the high pitch of desperation

apple and i walking to the car
singing the song in the morning rain
sing softly to bring in the day
all by yourself
or with a friend right there next to you
sing softly to bring in the day
just be yourself
no one can take that away from you
while the golds of all the dried things

almost shine against the gray grays of sky
_______
how i tug at the door of the big green mailbox
that has been sealed shut by 
the rain-turned-ice/rain
_______
the high pitch of desperation 
in mama cat’s meows
on the other side of the door
on a seven degree night
_______
gibbous the incredibly shrinking cat
with all his spirit intact
taken into whitehouse hospice care
purring ferociously in his spot on the couch
near the warmth of the woodstove

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too much water and not enough

in the dream
there was a black and white and brown and grey cat
curled and twitching in my arms
with labored breathing and speaking to me in english
saying that she is too much water and not enough food
_______

the solstice list of many possibilities
written in purple pen
which includes things like:
hibernate like bears
sing songs
dictionary divinations
stargaze
write a love letter to the darkness
write a love letter to the light
write and burn what we want to shed
write and bury what we want to plant
things involving light and candles

_______
first, there is the jumping jack junction and then
there are the electrical poles we sprint to
zipped up in blue
_______
the skunk skin and vole hole and a flicker
drifting from wire to wire
what one finds on a morning-into-afternoon walk
along a gravel road
that intersects with highway J
and is green acres road on one side of J
and sullivan road on the other
_______
rachel, over pot roast, talking about
the tutus she sews her friends
and how there are two
still floating, mismailed, ownerless
in reykjavik iceland

tough, sweet and dying

and somehow, the sadness for gibbous (who i’ve been calling the incredible shrinking cat, and about whom the vet says losing muscle mass and the thing to do now is just keep him comfortable and white blood cell count isbelow below normal),
somehow, the sadness and slow deep cry at-the-edge-of-sleep for this tough and sweet and dying cat
is a sadness for everything
(the loss of every once-lover, the current swirls of awkward upheaval, the thirteen-year-old yesterday writing about thsi unnecessary war, the forest this notebook was made from and the materials gouged from the earth that make this machine go)
_______
in the room there is only the rectangle blast of overhead flourescent light
it is the only smell
the only taste
the only feeling
when the vet says the thing about the white blood cells – how the number is not even 1, but a .0something

we go back to the practice

two pancakes on a plate
oily and delicious with a hint of almond
on the butcher block
_______
savoring the lemon balm scent
on mama cat’s forehead
(a clue to places she’s been)
when i press my nose
to the fuzzy and warm softness of her
_______
put your body into the poem she says from the playground 
and, like other things she says, it is so clear and simple that it seems anyone (including myself) could arrive at this
but most (including myself) don’t

she shines the light
whose on-switch i couldn’t find

_______
a bold life with you at the center 
what if you tipped the uber discernment/heart-led risk scales bruin says
what/who do you care about
and who do you want to be in the world
and how to make this goodbye resonant
with your values
_______
thanks coach i joke
when he says something along the lines of
what do we do when we are having a hard time
with the practice? we go back to the practice

_______

the unexpected sadness
of turning down
a chance to be with family
because of coming to understand
that i’d be out of my heart and mind
navigating resort-staying
on a carribean island
(the sadness layered with the extra sad
of having said so exuberantly yes to it all earlier on
yes regarding the unknowns
of resorting out of the country over winter break thinking yes, i am committing to family this year, let’s do this
_______

what’s he doing? making smores!?
eric asks bout emory
crouching in front of a small smoking fire
under the black walnut trees in front of the whitehouse
as we approach in the red ranger
love that kid i say
while we round the bend
_______
cecil and i laugh-talk-joking
the same way we did seventeen years ago
just three miles down the road
something heartening
about homes 
that are effortless
to return to

we have to figure out how to make a prayer first

the two-to-three cats
that accompany me most mornings
on my walk from the priv to their feeding perches
how sometimes i wish i could step out of my body
just to stand back and watch it:
frank and the cat gang
rolling deep in the tall grass
_______
what i first hear as we have to figure out how to make a prayer first
trish saying before emory digs into
the porkchop breakfast
though it turns out to actually be
we have to figure out how to make it fair
(about portioning)
_______
the pine sap stickydirty on my hands
arms
legs
and emory’s hands
and arms
and legs
from our climb up to the crows nest lookout
and back down again
_______

em and i’s hushed voices
as we play spiderman uno
in karma while cynthia weaves the black thin cord
hrough another broom in progress
accompanied by the straw-like sounds of
handling that broom corn
_______
peeling the hazelnuts out of their husks
whiel baigz cracks them
as he sits there with his legs elevated
from being stung by an estiamted 15 bees
that snuck their way through mouse-chewed holes
in the suit

_______
i just want people to be kind and nice to each other
i call out from the office
correcting emory’s frankie was mad statement
(and later realizing 
how much that sounds
like my 13 year old self
who wasn’t too old to climb into the quiet and 
soothing darkblack of the closet
when the shouting and yelling 
picked up
________
from the water world:

A small estuary seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, drifts in the polluted waters near Sumbawa Besar, Sumbara Island, Indonesia. 

JUSTIN HOFMAN, WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR national geographic

while the sky moves

the shower of so many walnuts
thumping, thwacking, banging down
onto the metal roofs of the sugar shack, the mill and cool ranch
in the morning winds picking up
announcing another storm (to follow last night’s) rolling in
_______

the rustling of seeds as they land in shallow plastic tub
sprinkle by small sprinkle from each cosmos flower ready to give
while the sky moves from blues to pinks
and shadows travel long into the east

_______

the photos coming in from jeaux
of gibbous the orange red blond cat:
lounging under the small garden cart,
kicking it on the 55 gallon drum,
perched on the woodstack
_______
soft cool wet ground
under bare feet
while rain pounds
where else does one just get to do this
(wake up and walk ‘to work’ [through the woods and through the yard])
in scrappy clothes and bare feet
(an acknowledgement: it is a privilege to have shoes and choose not to wear them)

folded like a passed note

two peaches in my pockets
an apple in each mug and
hot chai tea in the red pot
that i carry to cool ranch
between cat feeding and garden partying
_______
had to wait until we settled
into each others’ orbit
she says about me finally waking up
with my head on right ready
to get shit done
_______
the meager final bean harvest
plunked into eric and i’s buckets
and the plenty of the just-coming-on harvest
of shiny sturdy red hot fruits
dangling off the jalapeño plants
_______
the after lunch cereal scenarioI
involving a chocolate puff and marshmellow sugar fest
accompanied by almond milk
spooned out of our (eric, jenafr, cynthia and i’s) bowls
_______

convex and concave she talks about the shapes
food sometimes takes
a descendant from a long line
of those with synesthesia
_______
sometimes there is no other word for a cat curled up besides puddle
as in: a puddle of cat
and there is birdie
a puddle of cat
lying on both of our chests/hips
moving in the slight hammock sway
_______
rounded or squared cynthia asks about corners
on the end-grain cutting boards (one of each variety
set out on the table
the wood dark and wet with oil/water
_______

a short poem folded
like a passed note
torn out of notebook and titled
for frankie just before lunch
tossed my way across dining room table
pocket-sized and zipped into
my hoodie
_______

there’s plenty to go around jenafr says
to the bee in the cosmos patch where we
gather seed and use the word vulgar about the not-yet-opened-but-almost buds
_______
tiger-eye eyes i say
looking in and naming off cat quailities
_______
the absolute-danger color
of sunset sky
burning red in the west
everywhere along the horizon
_______
from the wider world:

View of an artwork by French artist JR on the U.S.-Mexico border in Tecate, California. – voice of america, day in photos

from the water world:

View of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Saint Maarten, the Dutch part of Saint Martin island in the Caribbean. voice of America, day in photos