Poetry

delivery squid

freckle-cheeked and
blue-eyed girl,
pencil in hand,
and paper
a blank canvas
to convey images
unique to her,
ideas as strange and
beautiful
as all those born of
eight-year-olds
whose minds are not bound
by the limits of reality
but instead exist in a
universe
where birds carry umbrellas
and flowers are
as large as trees.
moments captured on
copy paper,
crafted with
cheap pencils found
in the moment of inspiration,
with little care given to
the quality of the
artist’s tool.
the image forms in
an idea that must be
birthed at once –
no time for rules
like margins or scale
and eraser marks are
merely the sign of an
original creation.
what colors exist
in the grasses of this world
where little girls
conjure the pictures
that pull smiles from
their faces
concentrating
on coloring
an uneven starfish?
it is surely a
land of infinite possibility
and only in a place as
miraculous
as the mind of a little girl
could joy be conjured
from the most
absurd of creations.
it is a remarkable
medicine
that is made from
the vision of a
squid on a scooter
or a duck in a
baseball cap,
each one a balm
to the time-burnt
mind of the grown-up
who can only escape
to this wondrous place
through windows created
where the drawings
are tacked to the
wall.

— december, 2011

untitled

a new day
the sun rises on a
man wet with
tears
of a muted dream.
long-held tales
of retribution and wrath
dissolve into the
void of subconscious
surrender,
the false promise
of a vow never taken.
wounded, wounded cub —
set forth in a world
ill-equipped to pass,
too naive to know better
than to seek
healing in the wild —
strays from his den
limping and bleeding
infected and feverish
seeing the world through
distorted haze,
numb.
the sun crests the treetops
illuminating
the glistening face
of the waken man
facing a new day.

— june, 2010

two crows fly away

poised and alert, the crows look
at one another,
black wings restless and ready
to open
and fly from their place
on the fence post
overlooking the urban river bed
shiny and mirrored with green algae water
running to the sea.
the caw call from one
mimicked silently by the other
in preparation for flight.
obsidian wing glistens under
the setting sunlight,
shiny feathers like
midnight approaching.
one crow takes flight toward the sky
the other toward ground
in perfect unison,
growing farther apart as they soar
until the sky yields to the one true bird
and the reflected crow
vanishes
where the river runs dry,
the image evaporated,
there and gone.
heading toward mountains, one crow
diminishes from sight,
while two crows remain
fixed in memory
of the end of
a sunny day
with feathers on the wind.

— july, 2010

owl and wolf and being and bear

i watch the leaves and
branches sway
as they are blown
by the breeze, gentle
and warm.
i sit alone,
the fragrance of pepper
calling back memories
of shade provided in birth
and death
the otherworldly buzz
of a hummingbird that
darts into view
reminding me of the
temporary nature
of the world
i inhabit,
a harbinger of the journey
to the rest of the
universe
that awaits me when
i have completed my
human experience.

animals come and go
as i sit under the tree
watching the sun
fall slowly closer
to the uneven horizon.
some of them walk
in pairs
and others alone,
all and none
with intent and
destination,
inhabiting the grounds
for the sole purpose of
being animals among the
trees and hills and dirt and rock.

they are beautiful
and intimidating,
gentle and wild,
and i am at once
calmed and mystified
at their presence.
i have seen them before
yet they are each
a new vision.
some come to a halt
not far from
where i sit,
captured
by a moment of grace
that calls their attention
to where they pause.

some address me
directly, in their strange
and familiar voices that
are like and unlike
my own.
there is a time of
connection
a space of
communion,
where the animal in me
is drawn forth
from its silent reverie
and reflection upon
the sunset
and engages the
being
before me.
there is awareness.
there is awe.
there is love.
all real, fleeting,
passed as soon as it
is consciously recognized,
but not forever.
only for now.

a string of such moments
collects in the
waning shade under the
pepper tree,
the breeze turning
cool as the sun
makes its exit from
this place in the foothills,
where the animals
come and go,
each a separate soul
walking the earth,
making its way through
discord and shadow,
searching for the
harmonious light
that is born
when it encounters
another
on the trail.

— may, 2010

for Monty

in a dusty canyon where sage and oak color the summertime air, where lone dogs laze in the road caressed by the shade of the pepper trees,
a man walked in beauty

he has learned the language of the timeless and speaks of love, and nature, and Being, of the infinite peace that is glimpsed in
the solitary space of a moment

his spirit is a brightest light, drawing souls to its glow like
butterflies to lavender, hummingbirds to nectar

generous with his laughter, it spreads like wildfire among trees, his face a scarlet
inferno, his eyes wet with jocular tears too fine to extinguish the blaze

when asked for the secret of his exuberance, his reply might be the vision of a red-tailed hawk gliding effortlessly on the thermal air,
its graceful form, a fragile hunter

or his answer might be in the relentless effort of the delicate flower that breaks through the concrete by subtle force so it may bask in the sun
and share its message with those moving slow enough to hear

chaparral spice and wildflower perfume recall the sweetness the man shared with one true love, their romance a bouquet
of fragrant grass and fresh soil

friends who knew them together would feel it just and fitting that a man so generous in his praise of the universe should be given
the gift of one of its brightest stars

a lifetime of friendship, an eternity of love – blessings the man received through the grace of his other half

and when his beloved was called home and again he was alone, the man resumed the path of his journey, older, with eyes that had seen their share of
grief, sorrow, lament

yet still they shone with
the wonder of birds, the delight of flowers, the awe of nature
his vitality unquenchable, burning despite the rain

those on his path would remark on his journey, amazed his flame
burned so bright through the storms

“your road has been rough” they would say, “how do you delight
when darkness has descended?”

“at night come the stars” the man would reply,
his eyes peaceful, calm, marvelous!
“and did you see that sunset?”

the road narrows, the path coarsens, yet the journey continues.
the man still draws others, his flame undiminished,
his Being still a beacon for the imaginative soul

he remains a citizen of the earth, finding fascination in
the simple complexity of creation

his spirit is young, and will be traveling for ages yet. there is much to see, more wonders to behold, more light to be shared

the man walks in beauty

— june, 2008

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One thought on “Poetry

  1. Great poem in tribute to our friend, Monty. I, like everyone, enjoyed laughing along with him when he was tickled by something. How could one not join in? It was like a lovely, happy vortex.
    Monty and I shared time together when my back pain was at its apex in 2004. He was very kind to me, taking me for Thai food often and making me laugh even though I didn’t feel like it. I guess you could say he was a great therapist to me while being a dear friend at the same time. I miss listening to Carol – I never knew what she would say next, but it was always a fun and captivating story. I loved it when she talked about some of her bizarre jazz musician friends from her early years. We all basked warmly in our Golden days in Silverado didn’t we. A time that smiles broadly in memory.
    Thanks, Terry.

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