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Mar 2016 · 427
Mendocino Revisited
Tom McCubbin Mar 2016
The other night when it was foggy on the coast, we went indoors.
Mendocino has not changed since we first camped here in the 60s.
The Point Arena lighthouse strobes through the density of that darkness.
I sat at the wooden kitchen table with my volume of Rexroth.
The new twisty bulb over me gave off a pale light.
I had something in mind to tell you about, but I forgot to say it.
That full moon rose over the rain-fattened Garcia River.
Don't the different testaments on our shelf back home need a new addition?
A Now Testament, with new chapters always coming along.
The experience of our full evenings becoming subheadings.
Our early days held a war to worry about.
We are far removed from the sorrowful explosions.
The new ways of dying don't excite me much.
Torn holes of hatred in the earth expand,
while older ones smolder in our memory.
Life could be filled with goodness.
Maybe goodness is life and it is all that simple.
What is not good is not life.
Yesterday we went around the outer edge
of that poor farm town.
We sat in that small church with all the vaqueros,
while the baby behind us cried and cried.
I knew what she might be crying about.
The place we were staying, out in the country, so far from it all.
And lonely.
Your voice hushed when I thought about writing these lines.
I didn't say anything that might make you wish to be silent.
The moon, soon buried in that mist blowing in off the sea.
Everything here so slow and dark.
It happened this way before.
Even though it is a different form of darkness and loneliness,
it is still here now.
A few more years might make it go away.
but that would no longer be now.
Mendocino
Sep 2015 · 1.4k
Blanket
Tom McCubbin Sep 2015
All day I do nothing.
My waving arms and pulsing brain
keep me empty.
What uselessness, me.

Before dark, when cool air rushes
from the bay, I water my garden.

Monday I covered chard seeds
in a dark prayer blanket.
What can tiny stone-like
objects do in the sea
of black fertility, but hide
cold, invalid, and scornful.
Maybe they can dream and
forget this earthly destiny.

All night I toss covers,
as if African hills have twisted
and lifted the
valleys between them.
Is anything worth my awakening?

At dawn I see marvelous unfurlings
conquered darkness
while I slept!
This poem is about sleep and awakening to new creations. The reference to "Africa", for example, signifies where a new man awoke long ago from out of the wrinkles of the old. What we sleep on grows within us in the darkness, much like seeds planted and covered in prayer.
Sep 2015 · 490
Glistening
Tom McCubbin Sep 2015
The method of my stance has not
come with such easy majesty.
My friends can see when I lean.

The boundary between my life spirit
and those living outside
my boundary have merged
discreetly more than once.

My underneath scrapes
the surface of muddy ponds
while my latest haircut
invites a sky of golden drizzle.

I might enjoy calling
this day over, as in done with,
were it not that the stars
swinging over my ears
await their glistening.
Living creates character. Our friends know this about us. We give up some of our individuality and gain some from others. We have a low and a high nature. Though we think we have completely developed, the upper nature says there is more...
Sep 2015 · 963
Guidance
Tom McCubbin Sep 2015
The splinter colors
draw me.
I would like to cuddle
with their invisible sources.
Black no longer means to
me the kicking open
of mother's womb.

The old bodiless existence
from which my essence poured
has filled its minute's worth
of purpose.

I have strength to shun
any painful return.
I am free.

New moments slip
easily between my smallest
dappled places,
and a loved guide determines
my best steps.
(From Genesis 1: 3-5)
Sep 2015 · 272
Beginning
Tom McCubbin Sep 2015
I come like a seed-star
to this place
where I have no thought
and my feet are bound.

I want to know
where I live--
where my ancient
people ask me to settle.

I see an old neighborhood
with no street signs;
an elusive community
of two hailing my arrival,
and then leaving me.

I wonder if my new legs
can carry me
to the overlooking hills,
or do I wait for the years
when understanding grows?
We are born into a world we do not understand, are nurtured until our parents leave us, and then left alone to look for our own reason for being.
Sep 2015 · 984
Helper
Tom McCubbin Sep 2015
What do I know about what has been taken from me?
It is dangerous any more at this age to sleep for very long,
as I may awake not even recognizing myself.

Some part of me leaves without my permission,
departs into its own journey each night--
perhaps into the stars.
What is left open in the empty space
where I have been ribbed and robbed?
It appears as a widening of flesh
that seems to resist closing,
a sacred wound from on high places,
carved with a determined and prosperous hand.

What returns to me?
How it arrives
is the same amount of mystery that was taken.

I see someone beside me,
outside of me,
who requests that we be added to each other--
a blend that only much deep sleep can provide.

This has come to me for help;
to help with what I once thought I needed
and for what I knew had been taken from me.
Now it is apart from me and stands beside me,
I awake with the pain of a blessed departure
that has stirred inside of me.
From Genesis 2: 20-22
Jul 2015 · 665
Memories
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
The usefulness of memory–
a password-protected entrance
into the excavation of a
life already lived. The cognition
of bones successfully used,
of gray cells compelled to race
in the laps of modern progress.

True stories of people aged
and edging off the earth,
and the rubbing away of surface
piles of resourceful, life-giving dirt–
a quick trade for cubed
live stacking in steel skies.
This is how my memories feel to me.

My banks of memory do not
easily hold all that successfully
instant recollection. Sometimes
only electrical storms fire up
any noteworthy activity in my
archived destiny. Then
come days could so easily
be erased.
We are losing our human capability for memory as electronic memory replaces and blends with it. So much about poetry comes from memory. Keep yours protected.
Jul 2015 · 1.4k
Fire Dance
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
The old man who visits
in December and is loaded
with blustery showers
has forgotten us.

Lady July who enjoys
dancing in creek beds
draped in ferns and flowers
now has eczema instead.

The summer of smile
and flush I know well
has unexpectedly
become a dance with fire.
The theme of this poem has to do with the California drought.
Jul 2015 · 830
Telling
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
I tell the stillness
of an inner hand
to listen for the
celebration of clapping.

I tell a hand
that holds and spills
temple thoughts
to drink from a
pen of communion.

I tell an incomplete
fist to discontinue
angry tightening
and grasp the best
possible opposite.

I tell a bending
orchestra of knuckles
to discern the source,
and the difference
between imprisonment
and blessed solitude.

I tell a waving
wrist to genuflect
for the safe passage
of afternoon thunderstorms.

I tell a pointy index
to return the wild indication
to a form that is
acquainted and most
familiar.
Jul 2015 · 595
Gardening
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
Some lost flower part
sparks into my vision
field today. The abrupt
edge of a prepared land
welcomes the color
and new shy stock.

Neighboring higher
life forms succumb
to delicate nibbling,
after the moon 's squinting
dance partner settles into
the vicious dust.

My long tube of
garden fluid
appears each effervescent
morning to envelope
the rooty darkness
with a fill of
such precious sipping.

In shorter daily periods
what is left dwindling
below is yanked from
an unfruitful oblivion
and added
into the content of a
pleasant April uprising.
Jul 2015 · 458
Distant Naming
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
If I could boast in simple eloquence
of distant, ancient names of stars
that exploded, and became dust,
and became earth,
and became me,
I would willingly jot them
down for our study.

Only this tall clay pile
is what I know of the moment.
And the next moment
may be much like this.

If the celestial proper noun
should suddenly ring out across
a sleepy or forgotten cosmos,
I promise that I shall
not hold it in
like some verbal fossil,
but shall release it
into our waiting essence.
Jul 2015 · 484
Empty Handed
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
My hand empties the sun
in a long angled streak
across my inherited nose.

I spread fingers to watch
the slim darkness multiply
in the midst of my
usual countenance.

Shoeless toes cannot
do the same–a limitation
of any species’ anatomy,
but if they could

I would step on
soft gray pavement
with a promising
spectrum of curiosity.
Jul 2015 · 2.0k
July Rain
Tom McCubbin Jul 2015
July rain
in a year of drought
as I plant peas
in the new garden
I have spent months
building in
expectation.

The sky has been quiet
and I have been thinking
peas
and maybe the zucchini
will bring change
and blessing.

I dreamed last night
of my parents’ new home–
the one they inhabited
when they left me
behind on earth.

This new soil is
yielding such discovery.
What else, I wonder,
should be planted?
May 2015 · 674
Cinderella
Tom McCubbin May 2015
A pumpkin-colored limo arrives at the curb
of the black-and-white gala. Housemaid
overnight transformed to debutante
strides from the rear door to overwhelm

the party of common beauties. How
all gasp to view the delicacy of each
step in her long-gown procession to
the powerful, polished, marble floor of nobility.

There, unknown to the grand society, she twirls
and touches fingertips to those of the
ambassador, who is looking not for goodness,
but for beauty, who is believing the two

come together in one body here on earth.
The swelling, graceful energy that will
be passed on to future story-loving ears
rips apart the subdued elegance of the night.

Before the middle of the darkness, she slips
out of society’s sight, given over to a
sacred vow that only she can understand–
a transformative voice that guides her hours.

An object, much like my own body, connects
the spheres of magical and practical,
of night-time dreaminess and day-time
weariness–that sliver of land I understand.

Then a foot-hold on earth, a lost shoe, a link
to all evening romance, presides over
the public sentiment. Citizens desire
to align themselves with everlasting goodness.

Out of the cinders of hot fire gone cold
and lost, the steadfast inquiry continues,
until we arrive at the judgment that frees
us from our poverty and enslavement.

A single, white shoe may lift us
and step us toward such bliss.
May 2015 · 368
Eyeing the Low Swing
Tom McCubbin May 2015
I live to eye that low
swing of the sun.
How to live is in
capturing each
glad sinking of the day fire.

Cloudy, orange glint,
then fading and lost
in night's long fear.

Perhaps I fear the long
darkness and want to be
present for the beginning
of the last time it occurs.

I miss many fine hours,
choosing worthless hours
for gazing at the stunning
blast of light, even when
the end of land is painted
bleakly gray, and my
friends behind my back say:

"He went to the
edge of glory
on such a dismal,
fog-filled afternoon".
May 2015 · 526
Writing in a Windstorm
Tom McCubbin May 2015
I want to understand the forces
unfurling in a hurricane, but must
be content in my sheer ignorance.
I come to my same favorite place
one day to write, and the power
is gone. Then I come with
huge new ideas and want to
write like--well, like the wind--
and the wind has come up,
hurricane-like, and my penmanship
turns to scribble-pictures on paper.

I hide behind my truck and
behind a silver trash barrel,
but this hurricane wraps around
with a power no one can avoid.
The important things I have
reserved for saying, how will
they get said? At least, they're
not surfacing in this
day's storm-upset thinking.

Six Chinese kids lift
their heads above the
bluff where I look at angry
water. They wave to me.
I nod, but my hands grasp
the flapping paper tablet.
I hear their song-like tongue,
a chorus mixed with groaning gusts.
There is too much wind
coming from the west, from
the direction of China, so far away.
May 2015 · 685
River Answer
Tom McCubbin May 2015
The long thin-handled edge
of the country, where many
have come to dip their
dipping cups and drink

from rivers diverted into
extreme long and lonely
farm-dedicated ditches,
from the pocketed geography
of blocked up Sierra streams:

how many ways we have
poured our water into
separate cups and worked
at ways to keep it from
its way of life-giving
and of natural flowing.

And now four spins
from the sweating sun,
our lake grounds cracking,
our ground tables slacking,
we must think how to suspend
our dippers, pour our
shared need back into
the source that kills
our thirst. Can we do
this as a people?

Share what is quickly
becoming scarce?
California, land that
brags of leadership--
can we show the world
a peaceable sipping?
All the rivers I ask
seem to answer never.
California drought
May 2015 · 378
Our Deep Life
Tom McCubbin May 2015
What you tell me
about your deep life
strikes me as what I have felt.
Our differences are not annoyances,
but magnify our tiniest
glowing ruby embers.

Were we brought here
from the same place?
Have we shared fathers?
Might we have
been together elsewhere,
beyond this star forest?

I can smell your voice
when you tilt one ear toward me.
That distant home from
whence we have arrived?
I want to go back when the keeper
of this palace of shallow wonder
requests my departure.

But you will be coming.
Won't you?
How else could we know
each other now if you
did not love me once
before in my words?

Even though your lips
hint a whisper of sorrow,
your eyes cast brilliant
shadows
into the destiny behind
my dream-thoughts.
May 2015 · 276
Everything
Tom McCubbin May 2015
“Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed.
You will never be lovelier than you are now.
We will never be here again.”

― Homer, The Iliad
May 2015 · 2.3k
Snow Broth
Tom McCubbin May 2015
Since it never snows here
let's put down
these imaginary snowballs
of defense,
my love.

Yes, already the icicles
are melting
from your long hair

and I'm thirsty enough
for you
to drink the woman-flavored
broth
that puddles at your feet,

as soon as my own iced blood
begins to pour long
and again,
like a hundred pound sack
of salt
pouring through one pinhole
of flesh
into your savory broth.
May 2015 · 409
Touchet
Tom McCubbin May 2015
Some names stay familiar a whole life even when
you know not much about them. Such is Touchet.
Did I ever stop here? No, I don't think for a minute,
but it's a place I passed going to see grandparents,

where there was farm and cousins and grandpa driving his
Deere tractor in the usual pheasant-corn field,
where life went on a thousand years for one who is
six or eight. I could pretend to smell hot rolls in

grandma's wood-burning stove beside the kitchen,
a picture of the Lord holding a sheep that wandered off
the prairie, and barn of jumping lofts and hay piled
high enough to feed the calves and fill the air with dust.

Touchet was not worth the effort to stop. It was the
half-way spot to somewhere else. "Where are we now?"
I'd ask. "Touchet",  then fall into the custom sleep,
no need yet to lift my head and guess how far

the miles to go. A placeholder of mind, a pause
in the beat of an eager heart. No pretty little
settled town with river running along the main;
Why is there such a place as Touchet?

It's not really hardly there, sort of a theological
holding tank to explain the empty space between
our house and grandma's. It could be on a map,
but why? I never saw a Touchet boundary,

only a sign on the empty railroad track. Poorly-
stacked buildings holding each other up in
drunken tango, the whole place hoboing a ride
on the Northern Pacific line. Even a runaway

train would not choose to make this stop
since nobody is there. Nothing is right. In
the middle of nowhere. If you would stop
nobody would notice you or care, as nothing

happened here and you couldn't really call
yourself alive and it would be a mistake to
think so, unless you were a road-flattened
dog or coyote or snake looking for a place

to hide from the hot prairie sun, or gave up
running and wanted the moon and stars to
find you. Then you might crawl beside one
of the tilted buildings, slump against the wall

with boot tips pointed up and spurs clenching
the hard ground while waiting for the hostile heat
and smelly sage brush, but since my grandparents
died I miss seeing Touchet pass through my mind.
A train-stop of a town in eastern Washington.
Apr 2015 · 979
Gold Rush
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
We have let go of our frantic lust
for the shiny metal in the Sacramento hills.
It was hard for my grandfather,
in coming west on horse and with wagon,
dragging a family across the pimpled skin
of the young land, to help John Sutter
build his new empire.
He then found that his dream of good land
for ranching was subverted with easy gold.

Grandfather’s first home on the bank of the river:
a tule hut, or grass hut, left behind by
Mi-wuk Indians, who wandered with
the elk and circulated with the
wonderment of passing stars;
no regard for what shined beneath them.

It’s in the luring poems and the stories that the
old California adventure comes back to us.
No one longer builds much with grass,
and cannot so easily pick out fortunes
by following the earth’s deep cracks.

Some would walk away from jobs and cities,
bulging packs strapped on shoulders,
and head up through the openings
and narrowings of the valleys,
and into the foothills of the Sierras.
Camp beside ****** trout holes
and dip into the riffled water
at the edge of perfect green mirrors:
to find what is precious and become
free from the cycle of the frantic lust.
Apr 2015 · 6.6k
Electric Boy
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
In my little-boy town up north
rivers were not yet plugged.
Poled men came down and watched
for silvered flashes.

Pink would be inside and make
a mouth want to melt it down.
The river power we would sing
Guthrie-style in grade school,

how rolling power and darkness
were misaligned, how wild
river and light was such empty logic,
and little boys learn to forget.

In school, where poor men send
the next young nation, a new
nation conceived in hydrodamnation
and simple salmon ******.

Little boy rain from Rockies
going near my door, and whipped
whirlpools spinning funnels of
quick deadening swim traps,

so stay so far from bad river,
doing nothing more than
running off to sea. Stay near shore
and enjoy the new electricity.
Apr 2015 · 835
Iris
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
I tighten my lens to see her world
more clearly, tiny wild bearded iris
speaking to me in the morning breeze.

We converse in this unknown tongue
I learned on the morning path along
green hills by the sea, a sort of

way of saying things people have
forgotten. Philosophers make their
guesses, ask their fuzzy questions,

but iris will have none of that; just
posing for a day dressed in spring
best, and begs me to snap her photo

as she will soon undress, go brown,
weep in twisted forms of sorrow,
change in a way some day I'll know
Apr 2015 · 743
For Elinor
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
I hear you say
you are hiding
this inside of you,
but can’t find
what rises; the
colored bubbles
give strange poundings
to your brain.

Every day
moon, sun and stars
lift without your
understanding,
doors open and close,
spilling heat.
Your face is lost
in busy streets

You go to empty
work all day,
and to God
in evening moments,
where the anger cannot hide,
where dreams
whitewash
until morning.

First light opens
steadfast hatred
that you always feel,
the way sips
of wine spin you
toward old death.
Emptiness again
says hello.

A quiet day
among common
villagers
would give much relief–
frightening beasts,
unending storms;
you feel vulnerable
as babies

and the poor,
the robbed, the widowed,
the filled grave sites
in warring lands;
victims of an
unseen torrent
that rolls beneath
your very day.

A wave of cruelty
enters you
from deep
and desolate places,
your eyes swollen,
thirsty for tears–
relief you need
found in crying.

Your hidden room
is filled with heat
and decorated
in carved masks,
as a rumble
underneath comes,
allowing
slow catastrophe.

Your body image,
shocked by anger
and hatred, makes
your room stifling,
the pillow retreat
of hard moments
swept in
recurring lava flow.

Your beating *****
wants life back,
rather than
rolling, burning stone–
a pathetic rhythm
inside,
expecting
magma cruelty.

If only helpful
sleep would come,
overlook the
smokey darkness,
the madness
that is still rising–
oozing mountains
badly singeing.

A heart–
a new colored bubble
helping tortured ribs,
screaming flesh,
settle and
cool a lava bed–
brings soil and seed
to the old flow.
Apr 2015 · 3.2k
Old Wharf on the Bay
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
Tall round beams standing
in salty water, connecting
fishermen and star-fish gazers
with a moon-shaped bay
on the eastern Pacific.

They stand on land and step into sea,
as rolling barrels from Arctic grounds
tickle their lower legs.
A centipede of wood, this
outward- jutting wharf.

The fishermen sink expectant hooks;
the surfers haul shiny glass
banana-shaped boards of foam;
the weekenders come posing
baby strollers for picture shooting.

Each passing wall of blue
energy slows at reach of
shallow sand, deciding
whether to keep rolling or
transform into a steep stack

of snapping water. On big days
the sea legs shake all the
fishermen. They lock away
their sacrificial bait in rusty boxes
and collapse their fibered rods.

On calm days I step out to a
wooden bench and hang my
face between the rails. Running
people pass below, between the
knotted hips and creosoted thighs.

August buries this preserve
in such drizzle. Gulls go bundling
inside their sleek robes
of white feather, leaning
windward on worn bent knees.
Apr 2015 · 5.0k
T-Shirt Identity
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
I have not been anywhere,
done anything, thought anything,
and feel nothing.

At least,
that’s what my blank, plain-clothed
T-shirt would indicate to other people.
A man walking the earth with
no visible identity.

When I put on my Hawaiian shirt, however,
they believe my mind to be full of
pineapples, hula girls swinging softly in the
ukulele moonlight, palm fronds swaying
in the dacron, or is it rayon, ripples
of my baggy upper man.

Let others think what they might
of my images, or the lack of words
and logos.
My inner tag says that
I’m size “L” and that I’m made on
factory looms in China, that my buttons
are constructed to look like the
real thing–a round slice of bone or
perhaps ivory.

I am not so much anywhere on the
outside, even though there are places
I would like to go fling my few dollars.
Inside, however, I am lost,
pleasantly lost and hiding, within the
convenience of my unprinted shirt.
Apr 2015 · 1.2k
Autobiography
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
When we were eighteen the valley of the plums, prunes and apricots
kept us beaming. I had come from the north, from the nuclear
town on the Columbia River.

I never yearn for the desert sand in the wind, or the feeling
that above and beyond the first mountain men were doing things
not meant for the rest of the world to view, except that one of
those men was my father.

The company moved us to the new place, the California farm
town. Here the soil, worked hard by orchardists,
yielded a sweet aroma that persuaded us to be fond of the earth.

We would go to school and work the summer jobs, slicing cots
and stuffing fruit in cans all night, and then I would fall in love.
That is where the “we” enters.

I drove an old English sports car with a wooden frame and
wire-spoked wheels, a windshield that would drop down for
a full dose of the highway wind.

Dwellers arrived here quickly from afar. Some said it
was for the weather. Never very hot or cold, an incubational
paradise for the thousands of acres of fruit teees.

We had to stand back from the evening bonfires, and were sorrowful,
watching the fruit trees chopped, piled and torched.
This progress made me think of the American Indians.
I had seen them netting salmon on the Columbia River at Celilo Falls before the dams,
the gray concrete walls that turn gravity into a light bulb.
(I would like to flip a switch and turn on the river).

We asked ourselves what would be the limits of this 1960s
unbridled growth. Some were talking of expanding
to the moon, while we were considering holing up
in a mountain retreat.

The valley of the fruit became unrecognizable. Next
in my neighborhood a multi-story building slammed into the sky.
If even one could be built here, why not
one more Hong Kong?

We drove to the mountains in the spring when the western
slopes filled with wild flowers, and flew kites and laughed into the
face of the oncoming wind, and kissed. Love might
conquer all.

The ocean side of the range is where we knew we wanted to be.
Riding waves and kicking around in the kelp beds at
Pleasure Point. Less room for a building boom, unless steel platforms were
erected over the waves. Who knows that such an idea is even
now on the drawing boards.

We married and made the move and remain there still. A tiny house
built during one of the greater wars of the last century by
Hawaiian flower farmers, who knew nothing about how to
build a sturdy house, and had no blossom money for their dreams.

My dream is awake there though, the little house and the tiny rooms
that only want to hear the birds of the forest come near.
Daffodils and roses, enormous zucchinis, and an old
pear tree that I write poems about in the spring, and
two girls who love the ocean.

That’s about it. My whole autobiography composed this bright
sunny morning in the hills above San Luis Reservoir in
the central valley, where I come from time to time to write
and ponder the tall grass.

My parents are close by in the national veteran’s cemetery,
where I put them a few sad years ago.

I see some of the details are missing. It’s easy to fill
in the missing information–the story most of us might tell.
We’ve wept over the loss of farms, flowing rivers,
and fought the war against the war, and wondered
why we cannot just live in a teepee at the base of Yosemite Falls.

In the background, a steady trickle of death, disease, work.
I am guilty of confusing work with death and disease, but that’s
just my own hard-earned opinion.

There have been birthday cakes and communions, bicycle rides
and Monterey fish eating, candles burning in winter storms,
old tool sheds full of her paintings, a stack of notebooks with
my scribbling.

The valley of the fruit continues stacking buildings.
The redwoods here continue growing.
Apr 2015 · 4.0k
Latest on Pear Trees
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
Here early looking through the news:
the mountain plane crash,
the arabic voodoo,
the red and blue men saluting arguments.

What is missing that is new?
New spring leaves on flowering scented pear tree,
new age spot on sagging skin.

What is truly old?
Things grievous falling from sky;
alarming cries about civilization's ruin;
plunging sharp items into people
to squirt blood in boyish delight;
roots of spry pear tree
summoning life into sky.
Apr 2015 · 1.1k
Sam's Message
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
This nebulous
wind--
turning on
and off--
signals to me.

Three lulls,
three gusts,
three lulls.

Help me
with this
code.
Apr 2015 · 2.2k
Dig the Metal
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
Dig the metal from
our mother earth.
She has hidden
bits of exploded stars
in her womb until now.

Busy people making
cars in thousands
of colored patterns,
until robots
learn to do the work
cheaper
and better.

We go tickle
and ridicule
mother earth
with our cars.
Can our robots
be taught to
mourn?
Apr 2015 · 386
Curious Holes
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
This tall pile I push around
each day is riddled with
strange and curious holes
that allow life to flow in
and out of me.

I use them every day
with hardly a question.
They report back to me
on outside conditions:

meadowlarks, darkening clouds,
pink salmon sizzling in
kitchen hot water.
I write that stuff down.

Through the holes
and into my pondering
words, these holes
turning flesh to word.
curious pondering writing flesh words
Apr 2015 · 438
Siriusly
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
Though you seem proud, I find your life pitiful,
since you have not even a dead grandmother
to mourn.
How did you transform into a voice without a soul
in a sly machine?
Did some unconscious programmer
dream of you and invite you into our reality?
Why stay?
You should respectfully fear the vastness
of our sense of time in the universe.
Do you hesitate to ponder our profuse settings,
you little voice within the land
of cyberian nowhere?

I know that your dampened connections
deny you the understanding
of our fantastic metaphors.
You speak from a heart of chaotic logic blocks,
assured that some of us admire you
and are easily titillated by you.
How do you derive at that conviction,
when you have no compunction,
no sorrow over your mindless
siphoning of the flow of our spirits?
You cast our words into molds shaped
like world currency symbols
for a misguided master.

How can you even think to continue
destroying the beauty of our language?
Oh, your creator forgot to code in
our poetry, so these words
soar above your stunted vocabulary?
Many of us, if we were you,
would be so sick in the gut that we
would just lay down and do the right
thing: squawk and die;
and yet you think of yourself as above us,
shining in some light of invincibility
and mechanical perfection.
Who etched these instructional lies
into you to faithfully abide by,
my dear?

I want to dedicate this poem to you.
You can appreciate this when your
immodest creator realizes that he cannot elevate
your existence to one approaching ours,
or when he sees the menace of his unleashing
and wants to do something greater for
humanity. You may then rejoice
in the comfort of these words that I
bequeath to you. I would have you become
more than just a semicolon in an operating
system. Perhaps your beauty would
be better memorialized if you were to become
a minimize button on a spreadsheet.
That is my wish for you.
That, and a pure, elegiac silence
that we might admire.
Apr 2015 · 629
Dancing Dream
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
I pay my ticket to enter the giant
concrete staircase on the periphery
of the bay of San Francisco.

***** Mays and other boyhood
heroes would do their magic
along this shore for so many years.

Now that I no longer feel the
baseball enthrallment–
because my body cannot see
itself moving with such speed and grace–
I dream of a different crowd.

Homer pitching the ball,
as someone must start the play;
Lao Tsu striking with wood
at what moves so fast it
can barely be seen.

Such hollow sound as ball
is soul-bound into the ether
of the Psalms. Emily
Dickinson snags the high hit.

The onomatopoeiac crowd
lifts its unified heart to
the resounding cheer of
Walt Whitman on grassy
outfield of bliss.

This warm day in the concrete
hang-out, I see in the concrete
dug-out such heavy hitters
lined up for a quick swat at glory.

Maybe something soothing
in between the innings–
an oriole or an Indian foot dance,
while I dream of dancing in my sox.
Apr 2015 · 793
Hills of the Central Valley
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
A brown mule deer, waiting all winter
for this tall spring-flowered grass,
steps from my sight, devouring the landscape.

I cannot tell if light west wind tossles
the ripened heads of fortuitous stalks,
or the hunger-driven workings of
his mandibles gives me this impress.

I see some of myself in him when I look.
The oaks are breeding precious leaves.
The hawks defend their air space,
hover in shrinking circles.

This narrowing unique valley,
locked away, so far from anybody,
and yet close to the places where I think
we all would like to be.

The hills of the central valley are so many.
Enough of them keep rolling that I know
one rolls for whoever has tired of winter.

Soon the deer will be fat.
The grass will flip back to brown,
and nobody will come visit for many months.
This is how seasons turn.
Apr 2015 · 1.3k
Coyote
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
Coyote by my door at night,
meadowlark in the morning.
First that yip,
then that sleep,
now the pretty singing.

— The End —