moon-made or maybe

slap of thin yoga mat
as i unroll it on living room floor diagonally
and the aches that reveal
the places sickness settled
as i stretch limb, muscles, tendons, skin
sharp knife slide-sinking
into citrus skin,
fruit of a san francisco back yard orange tree
gifted with the caveat of
i don’t know if it’s good or not
its tart sweet juiciness
proving its ultra-goodness
which means i kick myself for not consuming a
small citrus fortune each morning spent
at bryant street
they look like a fucking oil slick
gina says about the starlings that
swoop into the feeder
booting the downy woodpecker
out of the bird buffet
one hand holding daphna’s the other
wrapped around shiz’s
surprised to find what the layers are made of
and how the body/heart/brain reveals itself
when i find myself saying
i just want to be home
verdant is not a word i usually use but
how can one not
when referring to the
patches of moss
softbursting in strips
where the sidewalk cracks
something like a bouquet
of silver flowers,
moon-made or maybe stardipped,
bursting inside ribcage when i think of
how i carry
all people i love
in this vessel called body
as we roll from one end
of the nightwaters
(willamette river reflecting back all the lights
of street and building and city)
to the other
on a bridge i have crossed many
times before this one
similar to how i say
that means its working
about a poem when it makes someone cry,
tonight tears come
before i can even begin to articulate
what the sounds are doing to make me respond this way
seated in row q at the portland syphony
about three minutes into
gustav holst’s jupiter from the planets symphony
(precisely at 2:54 in this video)

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a poem of hope in challenging times

“I do not weep at the world – i am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” – Zora Neale Hurston
that the sun insists on breaking itself

over the blunt edge of horizon to spill its gold yolk

across dim sky morning after morning 

that oceans keep oceaning

their tides pulsing

with a blood-like rhythm
that forests keep foresting

their ferns unfurling emerald 

their fine needles jeweled with dew gems

their rough-barked trunks adding new rings

through the freeze and thaw of seasons

(a signal that roughly translates into we are still here)
that the apples that orbed this fall

along the branches of our humble orchard 

which rings our humble pond

were the best i have ever tasted in my lifetime

despite enduring the worst floods seen in forty years

whose waters took our corn, our wheat, our beans

which means while this year’s harvest wasn’t abundant

it was still enough
that the shimmer of stars can be seen

years after they have burnt out

is just one slice of an extensive collection of proof 

that we are all universes of wonder

whose magic can never be extracted

by which i mean

your ribcage is a bone-woven basket

curved to contain

the light of everyone you have ever loved

your ribcage is a fortress 

fortified to hold the laughter, the landscape, the food steam and smells

that rise from every place you have ever called home

your ribcage holds a library

of every song, prayer or poem

you have ever taken inside yourself

and because you,

like a song, a home, a molten and pulsing light,

are similarly carried inside the ribcages of others

your spirit, tender and ferocious,

can never be contained
and because your spirit

can never be contained

the struggle never really was/is really a fight

but rather a declaration

of the brightness we are all made of

and a broadcasting beyond all barriers of its glow

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one way of arriving

i like the light that leaving casts i say
when baigz asks on our way to the corral
how the last day feels
like paths trish says at the wheel
of a car called rodeo
about the way the dirt roads are made out here
nothings in the way
they can be made where people actually go
not in the general route that gets people
to where they want to go

as we once again two-wheel-drive our way
impossibly across off-road roads
this, a last glimpse
the flour handprint i leave
on jane’s sweatshirt as we
hug goodbye
how we got left on our own
with the frybread dough
(jane having to leave
to bring a change of clothes to her son
at school)
and the patting/baking adventure/attempts
that ensue and all the laughter that follows
as we imagine grandmother’s reaction
upon discovering
their misshapen chewy experimental qualities
last year, it was the
oh where oh where has my baby gone
i say stepping out of the car
onto flagstaff sidewalk
and this year it’s
my pony, jump on it

most people don’t know how to pronounce “rendezvous”
a man passing on the night sidewalk says to his group
REN DEHZ VOUHZ i pronounce back
ridiculous and waiting for the laughs
which cascade around the street corner
spotted: two cell towers disguised
as coniferous trees
red-hatted and sleepy-faced
emory disembarking from the train
with the new look of one of his front teeth
newly missing
a woman named shea
picking spilled sunflower seeds of fthe floor
behind room #15 door
the frenzy and overwhelm of
big thrift store folllowed by the grocery store
followed by happy hour at the asian fusion place
all colliding with the slowness/quite/stillness/vastness
of the rez we just drove away from
and here, at this threshold, it’s hard to believe
that either world exists
and that they exist
at the same time
mezuesa, herm/aphrodite and dishpan wuz here
-Hoe Terra 4eva!!!!

i type on the bathroom typewriter
whose make/model is the unbelievably exact same
as mine (royal, quite delux)
which is one way
of arriving home
while a long way from home
trish baigz and i playing
following the leader
through flagstaff streets
in an attempt to stay warm
and as a bonus feature: having fun
and entertaining others in the process
how it’s maybe only 20 minutes
in joe’s presence, but it’s enough
to elicit a cackle

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what it feels like to return

shaky-voiced coyote howling in the day’s
pre-sun light
at the time of orange horizon flaring
against deep blue sky
how we laugh through/across language
baigz, trish, bessie and i
first, through a couple rounds of oldmaid
and then through the game of
drawing each other’s faces
while not looking at the paper
that we move our markers across
five orange slices packed in baggie
tucked into backpack
how the cells and their juice burst as i bite into
one by one on the meandering
sheepherding way home
like twins but not twins i say
as we make our way
across the scrublands
following hoofmarks
small rabbit (baby jack)
and gray beelining
who must have been there
for a while as i leaned into the edge
of the arroyo
what it feels like to return i say
when asked what i’m taking with me
and sheep poop is one of the things i say
i’m leaving behind
apple struessel cake baked on stovetop
in cast iron
sliced into gloriously large wedges
and plopped onto our plastic plates
you’ve done it again i tell trish
in her place next to me
at the table
baigz’s club beats and club dancing
with the sheep to get them
to move along while i
whoop whoop!
trish’s purple duct tape
slapped onto silver camera
to hold battery compartment closed

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woven through

first/only lizard to show itself here
seen while hanging laundry
how it lies, sunning on a ripple of gray fabric
on the ground
yellowy with green/gray flecks
drip of water blooping
back into tall pot on the stove
falling from the bottom of the stainless steel lid
just-scrubbed potatoes
lined up to dry on concrete
dark red skin turning lighter
in sun as it dries
that means you’re worth a man and a child
jane says/laughs after we tell her
we’ll be trading joe and emory
out for me at the train station
in flagstaff
by late night on the mesa
i mean 6:30
i laugh
as trish mixes the two-grain corn flakes and rice crisps
puppy chow ingredients (including the
secret special feature: hot cocoa packet
with mini marshmellows)
in a big silver bowl
wherein we use the word babe
instead of peel for our three rounds
of sugar/chocolate infused/fueled
sugar-highed we decide the doc film
(that this three-person crew will make)
will be about the conflict of djembe josh
wanting to play every drum circle on the planet
and how that bumps up against the original topic
of the documentary which is
about how the film crew
came to be
keith and i unloading 5-gallon buckets
filled with water
lidded and sloshing
from the back of harry’s blue ford and line them
up in stacks along the living room
and kitchen walls
rhythm/screech/squeak of metal pail
singing against trunk
in the wind
the silver threads woven through
jennavee’s head scarf same
as the silver threads woven through
my orange neck scarf
and something about her build/shape
the creases in her face
the unsmiling but not unwarm quality
draws me in

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the year of the seeker

the too-quiet, too-flat body of the
brown newborn lamb
smoke rising from grandmother and grandfather’s house
when i return from
pulling tarot cards in slight wind and strong sun
amongst the curve of boulders and
the black/dark of caves
skirt rippling in sun-wind and
grandmother’s skirt rippling in the sun-wind
as we walk towards each other on the path
between corral and house and as we meet
she opens her mostly-bone arms to me
in the shape of a hug
the best part about playing cards
and memory with bessie tonight is how we
eye-glimmer laugh
across vinyl table-clothed table
the second best part is
how we clear the table and put the dishes
in the kitchen but wait til after we play
to wash them
how the cards, spread in the entrance
of a mini-cave tell me this
is the year of the seeker
pot of chicken stock placed
on cast iron surface of
wood burning stove
late night snacks on the mesa trish says
have nothing to do with hunger

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big mountain’s revenge

on our retreat from the canyon trish notices
how the brown sheep keeps pausing to lay down
about to give birth and once she makes it
to the corral, sure enough, she lays her wooly body down
and begins grunting
big mountain’s revenge baigz says when i
give him the stomach/digestion report
trish and i perched on canyon’s west side
in the cool of a cloudy sky while
the flock grazes slow below
we snack on salt-sweet trail mix
and she talks about attachment
how intimate partnerships bring out/push on
our parental issues/dynamics the most
of any relationships
baigz, trish and i counting
thirty eight corraled sheep
at the end of the day
over and over
slightly panicked unable to find
the thirty-ninth
relieved when bessie reveals the thirty-ninth
has been borrowed
pre-sunset sendoff with cell phone cord tutorial
and then it is keith and i
hauling wood, hauling water, cleaning up from dinner
and then it is just me in dusk-light
busy with the business of detail-collecting and
tending to the snack-attacks by feeding them
fryless fry bread and peanut butter
fryless fry bread and cheese
forkfuls of kimchee
might not be my life’s calling i say
of sheep herding and the agitation
when the sheep don’t respond
by doing what we ask
the hum-crackle and orange glow escaping
the unsealed edges of wood/coal stove
plus the tick-tock of living room clock
marking time in the solar-powered flourescent lamplight

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