Archive for the ‘2019’ Category

small enough

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

august and july
mosquitos held me
hostage from the milky way
hatted netted hurried
absent starlight
impossible to feel small
enough to write


Crestone 4th of July

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Burly men and women shout
Happy Interdependence Day!
from the fire truck, smiling
everyone waving
at each other and mosquitos
kids scrambling for candy
on new, hot pavement.
Northbound, the parade
passes us all
turns right at Galena
for the other side of town
just one block away
turns right at Alder, southbound.
The crowd walks east one block
to watch it go by again.


Vertical Prayer

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Vertical prayer flags
Cling to their posts in thick rain
Still manage to pray


(i love the way)

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

lines warp
in the wind
and the fold
and the word


Blue Mesa Reservoir, 3 AM

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Two dogs fidget and whine
inside a canvas cave.
A zipper rips open
the strange night—
a grand piano wrapped
tight in black felt.
Ten legs spill over it,
blind fingers searching,
scratching for hidden seams,
the only audible song.


Jesus of the Meme

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

He knows He used to say, “Suffer
the little children to come unto me,”
but when Jesus received
His sister’s long ass letter via email
sharing the sob story of Father’s
childhood abandonment of her,
the way it reaches through everything,
He thought, Stop wallowing,
decided it was easier
to post a meme to His friends
on Facebook than to think.
One of His favorites:
two clean-cut idiots in suits,
heads thrown back,
mouths stretched open, frozen
in sarcastic, mocking laughter,
straddled by white, full caps font:
Jesus likes the word “nasty,”
the special power it holds these days.
As the pièce de résistance, He added
His own witty caption—Well, not quite
His own, but that sassy black one,
you know: “Ain’t nobody
got time for that!”


The Dog From Antonito

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

The woman dropped him off July 5th.
A stray, she said, but shelter women guessed
he was hers. Five-day grace period passed—
no one claimed him. July 11th changed that.
He was mine the moment I saw him
calmly greeting visitors through his fence.
No jumping or barking, no shit in the gravel.
Sweet, respectful, deferential to my old dog
who had to approve first. He did. I did.
80 bucks later he hopped in the front seat,
scanned the horizon heading north.
Stoic, no ventured names perked his ears.
I guessed he might be deaf, but a finger snap,
a quiet clap, lifted his tan brow. He blinked.
Leaping into the house like it was always his,
he stopped cold in the entry, wouldn’t budge.
At first we thought he balked at the sight
of Dorell, but, no, on the porch he leaned
against his legs, sat upon his giant feet,
tongue smiling. Inside, was he wary of new walls,
the potted tree, strange people, foreign smells?
No, the ceiling fan. Skirting the family room,
watching the whirly gig above with worried eyes,
soon enough he learned it was benign.
As was he. Even the reclusive old Siamese
strangely bore his curiosity with sharp swats
and low roars of warning, holding her seat.
Undeterred, he nosed and nosed her, finally
friends. Kennel-rank, relaxed in his first bath,
he slumped, weary refugee savoring water,
heat and sudsy scratching, clogged the drain
with endless black fur and swirling dirt.
Dry, he lay there like a preened teenage girl,
leaned into the brush brushing, brushing tufts
of matted fur from thighs into a wispy pile.
Witnessing his gentle way, intelligent eyes,
obviously once loved by a human being,
imagine my surprise when he wouldn’t Sit!,
wouldn’t Sit!, wouldn’t Sit!, no matter the offered
treat or pushing down of reluctant butt.
Three days he gave me bright, blank stares
with each command. Sit. Sit. Sit. No recognition.
Distant face. Until it hit: this dog is from Antonito.
I dug deep for the word. ¡Siéntate! I said. He sat.
We laughed and laughed, hearing ourselves speak
Español to one dog, English to the other, confused.
Now when we cuddle on the hairy couch, I cradle
and stroke his silken face, murmur in an accent
my high school maestra would absolutely admire:
Qué lindo, qué lindo, buen niño, buen perro,
mi amor. His native tongue becomes a door.
I enter, see his body go rag doll in the hands
of my voice, eyes soften in the syllables of home.


Yucca Haiku

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

Anger wears poems
Like a tower of pale blooms
Rising from yucca.


The Basement, 1982

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Eleven years old,
I closed the door against
The high, small, laundry window
To crouch before its glow
In the windowless family room. The TV—
An honest piece of furniture,
Brown behemoth, wide enough
To sport a huge doily dolloped
With a basket of dusty, silk flowers—
Held the forbidden.
Oh, Wooden Mother of HBO,
Bringer of The Blue Lagoon, thank you.
Barely a teen, Brooke Shields,
Shipwrecked, sick with fever,
Laid out on her back, prone breasts
Floating islands sponged
By her cousin, innocent,
Cooling her, his hand releasing rivulets
Across her, passed her fever
His fever to me
Down there, suddenly new.


A Gender Traitor* Speaks

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Watch the darkening mouth.
You know when it’s coming.
The tannic tone drop. The slurred
slide she makes into affected accent.
Almost British. Slightly swallowed.
Punctuated. Small gestures.
Brace (yourself). Give her credit
for (intellectual) property.
Buy a mountain together. Dream
circular interlocking living
spaces. Holding women.
Mythologize a circle of light.
Sip bottles under trees.
Take and become her brunt.
So young, lift her curtain of hair
from tequila toilets. Tenderly.
Purple teeth and (pending)
(complete) Ph.D. (always mean)
she’s right. She likes to put you
in your proper place. Beneath.
Best with men watching.
In Taos. Over basil and brie.
In dim basements and bars.
Her men stutter apologies
for her blackened chainsaw
tongue. You learn, lean toward
your own kind. Kind men.
Kind women. Kindred. Leave.
A lifetime later, she names you
gender traitor, spits the gavel
normative, normative, normative
at the tiny home, life, family, bodies
you built without her, like her,
inside against the ancient walls
of men. Be (un)impressed by names
she drops. Be erased by her
heroic herstory. Embrace erasure.
The truth, she says, has always
been difficult for you.


*Gender Traitor

“Gender traitor (derogatory): A person who supports attitudes or positions thought to be against the interests or well-being of their own gender.” Wictionary

“From 19th century anti-suffragists to today’s anti-feminists…women who turn against themselves.” Epigraph to “Gender Traitors,” Sally Feldman, The New Humanist

Gender Traitor: a gay, lesbian, or bi person. Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

“It’s… been a little weird for me, because ‘gender traitor’ is language you sometimes see applied to trans people now.” Alex Barasch interview, Slate



Friday, June 7th, 2019

Token of a different time,
Star shine on a sandy foothill trail
When I was new, and you,
And love was new and opened
A book, pointing at your name.
Wildflower when not a threat,
I found you rare, a mountain gift.
How could I know otherwise?
Twenty years later, new land and life,
You volunteered twice in my garden.
Writer of my history, I couldn’t
Pull you, why? Once, you opened me.
Confused, I counted myself lucky
That you rose from flagstone
Cracks. I let you live, celebrated
Each morning star, until you flew
And flew in my benign neglect. Oops
And oops and oops and, well, goodbye.
Stately lanced cousin of dandelion,
Giant puffs of parachuting seeds, you
Whose bloom likes to sleep by noon,
Resolutely close your umbrellas.
And when you open, you truly open.
Premonition dawns like a slow leaf.
A year will bring its sunny lesson.
Now I see what you can do untamed:
Restless, grow a family in the wind.
Mother just like me, escape artist,
Taproot deep, stem easy to break.
I dug and dug now dig and dig,
Unable to eat your oyster root,
Having mostly grown in one dog’s
Favorite squatting plot. But still,
I could have saved your progeny,
Those inside sequestered beds,
Dog free, chopped thin and tossed
Into last night’s cast iron pan, friends
Of other more domestic roots.
But work was hot, the shovel
Sharp, without imagination. Wilted
In a wheelbarrow, sunburnt, I eat
You only with these toothless teeth.


Today’s Numbers

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

9:50 am, 6/6/19,
539% snowpack, 60°,
13 hours of forgotten water,
42 minutes on the cushion,
4 hues of potted petunias,
2 Western Tanagers in the birdbath,
1 spent cherry blossom in my hair.


What is a Dream?

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Is it a rabbit smashed
upon the road?
A singing trash can
or love sick toad?
A flicker knocking
on a pine?
A teen grown numb
on violent vines?

Is it pouring milk
into an alpine stream?
The kettle’s climbing
morning scream?
The grass above
Poe’s nevermore?
Or is it just this
dusty bamboo floor?

14 Februrary 2019

Quiet Cactuses

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Quiet cactuses
Sit under the piñon tree.
Sangha. Family.


Meditation on Birthdays

Monday, April 29th, 2019

Split into a multiplying
Split once more.
Exit a body.
Guttural commemoration.
The parting
of flesh from flesh.
Complete dependence on earth’s
insistent urge:
grow, assist the growing
by splitting time,
splitting food, splitting the mind
into two bodies.
Call that mother. Rare father. God.
Forget their births like air.
Call that
your final lover
gentle scout of the coming year
oracle of aches
celebrator of flyaway greys
who remembers
the miracle of your life
before you, slow to wake, do,
Happy birthday, Love.