Monthly Archives: May 2014

a vigorous digging

palmful of rootbound tomato starts
(amish paste) lifted from wooden flat
which sits in a wooden cart
before snapping off the lower sets of leaves
and the gentle prying apart of plants
whose roots are woven into each other’s
followed by a vigorous digging with trowl
through freshly tilled soil and the
compacted clay underneath
making holes deep enough to drop the plants into

_______

emory in red suspenders, white shirt,
black pants, white socks, dark shoes
practicing his michael jackson spin
on top of the picnic table in the front yard
situated under the juniper for the birthday cookout
that shall commence later today

_______

tyler and his 12 string guitar that only has 6 strings
on the porch after lunch
cycling through a 90s hits medly
(mostly intros)
while ra ra and i laugh and say no way!
about each song
which includes but is not limited to
smashing pumpkins: today
marilyn mansons cover of sweet dreams
nirvana: heart shaped box
green day: basket case
_______

daring jumping spider (full name)
preys on dead blue wasp
in window ledge
and carries it off

_______

trish in gold sequinned suspenders on banjo
jenny in neon pink lycra shorts on guitar
rocking out to four non blondes’s what’s going on
between downpours of rain

_______

laird, jazzed about the progress of the cistern
swigging fridge-cold milk from a
ceramic cup in the kitchen

_______

bobbie’s home-made veggie brats
kim’s lentil sprouts and funions (dehydrated green onions)
plus the chips ra ra brought from st. louis and
the egg salad that appeared out of nowhere
and a huge bowl of salad from our garden
for emory’s 6th birthday potluck celebration

_______

joseph’s homemad ice cream in three flavors:
black walnut, avocado and cake batter
sugar cones brought in from one of the next towns over
(or the town after that or the town after that)
and trish with the scooper
serving up whatever combo of the three
the next person in line desires

_______

mica, like a color guard pro, spinning an orange-yellow flag
while trish waves the skull and crossbones
while the birthday parade kicks off
at the white house and heads for the burn pile
emory in the lead holding a mica-made torch
in his hand

_______

normally, the thing just goes up trish says
about the rainwet burn pile
a bit before part of it has caught
and we hear a chirping from the middle of it
and a bird-rescue attempt is staged
we think it’s a meadowlark
and eventually zane comes away with it squawking in his hands

_______

darien and bear
encouraging burn pile to burn
by relocating things in the pile where the flames aren’t catching
to the place in the pile where they are

________

from the water world:

Mud is splattered across a wall in the flood-damaged home of the Kovacevic family in Topcic Polje
Mud is splattered across a wall in the flood-damaged home of the Kovacevic family in Topcic Polje. More than 50 people were killed by flooding and landslides in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. The heaviest rainfall in more than a century had caused rivers to burst their banks, sweeping away roads, bridges and homes.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

 

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chasing down the sunset

emory and i in his garden
lower german striped tomatoes
into ground
in 9am sun

_______

gigantic piece of paper
(pieces from the white roll
taped together)
on living room floor
we decide to color first
(picking up woodgrain pattern from the floor
then throwing things under there to pick up other textures/shapes/designs
[string, cards, legos, sheet of binder reinforcement stickers])
before folding it into the world’s largest paper boat
(big enough for emory to sit in)

_______

cecil and the rest of us
in the filtered porch sun over lunch
joke about selling punchlines
at the farmer’s market
since the amount of talk
trumps the amount of sales
_______

after the rain
a wasp and something bee-like
struggling in the water at the bottom of a
five gallon bucket
i lift each out
one at a time
with a plantain leaf
and release them
in the grass

_______

weeding horehound in the herb garden
i pluck out wild garlic
dandelion
a young black locust tree
(whose spike punctures my right thumb
and draws a drop of blood)

_______

bachelor button plant in
giant pot
i sling it on a hip like a baby
and carry it across the road
towards the woods
to the place granola is buried

_______

mica and i speedwalk the
red earth ridge
racing rain
headed our way
from the south
a wall of grey

_______

bri passes around the discount chocolate
which doesn’t taste like discount chocolate at all
and alyson pours some of her water kefir (‘fruit beer’)
into our glasses
while the wind/rain hit the windows

_______

from the garden (where i dig into the brassica beds
pulling up dandelions and onions)
a pink flush in the sky
color enough to draw me away from the digging fork
and when i get to the road on the western edge:
orange-gold orb visible through the trees calling me to
chasing down the sunset
which i do (run down the rock road
until i arrive in a clearing
to see the thing
blazing)

i sing to the cows
on the other side of the fence
who move closer
but still maintain their distance
on my amble back

_______

barred owl calling from
the trees into daylight and dark

_______

emory calls out heyy frrankie
from down the drive
like my michael jackson outfit!?
he’s so far off i can’t see
but when he comes into focus:
white shirt
dark suspenders
dark pants
dark shoes
white socks
black hat
white glove
loooook-in sharp! i respond

_______

from the water world:
potd-surfers_2926113k
Hundreds of surfers hold hands to form a circle in the Pacific Ocean for a memorial paddle out in honour of the victims of the Isla Vista shootings in Santa Barbara
. Picture: ZUMA/REX – the telegraph

 

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greet the rain

gnats (buzzing in ears, on my face, in my eyes, up my nose)
in the lookfar beds where i transplant amish paste tomatoes
into impossible clay
and curse the winged creatures, telling them
to die (well aware that anyone of them
could be granola-the-cat reincarnated
not that i swear by a deep belief in reincarnation
but i don’t dismiss the possibility either)

_______

in the kitchen dabbing
vanilla extract on wrists and other pulse points/surfaces
including temples, neck, behind the knees
just like the internet says
for repelling gnats

_______

swimming pond smell
in my dripping hair
after i emerge
from a swim after mulching four new beds
in lookfar)

_______

trish blends a snack drink
for the cistern crew and kids
(frozen bananas
ice
cinnamon
milk
cocoa)
i spoon each ice crunchy sip
from cup to mouth

_______

one fluffy moist cube of brownie
(made and brought by bobbie)
on the left side of my plate-bowl
arranged so it soaks up
the least amount of dinner

_______

i greet the rain
(soft at first, sounds like bits of juniper tree dropping in wind
but soon so hard we are surprised that it isn’t hailing)
with a YES on the screened-in porch
bits of spray drifting in onto skin

_______

how the air and light these nights
(the light stays long
and the air stays balmy)
makes me want to be on a bike
in city streets
rolling with a crew
or a lover or two

_______

phoenix and darien cracking
black walnuts and butternuts at dusk
around the table in upstairs karma
don’t tell anyone phoenix says
but the way to get someone to pick up the phone
is to double ring

________

phoenix drops a butternut into my palm
vapor darien says
for how the flavor moves in ones mouth

 

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the hand that thought it was writing

through the fog of the tranquilizer
a distressed yowl or two
and the way she flops about
like a fish out of water
on that metal table
before the second tranquilizer sucks her under
darien slips the little red quilt
beneath her body

_______

shedded granola fur sticking to the sweat
of our hands we hold
and breathe

_______

on the ride home i
say something like i did yesterday
(it’s kindof stupid to cry about a cat)
to which darien responds with something about sensitivity
and what a valuable/important quality it is to have
to which i agree

in retrospect
i don’t really think it is stupid to cry over a cat
but perhaps i was just trying to say
hey, there’s light and shining things
mixed in with this grief

_______

also on the ride back
a small gray cat with white sock looking paws
walking across the road a ways ahead of us
under that big missouri sky
(clouds forever
and a humidity/haze one can see
but somehow the sun still spills out)
we are sliced open under it
and everything proceeds with a light
and a slowness
and it’s not really our bodies in that car
but our raw selves
strapped in
nothing between this skin
and everything else

did you see that cat i ask
smile on my face
a mile or two after
yeah darien smiles back

and darien talks about how this death
brings us closer to other deaths
and he mentions his grandpa
two septembers ago
the slow starving
that hand that thought it was writing but
instead produced scribbles

_______

these paws! i say
holding one at a time between my two fingers
while kneeling over her body
(each one a different color/pattern)

_______

unlike what some people say
about that instant absence
once the breath and pulse stop
granola’s spirit doesn’t seem to slip away
(perhaps because a window wasn’t left open)
which is part of what compels me to pet her
half an hour after
same touch as when she was on the table
slow and soothing

_______

blanketwrapped
i carry granola’s still-warm body in my arms
towards the hole in the earth
on the east side of karma
it feels heavier i say
(than when she was alive)

_______

how i might have wanted more time with her body
if it hadn’t been clear to me from the start
how close death was
– meaning i took all the time there was
during the living
to be in her presence
(the rise-fall of her breath
the rhythm of her rumble
applying balm to the cancer-growth wound
shaking around that farm-made cat toy on a stick
listening to what she wanted [cat treats, cuddles]
and what she didn’t [to be picked up, to be petted near the ears])

_______

darien and i each grab two corners
of the purple plaid flannel shroud
(granola’s body in the middle)
and lower her three feet into the hole
while trish looks on

we toss in popcorn with nutritional yeast and dulse,
and handfuls of cat treats
before i place a jam jar of water and
the elastic/fabric tied to a stick
down with her

_______

anybody want to say anything i ask
as we stand in a half circle around the hole
silence, except for the call of the cat-bird
that trish mentions
with a sweet smile
_______

first the dirt (by handfuls
until the shroud is covered
then by shovelfuls)
then the stone
darien rolled over in a cart
from the orchard

_______

your friend trish says
about the creature we just buried
who won’t be sleeping with me
tonight

_______

plume – the word darien uses
to describe the dark blood that
rose in the the syringe’s chamber
before doc wiggins
pressed the plunger down
injecting light pink liquid
into granola’s heart

_______

later, room-cleaning
the blankets coated in summer-shed fur don’t get to me
neither does the bottle of ear drops on the ledge
nor her favorite places of perching
it’s the small patches of blood
(not yet brown)
on the inside rim of her water bowl
from the places her nose-lump
bumped into
when lowering her head in to sniff

_______

i have honored your life in the best way i know how,
i hope that has been enough

IMG_2657

 

IMG_2655

_______

from the water world:

APTOPIX Pakistan Daily Life
Pakistani vegetables vendor Sher Khan, 55, applies soap on his body while showering near a water supply pipe, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistanis are facing a shortage of clean drinking water due to the low level of water in the country’s dams. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Smoke rises from the 998-tonne fuel tanker Shoko Maru after it exploded off the coast of Himeji
Smoke rises from the 998-tonne fuel tanker Shoko Maru after it exploded off the coast of Himeji, western Japan.
REUTERS/5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters – Japan Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

 

An Orthodox priest baptizes a baby at a church inside the Doctor Voino-Yasenetsky Saint Luka train at a railway station of Divnogorsk
An Orthodox priest baptizes a baby at a church inside the Doctor Voino-Yasenetsky Saint Luka train, which serves as a free consultative and diagnostic medical center, at a railway station of Divnogorsk, outside Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk
. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

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we gather around poems

in the dream, i offered granola-the-cat
the remaning half of my fried fish sandwhich
(the remaining half of sandwich my mom was mad at me
about for taking back after i loaned it to her)
and granola feasted

_______

emory and i plopped on dusty porch floor
passing the almost-iridescent soccer ball
(royal blue) back and forth between us
sometimes in the air
sometimes across the floor

_______

some things i whisper-speak to granola
who’s passed out in sleep
on the wedge-shaped cushion under my desk in the loft
i have honored your life in the best way i know how,
i hope that has been enough

thank you for sharing your spirit with me

and later
digging a three-foot deep hole
while she sleeps
imagining how we’ll shape her body
when we lay her down in
_______

storms-a-comin i say
(or something like it)
as the wind turbine slices up the air above us
at a speed so swift
the propellers almost whistle and whine
gray cloud mass hovering over us

_______

smell of chocolate cookies
hanging in the air
as (i can’t remember her name)
walks potluck-wards
with a pan of baked things
in her hands

_______

a distant thunder rumble
rolls as we turn onto the path near the swingset

_______

tears in joAnn’s eyes
at a picnic table outside the dancing rabbit common house
under big missouri sky
as she thanks me for taking her and caza and morgan there

_______

maybe it’s kindof stupid i say
about crying over knowing that tomorrow is the day we bring granola in
to put her down
but it’s still death and grief
(enhanced by all the complicated feelings
of being the one that with the power to make that choice)

_______

leaning down i ask 15month-old caza if i can pick her up
and she raises her arms/hands towards me

_______

hum of the refrigerators/coolers
in the background
while we gather at the mercantile
around poems (outloud) and a song or two

 

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a roof is enough

trailer full of sorghum starts
katherine and i squish into the empty spot
tyler driving the tractor and
morgan hitching a ride (on a seat facing backwards)
of the old tobacco transplanter
as we roll to field 3a east
in clothes we don’t mind getting
pond-scum stinky
from the starts that have been floating in
anaerobic water

_______

mica and i laugh at the technical term she uses
(that grabby thing)
about the mechanism on the transplanter
where we place the sorghum starts
as it pinches closed
grabbing the baby cane leaves
before rotating downward
and dropping them into the furrowed ground

_______

it’s kindof meditative katherine in clothes loaned from mica says
about the rhythm: pluck start with one hand
pass it to the other
and let it hover over the grabby thing until
the timing is just right

_______

even a roof is enough
says trish in the chair
across from me

_______

thermal envelope laird says
about places where the water/lines won’t freeze
(cistern talk) on the porch at lunch

_______

caza who was born in february (not this but last
which makes her around 15 months)
walking from joAnn’s butter pecan to morgan’s twist
leaning in effortfully for a tiny lick

_______

enough wind to pluck our hats off our hats
we lean over the trainbridge railing
(caza running up and down the diamond-tread steel)

_______

smell of mustard seeds and cumin seeds
sizzling in thin oil on the cast iron

_______

with two guests and three concrete-workers
(who began at 8 in the morning and didn’t stop
except for lunch)
it doesn’t take long until dinner
(vegetable potato masala
rice
cooked and skillet sauteed garbanzo beans
blackberry peach cobbler
strawberries from the field
spinach salad)
is decimated

_______

mica and i laughing about the word tabernacle
when what we were trying to get at
was synagogue

_______

joAnn in clear-framed glasses
and i under porch xmas lights
following the line of conversation
which began at there are a lot of men here
and meandered through astrology and the anneagram and
introversion-extroversion and the matriarchal society in china
where, when asked what sex a 5-year old was
the mother says ‘i don’t know, i’ll have to check’
because it is that unimportant in that culture the next hour or two
(where there are mothers but no fathers, only uncles)
and empathy as the most important way of relating to other humans
and on

in a way that reminds me of a kitchen on cherry street
in green bay wisconsin
where bedtimes were often between 2 and 4 am
because there was always too much to make and too much to say

_______

from the water world:

19CE44BD-B700-46D9-A912-3F19CCD19509_w974_n_s_s
Kashmiri government employees demonstrate as riot police spray purple-dyed water during a protest march in Srinagar. Indian police detained dozens of government employees as they tried to stage a protest march demanding the regularisation of contractual jobs and an increase in salary. – voice of america, day in photos

57EEA6FE-7C8C-487B-9808-EDE8E033648A_w974_n_s_s
Two men paddle in a canoe on a flooded road in Trysil, southeast Norway. Rain and melted snow have increased the water level in the river Trysilelva.
– voice of america, day in photos

potd-hawaii_2922980k
A large crowd watches as lanterns float on the water after being released during a ceremony marking remembrance and reflection, held by Shinnyo-en Buddhists honoring victims of war, famine, and natural disasters on Memorial Day, at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu
. Picture: Hugh Gentry/REUTERS

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a slow seeping

the sound of cinderblocks on wood
as we guide their sliding
down the makeshift 2×8 ramp
from ground level
to down in the hole

_______

the chain looks like this:
darien, nathaniel and trish on ground
grinding the unevenness away
(block on block)
tyler and i in the hole
guiding the block-slide
and hauling them into stacks six high
a rhythm to morning sun sweat

_______

i say it’s an ice cream kind of day down in the pit
and up above, trish says it’s a pond kind of day

_______

cazadora (a human, not quite two years old)
reaching to pet granola (a cat in her final stages of life)

_______

over dinner
an asking of what i was like then
(college days)
joAnn says she wore big pants – with patches
i learned a lot about veganism/animal rights
she carved a star into my ankle

and in response i mention
the ting ting jahe’s
and the opening of a world i hadn’t known
that was as simple as stepping into the asian market

_______

wouldn’t you run out of things to write about
at a place like this morgan asks near the pond edge
and joAnn explains about listening and watching
the million shades of green
the sounds of the seasons
the feel of the air

_______

sunset time
everly brothers drifting through the wall
dream, dream, dream, dream
when i want you in my arms
when i want you and all your charms
whenever i want you, all i have to do is
dream, dream, dream, dream

_______

a sip of joAnn’s whiskey (or is it bourbon? or something else entirely?)
under the xmas lights on the front porch
the slow seeping of heat in my mouth/down my throat

_______

i talk about what the evolution of the human brain might look like
specifically in reference to the space
that is taken up by all of our passwords
and what that space used to hold

_______

from the water world:

277030914
The cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose, Calif.Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

The United States is currently engulfed in one of the worst droughts in recent memory. More than 30% of the country experienced at least moderate drought as of last week’s data. In seven states drought conditions were so severe that each had more than half of its land area in severe drought. Severe drought is characterized by crop loss, frequent water shortages, and mandatory water use restrictions. – usa today

Screen shot 2014-05-26 at 7.41.11 AM

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