Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poetry Thursday

Chasing Night Dreams

The hopeful tune of an owl,
The belly-groan of a bullfrog,
The constant chirp of a cricket,
Sing to the fog
that blankets the field
and sleeps on limbs.

All of this follows a storm
that rocked the clouds and swept the earth.
Now lightning bugs chase lightning
into the drying sky.

The flashes and the fog,
The chirps and groans and tunes,
lull me to sleep
in my safe sheets,

But I long to be wading through the grass,
the leftover rain catching my ankles,
the night dreaming of me instead.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poetry Thursday


How does any journey start?
One step? A plan? A 2 a.m. idea?

Catching a wind that pushes the tail,
the window rolled down to breath in the local flavors,
I could be anywhere:
the rounded, verdant hills of my home,
the brushed pale prairies west,
the horizontal earth south.

Eventually direction matters less,
each mile becomes not a way to leave
or arrive,
not a marker at all, really.
Food happens when you find Dottie’s cafĂ©
at the junction of CR 17 and 220,
a three-calendar spot off a blue highway.

Watching one amorphous moment lapse into another,
the window rolled down to let in the aged, baking sun,
I am everywhere at once.
Thoughts are liquid during
moments like these. Silently they slip through the
built up, pent up, beat up brain, and into
the airy fields of corn,
the auburn brawn of desert rock,
the china thin pearl of Pacific fog.

Photo credit: C.M. Lynch

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Poetry Thursday


This morning
a cardinal perched at the window
cocking its head to look at me

I suppose you could say
his presence was a sign
his red boldness hiding a fortune
Or perhaps it is less than extraordinary
a common action, not nearly worth all this trouble.

Pay attention to this poem.
It is not about a bird,
but the way you look at the morning without looking into it,
as if it weren’t the most fascinating thing,
as if you see it everyday
a moment so full of possibility and miracle,
miraculous enough
that once
the thought of a bold red cardinal must have seemed absurd.

And yet. There must be million of moments in a mind.
How could you ever remember a brief encounter with one morning?
or a single line of a poem?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cowgirl Meets Ants

I have often thought I would have made a great pioneer woman, forging rivers on horseback, hauling stones and wood, surviving in the wilderness. I would have learned to shoot and skin, grow my own food, understand the rhythm and rhyme of the wild. I would have been able to look at the vast, Western sky and anticipate snow on a bright afternoon, or the phase of the moon by the tilt of the sun. I would have been solidly solitary, triumphant over the cold, dark mystery.

I am this woman mostly in dreams since she is rather elusive in reality, but who can blame her? There are no horses to ride, no earth to till, and too much urban sprawl drowning out the swift phases of the moon and passing of the seasons. This morning, however, she is front and center, alive, demanding, and kicking ass...against ants.

I have no beef with ants in general. In fact, I find them rather fascinating creatures, especially after reading Lewis Thomas, who says, "Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment," and then goes on to explain how each ant is both an individual and part of a living, breathing organism. Indeed, they are much like humans on Earth; one need only watch city sidewalks from 100 stories up to see the resemblance. And yet. Ants are invading my kitchen. Now it's personal. Last night they seemed immune to the nasty chemical how-can-this-not-be-cancer-causing spray, but this morning I awoke early, before the sun, to find three dozen fellow pioneers strewn about the kitchen. Backs stiff, legs up dead. I felt a bit of remorse at having been the perpetrator of such a massacre. And yet. It's me against this world of ants, and now that I have declared my intent of victory, I feel I owe it to this woman who strikes me so.

If you've never read Lewis Thomas, start here: The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (Penguin, 1978), the source of the above quote. Painting: Harvey Dunn.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Poetry Thursday

God and Catfish

One more poem
about God, and sheep,
plump genus Ovis.
Recreated artificial sacrificial gesture,
how many symbols does it take
to describe an event.
Ovis overdone-is.

Give me a few lines about the guts
of non-symbolic fish.
You know, the real kind.
Like a catfish. Unapologetically ugly,
lurking like all good Ictalurus do.
What poet could find God in such a body,
water cockroach with
barbels hanging,
lips bulging, burping along
the scum of the Santee.

Hand me lumped-up
water-logged flesh, not that crisp
tasteless wafer-thin wafer, wait
in line, head bowed, starve to be saved.

Starve? No thanks.
God knows I love a good
corn-meal coated, pan-fried catfish
any day of the week.