Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Hours of 2010 poem

Every regular day as I leave home,
some faint tongue of fate whispers, “Accidents
happen.” There’s my daughter in the window,
waving goodbye, voice faint behind the panes.
Is it life or my perception that slows?

Somehow that moment crossing the flagstones
fills with such longing and love and regret
as though every tragic, comic, mundane,
epic journey of the Mandelbrot set
of life grows from each goodbye and hello.

Still I go and come in a bittersweet
ballet with many storylines wending
where they may. A world blooms when the car starts,
its fragrance accidentally undoing
all other worlds for now, for today. Then

the day transpires, and soon I’m returning
home safely. (My wife asked for this ending.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010


when i think of light
i think of nuclear bombs
a dazzle so bright
capable child of our technologics

lit, it melts our eyes

the nun from africa
talks about how
it is too hot mid-day
sun is a menace
where she lives
night is the balm there, night the time
for getting things done
night, the cool, receptive darkness
enswirls her, a time of conversation
and connection,
laughter and action

because of sky god confusion
some burn their eyes in upward glances
defying earth

i will gladly receive
the gifts of worm duff and leaf goo
the rot of earth
which birthed
this toasted hazelnut rice stuffed squash
these little leaves of thyme
minting my tongue

some sun, sure, but remember
the greater embrace of clay (volcanic molten ash balls long ago
lobbed to our now, capable of holding water and so many minerals)
and the endless dundering sundering
rock tumble of pangaea and glacier
across geologic aeons which gives
us this fertile

down into the dark caverns in earth belly
down the earthworm superhighways
down the muckpiles and festering fresh rot
fungal beloveds and mycelial mushroom muscle

down into the cunt of the earth, the earthwomb,
the throbbing life always in labor and always in birth
somewhere fallowing elsewhere nourishing

beyond our projection of terror given by birth-stealing
religion (pretense of fecundity)

beyond our learned aversion to mystery and
glorification of cause-effect

beyond our recent primacy on sight and
loss of low light or night

we can still walk the night path, a life
giving chant on our earth loving tongue,
gently receiving the moist cool linger
a kiss of darkness to bless our way

as we learn to stop poisoning the earth and it becomes
impossible for corporations soon denuded of their false bodies
to profit short term off of long term poison

as we lose our fear of the wild rampage of life
and reconnect with our inner wilderness
our sex high howling pleasure and savoring succor

i will give you back your sky gods and internecine
nuclear fire shatter; you give me back the earth

no need to ask or give; we reinhabit.
in slither and wriggle,
dance and shout
in organic dill and dogwood blossoming
this gorgeous, fertile
larger body,
arm of our arms,
leg of our legs,
planet supple
huge and healing
dark and moist
depth revealing

26 Dec 42010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bonus Razzle Prompt for Winter Stills - Favorite Words/Scrabble Poem

Greetings Imunurian Poets,
I am imaging us at a winter table, sipping tea. We are enjoying a mellow evening of poem making with scrabble tiles near a roaring fire. Some of the words I might use would include quiescent, quaff, blooming, razzle, bless, sail, and gloaming.  Please feel welcome to make a poem with some of your favorite words (or you could use some of these). Your poem could be spare like a leafless tree or frolicsome as your mood depends. You can write your poem in tiles or letters, evocative haiku or splendid word-fountain, laser beam or galaxy, your choice. Holiday blessings from  : ) Scooter near Solstice 2010

Label: Razzle, Poem

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's Said in This Poem Stays in This Poem

lock it seal it stuff it bury it
shred it burn it wipe it drown it
no light allowed
no one must know no one
secrets stay secret

what i am doing you will not
you will never
no one will ever

this thing

secrets stay secret you will never know
this thing buried thoughts
my plans I did
tucked away
no one will ever our little
those who have an inkling
locked sealed stuffed buried shredded burned wiped
have been eradicated

no light allowed

no one must know no one
forever know
your mouth
what i am doing you will meltdown
shut not know
no one will ever
see, ever know
this i have done
these things that
sealed in blood
away imagine NO
nailed down shredded
melt no photos no one gets hurt
and their assassins shot
no one knows
quench no notes the light
squelched stifled drowned
seal it sew
nail it shut cement it down
cover it forever
our little shut your
secret mouth
before I

Friday, December 17, 2010


like a clock of sunrises,
somewhat cloud muzzled,
winter comes, spreading her cape
of dead plants and twigs,
birds in droves
of pippery, and deep
fallows. the core of me slows
to a crevasse, a whisper,
not even wind in this
valley. the only snow's
inside, but that's enough:
to be wiped clean to nubs,
nibbled by those
who aren't fully asleep--
and slumbering in the slow breath
of those who are.

a time of bedazzlement
if sun peaks through to the smile in me.
but mostly blackness wombs me
in winter.
winter rings
the almost full moon
in a circle of light, a glowsphere miles out
from her fresh gaze, accentuating the fathomless
blanks of space.
deep in clearing the heart
of me, that deep in
these moonportals of cold white
embalm the night in me.
these inner snow flurries
this cold

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Season’s undoings

Great earth snakes change guard
over tiny us, slide in in new skins.

Winter pours from the ground
to lay across the woolen world

in cool, nest-sitting repose.
It abides, eating my certainty.

The shapes of summer’s purposes
melt in its smooth belly.

I can’t guess what I knew
in fall or spring. For now,

just walking to that chair and
sitting down seems the only thing.

Its Own Wonder


The dark left as itself
impresses upon me a whole,
a depth incomparable,
a wonderment beyond
what typically is taken
as the simple absence of light

For the dark is itself
a deep nourishing, a salve
to my bones and beingness as
I walk in the dark, sampling
this exquisite treat of the
unnameable senses

True would be the loss
to suffer nyctalopia*, although
many do without knowing
this condition is theirs,
we've become so blind
within the hierarchy of light


Dusk finds the ground within
such that surfaces dissolve
give way to the softer core heat
This communication begins
its emanation, naming each
thing anew as dark arises
In contrast, intentioned light
overshadows and can carelessly enter
the exquisiteness of the dark
where naturally listening things
recede into their essential
incognito. The dusk is that listening


What do we have in common
with the dark? Are we not dark,
dark in our marrow, in our quiet,

in so many yet to be
realized ways?

And how are we similar to a flame?
The flame, kin to the dark, is it not
ever tender to the shadows?
Lighting a flame, our dark
dances within, with, and around us.


As a sweet melancholy
unlike anything
I am drawn to take to the dark,

an exquisite entry

A prescription unique,
a remembering

walking forward looking deeply

eyes open and open again,the vastness of the dark field,
to deeply see
what cannot be seen
what cannot

be perceived
through a different wonder.

*nyctalopia |ˌniktəˈlōpēə|
noun ~ the inability to see in dim light or at night. Also called night blindness .

Friday, December 10, 2010

This Week's Prompt: Dark

The Dark.
Pitch dark.
Dark chocolate with dark beer.
Dark matter.
Donnie Darko.
Dark field.
Dark eyes.

Make the absence of light your field of exploration this week, or find light within the dark. 

     You could even write your poem by candlelight or flashlight if you wish.

     Keywords this week: "poem, dark"                                                                                    

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The days of paper routes and phone books

We would sit in the cherry tree,
high up on thin limbs that could barely hold a breeze,
looking for fruit that had ripened yet somehow escaped the squirrels.

We would sit under the bushes,
inside the bushes in fact, where grown-ups would never think to look.

We would hide inside cabinets and closets,
sometimes hide so well we wouldn’t know
the others had given up seeking and turned to snacks.

We would haul the dog up to the tree house
and pretend we didn’t hear our parents calling.

There were screens on the windows, of course,
but just the one screen in the house,
the size of a sheet of loose leaf,
and we were forbidden to watch its black and white opinions most of the time.

The phone was attached to the wall,
which was fine because people rarely called,
certainly not during dinner.

We didn’t think it was idyllic.

It wasn’t. It was just the suburbs
and kids came home from Vietnam in boxes
or ended up like Uncle Ray, pumped full of lithium
in Pilgrim State for trying acid or being gay or both.

The girl next door got picked up for breaking in
and stealing mom’s jewelry while we were on vacation
and suddenly the cat was missing an eye.

A microwave was merely some mystery of radio relay,
so dinner was more likely to be cold...
and it wasn’t called domestic violence yet
even though the churches were full of folk music.

We would hide under the eaves.

We would crawl beneath our beds.

We would sit inside the bushes,
bitten by brambles, bleeding from needles and thorns.

But it was quiet there, secret and safe,
and no one could find us for hours at a time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a sharp remembering

you don't have to teach me
i said
once two hands are on,
and my fingers close around
the scuffed, oil honed snath
into angled reaping lance
i am gone, can't hear you anyway

in the morning we are quiet as harvest begins
gruff greetings as each arrives
animals provisioned, cow milked
get ready for a long day now
that the sunrise has boiled over
from all that madness
into a bend of pure blue,
and the dew has all returned to heaven.

now even the birds have begun
attending to everyday chores.

check your blade for sharp up against the sun
any dull bit, too wide to splice light,
will glint and sparkle and needs attending.
your back stays straight, arms as well
arc your torso a stiff hip twist
follow the elliptic side to side
with every full swing
as if your pelvis were the earth.

i go in and out of believing in human past lives,
sometimes ancient antiquity
is tirelessly thronging with my people,
my blood kinned to so many of history's helices,
that i rest confidently cradled
in the long learning journey i ride.

the rest of the time it is obvious
that mostly i have been dirt, tree limbs, stones.
and that is that, beautifully.

until i pick up a scythe. or a sickle.
and then god plucks me,
the ground cracks and swallows me
and with instantaneous precision
drops me directly onto a sweat painted field
into the metered beat of swinging tools
the whole farm full out to help.
metal flying close to the ground
without knocking rocks
grain sundered into swaths
braced to be banded
and stacked in stooks.

i am content here
as regular as breathing
as familiar as the smell of my bed
reaping by hand
the wedded cells of sky earth and water
united in biological matrimony
a million times over
in each golden stalk, each budded head of wheat
that sways in the rosy acreage
as one breathing thing
which we have come to bow, fell, level
and lay down to dry
for a snowy night's worth of bread.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Week's Prompt: Time Machine

Enter the poet's time machine, 100 years before now or 100 years hence. What are you doing? What are you dreaming? What do you eat? What do you think about? Who or what do you care about?

Whether you're in a Jetson's flying zip or a horse-drawn carriage, channel your poet-ancestors or poet-progeny from across the deep rumples of time.

If you feel inspired, you could even invent or revisit poetic forms in the time machine.

Welcome to the rifts and wild adventures of timespace!

This week's keywords: "poem, time machine"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Junk Drawer

Floorboard time capsule spy stash treasure chest,
secret identity told in tchotchkes,
smudgy paraphernalia sitting chaste,
where are the doors opened by all these keys?
Yesterday’s faded clarities have chased

postponed questions from this walkie-talkie:
Why shouldn’t I eat up the cold, red plums?
What messages live in these inky streaks?
Who speaks from the holy medicine steam?
This drawer collects the whimsy of your choice.

Decant the junk onto the floor. Vacuum
off the layer of homogenous dust.
Now you have to winnow, to make more room—
so meet each object anew and adjust
the boundary between preserved and decayed

memories. Then close your shrine to sweet rust,
your miscellaneous matters of trust.

How to Write a Poem

First off, give up trying
to write a poem.
Just give it up!
Do something else instead:
basketball with a homeless kid,
laundry, taxidermy, nap.
Send roses to the obese neighbor
in the blue house up the street.
Email your dead mother.
Call three friends and make fun of them.
Walk across town barefoot
in search of the burning bush.
Gargle with baking soda,
brush your cat's teeth.
Wait for a moment when your heart is quiet,
then grab a pen and paper
and quickly scrawl
your soul's most recent dream -
not a poem, not a poem.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kitchen Poem

I was in the kitchen washing dishes and feeling sorry for myself
when suddenly I realized that the Holy Spirit of God was in the room
and I said Hey, aren't you supposed to be in heaven somewhere or maybe
some dark cathedral in Italy? And what's with the baseball cap?
But the Holy Spirit of God just stood there
as silent as you would expect
and I felt a breeze in my hair, I really did,
and I suddenly thought of you alone in that big house with just your goldfish and your beer
and then outside my window a small cloud caught fire.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

why there is still hope for us to reconnect with our source-body-self-earth

with thanks to the online etymological dictionary

these are my sins: (and their true meaning)

sin (with; truth)
sincere (of one growth, sound, pure, whole, with the crescenting moon)
sinecure (without care)
since (in the evening)
sine qua non (an indispensable condition)
sinews (to bend)
sing (voice, oracle, incantation)
single (individual unbroken)
singular (remarkably good, unusually rare)
singultus (a sob)
sinister (more useful, more advantageous, veering leftward)
sinuous (curving)

no no i mean these are my syns:

syn (together with)
syncopate (to shorten)
synergy, synergetic, synergistic (to work together, cooperating)
syncopy (to cut through)
scintillate (to spark)
synaesthesia (sense with)
synapse (clasp, fasten, junction)
synaptive (connected, copulative)
synchronistic (simultaneous)
synchronized (same timing)
sinclinal (to lean together)
syncretic (reconciling different beliefs)
synagogue (to gather together)
syndic (publically advocate)
synecdoche (part for whole)
synechia (continuity, to hold with)
synonymous (having the same name)
synopsis (to see all together)
syntactic (ordered, arranged with intention)
synthesis (put together)

succulent (to suck the juice)
snuffaluffagus (shaggy lumbering goddess)
sesquiquadrate (two celestial bodies separated by 135 degrees)
cinquant (fifty; homonym: 5 aunts)
cinq (five)

please praise my sins/syns/scins/skins, for they are magnificent and holy, praising creation

Friday, November 26, 2010

The View from Cold Mountain

We lay our own traps,
pay handsomely for the privilege,
borrow, in fact, more than we’ve ever had
just to slip our necks inside the noose.

Yep, we cook our own goose,
fry up golden eggs while we’re at it
and invite our friends to dine
as if it’s a joyous occasion.

We buy objects that no one needs, in bulk,
unpack them into cabinets, cavernous,
and lovingly recycle the plastic bags
by tying them tightly around our necks.

We shop so carefully for our poison,
hire experts to help us estimate
exactly how much to consume each month
so we can die alongside the neighbors,
lawns as perfect as cemetery plots.

We buy our chains. We buy our locks.
We save our pennies in a box,
fretting about where it’s cached
while dreaming of a larger box.

A mortgage is literally a pledge to death
for each and every debt is less
a measure of pleasure in present tense
than memory of a past defense
against that which awaits each of us
regardless of interest or last address.

One breath


Held through two rock valley,
past the nude sheep and singing lambs,
through shafts of light offered only
after the dead have fallen away,
past deer carcass, skunk, barn owl,
offering, as they must,
roadkill married to moment’s glory.

It is never one thing
in the aching span between
in and out, pausing
at the tip of the tongue before
creation, again, saying,
How about this?
And this?
And then this?
One breath, shotgun wedding of truth
that this is your life, choice
to linger at the nectar of nothing,
the intermezzo before another starts,
the making of worlds
in the bellows of your sweet accordion

This Week's Prompt: Palimpsest

During this time of reflection and gratitude, revisit a prior prompt or finish something you started before. This is a fallow week as winter deepens.

Think of it as a kind of palimpsest:

Example Palimpsest: Codex of Ephremi
Wikipedia: A palimpsest is a manuscript page from a scroll or book that has been scraped off and used again. The word "palimpsest" comes through Latin from Greek παλιν + ψαω = (palin "again" + psao "I scrape"), and meant "scraped (clean and used) again." Romans wrote on wax-coated tablets that could be smoothed and reused, and a passing use of the term "palimpsest" by Cicero seems to refer to this practice. The term has come to be used in similar context in a variety of disciplines, notably architectural archaeology.

    Keyword labels: poem, palimpsest

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    heart lantern

    bring your candles
    bring the lantern of your heart
    and strike the flame high
    we are beloved friends, so long
    warming each others' homes

    come I will kindle the coals of you
    and you will flare the fire of me, my life, my heart

    this is the truest gift, vibrant, brighter
    than spring air or bloom—
    in the middle of cloud lid and winter's promise
    of silence, of grey quiet,
    we break out in lanterning, in frolic

    this is why they call it housewarming.
    friend the gift of your presence is a lantern
    whose light will stay with me,
    heart gladdening,
    ever resuscitating, alive,
    a beacon in memory and
    kindling the skin, the fiber of me
    my heart and health,
    a full moon smiling, then wax and waning,
    ever replenishing, visit and visit again,
    brighter than bright and wholeness creating,

    bright and beaconing again,
    infinite and warm.

    providing guidance, surefooted, dancing.
    ever replenishing, visit and visit again,
    brighter than bright and wholeness creating,
    bright and beaconing,
    infinite and warm.

    excerpt, r2

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    engaged in this

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    what comes is what brings itself to this

    what rests there and what moves on

    these are both a part of the same stuff

    the stuff of emergingrecedingpausing

    bring your feeling sense to what I am

    pointing to if you will, if you feel to

    there is an ‘empty’ state or open, spacious,

    receiving, nothing being grasped for or at

    that pervades the formerly preoccupied

    ground such that ground becomes being

    being breathes just as awareness is quietly

    cascadingshoweringbathing itself ever anew

    things get done yet no doing ~ on and on

    spontaneously refreshing, involuntarily,

    with and without innocence both

    nothing you can or need to do about it

    but be in and as the receiving,

    the flowering of this, engaged in this

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Freeform homage

    If I were you,
    I could snap open the moment,
    an impatiens seed pod ejecting dozens of tiny eyes
    into the corners of this personal sensation
    sitting here
    as it happens now

    one eye to watch a sky so inviting
    through blinds beneath the eave,
    an aching toward sunshine and the way breezes
    open the throat to drink,
    and colors rise in my face

    one eye to fly up, to see the rolling surface
    of land and sea, two to sink
    into the depths,
    drift from eddies to roots
    to sky again,
    dancing between terrestrial chambers
    like blood through the heart's mansion and

    the hallways between moments,
    the causeways that plant you in plains,
    and bog me in the marsh for now,
    and roll us all up again
    into one skypod

    and the longing, the longing
    the impossible
    throat longing as though
    to emerge burstingly
    having burst,
    to what?

    to sky beyond sky,
    to your seeing
    and to seeing beyond you,
    to the reverse of shutting,
    to swallow, to stare
    stretch and plode

    proto-birth verb spasms


    One Way of Looking at a Blackboard

    Amontilado twenty-fourno snub mountain ash,
    Theo onomastic moving picture thingamabob
    Wash theo eyeball ofay theo blackboard.

    [This poem was composed by taking each word from the first stanza of Wallace Stevens' "Twenty Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" and replacing it with the very next word in the dictionary.

    "Among twenty snowy mountains,
    The only moving thing
    Was the eye of the blackbird."]

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Thanksgiving Week Prompt: Poem After Poem

    IMUNURIans, for this week of gratitude, let's explore our connection with other poets and our poems' connection to other poems. 

    Choose a poet or a poem and write a new poem in response, homage, reply, rebuttal, compassion, echo, revision, update, addition, multiplication, highlight, shadow, unbridlement, connection, personalization, recasting, bronze, merlot, counterpoint, synergy, elevation, elephants, cinnabar, scouring pads.... what was I saying?

    Please indicate the poet or poem you are referencing as part of your post or as a self-comment.

    Explore the connections and shared energies among all poeming. You might pick a poem by another IMUNURI poet and offer a harmony part. You might take an ancient poem from another language and translate/update it. You could make a solemn or a playful nod to the entire body of work by a poet who has influenced you. Or Google "poem," find some random sample and delve into what you find there. There are as many possibilities as there are poems, or maybe more.

    Thank you!

    Labels:  response, poem

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    scorpio dream: tarantella

    in the dream i dance the tarantella
    with a red and black thin-legged monster.
    i am protecting a young cross-eyed girl
    from the dream spider's scorpion whiptail.

    she is screaming and scared, it's on her head
    in invisible, quick, lethal gestures.
    it comes after me, mad now, tail poised up
    only thing not moving, graceful arrow

    of death. i begin to skittle skattle
    as if quicker than death: i'm not. in greece
    they danced to sweat out poison, a rite
    of exorcism for the convulsions of the bite.

    now in italy a dance entrances:
    whether bit or not, we become spider.
    but in the dream, i am not fast enough
    (and that's saying a lot).

    is being a workaholic like dancing
    tarantella 24/7? i wake
    to the poison of this day, brightly
    and innocently, calm light proclaiming all

    is well, dream's over, whether it is or not.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Where does that hallway lead?

    The architecture of my dreams: hallways.
    Red velvet or broad as betting parlors,
    the spaces signal transition—always—
    and sometimes I come to a subtle door
    that opens into a dark and small maze.

    It’s familiar but not particular.
    I begin squeezing down the labyrinth.
    It is as wide as I am. Yellow earth.
    Unease rises. I crouch. Ahead, the depth.
    I know the secret—I have all my days!

    I backtrack from the anonymous earth,
    shut the basement door, return to the hall.
    Hors d’oeuvres. The opera. No way to assert
    what was...where I went. Must wake to recall
    the dark, the door, the secret I forget.

    Through that grave, I wonder if there’s a caul.
    I think through the nothing there is the all.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    This area may contain assassins

    You sauntered up, all legs, and calmly said,
    “Just dance,” so I held you close,
    head high, hips sly, tossing off bon mots
    while keeping your sleek body
    between me and that goon with the gun.

    I ignored the nuns in the casino,
    letting you sit in my lap for luck and black jack,
    snapping your garter with each new card,
    a surreptitious little superstition
    that made you smirk
    but quickly attracted the eye in the sky.

    “Slide the winnings in a suitcase and fetch my car,”
    I told the cage, flipping the dealer six chips as a tip
    while surveillance cameras swiveled
    to see the seams on your stockings
    strut out to the street.

    It’s remarkable anyone could drive
    after all that cognac and champagne,
    yet such a relief to know
    you’d never slip something in my drink,
    except maybe an organic lychee.

    I went straight back to the cave,
    not bothering to blindfold you
    or take fake turns or
    even worry about a tail.

    Sure, they chewed me out the next day —
    but I knew what I was doing.

    The boys down in the motor pool
    keep filling in the bullet holes and banging out the dents.

    The lab has scrubbed the interior so many times,
    our history could be told in a series of cigar stubs
    and strands of hair in tiny, labeled plastic bags.
    They even installed that baby ejector seat in back.

    It’s been a long road,
    with our share of ugly scenes, bad dialogue,
    and more than a few continuity errors,
    yet you’re still there
    when I have to drop the top and hit the gas.

    And before I even ask,
    you’re elegantly passing me the pistol from the glove box.

    You freshen your lipstick. I talk to my watch,
    then we exchange familiar grins.
    It’s going to be fine, baby.

    It’s going to be just fine.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Dream While Driving

    I fell asleep again today, this time while driving.
    I dreamed I was awake, and driving
    on the very same freeway
    on the very same day
    and every driver in every other car
    knew me and waved as they passed.
    Some honked their horns and smiled.
    Small children pressed their faces against the windows
    and gestured wildly.
    It felt good to be known and recognized.
    Everyone drove safely,
    and gave me lots of room.
    I did not recognize a single man, woman, or child
    though they seemed to know me very well.
    I wondered - had I known them in some other life?

    A taxi driver wearing a turban
    rolled down his window
    and motioned for me to exit.
    I pulled off at the next freeway offramp.
    I found a place to pull over beside
    a field of golden barley.
    I waited for him to come to my window.
    It took a while, for he had but one leg
    and he had to walk with crutches.
    "Do you remember me?" he exclaimed,
    smiling broadly but with tears in his eyes.
    "I'm sorry," I said, "I don't remember you at all."
    "I am Mansi, your son in law," he said.
    "I married your daughter."
    "I don't have a daughter," I said.
    "Your daughter Gloria, with the beautiful voice."
    "I'm sorry," I said, "I don't remember a thing."
    "It's okay," he said. "Remembering
    isn't everything."
    He embraced me then and I woke up.

    I was still driving, but on an unfamiliar highway
    that seemed to stretch on forever
    between foggy rice fields
    without another car or farmhouse in sight
    and no way to remember
    from where I had come from
    or where I was going.

    This Week's Prompt: Dream Poem

    O Poets of Imunuri, at this time of thin veil between worlds, take your inspiration from one of these ideas: 

    Write about a dream, as if in a dream, or through the image of a recent dream. 

    Write of a nightmare or an image of sanctuary. 

    Or write the poem as a dream interpretation, as if you are each of the characters in a dream. 

    Loosen your edges, defy gravity, roll between realities, as dreams do. 

    Tag with "poem, dream"

    Thursday, November 11, 2010


    The camp pool glowed green once the sun blew out.
    Guys with clipboards herded us into teams.
    My team, the Ravens, chose me to start.
    My mission: to hold my head submerged
    longer than any other teenage fool.

    At the whistle, I plunged into water
    cold as space, silent
    as a whale's womb.
    How could I not taste death?

    My team shouted words from far away.
    Loneliness embraced me like a ghost.
    I hid there for what seemed like hours
    beneath the stones of duty
    until my lungs heaved, grew wings,
    lifted me back
    to the world of the living.

    One other child endured Sheol
    two seconds longer than I.
    I felt deeply for her.

    This Poem Starts with a Deep Breath

    "Take a deep breath," my doctor said
    in a strong Korean accent.
    His stethoscope pressed cold against my chest.
    In a frame on the wall, his medical license
    butted up against a print
    of the lovely Mona Lisa.
    "Why is she smiling?" I asked.
    "Why is who smiling?"
    "The young woman in the painting," I said,
    "on the wall behind your back."
    "I can't stand that painting," he said.
    "Everytime I walk into the room
    it's as if she's smirking at me.
    She's thinking, 'You call yourself a doctor?
    You're just a quack."
    "Well, are you?" I asked
    as he looked into my ear
    with a strange device.
    "Well she sure thinks so," he said
    in a brusque physician tone.
    "She's the Mona Lisa. She must know."

    From an examination room across the hall
    I heard an old man scream.
    The doctor tapped my kneecap
    with a tiny rubber-tipped mallet.
    "I don't think you're a quack," I said.
    "I think you're very competent.
    You did a great job on my ruptured spleen."
    "Do you really think so?" he said.
    "And remember that band saw accident last year?
    I thought I'd never write again.
    And here I am, on my third novel."
    "You're very kind," my doctor said.
    "I need more patients like you.
    What color bandaid would you like?"
    "I'll take green," I said.

    "I want to prescribe some medication
    for your invisible nose," he said.
    "Whatever you think is best," I said,
    although I'm okay with it, actually."
    By the way," I said, as he wrote my prescription down,
    "why don't you replace that painting
    with something a little more uplifting?
    Leda and the Swan, perhaps,
    or maybe something by Warhol."
    "I've considered that," he said.
    "But at this point in my life
    I just don't want to make big changes.
    And besides," he said,
    "Mona Lisa keeps me humble."

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    17 words out of breath

    (fast walk)

    office computer blacks out—walk then
    even as the static rain glazes
    what’s now a perfect day

    (Richmond, U.S.)

    insomniac worry how health
    is worth the price, but now
    before the phone call,
    a snoring family

    (cost per inhalation)

    return on investment.
    save on breath in bulk—Dow
    Jones in dust
    real average
    down some points


    curtain freakout
    heart suffocating staccato as though
    wrapped tight in comforters
    on! on!
    panting for the call


    sculptor knows how i feel—
    painter, dancer, engineer,
    horse, axlotl, plumeria tree—
    job done and done well


    pump pant dance and sore
    wild wind on the floor
    shoe magic:
    shoes are on—and gone

    (upsetting dream)

    door wide open hinges
    on faces, feet, dirt—
    the hallway from here
    to the dimly lit room


    she burns energy
    like gunpwder on blacktop—
    the gates open
    the highway to the sun
    never ends

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    rush of air

    you take it for granted,
    just a regular sweet motion,
    waves lapping on a lakeshore
    aura light blue, you don't even notice.

    until there is a jagged tear
    or the timing goes all wrong,
    breath too slow, too quick
    startling the birds from the trees.

    like if you lose your pregnancy
    in an 8 hour rush of blood
    all by yourself on a long road trip
    soaking through five pairs of pants,
    pooling the seat into a red lagoon of despair
    and your air comes in a panicked rush inoutinoutinout
    trembling all your appendages for lack of oxygen,
    transforming everything into the wrong world of crimson.
    but there is nowhere to stop -
    you can only
    slow your lungs into the draft of a warrior,
    and drive.

    breath is the umbilical to spirit they say,
    which is how we know
    that your body is part of every god
    since breath is umbilical also
    to your very earthly life.

    best to notice it
    while everything is right in the world.

    Monday, November 8, 2010


    Running, in bodies no longer built for
    running, in wing tips, in heels, gasping for air,
    uncertain even if we’re running away
    or running after something, sitting,
    merely sitting at desks and
    drowning in our chests,
    running, we suffocate in stress.

    An entire office inhales and holds its breath.

    An entire industry, afraid to exhale.

    Running toward deadlines
    with nothing save adrenaline for lunch,
    running to stay ahead,
    and a million brilliants coming up behind,
    running on and on in electronic sentences,
    sitting only yards apart and never speaking
    except to scream. Running out of time.

    The system is running but fragmented
    and prone to fatal unexpected error.

    Shut down. Restart. Running,
    at last stumbling into the street.
    How did it get so dark?
    Running for cabs and buses and trains

    still dealing with messages and claims,
    running toward a receding line,
    legs twitching helplessly,
    lungs grabbing at nothing,
    how is it that we're still singing,
    as the life runs out of us,
    singing for more, more, more?

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Picasso in the rain

    Simultaneity Disambiguation


    These are times of listening within
    along with the expanding out,
    Sometimes we need to remind ourselves
    which is always there,
    into the field where all things
    of the very thing that is ours
    are available and free,
    pure and clear. Our familiar states
    because there is no yours or mine.
    are those small platforms
    we stop on in mid-air
    Can you feel how that is so?
    when we perceive we have no room
    to move, no other option. How do
    We land again and again and again,
    we agree to remain in those states
    when our true state of pure beingness
    such that landing just is, with no landed.
    has never been anywhere else but here,
    the very ground, the matter and
    And from that which is not static,
    substance of all seeing, every action,
    every breath and non-breath.
    we return, without need of returning,
    Singularity becomes disentangled
    and simultaneously also conjoined.
    to ourselves, whole, unique, individual.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    This week's prompt: Out of Breath

    Write an "out of breath" poem.
    As with any prompt, this is what you make of it to support your own poeming process.
    You could do something aerobic and then write the first words that come to you as you're still panting.
    You could explore the biological/spiritual/metaphorical aspects of breath.
    You could write about speech and the sounds and meanings that literally come out of one's breath.
    IMUNURI waits to read your poems with baited breath...

    Keywords: Breath, Poem

    Thursday, November 4, 2010


    anticipation's letter came right on time
    vaulted me sideways
    clickety clack track wise
    into a hurried suitcase jumble,
    don't even know what is in it
    (all the wrong clothes, a smooth red stone,
    two napkin poems and a wind's worth of autumn leaves)
    cancel everything
    and off to the station
    to wait
    for a whir of metal to wild me away.

    now paused,
    i am jetsam on a leaping wave, forth and back
    between a nimble rise into
    the nectarine taste fuzz on her almost cheek
    and the visceral return clunk
    to this echoing room, someone's cigarette dank jacket,
    the blue news hum stare of wayward strangers.
    but, wait for it....
    another minute and gone again,
    lifted all the way to cirrus clouds -
    on a wing of future touch
    belly butterflies fly in formation,
    eagerness drinking deep
    of this
    train station limbo
    between very right here
    and oh so soon.

    Welcome Aboard

    Today you will be removing your clothes.

    Ladies and gentlemen. Captain. Seat belt.

    Carry-on luggage. Overhead bin.

    Be sure to wear socks that don’t have holes.

    Flight attendant. Mobile phones.

    Navigational equipment. 10,000 feet.

    Choose shoes that slip off easily.

    Tampering with. Disabling.

    Prohibited by law.

    Select an outfit without a belt.

    Television monitor. Seat pocket.

    Full attention. Safety features.

    You will be undressing in front of other people.

    Metal fitting. Loose end. Strap.

    Release. Buckle. Turbulence.

    They won’t care much how you look.

    Emergency exit. Floor lights.

    Inflatable slide.

    They won’t slip tips in your waistband.

    Air pressure. Decompression.

    Firmly over your nose and mouth.

    Just strip quickly and move on.

    Unlikely event. Cushion.

    Life vest. Pull firmly on the cord.

    Keep nothing in your pockets.

    Uniformed crew member.

    Inform you when it’s safe.

    Present your documents and think before speaking.

    Seat backs. Tray tables.

    Full upright position.

    Avoid being ethnic.

    Departure. Cross-check.

    Relax. Enjoy.

    None of this is personal.

    Prohibited Items for Travelers: An Airborne Luggage Ode

    Box Cutters. Ice Axes/Ice Picks. Knives -
    except for plastic or round-bladed butter knives.
    Meat Cleavers. Razor Blades.
    Sabers. Scissors. Swords.

    Baseball Bats. Bows and Arrows.
    Cricket Bats. Golf Clubs.
    Hockey Sticks. Lacrosse Sticks.
    Pool Cues. Ski Poles.
    Spear Guns.

    Ammunition. Compressed Air Guns.
    Firearms. Flare Guns.
    Flares. Gun Lighters. Gun Powder
    including black powder and percussion caps.
    Parts of Guns. Pellet Guns.
    Starter Pistols.

    Axes and Hatchets. Cattle Prods.
    Crowbars. Hammers.
    Drills and drill bits. Saws.
    Tools (greater than seven inches in length).

    Billy Clubs. Black Jacks.
    Brass Knuckles. Kubatons.
    Self Defense Sprays -
    one 4-ounce (118ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in Checked Baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self Defense Sprays containing more than 2% by mass of Tear Gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in Checked Baggage.
    Night Sticks. Nunchakus.
    Stun Guns/Shocking Devices. Throwing Stars.

    Blasting Caps. Dynamite. Fireworks. Flares (in any form).
    Hand Grenades. Plastic Explosives.
    Realistic Replicas of Explosives.

    Aerosol. Fuels. Gasoline. Gas Torches.
    Lighter Fluid. Torch Lighters.
    Strike-anywhere Matches.
    Flammable Paints. Turpentine and Paint Thinner.
    Realistic Replicas of Incendiaries.

    Chlorine for Pools and Spas.
    Fire extinguishers and other compressed gas cylinders.
    Liquid Bleach. Spillable Batteries -
    except those in wheelchairs.
    Spray Paint. Tear Gas. Vehicle Airbags.

    Gel-type candles. Gel shoe inserts.
    Flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint.
    Snow globes and like decorations
    regardless of size or amount of liquid inside,
    even with documentation.

    One Stop from Warsaw

    The city slips away in the wrong direction,
    a breath-stealing, helpless realization
    that takes place too late,
    like discovering one’s manners
    vanished with one’s drink.

    Having boarded the incorrect train,
    leaping off at the next station
    is not always the best solution…

    Yet eager to rectify an error,
    who stops to think?

    The reward for decisive action:
    a desolate platform, the squat, dark stationhouse.
    Shattered windows, dangling doors.

    No schedule of future arrivals, no one to ask,
    no relevant vocabulary even given the chance.

    Disembarking is as momentous
    as departing — or should be —
    but we heap the glory
    on an audacious beginning, and on the journey,
    taking for granted a safe, if haggard, return home.

    Tar-dipped telephone poles,
    now wireless, recede into humid thickets.

    The afternoon buzzes
    with a pilgrim’s silence,
    alarming to any still in transit.

    Solicitous, suspicious, hostile, indifferent,
    the entrance of any eyes would be welcome,
    would likely dictate the day’s outcome,
    except the only occurrence more intuitively improbable
    is the blessed spitting of another train’s brakes.

    Rash decisions can leave one stranded
    in burgs served, revenue permitting,
    by a limping, subsidized local.

    At best.

    Prop up the legs of that splintering bench.

    This is not an island
    of sirens, witches, giants, storms.

    This is a place,
    alone, to wait.

    Which may be the most fearsome adventure yet.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Flight 7507, Thursday, near All Hallow's Eve (Rondeau)

    Before the long last breath, on planes
    bound far to south, at height of cranes,
    and higher still, our oared bird flew.
    To my core all sundry selves drew
    in hope of flying whole, no strain

    greater than ancestors' refrain:
    "bring us back to earth" - in great pain:
    the roiling clouds, cumulus brew,
    before the long last breath.

    The sky opens. Sudden and plain:
    a blue coherent height. We gained
    ancients on wing, steadfast, and grew
    to thousands, passengers and crew.
    Ghostly, winged, by window framed,
    before the long last breath.

    Scooter Cascadia
    Near Hallowmas 42010

    Tonight's flight

    When we arrive at the station—
    we stop. Smoke anticipation
    butts. Pretend to read. Check the screen.
    Everyone sits paused mid-careen
    toward disparate revelations.

    We pine for our destinations—
    homecomings or recreations—
    clutching our phones and magazines.
          When we arrive

    beyond immobilization,
    all thoughts of our hesitation
    will stay here for the time being
    to sit with all who pass between
    now and the gratification
          when we arrive.

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    a piano found in a field

    (this from last prompt, alas...)

    I’m reeling it in, A Virginia Reel across the strings
    Plucking the lower keys with my big toe,
    Lay my toes

    across the mahogany,
    my mahogany southern body
    my key, my white teeth clacking middle C
    This is where I’ve ended up
    blood flowing through ivory

    Sorry, sorry,
    dear elephant who never lived on my street
    but dies in the living room each time a third grader
    huffs her way through Chopsticks.
    Bow your head to the pachyderm tapped in every note
    Bow your back to the staccato plea of each key
    And each tiny bum on the leatherette bench

    One key per breath,
    finding the space between the notes,
    that gap-toothed smile
    between atoms


    It is a terrible thing to fall in love
    with an airport security screener.
    "Please remove your shoes," she said,
    "and place them in the bin."
    I stared at her, unable to speak,
    grateful - so grateful -
    for the lilt of her voice.
    "Sir," she said,
    "remove your shoes."

    Outside it was snowing.
    All around me, anxious travelers
    divested themselves of their
    precious jewelry.
    I crawled onto the xray belt.
    "Scan me," I cried.
    "Look into my heart.
    See that I am an
    honest man!"

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    This Week's Prompt: Train Station Rite of Passage

    Art from
    You are sitting at a a train station (or waiting for a plane). Are you leaving or departing? Where are you headed and what does this mean for your life? Write a poem.

    Keyword: Train

    A Mountain of Shit

    1. I was sitting in Starbucks staring into my Espresso Macchiato and thinking about the fecal matter stuck to the bottom of my shoe when it occurred to me that dog crap is only metaphor for real shit.

    2. Real shit is the wealthy business man who purchases a first class ticket to Cambodia in order to rape a ten-year-old enslaved in a brothel from which there is no escape.

    3. Real shit is the mountain of refuse on the outskirts of Manila that regularly avalanches down to bury the children skipping rope below.

    4. Real shit "happens" all right, but lets not diminish that truth with a dumb shit sticker tacked onto the bumper of a chunk of metal spewing real shit into the life-sustaining air we breathe.

    5. Real shit "happens" because we allow it, dispense it, toss it, fan it, eat it, smoke it, sling it, and imagine it into existence.

    6. Real shit begins when the sperm of greed meets the ovum of dark fantasy and births naked carefree indulgence.

    7. It's not what a human ingests and which later drops into the latrine that equals real shit, said the Rabbi; it's what oozes from the dark corners of the human heart that stinks up the world.

    8. Hitler's real name was Adolph Shitler. Mao's real name was Mao Tse Dung. Stalin's real name was Joseph Shitionovich Stalin, otherwise known as Little Shit. But despite their atrocities, let us not think that we are less capable.

    9. Real shit is the 10 acres of tin foil manufactured each day to wrap eighty million Hersheys Kisses made of chocolate originating, by the way, from the Ivory Coast cocoa farms where child slaves work 100 hours a week making us happy on Valentine's Day.

    10. We are shit athiests refusing to acknowledge the existence of shit we can't see. Which is why the plastic pebbles swirling in the Pacific now cover Hawaiian beaches and catch in the throats of gulls and crabs but don't really bother us much.

    11. Real shit isn't the dog feces on the bottom of the shoe. Real shit is the shoe on the top of the dog feces made of materials that won't decompose any time soon.

    12. Real shit is the plastic straw and styrofoam cup into which I stare in my daily Starbucks ritual.

    13. But then again, who really gives a shit.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Scene of the crime

    Strolling through a college town is like playing lead inspector
    in some curbside murder mystery —
    clues strewn everywhere in the gutter —

    broken glass, an abandoned shoe, latex gloves,
    a boutonniere that lost its bud, leaving only lace, brown ribbon, and a pin.

    Who done what to whom and why?

    Even the police drive those humming little hybrid cars,
    which sneak up likewise on pedestrians and bad guys,
    and when elections roll around
    a slate of suspects reveal their motives
    with little plastic signs posted on every other lawn.

    In autumn, a cast of characters arrives,
    dressed to the nines and rushing in out of the rain.
    They bear boxes packed with military precision
    and a series of bags marked with a Target.

    It’s all smiles and bright expectations for the pursuit
    of knowledge, pussy, and some really good parties.

    Yet we all know, as they innocently lug
    freshly painted bookshelves up the stairs,
    that at least one of those objects has a bull’s-eye on its back.

    Winter is the time of appliances.
    Everyone has an alibi:
    vacuum cleaners gargling carpet, dryers churning denim,
    and the incessant tap-dance of computer keys.

    It’s enough to send a man over the edge.

    Instead, walk the streets at dawn when everything is silent
    or late, when it’s all reveling stereos and studious tequila shots.

    Bang! Suddenly it’s May, and they return to the scene of the crime.

    Threadbare sofas, moldy futons, and the odd barber chair
    come outside for air, lining up on the sidewalk
    alongside the milk crates and cinder blocks
    pressed into service as undergraduate furniture.

    The ringleaders strand them there by the dumpster
    and head home for summer, gossiping

    about who done what to whom and why.

    But despite parole, garbage like that don’t last long on the outside.

    Soon enough, it’s swept up by another gang,
    thrown in a dormitory cell, where,
    surrounded by the scent of bud,
    it must hold up a liquor store for one more year.

    √ walk, find a piece of trash, write

    Monday, October 25, 2010


    until i realized
    my mind was a recycling bin
    like a blender with a wonky blade
    cattywompus cerebellum bloating and blistering bubbling
    awhirring cauldron

    i would never have thought the trash i pick up on my morning stroll
    would be the thing i tossed in the brain
    of me, head hinged up like the hood of a car
    hoping for recycling as a poem

    of course there is no such thing as trash
    really. it was a word first applied to humans in 1604, in othello
    comes from the norwegian "trask" ("'fallen leaves and twigs'") which reminds me that the trasks
    daughters were friends of my older sisters',
    and that they only ever ate on paper plates which they then threw out
    a form of women's liberation, no dishes: trash eating on trash

    one of them, the younger, d.,
    beat me up when i was in kindergarten
    what does it mean to be pulped by garbage? lower than low
    i can tell you

    my memory, half used refuse, brailles over the date: 10-25
    knowing seventeen years ago something significant happened on this day
    but the letters have faded off the page of my memory like scuffed newsprint mouldering in a recycling bin

    instead of trying to figure it out, dig through the boxes of papers carefully
    sequestered on basement shelves (the same storage system as my dead wife)
    i just hunker down in the midst of an october storm that promises to rip every gorgeous
    [indescribably colored which we will call] crimson leaf off the dogwood:
    there are ghosts in my blender
    my feeble brain, my lower than trash trash compactor

    to make paper
    you take the riffraffand duff, the broken bits, the shredded paper refuse, the trask
    and blend it - all the letters and meanings bleed out into pulp
    and then push it on a screen, flat, and let it dry
    memories in my recycling bin brain are just so, reconstituted

    my grey matter, pulp and my memory a pulping screen
    taking the glimmering memories, faded lettering, and bits
    and making something new, something clear, a canvas for the coming day

    soon we will move beyond othering and there will be no other-than, no refuse
    no refusing, only this recycling alzheimer-like montaging
    or even less than this, no trash to pick up, a time
    when our dead fade and the ghosts stop yammering
    [a time of erasure?]
    a time of clarity and peace

    Scooter Cascadia
    Taurus Moon, Scorpio Sun

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Recycling (this week's poem-spark)

    Go for a walk.
    Find a piece of trash.
    Write a poem.

    Please add these LABEL to your post: "trash," "poem"

    north task

    Start with Spanish Moss, a generous clump.
    This is your wand/feather fan. You’ll be glad to have it.

    You know where to go. First and last step is listening.

    As you enter, brush the foreheads of the moss-covered cousins as you pass them. Bow before entry, first at the door, then at what you know to be the sanctuary.

    Bow to the stone people. There is a seat waiting for you. Take it.

    Put the Spanish moss on top of your head. Not a peep from you.

    You can’t still the voice in your head. It is making little assignments even now, or rehearsing speeches, or making up recipes, or witty poems—listen to everything but that.

    Every cousin around you is calling its name in your ear. Every auntie is baking delights for you in the spent grass and rotting leaves beneath you.

    Turn away from your own thinking. YOU have already thought 90% of this yesterday, and the day before. Turn, then, and let wind be your lover. Let it kiss every pore. Lean into the tree behind you—it knows all the secrets and then some.

    Notice the mysteries of the scat by your foot. Shh. Quiet. There is something we have to tell you.

    here’s the catch: this will save you, but only if you don’t expect it to. Sometimes a breath is just a breath. Sometimes it is as lonely as a siloh.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010


    before now, when lemon tasting was the thing
    that short teachers with large hair dedicated to
    used to wake us up

    that is what woke me up

    now the lemon wakes me still, in the Rockies of Colorado
    a bright limn of rose and lemon rind 7,652 paces closer to stars
    the first hint of light brings up the point
    that we are cradled by rock mothers
    whose shoulders are taller than any ever
    held me other than skybirds

    they are drawing us around, these stars,
    and the mountain arms, pulse of starbeings hidden in october snow
    from the land of neversummer glaciers, a landscape with
    kinship to the moon, where marmots whinny and pica scamper
    above the thrillion elk bugling in praise

    binocularless, on the ledge of wind, ground iced in mounds

    she handed out a plate of lemon slices and it was passed
    hand to hand
    across the too-many square desks with plastic chairs attached in long rows
    (California schools after Prop 13)
    she handed out the plate of lemon slices and read us a poem,

    forgotten now. she prepared us, woke us up to pay attention

    we each had a lemon slice on our 2x2 plastic fakewood desk top

    like a mountain, as sunrise, light itself, she woke me up
    to pay attention: healing touch, savor, bugle, flavor, lemon
    and today, more than thirty years later, more than
    15,000 turns of the earth round the sun
    what i remember is biting into the lemon

    a galaxy opened within me
    my mouth, a portalway
    my tongue, a dragon waking
    my mind, the canvas of creation

    mrs. woolf and her lemon slice woke me
    i have been awake since
    stalking the night and the day

    perhaps it's the sun's fire we sense
    in the moments when the mountains turn us over
    to day, that flash of pink and lemon
    the creative fire, each day, a bite of lemon
    waking us up waking me up waking me up

    waking me up to mother mountains of the world this morning,
    the 15,828th day of lemon-tasting earthrising brightness

    pink dosey doe's with bright and a hit of the blue that beacons night transition
    and summons day. the mountain mothers of the world roll us over
    in our slumbering, a gentle touch
    showing the way

    the mountain mothers of the world
    roll us over
    in our slumbering, a gentle touch
    showing the way

    raven who likes shiny objects draws the pink light in her beak
    smearing it like a thin jelly across the mother mountains' shoulders
    singing wolf lets loose the nightsong turned morning
    lone pine in a party lets loose the arms that will embrace the new light
    a splendor arises
    a splendor arises
    mountain chickadees croon lemon rinds from stars and snow
    mountain mothers of the world gently turn us over from our slumbering
    plucking brightness from snowhair, creating daysong, and light

    mrs. wolf struts with creative purpose in 3 inch heels and a bouffant
    that might bring her to five feet - composed, filled with verve, her generative power
    that sparked world history

    she gave me Byzantium, ancient history,
    and the wakefulness that births poems

    the mountains swoop up light in long tree cloaks
    hiding the glowing coals of day in boulder dens
    so that marmot and pica and elk and human
    can remember their home the stars the earth

    tangy, bitter, cold
    every poem since a pang
    a wake up call
    a slice
    of lemon

    Scooter Cascadia
    Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park
    16 October 2010
    rev. 21 October 2010

    Tante Martha

    After my great aunt wouldn't stay dead
    we'd find her in the oddest places:
    back of the toolshed weeping unconsolably
    or shuffling into the bedroom at two a.m.
    disoriented, half asleep,
    breath vapor fogging the cold blue windows.

    "Tante Martha," I pleaded, "tell me what's wrong."
    "It's not how they advertised it.
    It's all overrated."
    "What is?" I asked. "What?"
    "Death, you dummy.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    better than anything I finally made it to that door the door that was there all along the door that’s not even a door the door into the density ~ this door opens easily but getting to it is a whole other story It was as if there were leagues of vast nothingness to cross, but instead it was simply more than I could bear; a weight keeping me from going anywhere anchoring me from the inside, a weight both hallowed and unnameable Only to shift, this grey fierceness, and without warning cloaking something else, some other terrain where my life travels and must... taking hold like a fever, startling the viscera, lighting the pit of the stomach Something about it that begs for seeing into but also waves off any interest, too mild friendliness ~ it says, 'only speak to me if you can stand the most tender part of you becoming alight, awake, and awed in agitation' When that is so, the door opens ~ or dissolves ~ all on its own, the fervor calls out the very substance of its undoing, no show, no thanks, especially no trace leaving the unembellished, that, which is better than anything

    snow angels

    it always begins with place now
    the soft light of morning through the steam of my tea
    or how whirling flings of a hundred starlings
    undulate as one being, lifting from a sugar maple
    flashing a dark breaker of wings against autumn's crimson,
    both particle and wave.

    looking backwards it is comical and horrifying
    how it always began with me then
    usually the middle and the end as well.
    in particular there was that shout of a poem
    four long columns on purple paper
    asserting in the first line 'i am an amazon!'
    like a raucous caricature of what i hoped to become
    which i could not yet embody with quiet elegance.

    i proudly photocopied that piece
    and stomped around town taping it up anonymously
    hoping to pique the curiosity of the world,
    quite oblivious to the wind dried salt on her seaswim hair
    or how the ocean crashing
    was as loud as anything on the street
    if you listened with the right frequency.

    embarrassment eases into relief
    that i have grown more into the fabric of things,
    am on the inside looking into, pointing out
    rather than coaxing eyes to look my way.
    now it is all about
    the bold silver of jupiter playing consort to the moon
    or how the glinting red efts come sinuous walking
    suddenly everywhere after the rains come.

    i can just say thank you to that 20 year old self
    for shaking the snow globe reeling
    so that it could all come gently to a blanketing rest
    and pile up to insulate the house of me.

    so that now i can crunch out in the full moon winter
    crying out in wonder
    at the sparkling white bed of mystery
    laid out for our angel wings.

    You Walrus Hurt The One You Love

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Heading back to bed on the equinox

    With the light at my back,
    slowly the black of your room
    begins to take shape...
    the curve of a curtain,
    the slant of that lamp,
    soft edge of your bed.

    I wait, and watch, and wait,
    as my midnight eyes adjust,
    reluctant to rush to your side.
    It's too soon for me to know
    your apartment in the dark.

    Then you give a start,
    rolling over with a charming murmur.
    "A glass of water," I explain,
    though I know you're not awake.

    Spilled drink, skinned shins,
    broken bric-a-brac —
    there's little to be gained from
    stumbling about in the dark.
    Yet isn't that what we've been doing?

    We hold tight to one another in the night,
    hand to hip, nose to nape,
    knee tucked neatly inside knee.
    But what do you really know of me,
    a mystery perhaps as dangerous
    as I appear, looming
    in this Victorian doorway.

    Yet it's you, tiny you,
    that I see as a threat,
    a sighing silhouette guilty
    of inexplicable crime:
    trust, unearned, falls asleep
    on my chest week after week.

    My clothes, my keys,
    I could just leave...
    yet there you sleep and dream and breathe
    with me upon your threshold.
    I wait, and watch, and wait.

    And at last, yes, I step
    carefully, consciously, into your room,
    unsure of my footing, unsure of the way,
    but continuing to seek our equilibrium.
    Our days grow shorter, my dear,
    the year grows dark —
    will you meet me completely
    in autumn and still
    retain the faint outline of yourself?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    December on Long Island

    Wrapped in an afghan that outlived grandma,
    you lie on the couch and mumble
    that the tree’s leaning to the left
    as we jam it in the stand.
    Dad, cursing, denies it’s crooked,
    until he steps back and informs us of this fact
    as if you’d never said a word.

    Then he returns to the truck,
    leaving melting footprints on the rug.
    Mom brings in some ornaments
    and also abandons the scene.

    The doctors agree that you shouldn’t be here for Christmas.
    You should get to the clinic, the program,
    the euphemism, immediately.
    “Aspirated vomit. Sedate and restrain.”
    You should never have been discharged without a plan.

    Dad says it sounds like a country club.
    Mom says whatever it takes.
    I say as little as possible
    and let you direct the routine.
    “Hang that little soldier on the left.”
    “Are there more of those gold bells?”
    “That’s good. I’m feeling minimalist this year.”

    You spent Advent with a ventilator in your throat
    while storms swept through like grim adolescent moods,
    sleet, hail, snow, rain, and random days of clarity.
    Now you sit there, watch movies, and wheeze.
    I plug in the Christmas lights,
    although I put no stock in Christ.

    You stumbled through the sliding doors,
    screaming of hell and slavery,
    swinging wildly at nurses and orderlies…
    three days before we found you in ICU
    with its blinking red and white lights.
    Do you even know who dropped you at the hospital?

    I stand on my chair and adjust the star.
    I ask what’s next
    and you know I don’t mean the tree.
    We hear Mom chopping something in the kitchen,
    Dad grunting as he shovels snow.

    “I don’t know. I’m skeptical.”
    The fire sputters in the grate.
    “I only recognize one higher power,
    and it’s kind of hard to surrender to the weather.”
    We gaze out the window,
    where reindeer graze on a neighbor’s lawn.

    You sip some broth and cough.
    Then your head lolls on its haphazard pile of pillows,
    so I darken the room and doubtfully listen to you breathe.

    Outside, as the sun goes down, the wind picks up.