The Reverence of Dogs

April 9th, 2021

Hank drops his humble offerings
at the feet of the household yard gods.
All winter, snow does what it does.
Generous, he lays down more. I do
what I do: ignore his poop till spring thaw.

St. Francis came crumbling with the garden
when we bought the house three years ago.
Face eroded, hips severed from legs, he leans
in crisp sedums against a post, blesses
the perfect pie of a rescued dog at his feet.

Gaia, kitschy relic of early motherhood,
green resin figurine gifted by a dying desert
midwife, perches sun-faded on a stump
in yarrow, smiles serenely over Earth belly
where there is still room for the turd in her lap.

Parinirvana Buddha’s resting head, small town
thrift store find, cracked, epoxied, spray painted
black,  idol I cannot let go nor forget, drifts
in the promise of daisies, eyes high on death,
sweet whiff of long-wintered dung, nearly dust.

2021

doing nothing

March 26th, 2021

I am done mutely berating myself
for avoiding doing things

I told myself I’d do on my days off.
I won’t do them till I do, or must.

Sweep the floor when the feet say.
Suck skin off chai when eyes

take a break from the dog eared page.
Write words to frustrate my future mud,

roll out clay, curl a slab into a cup
only when the body, empty, erupts.

2021

Wonderland

March 16th, 2021

Pandemic Philosophizing, conte crayon, Allison Wonderland

Allison’s witness doll
dancing masked
with an egg
with me
over a shallow grave
friends take turns in.
Heel to head
dirt mandorla:
I lie down
in a strange death
pasture, crack
toward sky, gravity
mixing grief, snow melt,
relief, eye water.
So many ways
to make mud.

2021

(a combined response to Wonderland’s Pandemic Philosophizing and her 2020 earth installation, Feral Nostalgia’s Delicate Commonweath)

Little Rachel Dreams
of Regeneration

March 13th, 2021

In third grade,
I read Pets in a Jar
cover to cover,
renewed it for weeks
or maybe months,
until the librarian
reminded me other
kids might like it too.
For the rest of childhood
into my teens,
I sought planarians
in wet ditches
and culvert weeds,
scooped jars of murky water
from neighborhood ponds
crouched in cattail reeds.
I never found one,
would never know
if I had courage enough
to slit its funny face
between the eyes
and split its tail
into a fork to watch
it heal into a living
double-headed X,
or better yet, or worse,
a tiny headless man
with two legs, two arms,
two faces for hands,
four tiny, forgiving
eyes, now twice as wise
thanks to me.

2021

Reteach a Thing its Loveliness

March 5th, 2021

“…sometimes it is necessary/ to reteach a thing its loveliness,/ to put a hand on its brow…/ and retell it in words and in touch/ it is lovely/ until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing/ as St. Francis/ put his hand on the creased forehead/ of the sow…” Galway Kinnell

I’m not sure which I prefer—
a dog-ruined couch
felted with fur and saliva,
my heart unfurled
by that dog’s head on my lap,
mother-loneliness ruined
by unblinking brown eyes,
child-starved fingers sated
by silken ears and skull,
his musky scent a welcome
pocket of ancient wilderness
inside my home,

or this clean couch,
spotless but for drips
of coffee here and there,
bread crumbs tucked
in corded seams,
its arms stained
with my arms’ oils,
my heart in solitary repose
considering a poem
by Galway Kinnell
called “St. Francis
and the Sow,”
while my dog rests
over there on his bed,
his chin on the low
window sill, peering out,
a palm of morning light
upon his brow.

2021

List of Dreams for Yeshe Walmo

March 5th, 2021

Dead mouthed,
I stain red pillows
with drool.
Tape my lips.
My list of dreams
bore dreams.
They found me, bent
me, broke my face,
turned sons
to grandmothers,
trees to saviors,
daughters
to fathers, fire
to prayers.
Better not to list
one’s dreams.
This moment
the required dream.
Shake me, take
my head, bead it
on a twisted cord.
Wear it, blue one,
wake me.

2021

Crestone Poetry Festival:
Feb. 27 -28

February 19th, 2021

Please join us for a FREE virtual Poemfest with your favorite poets…

from the Sangre de Cristo mountains and beyond. Our virtual festival this year will be a reunion of the community we’ve enjoyed the past three years. The fourth annual Poemfest will be different from those in years past, but we will feature some of the best writers in Colorado and New Mexico, and we will pass the gourd.

Visit Poemfest.com to register!

Snow Birds

February 19th, 2021

Waxed speed beneath me,
new skis tooled by my son
carry me faster than before
but slower still than he, pole-less,
and my husband, giant snow boarder,
who thrill in the wind and blur,
the skill of the bump
and jump, theft of air,
laugh derailing death again.

They wait, they wait
for me, raise a hand to catch
my scanning eye, shooting
down the backside final slope,
always five or more minutes behind.
They hold my place
in the lift line. I don’t mind
being slow. They don’t mind
being cold.

It is Peter Anderson’s 65th.
Our two families, having spent
the morning separate, meet
at the food yurt to celebrate.
Beer, burgers, and chili cheese
dogs gone, gray jays hungrily
look on, panhandle shreds
of hot dog bun, and my son
and the snowboarders speed off.
I hang back with the oldest three
of the Anderson clan and we
begin our descent, four
leapfrogging peers
of the slow switchback,
the quiet snow.

Soon, submerged against
my will in speed trance,
center of the earth
having its way with wax and me,
my half century knees and hips
somehow managing, I
find myself alone, ahead,
surprised. Not behind!
I stop, look back.
Seconds pass.
The Andersons emerge
as a flock of swans, floating
threesome of silent elegance,
telemarking down the slope,
long lines traced behind,
wakes of huge hearts,
snow an EKG tape
spooling steady, slow.

I let them pass, stop near
where they pause to gather,
confer: mother, father,
grown daughter.
Downed they are,
featherless, unruffled,
barely stirred by slight
breeze carrying to me
Pete’s voice, upbeat, a crumb
of witness and wisdom offered
to his daughter, Rose, who listens
open, bright faced,
to how she can improve
her stance, her form, a language
beyond me, and she,
unselfconsciously, sets off
to try it out. He watches
her knees and toes alternate
lovely angles, oiled hinges
carrying the smooth machine of her
over snow like hushed wings,
and, satisfied, follows, and
her mother, Grace, too.

Audience of one,
I choose to slow to watch
the scene unscroll like celadon ribbons
from above, gravity pulling my friend
toward everyone she loves. Grace,
the final dancer, her symmetries
shifting, disappears in flat light
around a bend, the whispered end
of the mountain ballet.

Instead

February 10th, 2021

Having hoped

in vain

to become a tree

into which no one

carves their name,

I instead

write poetry.

2020

family organism

December 13th, 2020

I want to say, please see

your arms and smile my back

my hours your broken strut

your roof my road to sleep

my heart your sacred head

your bardo prayers my seat

my silent miles your breath

2020

let late november

November 28th, 2020
barely warm coals die 
in thick ash, let them

sun warms my death pose
on the couch, grinning

lush green geranium
settles into light, low

lifts one bloom
to a large smeared window

2020

Midnight Transmission Reading

November 25th, 2020

Here are four poems from my recent reading with hosts Jesse Maloney and Orlando White. With the help of a vile vial of liquid ginseng, this old girl managed to stay awake past midnight!

For more videos of this and other Midnight Transmission readings, please visit Jesse 5-0 Productions.

Blue Daughters
Minefields
Sutra for Letting Go of Aversion

Walking the Burn Reading

November 25th, 2020
Walking the Burn

Mother Dharma

November 20th, 2020

A child is a slow 
moving thought
you watch.

Its departing birth 
a new entrance, 
subtle, inching back 
into into into you.

You surrender
your eyes, let it
commandeer hands,
arms and legs,
eat your heart, 
guts and brain, 
become your bones, 
your size, watch it 
dissolve into a dazzling
dangerous world, 
into its own child. 

Helpless, welcome 
it like sky burial:
child into child 
into child burial.

Embrace the lineage 
of generous forgetting,
your liberation.

2020

Midnight Transmission Promo

November 18th, 2020

Enjoy this new late night reading series hosted by Diné Nation poets Jesse T. Maloney and Orlando White, transmitting the Word from the Rez. It was an unforgettable experience for me–an honor to read with such powerful women and be buoyed up by that smart, gentle audience in the digital realm. Jesse and Orlando are everything you want in a host: gracious, kind, humble and humorous AF. Clips from the evening will be posted soon.

The crumble on the muffin was connecting with an audience member who is the daughter of my most beloved college mentor, Dr. Joellen Jacobs, the woman who, nearly thirty years ago, walked me into the house of poetry, holding my hand through every image and cadence of Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and, later, Stevens’ “The Snow Man.” I found a home. The sonic, imagistic and philosophical joy I experienced in these two poems have guided my aesthetic choices for decades.

I hate to say it, but what a trip when it’s true: it’s a small, small world.