Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

the tiny blade
twice my age
still has a bite
that shaves red cedar
from my blunted pencil
to reveal its black heart
and sharpen my wit

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as you look across
the room/table/bed
at him/her/them
your heart’s perfect home

remember this

skin wrinkles
waists thicken
hair goes thin/grey

know this

hearts grow
minds expand
dreams die/are reborn

expect this

we are inconstant
water in life’s river

accept this

we change
we are change

want this

is our fate

remember this
know this
expect this
accept this
want this



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A swan, she was, with all that entails.

Long-necked, pale, graceful, a pillar of dignity,
She was also fearless and arrogant,
Intimidating with a sharp-eyed glare,
Loyal unto death.
Within her arms, I felt safe, protected by her fierce strength.
She stood behind me in maternal overwatch
As I took first steps to face a harsh world.
She taught her children with patience.
She dealt harshly with threats.
She fought all comers until the end.

A swan, she was, with all that entails.



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Femme VoiléeI did not wind the clocks this month. They tick down to silence, measuring out the year’s last hours with ponderous chimes.

This New Year’s Eve, the house will be quiet.

No television. No dropping ball. No music. No crowds.

No friends. No crackling fire. No pop of effervescent wine. No clink of crystal. Not even the ticking of a clock.

All will be silent, and I will sit on the stoop in the frost-rimed dark beneath the moonless sky and will wait.


I want to hear it, you see, and want no other sound to interfere.

I want to hear this obscene alliance of Time and Death, this year that has gorged itself on family, friends, and icons, that has snuffed out lights of culture, killed dreams, thwarted hope, I want to hear it die.

As it lays before me, I will kneel at its side. I will lean into its abattoir scent, my ear close to its gasping mouth. I will hear as it exhales its final breath into the void.

And if it does not come, if at that silent stroke of twelve this baleful year somehow breathes on, then as I ring in the New Year, I shall wring out the old, my hands around its throat.

This year shall end, if I have to do it myself.



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Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA

I walk to work
The same hour each day
And make a time-lapse film
Frame by frame
To capture the passing year.

Buildings fall into vacant lots,
Rise from the rubble.
Storms flash overhead.
Cars blur past
Dreary commuters
Taking dreary steps
Toward dreary jobs.

But along the sidewalk,
Sweetgums grow
Tall, stately, serene,
Life in the grey and black canyons.

In winter, they sleep.
I walk wet pavement
Beneath dark, dripping skeletons.

With springtime sun,
Acid green buds
Burst open in an eyeblink
To shake new leaves
In the morning air.

My summer path leads
Beneath crinoline branches,
Silken leaves rustling,
Lazing in the light.

Autumn comes and the sun,
Tired out by long days,
Grows tardy.
The sweetgums sport fall fashions and,
For a few brief frames,
The sunrise and I,
Collars turned against the season’s chill,
Walk the streets together.

The sky is a purple shell.
The air is still.
The trees are dark,
Their branches garbed in orange and rust.
They do not rustle.
They do not shake.

They sizzle.

Deep within them, hidden by dying leaves,
A thousand starlings wake.
They greet the sunrise with
Gricks and whistles,
Creaks and pips.
I stand smiling
Beneath a thousand chittering mouths,
Listening to
The sound of butter in a hot skillet.

Sizzle. Pop. Hiss. Flutter. Zing.

A few more days,
A few more frames,
And the sun lags behind me.
The sweetgums now are silent,
Branches laden with sleeping birds.
Later still,
Once the trees drop their leafy frocks,
The starlings leave the city to winter’s cold,
And once more I walk alone
Beneath dark and bony boughs.



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I walk the wavering limit of sand and sea, the Pacific’s grey serrated edge. The wind, flavored with salt and sun-dried kelp, pushes me, smudging my glasses with briny thumbs. A foam-white gull hunkers down against the wind. It glares at me with a yellow eye, wary but unwilling to move as long as I keep my distance. Plovers weave up and down the sand, dancing with their watery partner, piping and whistling. At my approach, they burst upward in a seething cloud of wings that veers drunkenly along the shore before settling down at a safer distance.

The waves hesitate, gathering their courage, then rush up the sloping shore. The first one covers my feet, the second my ankles, the third, calves. The water shocks with skin-tightening cold, but once the waves caress the sun-kissed sand, they recede with warmth and slip gently out to sea.

It is low tide, the time when the ocean rummages through dark cupboards, searching for trinkets and loose change to toss up on land when the next advance begins. Past offerings make ripples beneath the retreating waves or lie bright in the water-dark sand. Razor clams, splayed wide like nacre butterflies, are brittle and sharp splashes of dark purple or brilliant white. The pale skeletons of sand dollars lie strewn about, all broken, metaphors waiting to be used.

I walk through the dirty, heavy-handed rip current and the calmer, cleaner slack. I feel the tug of the water, sense the shifting sand beneath my feet. I taste both sea and earth on the ceaseless wind.

This is the edge, the limit of the world, the place where both land and ocean end.

Or begin.



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Mouse RoadCats have their signs.
The twitching tail.
The flattened ears.
So do I.
Know me?
You’ll see them.
Esteem me?
You’ll heed them.
No fireworks.
No tirades.
No hiss and lashing claws.
Just silence
And the snick of the closing door.
Too late.
Too late.
Call it what you want.
I no longer care.
Cats have their signs.



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