under the almost

playing in this morning’s sky-theater:
a series of rumblings –
sets of thunder  
entering stage left
sortof scaffolded
how the downpour
during cat-feeding/chicken-feeding/dog feeding time
turns purple skirt
and how the subsequent downpours after that mean
cycling through three pairs of shoes
until i pull on the quarter-of-a-size too-snug muck boots (ahem)
and tromp my way through too-tall grass
persimmon season
 i say to myself
upon seeing the first fruits (not yet orange – a dusty green) 
fallen onto wet ground just down the path
leading away from cool ranch

season signal:
pulling light blue wool socks onto
rain-cold (and toweled off) feet,
a name for this first-time-in-months certain quality of cozyness
how the image of building a boat out of glitter sticker paper
is exactly what this seriously noah’s ark of a day needs
might be the last year
 stan says
while grabbing yet another fried fish hunk
from the pan of them
the last year he is referring to
is of sorghum (starting, transplanting, weeding, stripping, harvesting, syurping) 
(place symbol here that signals deep pause and heavy hit)


i wouldn’t give dean shit like i gave eric shit – dean’s got the senior VIP
i joke about how i asked eric if he indeed meant girl or woman 
when he said his friend was dating this girl
and later we are all laughing when
dean and stan (age 70) are calling each other boy and kiddo,
and also when dean says where the old folks live  talking about sandhill
(the oldest being me at 41, and everyone else in their thirties and twenties and nines)
nodding off while
swirled in the blanket layers
of cool ranch treehouse nest
under the almost-goldglow string of lights
fingers on the keys leaving me with these:


from the water world:

A stranded motorist escapes floodwaters on Interstate 225 after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing mass flooding, in Houston, Texas. – voice of america, day in photos

Indian devotees immerse an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh in the Indian ocean at Pattinapakkam beach in Chennai. – voice of america, day in photos


the prayer in me

float-flitting about and about again
the small bird seen from loft window
as morning makes itself
the i.d. book tells me is a gnatcatcher
my only wish if it were my birthday today
i say on the way to harvest the last of the  peas to baigz whose birthday it actually is
would be for rain
the particular plunk of blueberries
(the diameter of a nickel)
as we drop them into plastic buckets celebrating
first bloobs of the season

tyler in the kitchen letting out a whoop
at the first drops of rain and from the lab,
i yell out a yeyyyyeeeeeessssssssssssss!
and from somewhere down the way
I can hear baigz cheering too
how the first crack of thunder
(after a flash of bright so brilliant it is visible even
in the daylight)
splits everything around me in half
including myself
so holy there is no difference
between the prayer in it and the prayer
in me
the tineiest of tiny elderberry flowers
i pluck from the tree for identifying – 
turns out they are indeed elderberry
and later gift them to baigz
birthday elderberry! i proclaim while giving it to him
(and later, i pick up hail – birhtday hail! – and gift him one
and put two in my apple cider and fizzy water drink)
the bright red of unripe berries and the 
deep purple of the ripe ones
found several yards outside my door
a delicious walk
the something like opera that comes out of my mouth
when i encounter a raccoon about four feet from me
at face level
in the beam of my headlamp
and after the opera
how i tell raccoon loud as i can
to go away
how some nights (like tonight) are oil lamp nights
even though the electricity isn’t out
it’s the lightning and rain that made me do it

“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)

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

down along the blade

yellow rain guage
fastened to mailbox
filled just up to the 1″ mark
the dust masks with filters
that cynthia and i don,
deep blue,
in the hazey wood particle mist
of the woodshop
cynthia and i as two characters
like the kinds of characters who ride one of those handpump railroad carts
in cartoons
as we team up walking the desk top planks
down along the blade of the floor planer
the video i click on because my niece just posted it
and the shock and deep bodyreaction i get in response to the footage of syrian civillians
convulsing, their limp/rigid bodies, towards their deaths
and some, young rubbery-bodied children
being scooped and carried by medics and
sprayed off with water
sarin (a nerve gas chemical) is suspected
and forces loyal to syria’s leader are also suspected
and there is a fourteen year old boy in a clinic who says he doesn’t know
if any of his family survived

after four days of awayness

the sweet slow steady sound
of light rain on roof/land/ground
i read the poem with three post scripts aloud
in celebration of rachels upcoming 33rd (jesus year)
rotation around the sun
before she reads her
list of intentions
powering up the new graveled road
with packed panniers
this is insistence
and will
on the tellie with shiz as she walks
from walgreen zebra and i want to make a vow
that i will never have another
i-can-barely-hear-you phone convo
with shitty signal no matter how much i adore
the person on the other end
emory catching a glimpse of
the black cat up on slater’s hill at the base
of one of the great oaks and how we
can’t tell if it’s moonstar or a cat bigger than moonstar
when she comes running towards,
her think squiggle-like movements reveal her
the smoke that fills the kitchen
as trish roasts peppers in the wok
on the stovetop
how twice i drop trou in the kitchen
to show my maybe horrible chiggers/maybe horrible rash
(regardless of which, it itches all over like hell)
pocking my white ass all kinds
of reds and pinks
steroid delivery baigz calls out
from the other side of my
closed door
the empty sill of my narrow window
where moonstar usually camps out
(it seems 4 days of my awayness
was enough to break her habit, temporarily,
of coming around)

from the water world:
An Iranian swimming in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran. – voice of america, day in photos