Friday, March 19, 2010

Unfinished Obituary

My first today
with no tomorrow.
The clock is broken,
no time left to borrow
a half-cup of hope,
a dash of compassion,
something to wear
that's not out of fashion...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Montana Memory

The summer sun dapples the forest floor,
piercing through the pine and larch branches,
warming the blanket of needles,
inches deep, releasing the aroma
of slow coniferous decomposition.

The air seems thick, as if it harbors forest spirits,
invisible, yet palpable. Suddenly, everything
goes quiet.

The familiar rustlings of mice and voles,
the comic scolding of squirrels,
the hammering of a piliated woodpecker,
the ongoing conversation and song
of smaller birds, the buzzing of horseflies, all stop dead.

There is no crash of deer through the brush as
they bound away, white tails waving good-by,
no stirring of rabbit in the dry grass.

The logging trucks, with air brakes like jackhammers,
have gone quiet on the road far below.

Familiar landmarks shimmer like heat waves,
and shift, just enough to let me know
there is magic here,
waiting to warmly enfold me,
to keep me---forever.

For a moment, I want to stay,
to burrow into the sweet pungency
and rest, time suspended. But,
then I feel a tingle on the back of my neck,
a stirring in my gut.

I turn slowly, afraid of what I’ll see,
not expecting bear, or cougar, or even gentle deer,
but something that shouldn’t be there---
a door, perhaps, or an empty chair, or something dark.

Completing my rotation, I see only the sunlight,
the trees, and dappled forest floor.

My heart pounds in the silence.
I feel that I am about to learn a secret.

I run all the way back to the cabin.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Poetry Parade

This poem is dedicated to all my fellow poets on a poetry forum I participate in. Some of the devices used in this poem, such as the throat clearing, the dashes and ellipses, are things that have been criticized by our peers on the forum, thus earning a special place in this poem.

A-hem! Dearly beloved,
we are gathered here together...

the oh-so-solemn traditionalists,
whose poetry smiles not,

the love-so-true,
sky-so-blue crowd,

the subtle ones who reach out,
grab your heart
and shake your psyche,
with their streamlined genius---
their words tenderly polished,
or cruelly pointed,

a brooding youngster or two,
whose words amaze,
even as they try to slink off the page,
their tails between their legs,

the ones who come from
the open wound school,
whose pain pulls you in, every time,
for an empathetic wallow,

a brilliant one or two who make you feel
that you're not quite brilliant enough,
to catch the tail of their high-flying kites,

and the one, missing the poetry step
on the ladder of his DNA,
who wanders in one day
and starts splashing through
the slow-moving currents of
the poetry forum,
with poetry so bad that
even the harshest critic
finds compassion lurking in his heart
and refrains from making comment...

We all come together here
in search of that elusive
perfect turn of a phrase---
the sweet embrace of poetry
our innocent pursuit.

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