When the wind strolls
in, my meadow friends
dance and bow.
When waves rush
to crash across
my ocean friend, wide beach
smiles back at me and the eagles
on wind above etch sky-to-horizon greetings down
all the way home
so strong, having learned to be carried.
Can you hear the old playground laughter
between the creaks of empty swing-sways?
Hear playground teasing
within little sister crow’s
following big sister eagle back and forth
back and forth
boat house to nest
nest to boat house
boat house to nest?
Smile in self-recognition as
red-wing blackbird then begins
to nag big-sister crow.
Can you cherish the faded flap-flapping flag
forgotten by neighbors in their rush to return to the city?
Cherish wind: an
absent spacious presence?
Cherish sand: a
shattered toe-hugging perfect imperfection?
Cherish the polished-cream beauty
Here stones, books, and gentle evening light
invite themselves to play—
sated, triumphant, wildly creative,
complete within themselves, which feels completely inappropriate.
Silent and awkward at just the right moments.
Welcome. Please come in.
Humans invited here are few and far between.
Only those who gleefully join the chorus
certain their voice improves upon books
dancing warm light
And those certain of nothing at all.
All those invited
come to play
certain of little more than sea
Lost accidentally or on purpose.
quiet enough within most days to hear it.
I’m so glad you asked me in with that sunbeam
when I was a crying child.
I’m more glad that invitation
is absolutely everywhere now
when I look for it.
Warm sun pools and shines more brightly in your home
Why is that?
worn beckoning rugs and life-soft chairs
a sentinel portrait
rich green and red dirt-colored artifacts nestled
within white walls of recent pain.
Witness dancing dust across
the bird in the kitchen,
your crazy dogs at play in the yard.
Most fairies here are somber yet
there is heart even joy
in those faces and those fucking cool guitars, Jesus,
and the tools, and the found things,
and the workshop, and the garage, and
in the art, art everywhere, far too content to be clutter
far more useful than things designed only for use.
The love here isn’t just palpable.
It knocks you down. It feels
like your missing tooth and bloody face
shining out from pure bliss.
It’s a sweet, well-caught ball at the fence.
Doors and windows shift widely open for these souls.
The one still walking the dogs, still finding community,
creating art here in person
and the one moving only in sunlight
guiding his strong gentle hands
then shifting to starlight to stroke his cheek
in the too-dark night.
That’s the thing about the sun at your house.
She’s still with you in grief and at 4 a.m.
That’s the thing about your art. It’s still with me
here in grief and at 4 a.m. as
I whisper “Thank you” to the darkness—
uncertain, still, about who…
which who is it
that I thank?
I found a perfect dead bird
on the deck, outside the window
victim of violence
a deceptive white light through too-big windows
his perfectly groomed feathers
grew darker as they moved
from his pale yellow-gray head to his almost black tail
I spent yesterday willing him, rise
please open your beak again, open your eyes
shake precious soft belly, hop to perfect black feet
dance again, go!
but he was gone
This morning I carried him deep into beauty
laid him to rest
in the tall grass of a clearing
beside the cabin
in woods and in sunshine
his family around me
we told him he’d be missed
that he was, is, loved, by everything around him
In saying goodbye
I fell to my knees
wept like a baby
for beautiful Orlando
I vowed to slow down and notice
to listen more closely
to love louder and better and more.
Then we all did.
Happy final day of national poetry month! A flash poem a day, every day, in April! Looking forward to next year. Here’s today’s silly poem…
streets of LA
Bundled up, shipped off
where average time to adoption
was just 4 days
part sun-soaked mystery
the day after he arrived
he found his new best buddy, a mom
from Whidbey Island
She took him
on a tour
of all the dog parks
Just to get his feet wet
As a new mom
But he was brave
except in the presence
before his time.
His very first time
at Marguerite Brons Park
he hired himself
as Front-Gate Greeter
welcoming other new dogs
The night after we met him
Daniel and I spoke of his magic
The next day
we bumped into him
at a café.
he conjured us to him
or we him, maybe.
And we’re smiling today.
Oh dear sweet Arlo from LA
what a gift you are
inside I’m still wagging.
the old man up the hill
tends the garden
of the woman next door
the woman behind us
up the hill
donates supplies to schools
the woman who lives beside her
takes her sick dog for very slow, sunny walks
to sniff the life from dewy blades of grass
while ailing pup still can
our neighbor below
home-cans food gifts for friends and family;
took in a toothless, clawless cat
so she’d have a safe and sunny retirement
another neighbor tends to her partner
through poor choices within dementia:
she’s stronger than the strongest battleship in existence
another neighbor devotes her life
and hosting the wandering and lost;
drops food by when she has extra
which is often
walk the perimeter
intending to keep us all safe
all give us tips
for who to call
to get our roof repaired
and where to go
when our eyes need a tune up
and what to do
when the power goes out
our neighbor eagles
cry to each other
when they’re bringing dinner home to baby;
and cry to us
pull forth the child from within us
every time they pass the shore
once I threw on two different shoes
in a rush to greet them
our neighbor deer
teach us to sense presence before we see it
remind us of the unfathomable power
our neighbor rabbits, birds, and insects
leave wonder-inducing patterns
in sand and snow
teach us new-old games as adults
we’d all but forgotten…
our saviors are our neighbors
our conversations, prayers
lands on holy ground
Muse #1: Mine
This is My home
I am allowed to
retreat and rest
speak my mind
make a significant difference
fully embrace grief
Muse #2: Yours
This is Your home
Will you invite me in?
Want me to stay?
Ask me to return?
Muse #3: Ours
This is Our home
Can we all feel this moment
as Mine and Yours and Something Special
down into our bones?
Muse #4: Privilege
Privilege is being stretched while feeling loved.
Any place, any moment, any sensation
within which we’re learning, feeling the edges
–while being loved–
and so can grow
to appreciate differences among mine, yours, ours, and home.
And any moment
within you and without
that you can find a space where you are loved.
This place, this moment, this sensation
today is privilege.
Any moment we can stand up for this place, moment, sensation
for weeping selves and hurting others:
imagine this a given, the default, the real for all
is privilege too. Breathe in and just imagine…
Muse #5: Home
My Old Pal Reflection
Cat Paw Presence
Time for Play