Friday, December 30, 2011

Playland at the Beach

Playland at the Beach

side rail skee-ball
25c in the coin rack
send the wood ball into the center pocket
200 center hole points
scores a ticket

Sal casts an edgy spell
over the centrifugal force disc go round
rockets kids flying onto the floor

Sal cackles & calls us
up into the fun house
across a steel bridge
where we are blasted from below
by air shots
that lift shirts & skirts
to show skin bared to all

& the herkum jerkum wild mouse
left our bodies sore
from knees slapped against steel encasements
& necks snapped backward against sheet metal

side rail skee-ball ate all our quarters by now
& that leaves laughing Sal laughing at us boys
left holding only bright purple fuzzy snakes
even our little sisters don’t want

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Start: a definition

How audacious to call anything a start.

Start is a moment that’s put on

auspicious clothing, a change in tempo

or intensity, but beneath that

just another continuation.

Start is the celebrity on the front page

of today’s media section who was yesterday

somebody’s neighbor, a person at the store

or walking through the parking lot,

like all of the rest of us.

Start is really only continue.

The infant’s emergence
furthers its gestation

from proteins incorporated

two or more generations past.

The New Year comes with a bang,

a pop and a dropping ball,

and then it’s time for bed

because tomorrow we have to go on,

figuring this out. Start is

a thin party thrown by Continue,

sublimating quickly

as a champagne bubble.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011



a hard rock in time
& place where
gravity meets earth
& settles on a spot
of ground
between heaven & there
in one instance.

A hard rock in time
in another moment
heavy solid
weathered not beaten
bigger than a fist
smaller than an ocean
unsplashed yet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

IMUNURI prompt: definition

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all.   (Emily Dickinson)

For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business. (Christopher Smart)

what's a poem?
taking its time    (Robert Peters)

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant 
ranges and 
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest 
relish by
natives in their 
native dress... (Kay Ryan)

Imagine a dictionary in which every word is defined in poetic language.
This week, choose a word as your title and write a definition that could appear in this dictionary.
Feel free to post multiple definition poems if they come to you.

keywords: dictionary, poem, your name

Thursday, December 22, 2011

inside my mountain (cont. 4)

on the path
my boots crunched.
four black wings
burst skyward.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rock-a my soul

I can’t speak for you, would struggle to describe you,
but really I just want to touch in with lasting things.

Vegetable matter solidifies into the substance of my meat.
You know what I mean.
Irregular impacts create my irregular contours
and then I look at them and think, beautiful.
I do the same with you.

Perhaps you rolled down from one of the high points
I can see from here, or you bubbled up from below,
sheared and scorched in no time at all.

Now I think you are a created thing
(you are created one way or another),
but now I think you were a poured liquid
(a poured liquid one way or another),
but now I think you are a human thing,
a liquid mixed and poured by some person around here,
then eaten away, kicked to the path edge,
and still resisting the return to liquid.

I can’t speak for you, but I’m trying
to touch in with lasting things, adjusting my footing
to anticipate the big wave, not something approaching,
but just in case it’s beyond the horizon.
I washed you, set you on a desk. We are
solid, faulted and still. Where could I
wind up when the earth shifts again?

If this rock…

If this rock is a walkie talkie

then perhaps I could walk my dog

gerel by remote control, a long leashless

leash tethering me in thoughtspace

to the core of the earth, ensuring

my words move continents.

If this rock is a honky tonk lowdown barefisted

harmonica playin’ jazz whiz

then the music of the spheres is not classical

but bluesy, and this here rock could be

a microphone, capturing words flung out

then sung down the rock of the ages

to the skeleton of gaia, the molten core

or hard iron teeth at the chasm center

the fueling furnace making us shimmy and spin

around a larger caterwauling rock on fire.

Only if.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

rock seed river: flow

let my mouth be a river
and the fury, flurry, and sinew of water always on the move
of thoughts flung free from pool and eddy
to ripple and verve within the dugout parts of me
let it ride let the water always be clear,
the translucent ripples of me flowing.

allow the world as water washing through me
bring to the fount of my mouth -
and through - a continuous waterfall
of verse, uni- and poly-, the many rivers
rivering up and through.

let me be a gracious grateful and graceful riverbank
which is also ever changing:
now the water dislodges one dark pearl
this poem this black roundling to burnish me
tumble and jumble and hollow me
make clacking music with other river poem rocks
now the water dislodges one dark pearl
this poem this black roundling to burnish me
inside and out, a seed of water's dark wholeness
carrying to the ocean of birth.

near winter solstice '2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Prompt: Listen to Rocks

Whether small, round, or jagged, looking like a Goddess or a cavern, go find a rock and listen to it. Write a poem of what it says to you, what poem it wants you to write. It could be a fantastical rock, as in J's "New Discoveries in Familiar Places" or it could be a pebble from the walkway to your apartment.

If you are in a zany mood, you could have the shape of the poem reflect the shape of the rock, or include a picture. Perhaps the rock is telling stories of its history, its forging or friends. Geologic time moves at a different pace, so listen close: some rocks whisper; others shout.

Tags: Poem, Rock, [Poet's Moniker]

Image credit: Scooter Cascadia, Sedona, Walk along Oak Creek to Cathedral Rock, January '2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Discoveries in Familiar Places

New discoveries in familiar places

once rocky beach
now mostly sand
where Kate searched each year for her solstice stone
“This will be a challenge to find one now”
& just that fast she hands me
a solstice stone with a hole in it
“You can spot a ship on the horizon with this”
& I put the hole to my eye
& just that fast spotted a ship on the horizon
I reached into my backpack pocket
to find my pen to write about this
& came out with a green mechanical Italian pencil
Venus - 043
that I had never seen before.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New School

At our first PTA meeting at our daughter's new

school, my wife has to give me a little bit of a prod.

The dad in charge of the dad's maintenance muster roll,

Paul, gives me a firm handclasp and a welcoming smile.

While we talk, I notice details in the multi-purpose space:

faces of celebrities drinking milk, the piano, the stage.

Age has made me able to enter a school by the front door

grace on my shoulders, but I flash back to third grade.

April we moved to a new school in Hawaii, a new place

all over. The school buildings were military barrack style.

God, I stared up at the windows that opened with a long pole

through group time and reading time and math squad,

poor new kid, trying to keep the tears in his head until two.

in the first revolution of gaia

in moons
this is the first revolution of gaia
when something isn't pushing me awake
some cantankering must or would
(or some five or fifty-five of them).

i round the bend on the morning walk
that i take because the sun shows up
shockingly in december to remind us
what we're missing the other 222 days a year
when she's away.

i am confused. how do we respond
to a world on fire? how do we remember where we are
when rectangles try to repattern our thinking
in rectangle houses on rectangle streets
(there's nothing upright about life,
nothing rect that hasn't wrecked it).

i dream of walking through curved gardens
where dragon and apple branch guide us, where
plinth and driveway have revived to path and wanderwalk.

inside me, this ancient garden swerves my neural
networks into using the other 90%+ of my emergent
capacity. the cup of the hand, the moon, this earth
soften and flare. when they talked about the Garden
they were talking about my thinking. No one ever lost

the Garden. we carry it surely in our pen and thought.
in dancing limb and vox.
everytime we write a poem or sing, we become sturdy
trees of wisdom and life, girding ourselves trunklike
and in nonlinear blossomwhirl
for another (ancient) day (way):
our brains and hearts are landscapes of peace.
within are galaxies of curve and connection.
inside are looping and lumpy cosmos of creativity/creation.
our brains and hearts are landscapes of peace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Inside my mountain (cont. 3)

ground closer
I sense wet mud.

IMUNURI prompt: somewhere new

This week, put paper and pen in your pocket and take a little time to go somewhere you never go, or somewhere you have never been. It doesn't have to be far or exotic or hard to get to; but wherever you go, notice the newness, and if you can, draft your post in that place, about the place or the feeling, or anything else that's on your mind.

Should a physical excursion to unknown places prove unfeasible, you might go somewhere new within somewhere familiar or within yourself, or you might look for and discover a new aspect of somewhere you have been before.

lables: poem, zabriskie, your name

Friday, December 9, 2011

body/earth 1 - hands

the palm is an orchid
delicate, nourished by thick, resplendent air
a dancer offering careful arcs of growth and grace

the palm is a chrysanthemum
a gardener nourished by contact with dung
radiant, healing with its vibrancy

the palm is sea kelp
a relationship of green ropes
connecting murky depths to water sun

the palm is the center of the earth:
we hold pulsing layers
and magma blood, source of rotating life
in our grip

the palm is a poem
palimpsest of meaningful lines
holding wholeness

scooter cascadia

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I’ve been edging toward your return since last Saturday.

There’s no question that serving as you have is selfless

in a way. When you flew out in 08 to put your life

on the line for this country and its changing ideals,

Katelyn, God bless her, hardly knew that you had gone.

But she grew to feel it. From me, perhaps. I can’t reckon

if the emails and videos and Iraqi Xmas gifts helped her

touch your presence or your long absence. Anyway

I told you how she salutes each and every American flag,

the ones in the neighborhood and the one at the mall.

Believe it or not, she’s turned six and grown so tall

and graceful. She’s pushing her boundaries, says her dad

is on her side, it doesn’t matter if he’s so far away.

You know, she can read most of the Berenstain Bears

by herself. Did I tell you? Our pastor and our flock

have changed minds about things I thought were certain.

I hardly know anymore what to tell Kate is really real.

Now here you are in your kitchen again with your wife.

Anyway, I don’t know where to start to confess

about what’s gone through me since you were away.