The Invitation (Rewrite Approximately #7? I’ve Lost Count)

The Invitation (Rewrite Approximately #7? I’ve Lost Count)

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
work-resting silent
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
nagging cries
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
of driftwood?

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.

Still here?
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
stones
dancing warm light
and silence.
And those certain of nothing at all.

All those invited
come to play
certain of little more than sea
and shore.
Lost accidentally or on purpose.
Either way
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.

The Sun at Your House

The Sun at Your House

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
sunbeams upstairs,
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
like always
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?

 

In Saying Goodbye

In Saying Goodbye

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.

 

Arlo

Arlo

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…

Arlo

Waggingly
he came
from the
streets of LA

Bundled up, shipped off
to Seattle
where average time to adoption
was just 4 days

Part Chihuahua
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
and hers
As a new mom
she worried
about him

But he was brave
and kind
and strong.
Quietly outgoing
except in the presence
of bullies.
Wise
before his time.

His very first time
at Marguerite Brons Park
he hired himself
as Front-Gate Greeter
welcoming other new dogs
and old
waggingly.

The night after we met him
Daniel and I spoke of his magic
The next day
we bumped into him
at a café.
Still smiling
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.

Holy Ground

Holy Ground

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
and kinder

another neighbor devotes her life
to teaching
and hosting the wandering and lost;
drops food by when she has extra
which is often

other neighbors
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
“Welcome home!”

neighbor whales
pull forth the child from within us
every time they pass the shore
once I threw on two different shoes
running giddy-awkward
in a rush to greet them

our neighbor deer
teach us to sense presence before we see it
remind us of the unfathomable power
within vulnerability

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
every moment
every footstep
lands on holy ground

Five Muses and a Cat’s Paw

Five Muses and a Cat’s Paw

Muse #1: Mine
This is My home
I am allowed to
retreat and rest
speak my mind
create
make mistakes
be myself
be silly
be forgiven
feel safe
lead
welcome
gift
play
wonder
ask questions
contribute
wander
make a significant difference
hide
be ill
laugh
love
lose
get angry
fall apart
break down
fully embrace grief
heal
grow 

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?
Right now?

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 a
mong 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
Mother Earth
Father Sky
Auntie River
Neighbor Ocean

Cousin Chaos
Crazy-Uncle Art
Silly Buddy
My
Old Pal Reflection

Pillow Moss
Lover Nighttime
Newborn Day

Cat Paw Presence
Time for Play