“good” is not really a word

i know that good  is not really a word (as far as this writer of very specific and particular details is concerned)
but that’s exactly what it is
(as well as refreshing and grounding and ‘contentifying)
to be walking through the woods
sometimes along a path
sometimes bushwacking our way
past patches of ferns i never associate with here
and the bright green of cover crop coming up
and the sometimes rush and sometimes faster than a trickle but not a rush sounds
of water moving through

the thin thread of panic
woven through emory’s voice
when he calls out to me
because he’s stuck in the creekside quicksand
which i have to give him both hands to pull him out
thwack isn’t quite the right sound
but i don’t know what it is
for the unsuctioning of foot
from muddy edges
leapfrogging  i call it for how i cross the creek
by straddling the huge fallen tree
and scooch by scooch (sortof inchworm-like movement)
working my way from one end
to the other avoiding the cache of raccoon poop
on either side
the flooding of the floodplain:
a sheen seen from the backroad
on an after-dinner walk
as the sun finally breaks through sky after three days (or more?) of solid gray and
much rain
unnamed phenomenon:
the feeling, after days of gray and rain, of the first licks of sun on one’s face and on one’s limbs and watching it
lay itself across the land
the magnificent things it does
with all that water as it drip drops from the trees and rushes down the ditches

impossibly green i say
about the first light after all the rains
hitting every growing thing in the woods,
and every growing thing along the backroad,
and every growing thing as seen against the slate and
11:17pm tom petty on radio x kirksville
singing she’s a good girl,
she’s crazy about elvis….
now all the vampires
walking through the valley
move west through
ventura boulevard
and i don’t know why but this song
always has that nostalgic feel to it
(in this certain way where, even when it just came out, it had that nostalgic feel)


how i balk at lunch
about the cult with the purple robes and nikes
who cyanided themselves to catch a ride
on the comet passing through
when darien tells us that some of them
also voluntarily castrated themselves
and how i go on to joke when i can
about cutting off my balls
which doesn’t necessarily sound very funny right nere/now
but we couldn’t stop laughing about it then

seen from the forest path
down to the cedar room:
the smooth brown of shitakes bursting
out the bark of the logs tilted 
on their ends under the shade of the filling-in canopy


rachel katz and i joking about
the proverbial ball pit
and pink-iced doughnuts with sprinkles
awaiting her at a future startup job
should she choose to move out of the 
non-profit sector
the hot water bottle i place next to mama cat
in the box on my porch that mama cat has taken up residence in
while the bone-deep wet cold
keeps wetting and colding out there
the sound of rain dropletting on the roof played against
the sound of wood in the stove crackling into flame
plus the whooshes of wind moving through

how, when i name the people i miss,
i also name bodies of water,
sky views and
ocean vistas and 
ferns and forests

the lone spring peeper
over near karma pond
through the wet and dark and cold
(which, it seems, will continue for days)

synchronized with the sunrise

difficult to name but something
about the differeing qualities of color/light
between sunrise and sunset these days
(ashby the cat’s rising from his perch on my bed
synchronized with the sunrise
which is a magnificent mix of neon pink and copper)
and how i like being woken up at sunrise
because it feels right in my body
 but my body depends on a cat
to rouse me to catch it

anyone wants to come down to the sauna
 i say of my room
whose stove is too big for its space
and whose floors and windows are too leaky to hold the heat in
which means by the time
there are coals in the stove, i’m opening the door and down to bare feet and tshirts
on a 40 degree day

11:08PM ozzy osbourne’s no more tears 
on one of the two classic rock radio stations
that my four dollar radio picks up
while my four dollar porcelain electric kettle slowly comes to a boil
so i can fill the hot water bottle

emergency broadcast radio alerting
the mississippi river at quincy is forecast to rise above
flood stage sunday evening/monday/tuesday evening
and crest near 17.81 feet (16 feet being flood stage) until wednesday morning


what’s his face has approved
to expand off-shore drilling
is one thing i read at the end of the day
when i check in with the rest of the country/world
and immediately after i read the thing
about what’s his face saying we are really really close to bombing north korea (what kind of president talks like that!?)
and the news of north korea’s government handout
with the image of the whitehouse in the crosshairs

from dayness to nightness

the styrafoam flats
filled with shiny flecks of vermiculite plus peatmoss
we spend the morning dropping three seeds each of sorghum 
into each cell of the `12×24 (or is it 30) rows

soft iris scent
whose thinner-than-paper petals
glow white with a trace of purple

how the head of the beagle puppy
(who just two weeks ago galloped across the highway with its littermate
towards cynthia and i as we picked up trash on teh highway clean)
just hangs as trish picks the still irresistably cute pooch
off the highway
and place in our trunk to bring to the neighbors
we don’t know who hit the dog
or how long ago it died
but we do know to move the creature off the road
so that all the damage that has been done
will be the only damage that has been done

the light pinks and purple grays
of the sky as it changes
from dayness to nightness
as i walk the back gravel road
trailed by a semi feral cat

our grip as we

morning view from loft window
after being awoken by some creature knocking a 2 x 4 over
on the porch:
a squirrel (two feet away) defying gravity as it
shuffles sideways on one of the beam/supports
that runs horizontal under the metal roofing
(and later i tell trish/cynthia
how i like seeing them [the squirrels, close-up, eye contact]
because it helps me share this space with them
(though i still can’t handle
the intense scritch-scratch sound
of what sounds like them working away
at the drywall that is the ceiling
rain guage reading .45
from last night’s showers
how i dump it out so we can start all over again measuring
the rain that will come in today/tonight
wherein we all gather around the truck that does not yet
have a name to send a photo

how we use cynthia’s sweatshirt
for padding our grip as we wrestle
the legs of the almost-there desk
as we screw them in
then out
then in again
sometimes cursing
sometimes laughing

the sound of a single big drop here and there
as heard from the zendo (darien’s room)
while tyler, cynthia and i sit in silence
(it’s the kind of big drop that is gathered water from a smaller drop that results during a misty time like this evening)
i place dust and shavings and small bits 
of palo santo (on a warming stove) from a bag with a label on it
from the herb store in grants pass
and this smell will always make me think of camping
at refugio beach
on the journey/move
in tyler’s red truck (called the pluot)
from portland to san diego
not knowing 

the dark spot on the trim above the spider plants
that looks like a gnarl in the wood i’ve never noticed before
and ends up (upon close inspection) being a velvety black (with some tan patterning) moth

the slow settling

amongst the sounds of the morning birds
and the slow settling
of the morning light
i spy from the loft perech windows
seeking the source of the animal skitterings and underfoot twig crunches
to find the gray/brown and the enormousness
of a groundhog sniffing and poking around
on my front porch
this season’s first poison ivy `itch appearing
as a whitehead-ish (pus-filled_ red bump – top of my left hand
the white underbellies of squirrels
as seen from where i stand on the sugar shack porch
while the not baby but not adult squirrels
step tentatively – reaching
out from under roof
and onto one of the beams that holds it up

first irises
mostly white with a little purple
in bloom along the south side
of the white house and a little bit
on the edge of the root cellar mound
emory and zane yelling in pig latin
in the whitehouse backyard
running and chasing and climbing

i like watching someone do things well/make things well i tell kim
while we front porch perch
with plates too full
on this potluck night
mama cat curled
in my cross-legged lap
(which she never does)
while the lightning bugs blink on/off
as she closes her eyes into
the cat-nappest of sleeps
from the water world:

A woman carries earthen pots to fill them with drinking water on a hot summer day, on the outskirts of Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. – voice of america, day in photos

brighter now

the victory of the last brassica start
being lowered
into the ground
while the wind moves around us
in the moldy mulch dust air
on a clear day
while the bright orange flags
that deliniate one variety from another
flip and flap brighter now than they will be
by the end of the season
from the water world:

A man jumps off the cliff of Serendah waterfall in Rawang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. – voice of america, day in photos

all the greens becoming

lying on my stomach
on the cool wood floor
catching up on the poems
sent dailiy to my inbox
the quality
of light flitered by the new green growing
off branches stretching overhead
and all the greens

hauling the final garden cart of my stuff
(clothes) from karma
to the sugar shack 
and the satisfaction i feel of having moved
it all this way 

headpiece i call the earphone/mic combo
which makes both shannon and i laugh
about codpieces
)he little stained glass style hooded nightlight
(which is one of the things of janina siedlewski’s that i aquired)
sending the glow of small light
through its flower petal reds and offwhites
up in the sleeping loft
whose matress is currently draped in layers of bedding including
the afghan janina crocheted
(brght greens and purple-magentas)

from the water world: 

Trash is seen on the polluted El Claro creek on Earth Day in Tigre, Argentina – voice of America, day in photos.

when the stream was a place

how i fake-juggle the two oranges
we eat for breakfast
the saturation of the color of their skin
almost too much in a way that makes me
love this citrus fruit even mroe
a certain kind of tranquility
cynthia and i agree upon
about spaces (like julia and mike’s, where we just spent the night)
that aren’t filled with the humming
of electricity
drums and vermiculite and rubber boots in the hatchback 
as we drive south into the morning
down highway 63 towards macon
we are very blessed with water in this state molly says
of the over 1,500 miles of stream
in missouri
when someone mentions the headwaters of the missouri river
in montana, smoeone else says and it’s clear, oh boy, that water is clear up there
which i take to mean a version of holy

all there is – no habitat there she says
about channelized streams and their absence
of riffling

when she asks what the green on the topo map indicates
another person says forest
and she says that’s right,
though, of course, some of the areas that were forest, might not be anymore

and when we talk about safety and trespassing (etc.) 
someone says it is a good idea to wash your hands
after they have been in the stream
which makes me ache for a time
when the stream was the place to wash
i go into the day not knowing
what the word riffle means, and i come out of it
having taken a sample of bugs
(or what one might call macroinvertebrates) from near one
where the sun glints off the rippled surface of stream water
tumbling over small rocks

like listening to a weather event coming in
i listen to the slow-to-boil water
in the $3 ceramic electric kettle
as it warms 
before i pour it into the hot pink nalgene
to be wrapped in a sock and tucked
at the foot of the bed

from the water world: 

A man drinks water from an earthen pot kept by the side of a road for people on a hot day in Ahmadabad, India. Most of north India has been reeling under a heat wave with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius. – voice of america, day in photos

it’s the recipe

baigz and cynthia and i
hauling the cart out to the heartland
filled with a chainsaw and acoutremonts
and then hauling it back in again
with the oak logs that we will drill holes into and fill
with mushroom plugs
how i say thank you and sorry to the tree
same as i say to the ants i mash
to keep my room and critter-free as possible
let it go where it wants to
(rather than forcing it, with judgement, to go where you think it should) bruin says
of the shoulder that always feels hunchy and wrong
shore up those practices now he says
create these rhythms now in your body when you can
i would like to use the word unfurl for what trish and dottie and eventually darien and i
do with the metal mesh fence
akwardly attached to the tposts
that we disentagle from years of non-use
then haul with a cart and by carrying
and then hold/place and pound in
to the pea beds
wrong materials i say speaking especially
to the unnecessary weight
the smell of cynthia’s granola
drifting out the whitehouse window
as we clean the dirt of the hoes and shovels
outside the garden shed
the maroon/red and yellow
of the first columbine blooms coming up
in what used to be the echinachea bed
and maybe still is

not only are caroline’s from-scratch tortillas good
but i love that it’s the recipe from her mom which her mom learned from her mom

from the water world:

An Indian tribal woman reacts after an earthen pot filled with water falls off her head during a 100-meter sprint event with water pots on heads, in the Suwori Tribal festival in Boko. – voice of america, day in photos

Indian youths play in the water with their herd of buffaloes in the Tawi River on a hot day on the outskirts of Jammu. -voice of america, day in photos