giving name to

double disc!!! i call out
while stacking two discs on
top of each other and tossing simultaneously
to emory and zane in the morning-wet field

killdeer mica says
giving name to
yesterday’s inland seabird
who-are-you moment

yesterday’s looks like a fire-smoke sky commentary
affirmed by today’s baigz-report of
saskatchewan wildfires raging
and their haze drifting south

wheels as tall as three of us
standing on each others’ shoulders
have you seen the machines

i ask baigz who mentioned tar sands
looks like another planet he replies
talking of the tailing ponds
neighbor angela unveiling
a loaf of warm sesame-seeded squishy bread
as she unwraps it from a white-with-blue-stripe towel
first cabbage of the season
i say as i name the
coleslaw component of dinner
set out on the butcher block

pitcher of trish-made
lemon balm, holy basil, peppermint
“iced” tea from which i pour
my dinner beverage

mica looking out across
wheat field assessing its
based on a closeup look at
the grains and also the way
the wheat heads are nodding
(unidentifiable) bird of prey
i point out perched atop
electric wire pole
screech-caw drawing my attention
from the water world:
People watch as water gushes from the Xiaolangdi Reservoir section on the Yellow River, during a sand-washing operation in Jiyuan, Henan province
. voice of america, day in photos

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 10.54.33 PM
Students walk on a makeshift bridge as they enter their dormitory building which is partially submerged by floodwater, at a university campus after heavy rainfall hit Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. – REUTERS/Stringer

i sing/sample

black currants plunking into bucket
tookie launches into improv
take me to church and i join
and we sing the morning sun
further up into sky

farm step baigz delcares
about our morning free-for-all freestyle
wherein we make beats and improv scat
and self-sample hog calling and
recurring emory phrases:
(mama mama
have you seen papa
cute kittens cute cute kittens
want some cookie?)
and other sandhillian terms
(cirrrrrcle up!
in between cackles
i sing/sample

sandhill stomp i joke
as tookie and i
bang out some rhythms
on bucket bottoms
arranged on bucket rack

late afternoon sky haze
orange-golding the sun glow
as i work my way up/down
the collard and broccoli beds

who are YOU i wonder
aloud to the
(ocean) beach-looking bird
high-pitching and skitting
across highway on long legs

clink of ice cubes in
metal thermos as i sling
my backpack over my shoulder

how we howl and applaud with our
birthday caked fingers from
poolside plastic lounge chair perch
each time joseph surfaces
after some fancy
pike/backflip/twist-spin dive
execution off the board

the gorgeous oddness of sun orb
all orangesicle colored long
before sunset and then
moon too pink/orange and rising over
us as we pedal our county highway
route home
racing diminishing light
we haul ourselves up hills
downshifiting when necessary
i envision knuckle tattoos
for this moment that read:
ride hard
clouds of small bugs
and the clicks they make colliding
with our helmets
as we pass through them

did you get some she asks
in response to my report of feeling
revitalized i got the version of some
that goes like this i say a 15 mile
bike ride out and a 15 mile bike ride back
with a pool party sandwiched in the middle

a unique hazard of our region
she says discussing the combo of
hail and hiking with kiddos
in the ski valleythe goal in monsoon season
is to be coming down

or close to a treeline
if it’s after noon

from the water world:
A man walks with his cycle through a water-logged street as it rains in Jammu, India.  – voice of america, day in photos

where the flood didn’t go

emory and i passing markers and
shimmery sparkle tape
back and forth as we
to the sound of
rainfall morning
yoga mats laid out side by side

em chataranga-ing and
downard dogging and
then i walk him through
bird of paradise
until he gets it but loses interest
when we get to crow/side crow

map or maybe atlas mica says
about the kind of turtle we
encounter on the back road
with bright yellow striped
(even its eyes are striped
she points out while we lean/look closely in)

made me teary i say
of these photos
Screen shot 2015-06-29 at 12.02.18 AM
Alejo Jumat, left, and his husband, Christian Crowley, after the court’s ruling was announced. The couple live in Washington and had biked to the Supreme Court.Doug Mills/The New York Times

Screen shot 2015-06-28 at 11.43.45 PMAfter 54 years together, George Harris, 82, left, and Jack Evans, 85, were married in Dallas on Friday.Larry W. Smith/European Pressphoto Agency

(which is a shift/turn
because mostly i haven’t paid the whole affair
much attention since:
1. it seemed anytime ‘same-sex’ marrige
was passed somewhere it was just as quickly repealed
so there was this pattern early on of
excitement followed by disappointment which
taught me to just not be excited any more
2. it will never
release all those without documentation
held in detention centers
it will never bring back
michael brown, eric garner, oscar grant (etc.)
it will never end the
violence of militaries and corporate greed and
all the wars/death that comes with it)
liana reports two deaths
one in the mountain waters
and one in el rio
which reminds me of the tale
of the hungry hungry river
once upon a summer
complete with suspension footbridge
and dog antics

i’m waiting i joke
until it’s legal to marry that
(animal print mashup) unitard

fox i see/point
scrambling into the corn cover
while we head out of town
something sorta thelma & louise
about trish and i on the backroads
in the truck navigating
where the flood didn’t go

travis lake drive or
something like that the sign
says leading to the property
whose fence posts are adorned
with all varieties of stuff:
pots/pans, satchels and purses,
winged figurines, an upside down mop bucket
flanked by vacuum cleaner
strapped to fence post
several examples of the kinds of kid-magic
fostered at dayna and gavin’s:
1. lofts built into every room
with a catwalk/bridge sometimes
connecting them
2. gavin closing the curtains and
queing up the music while
someone operates the spotlight
(flashlight) from loft railing above
by training it on the solo dancers
who take turns
in teh middle of the room
3. trampoline in the backyard
without any rules so we all pile in
first cicada of the season
heard from edina porch
while western clouds

like meeting a mountain

meeting those elders/women
was like meeting a mountain
cynthia says
humble and fierce

we don’t even know
what whole is
she mentions that crow story:
how crow flew too close
to the sun and was
charcoal-blackened and
that is when crow let out
that first caw
still too wet to weed
but i pull some grass up
from the zinnia beds anyway
and separate mud
from root
cheers, whoops and howls
drifting over to the ultimate field
from  a pondwardly direction

cynthia asks if i was
ever a gymnast or athlete of other sorts
based on my walking down-field
kartwheels and waiting for
the disc to be hucked handstands

pile of freshly inflated innertubes
piled/stacked/pyramided on the dock
plenty of floatage to be had by all
underwater swimming with
prayer hands atop my head
imitating shark followed by
trish and mica imitating scream

alyssa loading a cart already piled with
just-harvested garlic
green-yellow tops and
white rooty earthy bulb bottoms

chimney swifts
dive-bomb circling
not quite sunset while i
walk the cistern to inspect
opened sunflowers
(maroons, golds and lemon yellows)
orange thread zig-zagging
out of machine onto
leopard print

between two floods

morning reward for
last night’s ‘work’:
black rasbperry/black currant jam
spread generously on
buttered toast

the strategic placement of
plastic buckets on wet
front porch wood to
catch rain where the
plastic corrugated roof leaks

all pacific northwestern up in here
i say to baigz referring
to the rain which is the kind
that comes down all day slow
and steady under a heavy
gray sky

outside i command/ask/redirect
emory as he sounds (amazingly well)
the corroded trumpet

trapped between two
flooded spots tyler reports
from the road
on the way to kirksville
while mica looks up best routes on
the missouri dept of transporation site

monster cookie cake baked in
cast iron adorned with mini home-made
bees wax candles for bobbie
running on the back road
where the view breaks open to
sometimes a strip of shine
but this time
a whole stretch of shine
flooded flood plains
fields of corn appearing as glistening lake or
wide slow river

cow hooves thundering
as i run alongside the other side
of their fence only it isn’t
the usual rumbling as they
ramble through the  marshyness
more of a splatting


photos on his phone trish says
of the train engineer at zim’s
who shared photos of washed-out tracks
from all the other stopped/stranded engineers
after last night’s onslaught of rain
which followed the night before’s storm onslaught
(later, there’s word of roads closed too)
squish underfoot
in the yards
in the fields
in the gardens
standing water in the tomatoes
standing water next to the flowers

ashby’s loyal trot
behind me along underpass road
quickening whenever i turn my head to glimpse him
while we walk over drying gravel
through patches of shade then sun
tossing bright green leaves
into the creek’s high waters
and watching
the current carry them off
until they’re no longer visible
after curving around the bend
(something fabulous about) the angles
and repetition of lines/shapes
from the staking/nailing and winding
of cucumber trellises in the greenhouse

small but vibrant zinnia bouquet
(deep red, orange, yellow, cream, white, hot pink, lighter pink)
accompanied by a smaller handful
of bachelor buttons
in indigo and lavender
it isn’t until dinner that i
notice/realize the all day lack
of train whistles in the distance
rip/crack/thud of
huge oak limbs
on slater’s hill
that had been busted but hanging on
finally letting go
i catch a glimpse my loft window

joe covering his lip-bit mouth
saying don’t make me laugh
which sometimes makes us laugh harder

jam jam-a-thon
after dinner we begin
by mashing berries
(black raspberry, black currant, mulberry)
and then applying berry juice face paint
and laughing at/sometimes singing along to
the classic rock radio hits
the dance of baigz and i
every-othering our
removal of jam jars from
the boil bath with
implements that seem destined to fail
(and therefore create catastrophe)
we add an extra step to the rhythm by
eating a handful of kettle corn after
the placing of each sealed jar on countertop
from the water world:
An Indian man carries a boy to a safer place after their neighborhood was flooded, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. – voice of america, day in photos

of the dazzling

sounds of morning storm
(rumbles and downpours)
making morning a cozy green
place to wake/stretch into

team sandhill gathered around kit
at the sewing machine
(kit once known as kitastrophe now
known more as keeping it together)
to learn how to line up the
elastic with the spandura,
where to end and begin the zig zag stitch,
how to avoid zombie mouth and
the joys of cutting mats
unusual swirl/rush of
silted high waters passing underneath
the two bridges en route to
dancing rabbit
which i cross
somewhat muddy
file under favorite sounds:
hum of my two tires
on black top below me
(wind at my back
sky dome-ing over
fields spreading out on either side
patches of standing water in them
appearing as mirrors)

upon a cancelled counseling appointment
i share my freebie/bonus time perspective
which goes like this: i feel like i’ve just won
some freebie/extra/bonus time
(generally, to be redeemed for working
on projects) due to last-minute cancellations
perhaps, some kind of unnamed phenomenon
or perhaps one sign of introvert-ish tendencies
i take myself to the unpopulated pond
where i jump into rain-cooled waters
and nakedsunbathe pondside with book
and fabric-craft under osage orange shade
joining up with june on the path who
tells me that she’s kept track and
that the amount of rain
over the past week
totals nine inches

if you really knew me i say
you’d know a few years ago
i went to the doc who told me
i have a tremor in my neck
(i use the words betray and vulnerable)

 a 49 second tutorial
on how to play the washboard
before we
(casually known as sandhill band)
sing/play our raucous hearts out
(corn bread and butter beans
thats the way that it goes/
everybody’s buying little baby clothes
home is wherever i am with you)
whil sky dusks and sunset spills across it

semilla i say a name
for us if lynne decides
she doesn’t want it
she gifts me
with virtual coupons
to reedeem anytime
i need to be reminded
i am simply human
(perhaps permission slip
might be more appropriate)

goodnight i say fantastic
piranha of the dazzling
oceans of life
today a day
bookended by
and monsoon-ish moments

accompanied by two irrefutable glows

how daylight reveals the
leanings (sunflowers, strawflowers) and
busted limbs
(splintered oak on slater’s hill,
wind-ripped branches
tossed into spearmint patch,
and around the curves of
the back road)
joseph and i inspecting
the backpack sprayer
and its part chart
in the bright bright of
afternoon light

what would the kid whisperer do
i ask myself and then tell emory
that i bet i can finish my lunch
before you can
which, kindof incredibly to most of us,
works (me dramatically spooning the
tiniest bits of dal with a fork while
emory snarfs his array of
like a visitation
i say

about both animal encounters
and dreams

sparkle-o-meter i call it
and identify where my
current composition lies
along the spectrum of
super sparkly, shiny, and

a clump of dust without even
a single speck of glitter in it
stan says i just

got distracted by
the first baltimore oriole
of the season

trish offers a sampling of
mini m&ms power pellets i call them
followed by a two-square break off
baigz’s chocolate offering
chiffonading kale at the butcher block
while listening to this segment about listening
which moves me in a million moments
including the following:
i made many radio documentaries working to shine a light on people who were rarely heard form in the media. over and over again i’d see how the simple act of being interviewed could mean so much to people, particularly those who’d been told that their stories didn’t matter. i could literally see people’s backs straighten as they started to speak into the microphone. in 1998 i made a doc about the last flophouse hotels on the bowery in manhattan – guys stayed up in these cheap hotels for decades. they lived in cubicles the size of prison cells covered with chicken wire so you couldn’t jump from one room into the next. later on i wrote a book on the men with the photographer harvey wang,. i remember walking into a flophouse with an early version of the book and showing one of the guys his page. he stood there staring at it in silence. then he grabbed the book out of my hand and started running down the long narrow hallway shouting: i exist!!!! i exist.
(we don’t think about listening as a profound act of respect – like, really giving somebody dignity, or – a gift, especially people who are not listened to or not heard from. we all have the capacity to listen in this way.)
pulling a darien as i
choose to hand-grate carrots for
the gigantor salad rather than
send them through the food processor
because i prefer the quality of
hand-grated to the
mush of machine-grated
sandhill band sounds
(voices, drum, banjoe, guitars, tambourine)
drifting from porch into kitchen
i sing along

the sunset half moon
a cray pas smudge
accompanied by two
irrefutable glows –
venus and jupiter
(your face i say
could complete this

from the water world:
Armenian police use water canons to disperse protesters demonstrating against an increase in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. – voice of america, day in photos

A woman looks out from a bridge toward garbage that was washed down by the rising Negro river, one of the two main branches of the Amazon River, following heavy rains in Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil. – voice of america, day in photos

A Sadhu or Hindu holy man performs yoga on the steps of Saubhagya Kund, a holy pond, at the Kamakhya temple in Gauhati, India. – voice of america, day in photos

signs of an approaching

checking the weather online
report for 63563 says
a stray severe thunderstorm
is possible
must be hiring some poets over there
i joke

how i used the collarless collar
of thin blue skull/crossbones tshirt
to wipe the sweat from my upper lip
in between the weaving-of-baling-twine-
onto-tomato-trellis rhythm
stianless steel bowl
of fridge-cold
plumpety just-harvested blueberries
set on butcher block for dessert
(preceded by a meal featuring
the season’s first summer squash)

smell of spearmint
(solar dehydrated) infusing
front porch air as i strip
dried leaves from stems
with gusto one of us says
while we practice cornbread and butterbeans
with trish on banjo
mica and tookie on guitar
joseph on washboard
and emory on thimble and spoon

bleet bleeet bleeeet of
emergency broadcast system
coming out of the dual  purpose
hand crank flashlight/radio
as we (mica, tyler, baigs, joseph, emory, tookie, trish and myself)
wait out the storm
pounding against root cellar door
where we pass the dried pears and
patches of fruit roll up
considering i’m generally no good
in the case of emergencies
it is heartening that in the presence of a
possible emergency i:
1. review for emory (and the rest of us)
the signs of an approaching tornado
2. think to seearch out emory’s hand-crank radio
and go for the less best option when his can’t be found
3. suggest grabbing a book as we
rush through rain sheets to the root cellar

root cellar after-party:
some song none of us have
ever heard on the country
radio station
(the only station this radio picks up)
but we recognize it as danceable
so we dance
(baigz with the hip swivel
calls it the tornado
and emory laughs his
post-panic laugh)

another music practice hijacked
i joke while layering
sorghum and peanut butter
on a think slice of bread

vigilant at window post
listening: for a hush followed by
an endless thunderish rush/rumble
peering: at eerie yellow-gold-green sky
light radiating from the north
for swirling
writing in candlelight
amidst the sacred still silence
of power-out

cake belly and all

six blue rubber bands
gripped around my wrist while i
break kale and collard leaves
off at the stem

like blood baigz says of
his arms elbow-deep
in a steaming crock of
black currant wine
bright oranges (calendula, cosmos)
pinks/fuschias (cosmos, echinacea, yarrow)
blues/whites/purples/lavenders (bachelor buttons, cosmos)
yellows (rudbeckia)
stem-stripped and arranged in
water-filled quart jar
get in there i scold/encourage the sugar granules
as i toss them into the hot oil kernels popping
pan whose lid i lift for
several quick seconds
skinny mini she calls me
to which i don’t really know
how to respond so i
scrunch up my face

cake belly and all we
pedal into the almost-dusk of
whose glow stretches our biking shadows
across fields of a green so seeped it’s almost gold

solstice animal/creature moments
in three parts:
gibbous the ferocious hunter-cat
in the path between the broccoli and brussels sprouts
with a not-so-baby baby rabbit in his mouth
and me, firm but gentle picking gibbous up
by neck nape
as he grasps baby bunny in his teeth by neck nape
until he eventually lets baby bunny go
heather-gray and stunned
i enlist tyler to chase bunny off to

 three turkey vultures
perched on sandhill sign as i
approach on clyde
before they lift off with effort
into their air circles
above the field to the west
(something died there
i often think when i see
them circling)

what looks at first like a scorpion
near our wheels as we pedal south
heading to road-edge
we have to go back i insist
for a second glance
and we do
stop and straddle our bikes and lean in
to get a closer glimpse of this
ferocious kinda red/black shiny creature
with pincers who eventually
reveals its tail which reveals
its crawdad identity
what is it doing out here tyler asks
while we both note the significant
distance from a pond


a perscription of sorts
i say offering the
four of bones

from the water world:
Riot police use a water cannon to disperse anti-government protesters during a demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey
. – voice of america, day in photos