Duende

imageIn this dry place

where cow skulls grin from restaurant walls

skeletons dance in the gift shop of the Chimayo Sanctuario

and lovers leap from the gorge bridge

Death feels close and friendly

In this dry place

where Duende hides among red and green chilies

and the devil dances with sequin skirted Marias

I fear living more than dying

In this dry place

I sleep too deeply

and awake from dreams of rivers and wombs

of waterfalls and falls from grace

I dream of walls without gates

and small dogs thrown from high porches.

In this dry place

that summons chaos and phantoms

that hides beauty behind a garish mask

and puts miles and miles between here and yonder

only death is nearby

And she asks again

Which breath were you born on?

Which breath will you die on?

Ode To Her Nose

mono5

 

I wrote this poem shortly after SaraBlue was born two years ago. How time flies. 

 

Ah! That pigment that blossomed even  as she followed her sister down the birth canal.

A 5 o’clock shadow darkened her blood smeared face

before Irish cleaned it with a mother’s tongue

gently with an instinct that eclipsed learning.

The nose grew. The color darkened.

Now a lump of coal.

The black so black

I fancy  I can see my face reflected there.

But it is only a nose.

A nose to point her way  from whelping to weaning.

A nose that sneaks beneath the bed skirt to worry the dust bunnies.

A nose that pushes sand before it as it tunnels past the tideline to the Bay.

Updated Edition of Reunion Available

Just in time for summertime reading I have updated  my collection of poetry and prose and it is ready  for your poolside enjoyment.

Cover Photo by Tamara Somerville

Cover Photo by Tamara Somerville

The longing to tell one’s story and the process of telling is symbolically a gesture of longing to recover the past in such a way that one experiences both a sense of reunion and a sense of release.    Bell Hooks

Click HERE to order.

Here is a sample:

 

Big Sur

 And when you go, arrive with the sun.
Arrive from the east.
Arrive when your mind and body are numbed by travel,
and be surprised.
Be surprised that the mountains are alive.
Surprised that they breathe and surprised that you can believe again.

And when you go don’t wait for sunshine
Walk in the rain.
Walk in the fog.
Walk in the dark so you will know the power of eucalyptus.
The power of sulfur as you sit clothed only in embarrassment at the baths at Esalen listening to an ocean you cannot see crash on the rocks below.

When you go sleep late. Dream deep.
Enjoy the echoes that have been left behind at Deetjens
Make them your own. Leave some for the travelers
Who will come behind you.
Stretch. Make love. Be love.
Go to breakfast and taste the oatmeal.
All your life you will recall the way this oatmeal fills your mouth,
your belly, comforts you.

When you go remember when you drove up Highway One for the first time
in the dark, alone and unloved.
Remember how you envied the family in the travel trailer by the side of the road.
Remember how you wanted to step into a new ocean
but didn’t.

You’ll find more here:

Reunion – Recovering a Past

List Price: $11.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
72 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1453694602 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1453694609
BISAC: Poetry / General
 
 
CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3468586

Would YOU Read This Book?

Nate had to set things right. If he’d still had a body he would have paced the floor as the news anchor detailed his sins.  Of course, he wasn’t entirely responsible. He, like Harry, was just an instrument of Charlie Bell’s revenge, but he was culpable none the less.

Desperate men do desperate things and dying men make rash decisions. Charlie had pegged them both.  Harry had been desperate and Nate had been dying. Charlie’s plan had been simple – if you believed in the paranormal and the supernatural.   

Hello Again

 

I have been wondering what, if anything, would make me blog again. Depression? Vacation? A broken television? A new computer?  Well two of the four happened and here I am. Just pinning a “while I was out” note to the blog-o-sphere. I will be back when I actually have something to say – or maybe sooner.

Whale!

 

I have never been the Beinecke Rare Book Library

Except for the time when I was swallowed by that ugly whale.

Inside her belly I became Jonah suspended in a cavern of light.

Marveled at the glass cube that was her spine.

Swam up bathed in golden light, exploring my new home.

With each breath the beast and I became more unified.

Separate beings no more I would be the storehouse of her treasures.

But then she spewed me out, transformed, onto the blistering pavement.

I was all I had seen.

All I had touched and tasted.

Knowing the light streaming through the belly of the whale was as much a part of me as the lentil soup I’d swallowed at lunch.

The Day I Took 2nd Place in a Dog Show

 I submitted this old piece to my dog club’s website. The reply: “I love it but am afraid it would cause at least three members of the board to pop a vessel — especially the one named “Carol.

I put on two pair of socks and three pair of sweat pants and took Arlo for his pre-dawn walk. It was 3 degrees. Arlo is built for that kind of weather. My lips froze. When we got back I filled my backpack with the things I thought I would need at the dog show and dressed like the handlers I had seen on TV – dark colors to show off the white dog, sensible shoes, hair tied back so it didn’t fly around and distract the judges or the dog. I loaded the jeep with dog, crate and backpack and headed to Point of Rocks.

When I arrived there were dogs everywhere. All of the handlers looked the same. They had big hair – like my Aunt Gladys – they wore spandex pants and pullovers with pictures of Samoyeds embroidered on them. They were all named Carol or Judy. With the help of two volunteers I managed to get Arlo registered for the show. They gave me an armband with a number 12 on it.

“Put this around your left arm. You can take your dog into the judging area so he can get used to it. Have fun!”

For the next two hours Arlo and I walked, trotted, and stacked our little hearts out. Once I tried to leave the ring and Marge (Arlo’s breeder) screamed at me “Get back in there. You can’t leave until you are dismissed.” I obeyed. Marge is quite a commanding presence. That day she was wearing white, fluffy earmuffs that looked like they had been made from a badly behaved Samoyed.

Marge had thirty minutes to puff and fluff Arlo before the judging began – combing and brushing – talking a mile a minute. Arlo took it all much better than I did.

“Number 12 to the ring. Number 12 to the ring.”

“Oh my God. We’re number 12, Arlo.”

Marge lifted Arlo from the table and I made my way awkwardly to the ring, fumbling to secure my armband with a rubber band while guiding Arlo through an obstacle course of dogs and bitches.

“Here we go, Arlo. Just do whatever that dog in front of you does.”

Then and Then

Where were you the first time you looked at me
and saw yourself in my face?
You told me you were living your life over through me.
You told me I would be the death of you
 
I stand beside your bed waiting, waiting
for you to draw your last breath
Knowing I have come home too late.  I am dead to you already.
 
We share consecrated Sundays
fishing in our secret spot near Toppins pier
No one found us there. No one looked.
I baited hooks. You smoked.
 
I force myself to bring my face to your mouth and inhale your breath
I watch you sleep.
Your  flesh is the color of creek scum
Finally I speak the unsaid words.
I’m home, Mama. I’m sorry.
 
I wanted more from life than croakers and soft shelled crabs
I wasn’t your shadow or your savior
Mama, I ran away from you long before I left
 
What more can I say about Frankie Mae Foreman?
Was I the death of her?
She crawled into that bottle when I ran away and there she stayed
until her dying day

Apology

Among wishes, I am your candle.
Among journeys, I am your road map.
Among losses, I am your lesson.
Among anger, I am your fist.
Among heartbreak, I am your clown.
Among deep forests, I am your breadcrumb.
Among the dying, I hold the ashes.
Among the hungry, I hold the bread.
Among Time, I count the minutes.
Among danger, I am your comfort.
Among delight, I am your mirror.
Among cold nights, I am your blanket.
Among eternity, I share your emptiness.
Among memories, we’ll be forgotten.
Among regrets, I am your biggest regret.
Among regrets, I am the reason you have no sons.
Among barrenness, I am your wife.

Returning

The slower she walks the faster the thoughts come

Until she stops.

Watch her standing there.  

Tracing words with a calloused finger against a darkening sky.

A philosophy emerges behind her hooded eyes.

Angry seas rise to meet a falling moon.