When I was a bird, a crow
black winged upon the shore and sunning
in the tangle of days, salt and seaweed wrapped
watching oceans seep and move between the rocks,
the light jump or hide away within the blackened cracks
I waited for the afternoon warmth, the slow reveal of seas retreating
watching waves of oysters and clams, the rolling of pebbled sands
hours in the drift, sifting shores for broken mollusk shells
all of my days dredging between storms, in love
with the sky and sea.
In death, perhaps we are like water
making our way ever deeper from sand and sky.
Maybe we fly, linger and hover for awhile
and the dream of becoming a bird is real.
Like stars we float oceans of night skies
move toward divine light in a swooping wave
pushing upwards, embryonic waters
spilling over the soul again
In these woods
where I am small, I watch breath rise and fall
in these pines of a hundred years or more
from pine cones, skyward moving slow.
I watch rain running down craggy bark,
soaking softly the moss and flowers below.
In the summer sun of heat, I lose myself complete
in the fragrant warmth of pinewood air.
The moss - yellow, green
in waves, it hangs wispy from the trees
Here where evening brings the birds and breezes quivering,
the wind shakes the forest trees, deep and echoing
the ravens woods speak to thee.
From mud walled homes
these remnants come, artifacts of shell and bone
leather shoes and deerskin coats
woolen blankets and woven rugs,
baskets for storing grain and corn.
Grinding stones and sun bleached bones
antiquities and memories found in fields of sand,
necklace beads of finest hammered silver
now forgotten and lost, and too the river's water.
Came a sorrowful war with bullet guns
that pierced the heart of every man
no match for shooting arrows.
Living on the ocean, I hunt fish and mollusks
my kin - otters and whales, wide eyed we dive and swim
the night waves ripple soft in lullabies
in this sea dream, moon cradled and starlit.
My lips are sparkling, salt flecked, my eyes awake from sleep
in secret worlds, that none can ever keep.
Visions in a myriad of colors
where I find solace and home.
All the days, swum in a variance of blues
oceans deep and streaked in silver shoals
the day skies fade and die, into nights
plush and indigo blue.
Clear water, drinking in - earth soaked
purple violets and fiddle headed ferns
cold bulbs and garden tubers, buds and flowers unfurl.
This mating clash of birds, their chirpy squawks and words,
an aromatic lilac trance, a variance of blue.
Grass and toes, cool and cold
northern winds of spring.
In bars wandering amid the metal and cages,
amid the loud banging of voices, dull as broken bells
rung from the sloshing of drinks, in shirts red inked with wine.
Smoulder and fog, cigarettes now drawn and dead
down this cold alley of vagrants painting nightly,
wildly until dawn.
In this city house amid the screaming sirens,
here in the whirling of paper and garbage
I hear the banging of trucks over broken roads,
low rider stereos, their deep boomed, throaty moans.
Here in this strange forest that flies with cactus birds
alluringly they sing in secret symphonies,
before the howling chorus of coyote calls,
the rising magnetic moon, a mountain flower
pink blushed that fully blooms.
Plum tree with a thousand bees
honeymoon of bliss and flowers
little winds of petals blowing round
in a blaze of spring, pink and cherry red
diaphanous and dewy on the ground.
I drown in the succulence of your lips, I kiss
drinking deep in wildflower meadows.
The sun it melts the cold to spring
and in the morning we watch cheery birds
flit and hop upon the lawn
amid the daffodil yellows.
I cannot write anything, the way my heart tells it
soft in murmurs or echoing loudly as it does
cannot drift the way I'd like, floating freely as dandelion
or milkweed seeds wild in these fields.
I hear words, some like arrows piercing in.
I feel shocks and waves that come
to cover me up, disappearing
facing jangled places head on
letting go of over again
my fears and feelings - like transient clouds
and after the washing rains
the birds come singing, flying.
This cemetery of broken stones, the gray hanging trees
of moss draping down to the crab grass and leafy lawns.
This silent field of sticks and bones, of breath long gone
tiny grave of an infant child one day old.
Behind this black rusty fence, wrought iron and bent
circling round the dead, a strange cage we'd like to escape
forgetting our fate, we smile and pretend.
Ashen white clouds, pale as these grey bones
strewn across this desert floor and lit
by the glint of a million sparkling stones
these diamond pixels shine amid giant saguaro people
moving slow and trailing the sun, they fade with flowers
that come to close and hide away beneath the moon
underground, with deep rooted tubers
they move, pushing away cold stones
pushing through darkness
star gazing they dream
of Spring, dream of
the coming sun.
These winter trees
cold and shouldering winds
their bending branches unhinge
falling limbs crash and break the snow
further still a secret world of mud and bulbs
that in the spring blooms of tulips and violet mossy lawns
and too, the sun that comes to warm and fills with green the tree arms
this wooded home that breathes with sheltering birdsong.
Outside my door a cawing crow
of blackened wings and indigo
delivered by night's shivering storm.
The wind and winter's howling call,
scattered nests and down the feather falls.
Crack of limbs, cold and bare branched
mesquite leaves and needles spiral to the ground.
In a swooping field he flies into the tallest pines
deep and slow, the trees creak
wild in cello tones.
The afternoon sky with its wine dark clouds
red blushed and blue, moments before the rain drenching greys
the scurrilous skies, the black winged silhouettes that fly
amid the cactus trees, thick with chaparral
a total reconstruction of sunny soft memories
this cold tumbling storm that moves overhead
to form, this desert raining lake.
Like stars fading into the blue of day
the blackness that somewhere slips away
how the sun fire burns clouds into the air
the river that wends through lands, a stream no longer seen
a winding path, a deer trail I follow, the sun shadows that swallow
the light of this sycamore forest, where time is somehow lost
amid the trees of blue and silver contrast
beyond these woods, my eyes follow
birds, that fly into the sky hills
far and disappearing.
We are walking, we are chanting, we are praying
though many before us were killed and maimed
we stand in peace, we are in love with the sky,
the earth, the water, the father and the mother
We stand together, we watch the river flood
through the years spilling over with human blood
Praying peace and clean water for our earth mother
praying one day all will come to know
the intricate connection we have to each other
realize how we harm ourselves
when we harm another
We cry with the sky tears
water protectors in the river
Now these clouds, the cold mean greys
sideways rain, the north lands I remember
the drowning air of smoke and fire
nights traveling the dark road to your home
the black and spark of stars, we watched
through the night, before the killing dawn
before the fog, the cold that held us down
the clinch and grasp, the slow stinging wasp
the allure and hum of bees
the honey meadows of scattered petals
only a fleeting summer - we gathered
now swallowed in the autumn thunder,
the bruising cold of November.
It's no good this round and round my love
they'll be no surrender only the smoulder of fire
only a dream, the beautiful fusing
of we two in the star showers
fast and falling, to live and die together
of love and things to remember
somehow we got lost
chilly in the night cloud weather
blind sighted and now besides you
I too can never surrender.
The path of the sun, with its arrows shooting us toward home
the light, the lulling moon miles, the night roads we travel
in vast fields of star flowers we are born, reflections in the river
floating we ride, wildly glide, some days on the smooth tides
with these eyes, sometimes half blind
we live and dance, we hide, we fade and die
all too soon only a light glowing ghostly
a glimmer in the blue water.
In the evening watching blue, pink clouds
birds and clouds whirling round my head
they fly past the place where you live
I long to fly with them, maybe tomorrow
fly to some far off place I've never been
but tonight I go with the stars and moon
only starlit, I drive the dark road past Dragoon
and can never explain the magnetic force that pulls me to you.
If when you leave, you do not think of me
or do not call my name, then I will be a lost
and fallen star, diffused and drowned in
unforgiving seas. I will be restless on the waves
of my days, blind to all horizons
with dark stormy eyes
then only grey blinding fog
will settle in, descending
with smoke to kill, to choke
my dying heart.
I will tell you these things about the sky
and of summer going into fall, of berries nearly gone
the mountain ash trees green, gold and changing.
The yellow waxwings that perch beneath
the heavy laden leaves, cool
amid an autumn storm.
Half the sky is impossibly grey
then further away, turning black charcoal
a place where thunder is born, booming.
The other half, still deciding what to wear today
changing from pink, purple, blue
crashing its way into these luminous hills
meandering in sync with birds over the river
until the sun comes, igniting the clouds
on fire with red again.
On mornings like this, I have pressing things
on my mind - digging and weeding, uncovering things
I lay here thinking of that time last spring
wandering the green fields, or in the canyon lands
under a skyful of blue, and I can't seem to move
cannot rise from this bed, I play records
spinning round my head, I play records on repeat
the bittersweet of you and me.
That time in spring, the sweetness
the yellow green of emerging leaves
the popping and exploding
the bright shattering of petals
lilac flowers in our hands.
Walking the woods with you
tracing deer trails for hours
along the rocky river bank
and in the sycamore forest
we saw the silver shining trees
impossibly branched and reaching
mingling in the vast blue sky.
In the deeper woods, mysterious birds
sang incessant songs, ancient and forlorn
always their singing is reminding me
of the endless beauty to be found
always a deeper feeling of love.
The goldenrod now half exploded, on the edge
flowers cut across the path leading to the bracken woods
from the long grass, three young deer emerge
from the mist, into the forest they disappear
to shelter under fir and cedar boughs
just days old, they rest on mossy loam
I trace their perfect footprints
I want to follow them home.
On days like this
cool, with little winds
desert birds forage for sticks
they build nests perched in cactus
some build green in palo verde trees
always I think of baby birds in spring
hatchlings, the fledglings that fly
I travel far beyond the noise of towns
watch the movement of cooling clouds
the roundness of rain upon the ground
the grey banked scurrilous skies
of hurried birds, their silhouettes before a storm
daisies that close, cold amid the stones
beneath where snakes and lizards go
slither and crawl in this landscape of saguaros
and I, ever tethered can only dream to fly.
Tree, I have come to shelter and with the rain to weep
I am soaked, barefoot with mud running through.
Soft the moss, cool and cold
to soothe my heart that bleeds.
Our waxing nights of love and moons
now fallow, a field that burns.
Damned our hollow bed
of haunting, silent screams
too soon the fiery devil
too far my lover
Sitting under these trees waiting
maybe all day for the moon
or the washing rain upon my face
lay upon this mossy grass, all sunk in
pay no mind to where I've been
no matter - awake or dreaming
I fly into the forest with birds
under maple leaves
sun dappled, shining
or perched in the pinewoods
a safe place to hide away
a heart that's dying.
With eyes, like owls - great horned or a night cat's
his arms, tree branched, heavy laden, strong
with legs, sturdy pillars for mountains climbed
hair of silken silver brushed upon my skin
his essence, forged by nights and wildfire pines
his reddened lips, softly melting into mine.
All day from the canyon
the wind birds hover
the dance of pines,
the free water.
The long grass that flows,
green seaweed of the river.
September's early leaves
paper, gold upon the water,
wild yellow petals.
The river's edge
with bright blinking flowers, fully petaled
they are looking out upon the water
all day the blue, green, yellow of the water
all day until the red, gold of the evening sun.
The taste of your mouth
it exploded, salt bright
upon my lips and I fell
as the night was - of shooting stars
blushed, bright flashed, gleaming.
I fell, the thump and tumbling
of hearts, by the moon, love spun.
Your arms, bands of gold, bronze
gathered me - each part
like stars, one by one.
In the cool stillness the desert awakens
night barely lingers, with dreams now afar
in the chill before the dawn
comes the fading of stars
blue before the sun
a new day
Every day I awaken early
always I open the curtained window
to gaze upon the fire red sky
sink my thoughts into the tallest trees
distract my mind from these worries
I drift into the aromatic leaves of tea
try not to let flashes of you beset me
all your photographs I must quickly pass
I walk wooded paths for beauty to seek
and from my lips your name I shall not speak
and never think of our last road trip
the Colorado river, the ocean,
the weight of this sinking ship.
Of all the colors
or incense of fragrance imbued
of lavender in fields, violet blue
or softer still the lilac florets all abloom
pale silk, sweet the honeysuckle dew
drips and drinks the yellow painted tanager
and flits afield the newly winged swallowtail
the thrum and dance of bees bright in floral symphonies
gathering, heavy laden in the bending breeze
of all the colors, this bird iridescently shimmering
blue into the disappearing trees
too soon another day to lose
of all the colors, a favorite
I can never choose.
Very early, before the birds
the morning moon travels to underworlds
gathering stars and seas of glowing pearls
when swift, the sweep of darkness goes
the night from black to indigo
blue in layers, the light unravels
then wends the coming day
the dawning sky of gold.
Over by the wild fields, crossing wired fences
climbing into view, we saw the sandhill cranes
like airplanes, impossibly winged
they weaved in and out of sight
stalking tall amid the grassy screens
prehistorically made and in the green
of murky shallows to wade
warming in the sun, they come
returning every year
and we can feel the air move
in a giant swoop, a flapping wave
breathing heavy winged
we sighed, at their precarious lift off
the feathery snow of sky
alas, the distant birds
silver streaking by.