Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Through the woods, light

Like flying a silver kite in a thunderstorm

Cold night

I can’t stay asleep any longer, so I
walk my aching self out of the dark nest,
the cave where dream-slivers prick me
and stony thoughts bruise my feet.
Unconsciousness is a kind of contentment,
so warm in the lightless room, weightless,
self-less. Awake, words the color of lead
make my robe. I’m stiff with cold and waiting
for someone, anyone to light a lantern, a moon,
a bonfire, at least then I could watch these
shadows dance until sunup.

Chatoyant textures


Roberta was browsing for "focus fabrics" while I gathered up some pictures.

Color shock

Looking out the window

Friday, December 23, 2005

And sometimes it feels like this

Near the stream

Fieldstone and damp mortar needing repointing,
the time long past when you’d throw a penny
in and wish I was yours to pull out from the
deep cool water, the lonely dark well.

Fish are more skittish than I, fast as I was baited
and hooked as I am with your need and mine, now I’m
thrashing it out, running it out as if I’m free of all
you’ve given or taken, all I’ve asked for and failed
to speak to the well-shadow where our wishes sank like
pennies to the silty bottom, glowing dim embers under
muddy ash, I rush to snap that line then stop tied
as it is to our hearts.

Porch music

Patterns of growth

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

At the corner of Scenic and Bonnie

George A. Miller's wonderful paper

Stumbled across it this morning via Edward Tufte's site (

How can you NOT like an academic paper that begins:
"My problem is that I have been persecuted by an integer. For seven years this number has followed me around, has intruded in my most private data, and has assaulted me from the pages of our most public journals. This number assumes a variety of disguises, being sometimes a little larger and sometimes a little smaller than usual, but never changing so much as to be unrecognizable. ..."

Read it all at

Golden light

Sunday, December 18, 2005


On a cold afternoon

Little mud-colored grackle sisters puddle hopping shake
themselves dry fluff and preen dull forest shadow shifts
until raw umber flickers olive green, scatter when their
brother lands midnight violet, eye yellow as the sun, his
golden wall-eyed strut in the box of color I’ll give you.

At the mall, part II

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Henry wanted pix of people, and I...

...let him decide.
(I asked Henry where he wanted to shoot pictures, and he named a large mall. This is some of what I saw. Don't know yet what he saw.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Sculptor’s workbench

An old iron C-clamp gently
tightened on a stone – pressure
incremental, compelling, a first
small crack – lightning fissures
the grain but it holds in one place,
force resisted, objects immovable
save for rasp and file. Like that clamp
my vice (stubborn pride) the vise that
holds self immobile, grip making a
forceps-baby’s indentations as time
hones and chisels, curls shavings off
what I know, who I am, essentials whittled
small enough to slip the vise, everything
else in paper-thin drifts waiting to be
swept from the floor.


Now an artist's studio (and a purification ritual?) -- look closely at the entry to the theater.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Darker still

The Scoured Coast

Charred raddled oak, bark peeled by lightning where we once
walked. This poem a gate rusted shut between us, a path
choked with ripgut grass bristling through dune and scree.

Handed off, hands empty where I reach and touch as if
touch became theory and I untouchable, as if concepts of
touch sufficed and warmed the bitter air.

Two cups, one broken, one empty, this poem a thirst I can’t
say or slake through brine and sharp sand between us, sea full
of dark shapes rolling under breakers, near land’s edge, near
tidepool and blown hollowed oak on the edge of a colder season.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another true story

In Alpine

In the no-name café higgledy-piggledy packed with bread,
grapefruit, patio furniture, recovered Queen Anne loveseats
and a second-hand office chair or two, waiting for a cinnamon
roll and the spider-bite of another song sung by Sinatra
Ella or Bobby Darin (so I had no choice) I grabbed a book
off the bowed shelves – Mythology – and dared the muse to
tickle me with a random dive. Yellowed leaves parted and
opened to “Orpheus.” I laughed and dared the muse again,
slid my hand in for another gift but when I opened to the
page with those shamans singing what came before the Kalevala,
singing to create the world, I knew it was past time to go.

More geometry

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I dreamt I wrote this -- so I had to for real


That string in me scraped by beauty’s brass pick –
callused fingers stop and slide a ratio of threadbare
blues wringing tears in time past measure.

That string in me plucked by beauty’s tortoise-shell pick –
hypotenuse of wabi-sabi and to-kalon singing all things
perfect, and perfect in their imperfection.

That string in me strummed by beauty’s green nylon pick –
my body the tuning fork, gut-feeling every hum and shiver
arms akimbo, curled line of my waist opposite that angle and
you, the resonator.

What I found when I went looking for color

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Open house

The little red-and-white sign in the image says "Open House".
(More poems to come later, they just take a while to bake.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The end effect


The monarchs strung in a skittering
line kite-tail ribboning trailing
all towards home.

My long quiet exile from “from here” –
even butterflies know what I lost.

Friday, December 02, 2005

X marked the...

Two Blue Jays

Two blue jays led me by teasing calls,
can’t-touch-me clatter into thin woods.
Blue motion just beyond reach, rasping
laughing at me, the hot sun bleached
as they climbed then perched. I looked
up – jays haloed, corona’d from sweat,
two jay sunspots against searing light –
looked down, blinked at the perfect X
of two blue jay feathers crossed. A sign
but no clues to why X marked that spot.
The birds now quiet. No clouds, no wind.
Two jays, two feathers, one X.

So many thoughts about that X.
At last I’m almost empty and yet,
and yet the koan catches me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Trying to answer the question


Writing in the spaces within the moment as it moves from
not-yet to all-done, I’m becoming something I don’t know.

Time the vast open rolling prairie of now, and now, and now
again and I seem to be everynowhere in it, shadows taffy-pulled
from long to short to long so fast they disappear, light
like wind on my changed skin. It’s now I’m bicycling down past
the reservoir to Van Houten’s farm and then back behind the
stables to the little stream, pussywillow hiding me as I wade
knee-deep herding sucker-fish it’s now I smell the butterscotch
of Ponderosa pine near a paho bearing someone’s prayer on the
mountain and it’s still now I’m plunging a 5-pound pick-axe
into damp caliche to dig out Johnsongrass while Peter thins and
re-roots the overgrown ginger, every now the best, the only now,
time now space the size (wider deeper running right past the edge
of creation) unfathomable.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Turned fast as light

Masters’ Track

Every arc is different. I heard Mr. John Alexander
lost his wife and sank before a friend pulled him out
into his new adventure, before he could bring himself
to pull hard against the same curve again and again.

The same curve and different each time – light shifting,
the smell of woodsmoke one day and wet grass the next,
one knee aching more than at other times, tempo changing
in small ways. We all felt those things; few spoke it.

John sewed his racing flats out of old bedroom slippers, told
me once he trained by dragging a truck tire tied to a rope
around his waist. He was over 70 years of age, forged iron
for legs by then, faster at the 400 than many 40-year-olds.

The way we were taught to race: spend it all by 300 meters
and hang on, grind it out, gut it out. Others still ran
their race with some reserve, but I learned to relish
that moment when pain caught me, emptied me, nothing left.

Every arc is different, but the way our coach taught us –
drive hard against the curve then float then drive – it seemed
the same arc as an old star flaring, hotter, brighter, each
sparking burning atom turned fast as light before the end.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

And where I was camping

It was too cold to stay at the site for long...but how fine it was.

Thinking and dreaming before I went camping

Camp Bed

Leaf bed, bower, belly to belly with earth and rock
where I’ll sleep, dreaming under the waxing moon of
some earthy nursery, scythed beans composting in quilted
hummocks that steam when the first cold bites down and
puts the drowsy bees up for the long winter night as I
far past midnight watch the hard-shell gourds sprouting,
cotyledon catching starlight in this slowest dance.

Stony slough, burrow, face to face with the pavéed night
where I’ll rest, musing in half-light under quarter moon
on this hard bed of solitude, my bones a creaking mattress
for the thin blanket of my thoughts. But how fine to feel
every ache in that hidden calcium rack and know my stone
pillow, like Jacob’s, echoes the essential mineral me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Lunch in Marfa


Every body packed right in for lunch
past an indelibly radiant yellow
pecan under a dry cerulean sky.

Red chili macho or brown chili gringo.
Was I the only one who saw what
happened when cheap lace curtains
met the noon sun and traced hearts
that shimmered on beige laminate?

Maybe every body who lived there knew
about the brilliant things done by
fall light and ceased notice, but
I was new there, even the woman with
the emerald parrot got my attention.

I love a curve in a road