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Oct 2017 · 464
Beaver Trap
Sam Temple Oct 2017
Heaving rain soaked blue jeans
over fallen and rotted fir trees
I struggled to follow my uncle
and father through the forest.
They moved almost mythical,
never disturbing low hanging branches
or crushing limbs with an echo of snaps,
misty bodies weaving in and out of shadow.
For one moment I lost sight
as they slipped over an embankment
and slid down to the water’s edge.
A deep panic filled me
as I scrambled to catch up.
When I poked my head up over the berm
and saw them standing above the slide
a smiled passed my lips.
My father reached tobacco stained fingers
down the shaft of a wooden stake
and pulled a wire up from the murk.
Feeling tension on the line, he let out a whoop.
It was the first set on this creek
and already we had paid for dinner and gas.  /
Aug 2017 · 435
Unable to Breathe
Sam Temple Aug 2017
Tangled mass of briers
chokes the trailhead leading into
a dark forest with echoing calls;
a ****** ***** wildly and their
chorus fills the valley with song
both frightening and
exhilarating to my blood.
A chill creeps through me
as the mountain stream nearby
has entered my body at the neck
traveled every inch of my vein and artery
before leaving me at the ankle
and rejoining its own meandering body.
Is it the distant buzz of chainsaw
or simply a concert of crickets, each
tiny violin poised and ready to launch
that leaves me holding my breath?   /
Aug 2017 · 349
Feeling a bit Goonie
Sam Temple Aug 2017
Overcome with discomfort
like doing the Truffle Shuffle
on a cold day in the rain
belly exposed and wet
frantically jiggling
as if too much Ambrosia salad was
piled on a silver tray –
green Cool Whip slopping over the side
sticky fingers sliding
until it finally drops
and some new access is granted.  /
Sam Temple Jul 2017
Water Skipper rests on surface tension
and I think about the knot in my neck;
if its tiny spider-like legs
could remove the stress I carry.
Long days of summer sun
leave the land dry and
turn green lawns to brown,
this little pond
will never survive July.
Scooting across the plane
the skipper leaves no ripple
and I wish to walk through life
leaving calm     undisturbed     waters behind me.    /
Sam Temple Jul 2017
A sliver through leaning elm
lattice branches disguise and distort.
Speckled with yellow, green tree frogs
took the shine as an omen
and sang for lovers with feverous desire.

The goddess of night stirred me also
as I peered deep into the wicker…
I sought a more clear view
but her coyness combined
with the angle of twig
and left my gaze unsatisfied.

Low in a north/ south canyon
barely able to see the sky
I shed a tear for her passing
while wishing for every singing frog
a bright and inquisitive mate.  /
Jul 2017 · 352
Secret Life of Sea Otters
Sam Temple Jul 2017
Far out past the breakers
a group of sea otters roll and play
in kelp beds.
nearby seafaring ducks and gulls
frantic for scrap
dive and squawk
splashing and throwing a sardine fit.
I stand upon the shore
wishing to participate
but the cold of the Oregon Pacific
keeps me safe and warm on the beach.
Still, I find myself imagining a streamlined body
riding currents and waves
a natural surfer never needing a leash or wetsuit.
The sun lowers and changes the patterns
shadows play between whitecaps
and I no longer can see shiny heads
pop through the surface
scan for friends or food
and duck again beneath the waves
where I can only imagine what is happening.  /
Sam Temple Jul 2017
Standing at the concrete bridge
just at the entrance to the L-Line
I scan the clear-cut of two years ago.
New maples stretch to the sky and
ferns fan out like a forest compass
each direction, devastation.
I close my eyes to the horror and feel my brow
scrunch. A lifetime of memory spills like the creek below
passing me by, cloudy and swirling.
It is really progress to ends so many lives?
Each stump I pass seems to call out
in a weak wavering voice, asking my why.
I rub my fingers along the chainsaw tracks
shaking my head as I cannot answer.
When my father used to return from work
smelling of sawdust and
gear oil, I relished those scents.
Today, in the face of a forest in ruin,
my nostrils flare against the stench.
And yet, even in my anger and dismay
new growth brushes my pant legs
and I see where the planters have come through with
***** and ***
giving baby firs a new home.  /
Sam Temple Jun 2017
Cockroaches track cigarette ash over the table
and across the window sill.
A thin, scabbed, tattooed hand rocks the bassinet
and a sleeping baby is bought in
and out of sunlight distorted by bent mini-blinds.
As she scans open and empty cupboards wondering
how she can still produce milk, an expected knock
comes. Frantic eyes scan for signs of stirring
as she needs her little prince to sleep through the trick.    /
Jun 2017 · 278
Night Fishing With Poppie
Sam Temple Jun 2017
reeds jut skyward
like spears in the hands of marching soldiers
below, rank mud squishes underfoot
we creep as near to silent as possible

crossing rusted strands of barbed wire
we enter private and protected ponds
with ninja stealth we take position
crouched in bramble
we cast thin line delicately into the void

slight tremors find my eager fingertips
as insomniac bass feel for tasty treats
slimy lips extend and inhale
******* worm and hook deep inside

my father snaps his fingers twice
the sound of a job well done
I feel his strong hand grip my shoulder
and look back to see his toothy grin
shine in the moonlight  /
May 2017 · 970
The Importance of Flowers
Sam Temple May 2017
Bending low over cultivated flowers
feeling petals soft and delicate betwixt rough
and calloused fingertips. With the gentlest tug
a single veined pollen respite
floats at first then lays weightless
within my palm. I hold the entire universe as well.
Each atom in balance expressing color
and fragrance. All without any
measurable substance. A slight but steady
breeze takes my prize. I stand defeated;
no longer able to garner a mate…
or experience joy. I pull another
and am reborn in nature.  /
Thinking a lot about Jung and Peterson and archetypes and my place in society, nature, and the combination of those two ideas.
May 2017 · 200
Called Home
Sam Temple May 2017
Midge had a smidgen of misgivings regarding pigeons
grey and blue and cooing while she, on the stoop,
only wished for winged flight.
She had tried flapping wildly, mildly spraining her thigh,
and jumped off a dumpster with eyes to the sky, but
its wasn’t until upon the davenport that the idea stuck her
with the force of a horse kick she’d pick up some luggage
and soar like a bird on an airline called United (even with the bad press
she liked how they sounded.) So she found a round trip to a high desert plain
with lines of the Nazca… famous for aliens or pre-history pilots or maybe
hot air balloon wanders. It was there she felt peace and a semblance of home
as these people too had longed for the sky paying homage to insects
and drawing roads to the heavens. She sat down, looked around,
and ate some break, unleavened.  /
May 2017 · 234
Chasing Air
Sam Temple May 2017
On the counter sat a faded black and white photograph
a young woman’s face smiled bright with hope for the future
a future that included me and my brother, a husband,
and one lover only she really liked.
A cough caught my attention and I looked at her wrinkled face
it had been days since any eye contact
since food had passed those dry, cracked, and peeling lips,
instead a small pink swab attached to a plastic white stick
brought dabs of moisture to a shriveling tongue.
Candles burned around her high school graduation picture
dark wisps of ashy smoke braided itself and disappeared
I took a cold unresponsive hand in my own
and thought about how many more times I would be able to touch her.
Each room in the facility held the same story
though none of us spoke to each other during those days
aside from an overly friendly care giver trying to delicately
flop a body around to change sheets or clean soiled sundries.
Mom’s breath stopped…
just at the moment when fear of being an orphan
had locked my chest in God’s own vice grip
she exhaled.
I laid my head against a cold steel bar
there to protect her from falling out of bed, but also
to  keep me from crawling in and wrapping my arms around her body
in an effort to keep her warm.  /
May 2017 · 301
Sam Temple May 2017
In the late 1960’s
when my mother was in high school choir
a ghost sang with them sometimes in the rehearsal room
if all the basses, tenors, and sopranos joined on que
and their tone and pitch were perfect
a mysterious songbird arrived
to harmonize with them near the ceiling
octaves above their own voices.
Mr. Dougherty, the instructor, would whoop and holler
inviting their songbird, Alice, to sing louder…
and without flaw when a tone
reverberates in each of us
a ghostly phenomenon of the normal variety rises to the ceiling
to sing inside and with us all and as a species.
In those moments our collective voices join in harmonious chorus
we become one with each other and invite the natural world
to come, and sing along.   /
May 2017 · 1.3k
Under Penalty of Death
Sam Temple May 2017
tension swirled tornado style
within the confine of a judicial chamber
parties argued in the din
and slow steady breathing found one plaintiff

barely able to see walls meet
blue eyes fell into a fixed gaze
voices drifting on waves of blue-green
carried a body without substance across golden fields

darting sparrows altered the sky
creating patches of shadow and cloud
then turning and switching pace
uniform movements seemed military and precise

still, an ethereal accused traveled wide skies
watching rooftops pass and fade into horizon
then the deserts and forests came and went
sea’s followed and disappeared

back in the barren walled room
raised voices told tales of chairs electrically charged
a lifetime of punishment for a moment of indiscretion
these noises found a smile
as heaven had been found and was internal.  /
Sam Temple May 2017
A rose, pre-bloom, gives rooms a swoon
with June looming we ‘true-lovers’ croon
to whom we love like the singing loon
on ponds, far below, during foggy dawns.

Her lilting song travels on light gusts
a dusky hue with wafting musk
silhouette sits still in the opposite dusk
while fawns nibble delicate fronds.

A valley beneath wreathed in mist
gentle breezes distort and twist
two geese entwined in a lovers tryst
float along blowing jazz sax songs.

A fox awakens to the sounds
to the ponds edge, down and around,
he hunkers low to watch them drown
in broad strokes he follows along.

The ensuing gloom sends the loon to soar
as she can stand to watch no more
blood and feathers find the shore
a fox, engorged, yips his song.  /
May 2017 · 263
Tall Grass Mystery
Sam Temple May 2017
Tiger grass in the Willamette Valley hides canine anaconda
they slither unseen except for the sifting chaff,
westerly breezes give them total cover until the attack
of tongue and slobber. We sit, half expecting,
a pounce and roll. The scratchy paw against cotton blend
inspires distant tree frogs to croak and seek
mates and pools perfect to harbor new life.
Delicate eggs surrounded by slime fly up and over
heads not paying attention, heads that instantly become open caverns
and howl like banshees at splashing hounds in the moonlight.
Disciplinary tones squelch exuberant activity and
three old men with hanging heads gather around the fire,
unable to make eye-contact or even muster up the courage
to lay upon booted feet of angry masters. Only the occasional whimper
rolls across the valley as even the frogs fear for their safety.  /
Apr 2017 · 620
Dreams on a Long Drive
Sam Temple Apr 2017
Each head accounted for
and every paycheck cashed,
we hunched near a campfire.
My father struck a match
and touched the tip of a Lucky Strike.
The horses whinnied softly
and stomped their hooves,
the cattle bawled in the corral.
My father leaned closer to the fire
took one long dirt-flavored drag
drew another square from the pack
and wished one day he could watch it all burn.
This piece is to be published in 'Oregon East' this coming fall.
Apr 2017 · 328
Reflecting on the M.O.A.B.
Sam Temple Apr 2017
Contorted faces frozen with fear
witness a mother caress and hold
tunnels and caves and villages
in a warm one mile embrace.

Foreign clouds fill the sky
and fall back to the earth
sluffed skin carried on unnatural winds
flutter like a butterfly across the sand.

Fleeing sheep herd in rubble
square pupils dart and scan
burnt shrubbery offer no sustenance
as the economy of the foothills is spent.

Low rumbles of passing planes
give rise to wailing children
nervous eyes cast themselves to heaven
waiting for God to fall again.     /
Apr 2017 · 242
Decay in the Desert
Sam Temple Apr 2017

Heat mirage on sandy soil
disintegrating cirrus left from the cool night
skittering horn toad flattens to hiss before
leaving the sunbaked earth
for shadowed hollow protections.

Large red-bottomed fire ants
carry back to a simple hole cuttings of magpie
they store foodstuffs for the hard months ahead
while cleaning the land of rotting bodies.

Hollow bones stripped of flesh
begin to bleach and crack
stiff winds pile feldspar and quartz along the western edge
of a bird long free from nest building and chick rearing.

Only a passing coyote gives the magpie body a second thought
before turning west towards dancing foothills.   /
Apr 2017 · 297
Special Perch
Sam Temple Apr 2017
Musing at music one morning in May
my thoughts journeyed within
at sounds of noise and parts of speech
and wind through limbs in spring.

A whistling thrush upon a post
brought me back around
gifting song to weary ears
before flying east towards the sun.

The bamboo rustled in the breeze
as koi swam in long slow rounds
new shoots of lily burst
through the surface of the pond.

I felt his fur against my leg
and a purr rattled my lobes
yellow eyes looked up as I glanced down
both of us frozen in a moment.

A squawking Sterling broke the spell
we stood too close to suet
his need was great and his boldness grew
as he lit upon the thrushes post.     /
Mar 2017 · 471
Caught in the Act
Sam Temple Mar 2017

flickering gaslight behind barely tinted safety glass
shadow plays across pale skin and
wine glasses rest on silver laden holders

languid smiles find me eager
and the gentlest stroke of an index finger
send shivers rocketing up from my toes
and over the top of my head

she pulls away playfully before I can
collect and hold the appendage
wry eyes cast glances
and she leans in placing soft sweet lips upon my own

we think ourselves safe and alone
as the petting becomes more heated
far off to the west, peering in through the patio door
an old lover wanes and falls behind the curtain  /
Mar 2017 · 350
Murder in Overalls
Sam Temple Mar 2017

pasture grass warm and sticky complete
with distant goats chewing and
kicking up in play
from the creek side a flash of black
just enough residual periphery to startle the herd
square pupils dart and scan
while floppy jowls with stringy drool watches from the pampas

first sprinting left then
darting back to the right and circling around
the 2 year old Lab pup pretends to Collie
attempting to direct the herd
without any human direction

from the faded red door a farmer appears
straw between lips
hands deep in overall pockets
quietly surveying all that is his when at once
a disturbance is noticed
goats darting around in frantic worry
being chased by one hundred pounds of Labrador fury
reaching just inside of the doorjamb
the old farmer pulled forth a 243 Remington
took steady aim
and shot the menace attacking the bleaters

when we got back from the Country Fair the Thomas house had a funny air
and only Jimmy came to greet us
Roy was nowhere to be found
after a few hours of searching the forest and questioning
neighbors we were handed a red dog collar from the Dairy farmer
2 miles up the drive
they shot my dog for playing with goats on a Holstein farm
and so we gave up milk and though about revenge     /
Mar 2017 · 225
Truth Within the Eye
Sam Temple Mar 2017

you look deep into my eyes
turn your head slightly to the left and
smile with teeth

I hold this moment all day until we
sit again within each other’s caress
I experience the economy of love

harsh truths of a life addicted
play in the backdrop of our marriage
she tells me we are o.k.

and I believe

as years blend and time fades
we share these moments of fresh air

as we travel hand in hand
this road of relationship

planning always for the next incarnation
and finding one and other lifetime after lifetime  /
Sam Temple Mar 2017

Mars flashed like a plane coming in
brightness and rotation of color
reminded me of stock footage
nuclear tests on an atoll
      reds and oranges play in blue hues

wisps of black cloud impeded my view
and I thought about young men in trenches
love and comradery I would never know
Mars peaked back into view
      I considered Russian and Chinese prophecy

my own heartbeat became a marching army
covering the land in mist and smoke
thunderous explosions disjointing doorframes
whimpering children under dusty grey rubble
       loudspeakers reassuring danger has passed

golden curtains  move with the wind fire creates
a scorched lawn with a twisted fence
Pennsylvania Avenue potholed and transient
beyond that the ghettos smolder  
a nation bleeds life back into poisoned soil
       a lone perched eagle surveys before soaring into the dawn    /
Mar 2017 · 225
Weekend Trip
Sam Temple Mar 2017

even handicapped priests have no respect for glitter
unless there is extra mayonnaise
everyone sat holding heavy their moon pie faces
thinking about the fish **** pond
and our lack of sunshine and warm weather

things had to get Phishy stat or stuff could seriously get weird
like Zoidberg Claw weird
so we washed the whiskey down with turkey
and walked to the sea while the wind whipped the Cyprus

an open door policy’s gave the cleaning lady a fright
and flecks of green lay strewn across tan carpet
we saw a wizard and left without breakfast

pictures of ham and familial hugs
gave way to snowy roads and living room camping
but all thought back to the fun of a trip to the beach
and planned on returning in Spring  /
Mar 2017 · 235
I Hope She Cares to Wait
Sam Temple Mar 2017

minutes tick away the hours leading to long days and years
and she grows older without a father as witness
no strong hands to help her up or
ever to push her on a merry-go-round
instead they hold my head as I try to push you out   again

a five year old babe on a swing in a park in the sun
moment of memory that I wonder if we share
miniature impersonator of my father and myself
a daughter with sandy highlights plays in my mind’s eye

twice I chose to walk away
and leave you to the world’s device
once as a newborn when ****** ruled my days
and again just after your sixth year

six months until you turn eighteen
a date in the middle of August as important to me
as any moon landing or planned  invasion
when I will give you the chance to decide
if my extended hand could ever fill
the roll of your father  /
Mar 2017 · 289
Dog Slobber Nightmare
Sam Temple Mar 2017

deep in the recesses of slumber
dreams are influenced by external forces

we pulled the mattress into the living space
for a little impromptu camping
and being in such proximity to the dog beds
we found their licking and scratching and chewing
to be near unbearable

white noise fan blades breaking up the roar

it was a dream
at first the high hatted chef seemed normal
presenting plates of deliciousness
when at once he grabbed an ice pick
and went to insanely hacking on a large frozen rectangle

it might as well have been a mobster ******
chips flew and the pointed tip plunged deeper and deeper

my eyes opened to a steady rhythmic licking
as the oldest dog lay against the Stearns and Roebuck
Sam Temple Mar 2017

fixated on a textured ceiling with dampened cheeks
failed vocalizations left her wanting

noises caught deep in the esophagus
gurgled and sputtered

the words evaded me with ease and grace

when at last I was able to focus on both breath and speech
she no longer wanted to know

the time for compassion and understanding had  
passed much as the darkest night
always presents dawn’s glory  to the waking birds

she knew the answer before I did
which is almost always the case with marriage

I just had to find my way to honest
again   /
Sam Temple Mar 2017

news reels of stock footage spin endlessly behind my eyes
grainy black and white headlines flash
strobing faces find me through the rotation and
stare into my eyes through static and filter
rich sienna waterfalls spill over pale lids
as I realize they cannot be saved

skin and soil carry ancestry through mitochondrial links
this commonality ends with each new crime
        shivering controllers pull tighter rare and endangered fur
        coats and scarves     mittens and hats
        they see brilliance in our separation and live
        like vampires on disunity and hate

each day the echoes reverberate with the crying
cold grey cave walls my only comfort against the noise
an olive drab tattered backpack with empty canned food cans and
a broken hatchet handle matches my mood
as I wonder aloud to no one…
How did you not all see this coming?
Feb 2017 · 284
The Indignant Doe
Sam Temple Feb 2017

I didn’t see her at first
the frolicy bounding yearlings
                       had my attention~

When I looked back to the south
         I was stricken
               her hunched straining body
                   ears frantically twitching
                        one large black eye
                              fixed  ~

she must have just begun
             her morning ritual
                      as she kept
                                going ~

I have never claimed to be the most
                          mature man
so this spectacle
                 made me laugh
my noise added to her
which inspired more
                       uproarious laughter ~

duty complete
              she flipped a large
                          white tail
and cast a disgusted glace
back at me
     not once or
               even twice
but three separate looks ~

the third was more than
      I could bare
so I shouted out
across an empty field
to one indignant doe
a heartfelt apology ~
Feb 2017 · 326
The Same Questions
Sam Temple Feb 2017

The morphine undissolved upon his dry and cracked tongue
Mother frantically grabbing and sobbing
asking 'why' even though cancer
had been devouring him for years

I slid a silver ring off his cold finger
feeling the thin and frail culture
I thought back to massive hands holding wide leather belts
who would be able to discipline me now

More pills swirled around the toilet bowl
everything that wouldn’t get mom or I high
sank and disappeared
I think I flushed my feelings that day too

Fading images play in my mind
his braided hemp cord necklace woven around a tiger’s eye
the black heart earing that I lost almost the same moment
they wheeled his body out into the day
mom collapsed like a dying balloon
in dad’s chair
her red watery eyes looking up at me
still holding the same questions   /
Sam Temple Feb 2017

manicured greenery floats
the swirling mist gives the yard
the feel of a arena rock concert
and at any moment Mic Jagger might pop
up from below       microphone in hand
asking if Saint Louis was indeed
ready to party

instead a black and white Manx trots
in through the fog
looks up at my figure silhouetted in the window
and mouths some feline
morning greeting

if I were the type to drink coffee
now would be the perfect instant for a sip
followed by a nod and a long satisfied “Aaaaahhhhhh”
but this is not my life
so I press my hand against the frigid pane
until the pain becomes all I can think about

and both the cat
and visions of Jagger
fade into to dawn   /
Sam Temple Jan 2017
Dribbling crude slips through seams
as the icicles hang and the Robins play
in the snow fields surrounding Lake Oahe.

Distant stacks puke exhaust as
tractors come alive and
frozen tracks break free.

Roaring machinery drowns out moans
and wailing children hold tight to mothers,
tears stream down weathered faces watching
the destruction of their home.

From my home I witness the horrors
on grainy Youtube videos and
private Facebook messages gone viral.

With tied hands I witness a land *****
my eyes turn red and widen
at the latest American catastrophe.
Jan 2017 · 512
Talking River
Sam Temple Jan 2017

we laughed at my attempt

pretending I was the moon

trying to create tides by

dangling fingers which gently brushed

the skin of a river

a ripple floated away

captured a leaf and carried it

to the opposing shore

I heard a voice

cool and soothing

trickling around soft earlobes

the ancient river spoke

on a grassy mound I listened

to tales of great brown bears

thrashing after sweet row

of flooded banks gathering crops

and depositing fresh rich silt

after a moment I rose to leave

a whisper followed me

babbling about the invasive carp eating

every last crawdad in sight

and the pipes of the old saw mill

forever vomiting sewage and

oily discharge

clogging tributaries

poisoning algae

as my tears fell

they created new circular ripple

within the center

a face stared back

eyes full of blame

I slowly looked away   /
Sam Temple Jan 2017

for years innumerable
  this generational mystery persisted
     even when the heat radiated down
          and not a shadow would pass

                 the slightest rumbles

not the rumbles of a drifting shelf
    or the slipping of a plate far away
         but something similarly natural
                 and soothing

                  cozy and nestled in a cradle
                   kits slept against grey skin
                   edges softened and worn
                   offering the perfect bassinette
                   to another family of foxes

a strong wind tipped a tree
     crumbling mountain found a canyon below
          the snows came and ice stretched deep
                 separating basalt and sedimentary
                      I felt myself falling apart

It was after this harshest of winters
     I began to notice different sounds...

the constant steady clicking
       of a raven cracking filberts
             upon my exposed bones

the trickling of a nearby stream
   carrying away pieces of my body
        rolling them smooth
               sending them to lands
                    I would never see
and the foxes

each early spring and late summer
      they would return to my womb
               bring forth new life
                     from the belly of a stone

I have lost count….
     how many babies have I held
              how many soft toes have explored my veins
                    how many light yips from the depths
                             have lulled me to sleep
                                          when strong winds blow
                                                 and the trees begin to lean    /
Jan 2017 · 328
I Find You Every Time
Sam Temple Jan 2017

after they were kicked from the garden  

and begat nations with the children of man

I found you in the desert

    we wandered hand in hand for an age

when they sacked Troy

when Rome fell

when Christians became the power

I found you in the northern mountains

   we sailed strange seas

          discovering lands before unseen

when a plague brought the darkness

   and inquisitive priests carried branding irons

I found you in the forest

where we shared boiled roots

and healing herbs

when disease ended paradise

and oddly colored faces filled with hate

massacred cultures

destroyed civilization in the name of god

    I found you deep in the jungle

        sleeping on a soft bed of giant leaves

when tubes fell from the sky

and exploded with the power of the sun

as bodies were carted away

       burned in warehouses

I found you in an alley

we hid in laundry baskets

        until liberators showed us light still existed

I found you in a shallow delta

            with terraced patties as far as the eye could see  

found you again in a protest

          as we marched across a bridge for freedom

I will always find you

     no incarnation can keep me from it    /
Jan 2017 · 303
no-tell motel
Sam Temple Jan 2017
hazel eyes rest languid
   soft clarinet jazz blows far away
                    smooth skin beacons calloused hands

mini-blinds separate yellow street lamp light
casting patterned shadows
       our mixed class
                       mingles with
                                the last tenants sweat and musk

sticky fumbling on a stained sheet
   while the bass line plays low
mouths pass but never touch
        forgoing intimacy
                     bent on the finish line

rumpled stockings in the moonlight
    lay below a lipstick stained wine glass

all that she left
       colored the room rose    /
Jan 2017 · 265
Spelunker Paradise
Sam Temple Jan 2017

stretching cavern
    stalactites elongate
lichen plaque where faint light reaches

guano softens the rocky floor
    giving habitat to beetle and grub

the occasional rodent carcass
    rots in the warmth

tiny bat babies cling
     first to mother fur
               then to cold stone

they wait for insect meals
          passed with love and saliva
                  eager mouths stretch    /
Dec 2016 · 353
Am I Ready?
Sam Temple Dec 2016

If I gathered all my bags
packed them lovingly and with care
folded neatly shirts and pants
taking extra precaution to carry spare undergarments

If I wrapped my toiletries in tissue paper
steam-cleaned the toothbrush
collected equal miniscule amounts of
toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner
all medications labeled
deodorant in a special container  

If I had all the reservations and plane tickets
my printed confirmations with my wallet and cell phone
bags shipped ahead so nothing could be misplaced


would you take me to

                               funkytown?    /
feel like I have been taking myself a bit seriously lately.....enough of that ****....enjoy
Dec 2016 · 229
After the Inauguration
Sam Temple Dec 2016
nuclear blasts leave an orange glow
           Trump sits upon his tower in a cape

an aura of ignorance
   and entitlement surround the quaff

hooded figures encircle the compound
           burning effigies chanting hate
                         waiting for new commandments

trading science for fascism
          he holds seven billion
                    human lives
                             in tiny hands     /
Dec 2016 · 180
Chilly Evenings
Sam Temple Dec 2016

days expanding beyond mere hours
the long dark of winter sweeps the land
              wide brush strokes lay snow across canyons
                    famished mammals push thick undercoats
                            to the limits of temperature control

red chapped cheeks carry scarf string
holey mittens and thin thermals
           barely sway the frigid breath
                icicles stretch and grab
                            clawing at beanies

strollers set in the drifts
playground toys like sticks pushing the odd
                     single bar into the sky
                            one lone sled waits by the hill
                                   hard red plastic shell and yellow rope handles
                                             as isolated as an Antarctic station

my words fall as fog
spilling to the frozen ground below
               my thoughts held in the tundra
                       await the spring thaw
                             so that they might finally express
                                 the ‘buuurrrrrr’ that no one heard   /
Nov 2016 · 591
Reflecting on Campaigning
Sam Temple Nov 2016

each step
no longer can discontent rule
                 when that has become the norm
                             we must remember

promises coated in smelly swamp mud
                         lay disheveled after spoken

no one is expected to remember
                 words carry meaning

it seems I have been cursed
             with an inability to forget   /
Nov 2016 · 433
Feeding Ducks
Sam Temple Nov 2016

my body went through the motions
           gently grabbing and pulling
                 from the corner of the roll
                     tossing absentmindedly large crumbs
                       to eager ducks
                          and one old swan

the foggy day matched
           my teary gloss
                    maybe the sun shone bright
                           yet I could not see past
                                  my own mist

  this was her bench       possibly
               these were her ducks
                       in the abstract
                            I was her
                                      tossing my own body to the fowl

delicately folding the plastic bag
             I placed it and her memory into my pocket
                        flipped my collar against the cold air
                               and turned my back
                                       on Mother’s ducks    /
Inspired by the poem  "Wondrous"
Nov 2016 · 310
Climate Idiots
Sam Temple Nov 2016

deep dark water holds
     the entire spectrum
           heating sheets
                  flooding shorelines

deniers hide fat red faces
        drunk with power and ignorance
                under down-filled pillows
                    and 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton

granules traverse deserts
           eroding hillsides and
                  depositing in swallowed lakebeds
                       fossilized cacti whisper in the howl

people crying out that change is a hoax
          everything remains eternally static
                   a garden pre Adam
                        their insanity hurts my head

bending my neck into distorted positions
     I try to see their point
              my eyes bleed
                  trying to see their side
                      I would agree to disagree
                              if the lives of my children and grandchildren
                                 were not hanging in the balance  /
Sam Temple Nov 2016

ruffled satin cascades
        deep pools hold attention
strewn pebbles of amber
    give rise to shifting images
like clouds passing overhead
while looking into a windswept pond

a lilting titter caresses my earlobe
and I can hardly focus on the language
       it is her posture
               her smile
                  which captivates

pressed skin warms
without sun or fire
            only our shared space
                 gives rise to heat and comfort
                        our matched sighs
                              tendril to the stratosphere /
Nov 2016 · 508
First Snow 2016
Sam Temple Nov 2016

slightest dust
                         of white
   fell silently on the  

an old doe sluffs the extra coat
trots slow towards the northeast
         her heavy breath
                     a falling cloudbank

in the distance a thrush sings to me
         or was it the morning sun
                  the entire meadow
                                 enjoyed the interlude  /
Nov 2016 · 254
The Boy Moves On
Sam Temple Nov 2016

I see his face in the smoke
      though he has only gone fourteen days
I feel the weight of absenteeism

It is only proper for a twenty year old man
              to leave the nest
strike out on his own and find his way in the world

                  it is only normal for me to suffer this loss
                      for I not only have lost a son
                               but a friend

but loss to too harsh
      four hours travel time is not eternity
                     it is distance
                         and that space holds weight

this is a positive story
      of evolution and growth
natural order and regular happenings
I can’t help
feeling sad
               I might be wanted and loved
                    but I am no longer needed  /
Nov 2016 · 251
Fall in Western Oregon
Sam Temple Nov 2016

like a pendulous cow udder

    taut and round

            the morning clouds
                                               seemed to ask

would you like a drink of rain  /
Nov 2016 · 280
Switched Roles
Sam Temple Nov 2016

yellowing birch leaf
   suctioned to a rounded river rock

my attention is caught
        the gleam penetrates me
lasers shoot forth from my fingertips
                        bending light weaves
          the forest  
                            a basket

unable to keep my eyes open
      a warm wave washes over me
                 peaceful slumber descends

startled by a new predicament
       I find myself stuck
                  arms and legs outstretched
as if my body were attempting to locate
individual compass points
                  with alternate appendages
and yet, I feel elastic
    able to morph and elongate
               and out of the corner of my eye
                      I see my left hand
seem to shimmer with a yellow glow   /
Nov 2016 · 213
lunch-time disaster
Sam Temple Nov 2016
soup spoon discontent
                    blasé over cream of

where is the spice
      everything lacks flavor

just another boring old bowl
                 brimming with bland

if only a greened sprig
            where placed atop this fare

maybe I could stomach
                    the thought   /
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