for the longest time
Nothing ever became of it

I always wondered where the deer went
 when they died
The forest was always
 a pantheistic land of wonder
As the snow tickled our noses
 Lexie was nowhere to be found
I laughed it off and yelled for her
 Then yelled and yelled
 Then ran and abruptly stopped
Lexie tenderly edging toward the deer carcass
 Shy even
Then the bump on the bridge of her nose appeared

A couple months later,
 in an unusual spring heat
Lexie leaves the trail
 With a straightforward earnestness
We walk an unfamiliar side–path
Cross an undiscovered stream
Another carcass prone to the sun
A vulture crouched in an adjacent tree
Impatient for our departure

The bump on her head reappeared at the top
 Lexie was given two months to live
And, at that other river,
 Her jaw too weak to grip
 the large branches so much a part of her
This third carcass
 Peaceful, laying amid the thorns
One does not begrudge one condemned to death
 to take their fill of death
Not one lick of impropriety

We filled our days with walks
We denied ourselves none of our walks
 We partook
  Peace

Twilight

In the dawn of humanity,
we crowned you
with stories of
how meaningful you were.

Grown clever and independent,
we decried you
with critical analysis:
you are just a ball of hot gas.

Now that I’ve seen your dark side,
after I’ve recovered from the shock
— neither I nor you, nor our galaxy
are the center of the universe —

Let me embrace you as in my youth.
Let me swoon in your warmth.
Let me re-understand the
truth of your fairy tales.
Let the life you created and nurtured
reciprocate.

Night Fetching

It’s a pleasant night
 First one in a while
I haven’t taken Lexie fetching
 for a while either — overworked
So, instead of taking a right
 we take a why not
Can’t see a moon to light our way
 but the suburb lights reflect in the pink clouds
Park closed at dark
 Park Authority
 I'll tell them I didn’t see
I don’t even know if she’ll want to fetch
 She’s all sniffs
 I let her off leash —
  no running to the stream
 As we pass it by
  She shyly deviates tween
  path and brook
Only when I go off–path
 does her tail wag
 and her feet scamper to water
I᾿m surprised to find the stream half–frozen
 a sheet of ice spreads towards the middle
No sticks around, so I climb onto the tree
 fallen across the stream
 and fetch one there amidst the debris
Will she need daylight to see
 or is it some other sense?
I throw it into the stream
 and she fetches it back
I throw it in again; she’s taking a while
 she needs daylight, I guess
Here comes Lexie dragging this
 mythical log
Strange, pure, hewn branch
 from the river bottom
Not waterlogged, just heavy in solidity
 She can’t even drag it out of the water
 just up to the shore
 and tears off half its bark in one bite
So, over and over, mythical log
 to be dredged from the bottom
 of icy river on beautiful night
Headlights peek at me for a while and fade
 an ambulance siren blares
 a police copter circles around
Mocking my fears — no one cares
Lexi scampers around the sheet of ice
 not finding the branch in the depths
“Get it!” I cheer, and she goes in and drags it out again

Creative Child

We go on our walk
Leash slung around my torso
Stick resting on my shoulder
Me, in boots and hat
The master
 understander of social obligations to fellow path–takers
 barker of commands
 thrower of the stick
 gazing ahead at her
 Her happiness mine
She, naked to the world
The child
 wagging her tail and shyly, naïvely approaching all comers
 reluctant heeder
 joyful fetcher
 exploring the vast world of
  earthly treasures
  surrounding us

Refraction

A hard scientific concept to explain
 light
It knows the fastest route
 ahead of time
and bends as it transitions,
 veers course
joyously following some cosmic efficiency
depending on the medium in which
 it finds itself
I throw the stick far down the creek
 thinking to guide Lexi into a long swim
with natural instinct she trots
 lengthwise down the watery beach
 and, in happenstance, selects
 the most efficient entrance to dive into the deep
Then there were those long minutes she spent
 at the edge of the pool
Determinedly awaiting the stick
 to drift to her

Canvasing

I walk through a neighborhood
I've lived by all my life and never have seen
Low sun kissing autumn leaves
the birds gaze at me overhead
As I go from house to house: no one home
All the political rhetoric, my own visions
of the future, fade as the strong
silence speaks of so many astonishingly different
lives, congregations, bubbles of authentic existence
I check another NH box, and my communist dreams shudder
I'm beginning to understand this
notion of small government, I feel
wild individualism growing like a rash
around me, smug and complacent
"Good fences make good neighbors" smiling contentedly at me
Government is now such a tiny fragment of these peoples', anyone's, life
Me, a solicitor -- a trespasser --
wading through the peace of sunset
And it's so sad; even for a romance, these days,
its health requires some rugged independence
I get home and run for my lonely, lonely life

Fall Fetching

The scene dimmed
 with a gentle rush of wind
 as the leaves fell into the stream
The dreamlike matte blurring of the surface
 as the sunken leaves glowed like gems
All the while, soft droplets innocently danced
 with their distinctive expansion everywhere
Followed by heavier drops, deeper, not intrusive
 — on another level, ringing out —
And the kersplash and the wake of my dog
 causing huge ripples, yet still harmonious
 with all the beautiful blustery co–action
Wispy winds brush over the water
 with their own tickling touch
The wind and a pleasant rain
 come up from behind me, pushing me towards
 the vast coverage of webs of undulations
 all clearly distinct, all meshing together
in a beautiful, delicious, mystifying
 fall day of fetch