erasuring back

sun bursting in morning windows
onto pale blue living room walls
in an iowa city house
on dodge street
whispered seriousness
drifting in on coffee wafts
from kitchen

corinne in safety glasses
chair perched with
orbital sander held to
gallery walls
we spend the morning
erasuring back to flat white

click of my boots down
partitioned-off hallway
where art and i
journey to the wood shop
where we say hi and thanks to
the metal-head guy who hi and thanks’s
us back
talking writerly
as it applies in a real way to our
real live/work worlds

uncapping zinc sunscreen stick
and gliding its solid white across
pinksmooth of mica’s
wrist scar sun-exposed
at the steering wheel

somewhere between where we
exited from i-27 and turned onto
highway A mica points out
the church marquee that reads:
they’re not suggestions
they’re commandments

on mica’s side of the fabius bridge
three mennonite women down below walking
along river/creek bed
each a similar body size
in a different pastel
further down highway m, a flock of more
pastel dresses wind-billowing
women gathered at baseball field
pitching and swinging
and just past that
a trampoline in a yard
filled with bouncing pastels
braided girls plus
men in crisp dark colors gathered around
(cars of dark colors gathered around them)

a return to the key-to-paper punch sound
of the Royal Quiet DeLuxe
thinking it is not a coincidence
that home is the name for
the row of letters where my fingers rest

ashby the cat
perched at my side on the
spearment bed rock while i
loosen the roots of weeds
sun going all tangerine
through the trunks and branches silhouetting
(how i learned on sauvie island in 2000
that weeds are not specific plants, necessarily,
but totally subjective
in other words – whatever i don’t want growing
in the garden bed
is considered a weed
even if, as in this case, it’s the edible
and fantastic wild garlic and wild onion)

honna draws a hat and bowtie
holds them up respectively
to her head and neck
while i laugh my taped-on curlique mustache off
on skype in imitation/’analog’ google-hangout-draw-style

wherein i leave
these patches and notes
in the cubbies of ty, tookie and baigz
as commemoration of
us surviving and the forest surviving
our newbie prairie burn fiasco

wherein i read the following poem in my inbox
written by ross gay and think about
a hammer hitting a nail square on its head
the usefulness of such a tool
and the satisfaction of such a tool
doing what it has been built to do
so well:

A Small Needful Fact

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.


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deer revealing

swallowtail-ish butterfly
dipping down in herb garden
towards yellow-gold blooms
and lifting off

how i oh, hi! the small blinking toad
revealing self through movement
in spearmint bed
in the same voice i use
for ashby the youngster cat

you are the master
of magnificence she says
in a non-dictatory kind of way
a triple conspiracy brewing
in karma kitchen
must be a millipede
(or centipede)
emory says about the
small spiraled shiny brown/gold
creature i hold up in my palm
em and i trade a sip
of fancy ginger ale
for a gulp of
sparkling limonata

picnic-table sitting
in d.r. courtyard
tyler and i revisit
dan kelly’s terminology
art cut
for my hair
laughing whilst we sip
our respective

deer revealing
itself while turning
into the woods
at bridge edge while we
gravel-roll our
way towards home

i would never
say anything
just to appease you
i say regarding the
square-shape hulk-face

many homes i say
as opposed to home home forever home
in regards to the question of

from the water world:

Children form a reef fish on a beach in Hong Kong on the 3rd annual Kids Ocean Day. The event is aimed at raising awareness of seas protection and the conservation of coral reef worldwide. – 

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cursing in the herb garden

for mica’s half cup of coffee
i hand her the kettle
with what remains
of just-boiled water
with which she’ll brew
the other half cup of coffee
to make her mug full

cell phone towers i say
disguised as trees
and how the photos make me
want to puke
por ejemplo:

cursing in the herb garden
(spearmint patch specifically)
at trees
and the way i lean all my weight
on shovel handle leveraging
grabbing-on roots
out of the earth
wrestling i call it
(later i expound upon
the choosing of
what lives)

collar zipped up on
winter vest
layered but too hot but
unzipped the cool wind
swoops in

mica, tookie and i singing
along to steve winwood’s higher love
followed by (just as i’m saying
there should be a higher love/feel it in the air mashup)
phil collins and the best
drum solo/breakdown ever


it’s because you’re in shape
mica says (when i respond to my
five pull-ups with a how did that happen?)
which might be
the first time in my life anyone
has ever described me this way

the crunch of tookie eating
seat-discovered matzah
tastes the same he says

chocolate chewies awaiting our
arrival on cooling racks
evenly shaped and spaced


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glowing back

fahh rayyn kayyy emory comes running
into kitchen to show me he’s
donning his lavender tshirt featuring
dog with glasses to which i respond
ooooh oooh, check it out while frying my egg
and lifting sweater/vest layers
to reveal yellow tshirt featuring
panda bear with glasses
just before he demonstrates his
progress on achieving full splits
we layer up against
the wind under mostly
gray sky before
taking on the weeds
(predominantly dead nettle)
in south garden beds 10-17
with digging forks, hori horis, 5 gallon buckets
and a wheelbarrow
plus garden cart and pitchforks for
moving mulch around
because we are a celebratory bunch
the group takes an uncommon safety break
and i begin combining
dry ingredients in one bowl
wet in the other
and set the oven at 350
and say any excuse
to make cookies

the clink of chocolate chips
and mini m & m s
against stainless steel
humming caleb meyer
while clipping backyard bouquet
in gray-sky wind
(my nose in the soft sweet blooms
of lilac plus a handful of
pheasant’s eye daffodils)

ashby the cat
licking dab of dried cookie batter
on my hoodie sleeve cuff

noticing when we close our eyes
the luminous dots the sun
has left in our vision
looks like ornaments i say
when i look at the oak tree
mica successfully
drawing a star
by moving her eyes
as if they were paper across
the sun as if it was pen tip
and closing lids to see it
glowing back at her

if you were one mica says of
the pasteling clouds surrounding
orange orb descending
on west horizon
which would you be

i do the walking-down-the-stairs trick
past my open bedroom door
for the couch audience of
mica, tookie and ty gathered
in front of the first episode of
twin peaks in upstairs karma
from the water world:
image –
Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned in what may be the deadliest migrant disaster ever in the Mediterranean Sea. As many as 700 people perished after their boat capsized after departing from Libya. Only 28 people were rescued. – democracy now

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ss honeybird

three seeds in one
trish reveals about
beta vulgaris family
(chard, beets)
as we consider/discuss
family by family
the vegetables we grow

contrails against blue sky
turning curvy in pond surface reflection
as emory and i
glide through it
each taking turns with
the one wooden paddle

honeybird hunter
or something along those lines
emory calls out which i say
should be the name
of our ship

creek exploring i gather
wild sweet williams
and em and i take turns
releasing cimayo grandmother spring water
into last nights
rain turbulence trickling

shiz and i double-hammock meetup
via voice two time zones apart
where i gaze at
spring-flitting birds in juniper above me and
she observes gina
lopper antic-ing in their back yard


rain pound on metal roof
this time the storm doesn’t skirt/edge
it arrives full on

trish on banjo
and sometimes mica, sometimes me on guitar
with tookie on guitar too
finding our way through
gillian welch chords and lyrics
on front porch

joking about my
hand holding habits mica
calls me a bottom at circle up
to which i say something about
well, in this instance…

from the water world:

Flowers float in a lake at the former Nazi concentration camp Ravensbrueck in Fuerstenberg, northeastern Germany, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by the Red Army on April 30, 1945. – voice of america, day in photos

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petals pirouetting

cheering and waving
from the rocking chair
with price tag attached as
trish and emory
pedal up to meet me

when questioned if i
crunch down or slurp up
the last bits of ice cream
(in this case, a free, normally 60-cent cone)
at the grid bottom of the cone
on the rocking chairs outside zims
i explain my technique
of pressing the ice cream down
into the cone with my tongue
then demonstrate
the only two black folks i think
living in rutledge
regarding the racist statues
on front porch steps
of a house we bike past
later i joke about
under cover of night
painting them white
semi honks on the
county highway distance
normally i wouldn’t pull over
this time i do
stand aside straddling bike
to discover on grass
the unmarred body
(minus a missing antennae)
of a painted lady butterfly


pheasant i think at first but
everything else about this bird
lifting from creek-side of road
up into tree
says hawk
how i stop to watch
trying to catch a glimpse of this
limb-resting creature whom
the internet tells me might be a
red-shouldered hawk
pink peach blossom petals
pirouetting to ground gusted by
incoming storm winds
that surf the crest of a cold front
backdrop: steely gray sky

how baigels notices stripes
in the hail that he, mica, trish and i
lean over to pick up
and put in our mouths
just after we run a rescue mission
transporting starts
into the greenhouse
to avoid tiny food plant damage

singin here comes the sun again
if you’re going to stay
show some mercy
mica singing in
karma living room
thunder moved into the distance
sounds of ripping (fabric)
as she waves her rag rug in
variations of blue

pre-gillian welch sing-along
sorta sing along while we
finish our chili and corn bread
in the post-storm cooled air
one more dollar and i’m
going home

i’ll set her free i say
she’s more creature than human
and you know how i feel
about creatures in cages
holding mica’s hand while
staring down
the row of spider plants
looking down at us
from the loft

she tells me of the
four immeasurables
gifted to her in yoga class
i ask if they have names

these lines from brian gilmore’s poem
(for d.j. renegade, ta-nehisi coates, darrell stover from landover, and the prison writers, lorton reformatory)

in my inbox reminding me
why poems are necessary:

pens must move like

slice through layers of

challenge headlines
handed down through

1 something a.m.
buzz/squeal of fly
stuck to web at the bottom of
the end table as small spider
appears to impale the fly in its abdomen
over and over

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fire break and prairie lung

the burn of
smoke in lungs and
the panic in my pulse and the
leaning in to do what i have to do and the
pulling back at the searing which strangely
only arises on my biceps
(and face)

we clink the tips of our
flame-tamping shovels in the are above us
as we stand at the edge of
charred field
sweat-saoked and snot-slobbered i say
something about sandhill scouts
earning our prairie fire badges

lounging pondside under
treebranches and vines
the appearance of a goldfinch
the call of red-winged blackbirds
the sight of two spiders sparring on shared branch
(furry and black with a red back half)
and a small blue-white-grey-black bird
(finch size) with long beak
landing atop
dam deck

drying on towel
sun on skin and limbs
still sweating
book opened i think
this is a form
of love
what happened trish asks
regarding my red splotched biceps
hours after standing flame-side
in field nine tamping the
wander of too-quick-moving fire
on a day of indecisive wind and
four newbies who laugh beforehand
at being four newbies out here
on our own

mica, tookie, ty and i
on front porch in past-sunset dark
sound of talk and frogs/toads i ask
for a silhouette charade demo of
how to clear the clogged
flour grinder

tookie’s grandpa-voice saying
fire break and praire lung
and tyler and i laughing
so hard at this whole
field nine prairie burn amateurs fiasco
tears rivulet down
my cheeks

i’m ok with being alone i say
sitting atop the old well with trish
as sky pastels and clouds over
before trish breaks down attachment theory
and says something about a dating pool
of avoidants which is suddenly hilarious
to us both

first eve this season of sleeping
with windows open pond-dwelling
choruses calling up
to my dreaming ears


IMG_8211 IMG_8213 IMG_8218 IMG_8219

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