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15.9k · Mar 2017
Pacific Drift
Denel Kessler Mar 2017
Eroding brick wall
all that remains
refracted, fading
fishermen shadow
red dawn’s early light

brackish still water
shocked violent green
seeps from the desert
to be subsumed
by an unrelenting sea

restless dreamers rise
muscle sturdy pangas
into the churning tide
seeking quicksilver
at the continental edges

returning boats ride low
the shrinking horizon
race to safe harbor
cold beer on ice
under palm palapas

in the restaurant
a young man
shows off tuna
half as tall as he is
to admiring tourists

like me, seeking
the deep, slow burn
salt, jalapeno, lime
a fitting end to this
unraveling dream

Pueblo Mágico
of “no bad days”
walls of contention
in a fractured land
will never separate us

one margarita, two
another raised in defiance
of those who would try
to confine and define
free-range spirits

the Pacific touches
this contiguous shore
from equator to pole
we could catch
a clockwise current

follow Polaris up North
arrive transformed
magnetically charged
disparate souls fused
together bound
Hello and thank you. my HP friends!  I couldn't wish for a kinder, more talented group of people to spend time with.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  Apologies for sporadic reading...been drinking too many margaritas!
: )
15.2k · Apr 2016
Eulogy
Denel Kessler Apr 2016
We attempt rescue, unable to bear
the stardust-coated dragonfly
beat, beat, beating
frantic on the glass.

We entice him to perch
on our extended lifeline-broom
nurse him in a box, where he flutters
quivers, lies quietly blue.

My son cries bitterly
as we place a minute cross
upon the dragonfly grave
while intoning our final goodbyes:

We honor those who have fallen victim
to this fatal architectural trap, lured
by skylights of enticing white-light death
and the paned illusion of freedom.

In admiration of winged determination
and perseverance in the face of futility
we carefully tend the fragile, curved bodies
lay them here to rest under the mock orange.


years of gauze-weighted detritus
swept beneath these ponderous shrubs
a reminder - what seems like freedom
                                                         ­           often isn’t.
We lived in a house that had outdoor skylights.  Insects would be lured by the light and die trying to fly through the glass that imprisoned them.
I hated those skylights...

Hey lovely poets!  Thank you so much for being a supportive, amazing group of people.  I'm truly honored that you take the time to read my poems.  The Daily is just icing on an already sweet cake.
: )
10.0k · Nov 2015
Weeding
Denel Kessler Nov 2015
You must begin early
while it is cool and your head clear
discernment, a sharpened tine
probing the rocky darkness
for all things latent and destructive.

Be aware that the velvet sage
of the leaves belies their power
to take over every space, remember
roots burrow deep, anchoring in
fissures we don’t even know exist.

You must delve as close
to the origin as possible
or the **** you think eradicated
will bide its time, germinating
in the still secret ground

waiting for light
to penetrate the moist earth
waking the sprout
who voraciously pushes up and out
a curled blemish

in your otherwise carefully tended garden.
9.5k · Jul 2017
Deep
Denel Kessler Jul 2017
Muted warning
red-line horizon
submarine morning
a full moon wanes
by nature, earthbound
yet of the heavens
meant to transform

those seeking sky
forget the ocean
how stars appear
upon reflection
celestially untethered
navigating the wild
uncharted reach
8.6k · Dec 2016
Stardust
Denel Kessler Dec 2016
in the dark
compass spinning
wanton wind
howling, wailing
brittle arms
in concert waving
emerald waters
whipped and raging

sky crushed velvet
sequins sewn tight
to the shattered
span of night
a million times
each time as new
with stardust eyes
with gratitude
7.1k · Jul 2016
This Wilderness
Denel Kessler Jul 2016
on the verge of wilderness
imminent silence*

welcome
the sun stroking
peaks aglow
the thundering falls
mist-kissed rain
the solitude
so rarely reached
too often breached

stillness loosen
untamed words
in the native tongue
before thoughts
unspoken
became yours
mine
ours

to the wild
bear these
cryptic symbols
scrawled on
my halved heart
tokens of longing
succor
for the lost
7.1k · Apr 2016
Reef
Denel Kessler Apr 2016
Lone leatherback cruises up from the deep, pausing on the fragile reef

to feast ancient eyes upon the show, a bright parade laid out below

butterfly couples paired for life, graceful angels in black and white stripe

brilliant clowns and their toxic lovers, a plodding gang of giant groupers

puffers bob like comic balloons, humble gobies on every menu

beaked parrotfish grinding the coral down, in the ears a constant sound

cowfish blowing puckered kisses, sea stars catching fishy wishes

white-tipped, hammerhead, tiger sharks, triggerfish mean bite worse than their bark

untamed unicorns too wild to ride, dogfish snapping, biting alongside

coral trout color-shifting fools, attracting ladies in dull-hued schools

**** headed wrasse rumbling through, thick lips mumbling go get a room

sea horses nod in labyrinth caves, razor-toothed eels lying in wait

if tentacled embrace should be your fate, nudibranchs will light the way

to a place of bliss, none of this can exist, without the builders

coral and algae bewildered, the ways of man egotistical

rising ocean temperatures, carbon emissions, and el Niño

victim of abundant greed, say goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef

so massive is this magical place, one can see it from outer space

astronauts witness its demise, ninety-percent barren, bleached bone white.
NaPoWriMo2016#27
Write a poem using haiku-like, seventeen syllable long lines.
7.1k · Nov 2015
Curl
Denel Kessler Nov 2015
Each curl of conversation
stills my tongue, half-sentences
stranded in the mire
of biting reason

words silently form
protests, defenses
reasons and intentions

worthless to ears already fed
with the insistent conundrum
accompanying every attempt
at reconciliation.
6.4k · Apr 2016
Boundary
Denel Kessler Apr 2016
I choose
not to step out
in front of the
oncoming truck
like some flighty
whitetail deer
beside a lonely highway
flat-lining through the Badlands

I hold the perimeter
respect the irrevocable
delineations of love
honor the ground
that roots
evergreen
place my trust
in lapis blue
6.2k · Mar 2016
Blackbird
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
Blackbird
shadow death
witness
the spiraling
madness

glide
silent over
once vital beehive
shorn gray
paper thin

sip
raw honey
hardening
in the merciless
heat

nourish
the suffering
concentration-camp thin
jutting bone
slack skin

reflect
the boundless light
of a shield
wrought from
love

honor
these golden
futile gestures
they are not
infinitesimal grains

Blackbird
with beaded sight
testify
*do not avert
your eyes
6.0k · Sep 2016
Season's End
Denel Kessler Sep 2016
you will go your way
despite my protests
no use lamenting
what was never promised
the sun rides low the horizon
soon it will not clear the treetops
storms gather in the northern sea
needled wind to scattered seed
hoary frost on yellowed grass
dark leaves in mirrored puddles
a suspended death
crystalline and indeterminate
there is no fire hot enough
to stave off the first chill
of a careless winter
the numb hibernating sleep
soft gray melting days
the desperate wish
to regain summer
Hello my poet friends!  What a lovely surprise to wake up to this blustery morning.  Thank you for sticking with me through a crazy summer of sporadic posts - you are all wonderful.  Much love!
: )
5.7k · Jan 2016
Monk in Hiking Boots
Denel Kessler Jan 2016
He is
walking the white line
his arm a repetitious arc
sounding a single tone
timed to the pace
of hiking-boot feet
treading the pavement.

Saffron robes have grayed
over long meditative miles
witnessed by curious commuters
riding the pendulum away
from his purposeful daily counterpoint
the freedom held
in rhythmic ritual

how the mind stills and gathers
in the swinging blur of hand and stick.

I roll the window down
seeking precious solace
as I hurtle past
knowing
he walks for me too
I want to stop the car
fall in behind

feel the timeless drum
the stillness of salvation.
This monk where I live does a walking mediation while striking a traditional drum, usually along a busy highway.  He's done this daily, for many, many years.  Every time I pass him, I feel this way...
4.7k · Nov 2015
Navigate
Denel Kessler Nov 2015
I wish that I
was filled with stars
intricate, intimate arrays
to guide me to the edge
of myself and beyond

my soul
the brightest
in a unique constellation
of my naming

my love
many-hued nebula
expanding
to fill the void

my losses
supernovas
both beautiful
and tragic

But I am not
celestial
earth-bound
I must navigate

by stroke of skin
whiff of memory
trace of sadness
night vision

rudimentary compasses
in a sea of misunderstanding.
4.7k · Sep 2016
Group Cooperative
Denel Kessler Sep 2016
Indian pipes rise ghostly
from ancient compost
of needled tears shed
white bells corpse-silent
shunning Light’s vital touch
sleeping instead in symbiotic beds
of gracious hosts, who in turn
kiss the feet of living Giants
lushly burning gilded rays
to fuel their green economy
*Monotropa uniflora*, commonly known as Indian pipe, ghost, or corpse plant, are herbaceous, perennial plants that grow at the base of trees in dense forests with very little sunlight.  They feed off fungi that live symbiotically in the roots of trees.  A tree’s ability to photosynthesize fuels this small triangle community.  

I know – I’m odd.  I find these things fascinating.  If you’ve never seen an Indian pipe, search it.  They are rare and only bloom when conditions are perfectly humid, but when they pop up there is an otherworldliness to them.  I’m on a nostalgic mental tour of the flora and fauna of my childhood home and these came to mind.  
: )
Denel Kessler Feb 2016
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety -

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light -
good morning, good morning, good morning,

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
Hello and Good Morning!
: )
In my humble opinion, everything Mary Oliver has ever written is profound.  This is one of my favorites.

"to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light"
Seriously?  So, so good!
4.6k · Jan 2017
Rise
Denel Kessler Jan 2017
Show me
true beauty
how waves
break the shore
into individual grains
yet each contains
the whole
crystalline universe
reflecting light
renouncing midnight

Leave me not
upon the sand
barefoot and stripped
recounting sins
to the weary wind
return my heart
to loving grace
salt-scrubbed chambers
cleansed of hate
tenderly reborn

let love
rise from this
arid ground
clear water drawn
from a deeper well
with cupped hands
tend the seeds
so we may eat
of the bounty
that rightfully belongs

to no one
4.4k · Mar 2016
Tiger Shark
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
longing to be liquid
a restless wanderer
let loose the lines
unfurled the main
with severed heart
set solitary course
on an uncaring sea

adrift
the lonely sailor
preserved remains
from his lips
the final note
love's lost
refrain
Manfred Fritz Bajorat's mummified remains were recently discovered aboard his sailboat by fishermen off the coast of the Philippines.

Found on a internet sailor's forum were Manfred's final words, written to his deceased wife, Claudia:
"Thirty years we’re together on the same path. Then the power of the demons was stronger than the will to live. You’re gone. May your soul find its peace. Your Manfred."

Like the tiger shark he was nicknamed for, Manfred roamed the oceans alone for many years.  He hadn't been seen by anyone since 2009...
4.2k · Dec 2015
Tears of Joy
Denel Kessler Dec 2015
The literati are moaning
about the crowning
of a comical smiley-face
with tears of joy
springing from its eyes
as Oxford Dictionaries 2015
"Word of the Year"

it's historic
indicative of a generation
raised on media shorthand
though some people think
the distillation of thought
to acronyms, symbols, emoji
is a bad thing too

but in these icons
heavy black heart
face throwing a kiss
reversed hand with ******* extended
even the simple : )
I see emotion
stripped bare

the whole gorgeous
heart-rending, horrible
hateful range of it
illustrating the dark
and light
of who we are
as a human race

So I say hail and welcome
to the "tears of joy" emoji
may his vivid counterpoint
shine around the world
eclipsing all the words
we've learned this year
for hate.
4.1k · Feb 2016
Robins
Denel Kessler Feb 2016
Dawn
light just seeping
through slatted blinds
robins begin
their morning song
at full-blast volume
I am awake, listening

hoping you made it
through the wilderness
and are sitting on the deck
with your morning coffee
listening to robins too
or loons calling on the lake
watching the sun rise

you said you wanted
to be lying naked
next to the woman
you love
when you're ninety
I hope to be the one
in your arms

perhaps completely deaf
to the robin's cacophony
and a little
worse for wear
but still loving
each other
just the same.
3.8k · Apr 2017
Interrogation
Denel Kessler Apr 2017
Eyes wide
you do not allow
oblivious sleep
shadows branded
on my retina
reveal all contrast
tattooed on my shoulder
a skeletal hand
this illusion  
pins me down


your questions
have no answers
questions remain
asked again and again
I swear
I know nothing


You say everything
is immaterial
subjectively real
ideas existent
in the mind
of the perceiver
I am

(you insist)
a true believer

Parched and shrinking
I ask for mercy
you bring the cup
to my fissured lips
but it is empty
a vessel of air
you murmur
there is only enough
for one
what will you give
in return?


Heavy metal
arpeggios of wind
head bang
petulant faces
inured to rain
a repeating refrain
in falsehood
lies your truth

but even you
cannot halt the dawn
a dark horizon
pulls the strings
powerless
you sink
behind the cloud-
wall of your storm

is it safe now to close my eyes?
three times whisper
be gone
              bright fiend

a weary incantation
spell of protection
the yawning wind
done with howling
hums reassuringly
                            
                       *“a change is gonna come
                                                            ­      imagine
                                                   ­                            peace in our time”
“A Change Is Gonna Come” written by Ben Sollee
“Imagine” written by John Lennon
“Peace In Our Time” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

A sleepless night under the relentless moon, listening to a storm coming in off the Pacific.
3.7k · Oct 2015
Barnacles and Rip Tides
Denel Kessler Oct 2015
Barnacles begin their lives as free-swimming larvae, ebbing and flowing with the tide.  
Most are eaten, some wash ashore, a few survive long enough to attach
with freakishly strong glue their minute larvae heads to a final rock- strewn home.
There they spend the rest of their lives with feathery feet poking out of a hardened shell, filtering the sea for whatever happens to come within reach.

Why the barnacle starts out free
and ends up bonded to some god-forsaken rock
to alternately dry out and be fed at the whim of the tide
is just one of life's many small mysteries.

While barnacles are meant to lead a primarily static life
human beings are not.
We are meant to flow
to settle and ground, uproot and travel
to seek
to speak well and listen better
to find meaningful answers.

We always have the choice to let go
of whatever safe, high ground we're frantically clinging to
though it will mean not knowing where we'll ultimately wash ashore.

Letting go can feel like being caught in a rip current.  
What I know about rip currents:
They pluck hapless beachgoers from shore and pull them out to the ocean deep.  
If you're caught in one and try swimming back to blessed land
you won't make any headway.
Eventually you'll grow tired and drown.

The only way to survive is to stroke like mad
in a totally counterintuitive direction
parallel to the solid ground you desperately want to reach
until you're out of the narrow river ******* you out to sea.

I've decided to unglue my little larvae head
from its rocky, self-imposed, falsely-safe perch.
Let the current carry me where my feet no longer touch the known.

It's up to me to swim in the right direction until I'm free.
Not sure this is technically a poem.  Spoken word?
3.6k · Nov 2016
Tectonic
Denel Kessler Nov 2016
Boundaries converge
subduction, descension
divergent margins widen
convective from the core
red hot and sticky
hardening to obsidian

succumb to subterranean pull
an infinitesimal slide below
dense and pressured soil
the slow parting seam
a rift becomes a chasm
consuming solid ground
3.5k · Mar 2016
Sunflower
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
Your kindness
a sunflower
whose many seeds
sustain the sparrow's
song of joy
and rest assured
do gorgeously
germinate in
thin-hulled souls
the soil is ripe
love yearns
to be reborn.
For certain people, loving kindness is as easy as breathing. Thank you for being such a one, paul SN.
3.5k · Nov 2016
Lupine
Denel Kessler Nov 2016
It is not enough to see
a soul will manifest
what has been sown
immortal purple flame
gnarled roots in stone
the truth of nature
an external blooming
expression of the world

a flourishing vision
voraciously spreads
animating the meadow
with honey-scented breeze
steep slopes sweetened
magnificent blossoms
open lavender wings
to conquer the sky

here the air is thin
windblown seeds
so carelessly thrown
to harsh alpine soil
become willful weeds
persistently untamed
internally unchained
forever wild flowers
Lupine are symbolically associated with imagination, inner guidance, self-reflection, and the development of wisdom that sees beyond polarizing dualities.
3.4k · May 2016
Hungry Chair
Denel Kessler May 2016
Let's talk about heroes
the everyday kind
a Jordanian principal
at a school for girls
offering a simple solution
rather than slamming
another hateful door
in the faces of children
who have done nothing
to create the war
forcing their families to flee
or die in the hateful dust
clouding the world's vision

the school is overcrowded
but when Syrian mothers beg
for their children to be taught
instead of saying     no room
the principal asks each girl
to bring a chair and she will
find room for one more
students walk to school
carrying multi-hued chairs
so many eager daughters
classrooms full beyond bursting
but the principal keeps her promise
none are turned away

a loving heart refusing
to be the lock on the gate
offering instead a key
a mother's simple wish
for her daughter to write her own name
becoming  "maybe she will be a doctor"
a seven-year-old girl declaring
"I want to be smart"
the world begins anew
with open arms, willing minds
perched on the edge
of bright plastic chairs
asking only teach me

*I am hungry to learn
Maha Salim Al-Ashgar, principal of Khawla **** Tha'alba Elementary School for Girls located in Jordan, thank you for showing the world what compassionate action looks like.
3.3k · Jan 2016
Arctic Tern
Denel Kessler Jan 2016
Petite arctic terns
navigate the sky
on epic migration
wings clocking
45,000 miles each year

it seems they know
how to go
with the flow
by thumbing a lift
on atmospheric airways

that crisscross the planet
adding thousands of
seemingly needless miles
to an already
arduous journey

flocks congregate
in open ocean
to rest and fuel up
on fish and krill
for the last push home

these tenacious birds
understand
the cliché
it's all about
the journey

they synchronize
with invisible currents
because to beat
into the wind
is a futile expenditure

they pause
in community
to re-energize and feed
on unfathomable
bounty

four ounces
of feather
and hollow bone
instinctively holds
these truths

there is much
to be learned
from an
arctic
tern.
Humor me...
: )
3.3k · Jun 2016
Blossoms
Denel Kessler Jun 2016
Forty-eight floors up, a God’s-eye view

a man practices tai-chi on a tired patch of grass
he is measured, beautiful

families rest under new-green trees
in Yoyogi Park this early spring Sunday

Mt. Fuji rises like a myth, fading
to illusion in the gathering smog.



                                                            A few inches can be an impossible sea

                                                            we sit, silently contemplating discord
                                                            and the meaningless reasons for it

                                                            cherry trees paint the city pink
                                                            while faded petals cyclone at our feet

                                                            tears, fleeting as sakura
                                                            bloom and fall.
3.2k · Apr 2017
Pearls
Denel Kessler Apr 2017
Note the time
by seasonal migration
return of osprey, eagle
each feathered pearl
a moment strung
on the banded necks
of brants and loons
velvet-lined memories
gathered within
my threatened
wild spaces

raindrops find
their way home
watch them bead
on the backs
of sitting ducks
serenely surfing
sibilant waves
silkily filling
oceans within
my tumultuous
wild heart
3.2k · Apr 2016
Borrower
Denel Kessler Apr 2016
I am a borrower
collecting things that shine
all stashed in cracks and hidey-holes
where the rafters meet the roof
in the basement floorboards
lift one and you'll see
the treasures I've collected
two gorgeous glassy eyes
seven gilded antique buttons
a bouquet of sweetly fragrant lilies
a gleaming jar of pixie dust
three noble barristers
an Irishman netting butterfly dreams
a sorceress of the endless prairie
windmills like soldiers all in a line
the saddest porcelain doll
a small brown bear
trains screaming by on underground rails
a sprinkling of desert blooms
six jack-in-the-boxes so I'm always surprised
the hairless stuffed dog that bit me as a child
a Rickenbacker bass softly riffing the blues
a farmer's Ovation to accompany my woes
seashells that sing the ocean breeze
a merman from the Northern seas
tucked away in every space
packed within each sweet hollow
these simple pleasures I have borrowed
2.9k · Jun 2016
Have I Told You Lately?
Denel Kessler Jun 2016
I love you
like an eternally expanding universe
seen with the clarity
of a thousand Hubble telescopes
your swirling galaxies
artful nebula
tranquil skies
your solid core

I love you
in molten tongues
calling from the void
two nuclear souls
colliding
every atom undone
fused together
to make one

I love you
until the thread is cut
my free-falling light
so high on your atmosphere
reshaped by your gravity
a meteorite wish
sweet ashes
to your dust
*In Teutonic mythology, the soul is a star attached to the ceiling of the sky with a thread spun at birth by Fate, represented as an old crone.  Fate cuts the thread at the end of a life and the soul falls, becoming a shooting star.
2.8k · Jul 2016
The Water
Denel Kessler Jul 2016
seeds lie barren
on the hardpan
of a soul craving

seek absolution
on scarred knees
search for bliss
in the brief bloom
after sparse rain
believe these offerings
are not in vain

seeds lie dormant
awaiting
grace
2.8k · Feb 2017
Flock
Denel Kessler Feb 2017
Mirrored silver
tag me blue
reflective sky
widgeon, merganser
blithely sail
broken ripples
foretelling
storm

raucous
cawing crows
assemble
anxious ducks
explode airborne
duly warned
silent drone
fateful wraith

Eagle
glides over
the settling
surface
razor eyes
seeking
the meek
the weak

fleeing flock
coalesces
white bellies
exposed to the sun
banking hard
return to serenity
certain death
deferred

in nature
alliances are clear

predator

prey
vigilantly
warning
relentlessly
defending

Shrieking
crow-beleaguered
Eagle
retreats
no match
for those
united
against him
True story...
: )
2.8k · Oct 2016
Bamboo
Denel Kessler Oct 2016
shallow creeper
blindly seeks
subterranean passage
horizontal
push and ******
fingered shoots
in compliant ground

purple sword
arcs skyward
a deception
yet to unfurl
gold to conceal
the tangle
underneath

perennation
in unfavorable
seasons
propagates
subversive
perpetual
regeneration
2.8k · Jun 2016
Etiquette
Denel Kessler Jun 2016
Ignore the veiled murmur beneath
the social graces and party conversation

excuse this bland ****** arrangement
feigning interest in tales worn thin
cruising the same old Memorial Parkway.

This, and the embedded gravel
marking each grim rotation:

expectation
disappointment
anger

the weight of relentless perfection.
Denel Kessler Jul 2016
I stood flat-footed upon an eroding hill

Here the sweet peas, on tip-toe for a fight
With wing of coarsest black o'er delicate night
And spiteful fingers grasping at all beauty
To bind us all in deeds unworthy

Oh, toxic wind and fertile rain
Disperse the fragrance of this pain
In healing gardens root a seed
Sprout the bliss we sorely need

This tiny pulse of life we hold
Thrives in soil tilled with love
And tender vines create a bower
Of sweet pea tended, brought to flower


I stand bare foot on an erupting volcanic mount

Here the sweet peas, on tip toe for a flight
With wing of justice verity o’er delicate sight
And nails that compassionately snowball serenity
To bind us all with concord and altruism

Oh, acidic rain share the tears
Wash thy tainted eye-sight
Then crux us in the high-yield land
As we germinate to heaven’s height

The seed so robust and fertile
A shell encased with human forms
The greenness of reflected sextile
Oh Sweet pea, our mirrored storm



Inspired by a stanza from Keats' poem:

I stood tip-toe upon a little hill

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wing of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings."
I wrote the intro line and first three stanzas, Sassy J the second intro line and last three stanzas.  

It was truly a pleasure to work with Sassy J - master of flow and cosmic rhyme.  Her quick mind, sense of social justice, huge heart, and loving soul make her a must-read if you don't know her work already.  Thank you, my special "sweet pea", for suggesting the topic and wanting to work with me!

The sweet pea *(lathyrus odoratus)* derives its name from the Greek word lathyros *(pulse)* and the Latin word odoratus *(fragrant)*.
Sweet peas symbolize bliss or delicate pleasure, they are often given as a thank you.
2.7k · May 2016
Grooved
Denel Kessler May 2016
patterns pressed
in old vinyl
needle-scratched
pop and crackle
background noise
just genetic ambiance
old as the blues
smoky aftertaste
blessing     curse
lost fortune
lured fate
lessons earned
the hard way

long playing
at 33 1/3 rpm
I'm humming
no resistance
my will altered
I submit
to inevitable vacillation
accept ambiguity
as sweet song
lyrics unknown
an uneven melody
I can't deny
or disown
2.7k · May 2016
Shoulder Season
Denel Kessler May 2016
I am not spring
frost thaws eternally
from shallow-rooted fronds
tenuous and unbound
susceptible to wind's constant round
battering the living flat to ground
sodden, smell of decay all around
time is fleeing
these shoulder seasons
with all their restless reasons
yet to unfold in you
sun-soaked glade
I need your rays
to germinate
2.6k · Mar 2016
Wild
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
The Mountain keeps all secrets. Crusted lichen on timeworn boulders. High altitude longing for alpine daisies. Carefree blossoms, long ago plucked, gone to seed, restless in the fertile ground.  Wildflowers bloom shortly sweet, fleeting paintbrush to layered canvas. Fairy slippers lost on crumbling doorsteps. Glacier lilies pressed between avalanched pages.  Forget-me-nots in forgotten blue hollows. The common harebell feels anything but common when seen through a lover's eyes. Forest tiger, your bulbs taste bitter. Purple lupines sage with fuzzy-leafed logic.  Fireweed, *****, unadorned, eternally reaching. Lousewort, spreading phlox, leave this scarlet alone.  Listen to Indian Henry, it's bad luck to trample what is sacred. The devil dreams behind steep and sheltered walls. Keep to the Wonderland, bypass this Trail of Shadows.  Seek ancient hunting grounds, steadfast shelter in the wooded clearing.  There is no pearly everlasting along these old trails.  Paradise lost may never be regained.
2.6k · Jan 2016
Speak
Denel Kessler Jan 2016
we are here
to bless                                
restore                    ­                                                              

the broken
holy
whole

mold
peace
from chaos

cradle
vulnerability
with devotion

let our love
be absolute            
unfettered

asking nothing
but to freely
speak
Peace my poet friends...
2.5k · Jan 2016
Meteor
Denel Kessler Jan 2016
Neon slash
carved
on the winter sky
your distant warmth
permeates

illuminate
the wild
blackened reaches
of the unwritten
night

embrace
the gravity
of mass
greater than
self
2.4k · Jun 2016
Grief Flowering
Denel Kessler Jun 2016
I potted your healing purple verbena
comforting scarlet geranium
never will forget you
pink carnation
the roots were dry
so I added new soil
watered them good
they'll survive

your granddaughter
brought them here
along with "Phil"
the ancient philodendron
he's taken up residence
close to her bed
his elephant ears
spread wide and listening

I thought you would  
be pleased to know
she loaded plants
until the car was full
that she did find
a bit of solace
in the garden
you left behind
* Plants and flowers have symbolic meaning in many cultures.  My daughter brought home these plants from her grandmother's house after she passed.

Purple Verbena: *Healing, Happiness, Love*
Scarlet Geranium: *Comfort, Protection*
Pink Carnation: Carnations in general - *a mother's undying love*.  Pink Carnations specifically - *I will never forget you*
Philodendron: called the "loving tree".  "Phil" is an Elephant Ear Philodendron.

Interesting that she picked these from an entire garden, isn't it?
: )
2.4k · Mar 2016
Impending
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
Ten black crows
in a red-budded
cottonwood tree
basking in the eerie
glow of the waning sun
bruised, livid sky
weighted air
waves shush, shush
on the receding tide
serenity reigns
but I can feel it
hovering offshore
a curled fist
wound tight
ready to strike
2.4k · Jan 2016
Balanced
Denel Kessler Jan 2016
Beyond the thoughts
that keep us bound
fear
suffering
anger  
love
we will fly
though it be fleeting

we savor
the height
while craving
the ground below
knowing
it takes both
to make
a soul
2.4k · Feb 2016
Mudflat
Denel Kessler Feb 2016
Everything heavy
settles
accumulating
as I go about
my external life
like my inner one
doesn't exist

when the tide
recedes
on my knees
in the fetid mud
I will dredge
meaning from
the layers
2.4k · Apr 2016
Forget-Me-Knots
Denel Kessler Apr 2016
Waking breath ghostly frozen, clang of ***-belly stove opening, cedar crackles good morning, sap sizzles, pops, melting.  Warmth finds children sleeping, humid air, mouth-breathing.  Smell of boy sweat and feet, young women ripely sweet.  

Cats purring, stirring, padding quiet down stairs, weave meowing through mom's legs.  Dented percolator burbles better days, snap of toast burned haze, molten mush bubbles burst, fade.  Birds early on the highway Paradise-seeking, time, flash-burned, fleeting. Cobalt jay mockingly complains, chickadee sings his own name, coyote wails, thin and plain.  

Children rise, sleep in their eyes, squabble over bathroom prize, eldest wins, click, locks herself in.  Hurry, hurry the bus is coming, ancient driver, annoyed and honking.  Brown-bag lunches crinkled running, feet slapping, seats squeaking, lungs hot and bursting.  Ride the dawn breaking, hearts aching for more than this, rural bliss.

Stop sign flashes caution, young lovers in the back seat, bodies in motion.  Stop, start, sway on down the highway. Engine mimics hot blood lust, accelerated diesel rush, nothing can stop us. You grab my knee - young, carefree.  Brakes sigh and hiss, sneak one last kiss. You mouth - meet me later, we'll sneak out, rush to a future we haven't got, ready or not.  

The old road at dusk, frog song accompanies us, bike wheels on the asphalt hum, forbidden moonlight run.  Feel your heartbeat on my spine, frantic drumming matching mine. Horned owl hoots, forlorn and bleak, a premonition we refuse to heed, reckless with need. In the clearing young love begins, forget-me-knots on burning skin.
2.4k · Mar 2016
we plant three trees
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
an enduring cypress
immortal knotted rings
until death
two as one
held breath

a contorted filbert
purple catkins bring to flower
deeply rooted visions
creativity, awareness, knowledge
enlightened fruition

a variegated willow
to drink up sorrow's rain
in tolerance we bend
but not to point
of breaking

three trees
foretell a future
laced with little deaths
cypress, filbert, willow
lest we should forget
2.3k · Mar 2016
I Dream In Archetype
Denel Kessler Mar 2016
I dreamed
there was a evil man
searching for wealth
beyond all riches
hidden in the hardened
sculpture of a woman
there was a hero too
I could not see his face
he journeyed to a sacred cave
to guard the precious treasure

he climbed inside
the statue's hollow center
and held the treasure to his chest
where it radiated
with such intensity
he had to close his eyes
it gently pulsed in his hands
calming the anxiousness
leaching sour
in his throat

the villain
shrouded black
entered the cave
a belligerent pirate
yelling obscenities
where are you *****?
when I find you, you'll be sorry
you think you can hide from me?
no one will ever love you
the way that I do


his craven hunger upon seeing
the lost prize glowing heavenly
beneath sapphire stalactites
left this dreamer cold
he began to tear
at the sculpture's *******
with hands encased in forged steel
spiked fingernails slicing
until shimmering gold bloomed
in the statue's chest

zealously the villain tore deeper
molten yellow dripped
from his over-eager fingers
when suddenly from the center
came a flash of scorching fire
the villain dissolved to ash
without a single sound
the hero too transformed
into a luminous bird
not unlike a phoenix

he shook fresh wings
flexed honed talons
raised his crested head
and from hooked beak
there came a sound
like a choir of voices singing
the hero flapped three times
and soared out of the cavern
into the bluest sky
I'd ever seen
2.3k · Feb 2017
Ladybird
Denel Kessler Feb 2017
fallow winter does not bring
peace to the restless soul
finger-licked, waiting
on subtle winds shifting
for the tropical taste
of exotic droplets of rain
a salt-stained remembrance
in this time of dreaming

red-light ladies hatch
in raftered minds
a mass awakening
beneath hardened shell
freedom awaits wings
a collective opening
an essential
transformation
2.2k · Dec 2015
Choice
Denel Kessler Dec 2015
This brilliant morning
anything is possible

we are limited only
by rigid minds
whose fragile confines

can be vaporized
by choice alone.
2.2k · Dec 2016
The Climate of Denial
Denel Kessler Dec 2016
tepid waters do not lie
gale is to cyclone
as rain to thundercloud
no amount of counter-spin
will make them anything other
than atmospheric unrest

El Niño, La Niña
how to read
the unsettled waters
upwelling from the deep
what should feed us
leaves us starving, weak

orcas encircle their kin
emaciated mother, tiny calf
dying from ocean’s lack
while we look on and moan
all the power to change
if we only cared to own it
In the Strait of Juan de Fuca (between Washington state and Vancouver Island, Canada) a resident female orca recently died from what scientists believe to be malnutrition and environmental toxins.  Her young male calf likely died as well, he was too young to survive without a mother.  The last aerial photos taken of the mother and calf show her emaciated, held afloat by family members. A heartbreaking sight.

On the heels of these deaths, there is increasing concern that this resident pod of orcas, numbering about 80 individuals, is declining to the point where it can’t recover.
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