wind through the piñon trees

talking to fellow Texans at the Grand Canyon

We stood at Yaki Point, silent, awed

content in the silence of the wind 

through the piñon trees.


They walked up the trail behind us:


There are no words,

she expounded as if someone asked.


(But there are always words

I thought, even in the canyon’s silence).


Yet, they kept talking:

how Yosemite is more Impressive

Oh, you have to go there

The hikes— so strenuous

We were so sore afterwards


Then they walked away talking

as if to someone else.


While the wind moved through the piñon trees

filling the silence they left behind.

(June 9, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: I, too, am Just Passing Through

Death’s daughters dance

seductively

a slow strip tease;

their delusions draped

in our desires and discontents.

Without the diligence

to be dissuaded, 

I take delight

in every turn and twist

of their exigent dance.

With my attention split

between hesitation and fear,

I fool myself to think

my life is more, or less, 

than some other’s. Thus

distracted, I lay my hand

on the earth’s warm skin

to reassure myself again,

that I am still here.

Ikkyu Reiteration: I Talk Too Much to Fill the Emptiness

As we spend the summer debating

death’s vague dichotomy (as if

the dead stay up late worrying

about personal liberty), Evil walks

casually along the rows with a scythe

leveling the field with each slow swath.


In early Autumn, night’s splintered

with lightning storms, first dark,

then light, then dark again like a child

flickering a light switch indecisively:

the world about us is exposed briefly

before vanishing into memory’s shimmer.


I have forgotten so many things 

I thought I once knew; I remember

I shut the gate to something, but 

forgot where it was, where it led to,

or if there were cows there to escape

into the empty Winter pastures.

(June 1, 2022)

Ikkyu Reiterations: I Write a Poem Again

A poor response to terror— again,

to children slaughtered in their classroom—

And again, will we learn anything this time?


The politicians and news pundits

gossip and chitter like crickets;

and nothing, again, nothing is done.


Here, a few hours distance to Uvalde,

Black-eyed Susans and Horse Mint dance

to the wind, as if nothing changes.


Each time (so strangely common) I think

of my students and the possible horror—

and pray (in my way) for redemption.


Tomorrow, my students will graduate,

and head off to college— with the hope,

again, that they will change this world.

(May 30, 2022)

Portraiture


I’m in this snapshot

laughing at a party. 

I look old, like a skull 

embedded in a wall.

I do not know myself,

at least not enough 

to admit what I’ve done.

I deflect, disengage; 

yet, I am still there, 

disembodied: a voice, 

thin and transitional.

My splotched skin’s

stretched thin 

across my skull.

The bones show through

like field’s slow erosion.

I wear myself 

against the day, 

until I am erased.

(May 28, 2022)

Possibility’s Collapse Into Singularity

A slow cascade into old age,

until the only choice is no choice:

where there is no memory

outside myself; where

the story is only mine

to revise, where I step forward 

without hesitation

and  unlatch the last door.

(May 24, 2022)

Blood of the Innocent

I have said this before: There needs to be photographs published of the aftermath of these shootings. Not the bodies of the torn up 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders (6-9 yo), but the destruction of the room. Blood spattered across the walls where their work had been displayed by the teacher. The work the children had been so proud to see hanging on the wall. Walls that are now blood stained. These common classroom artifacts desecrated in blood need to be seen…these murders are not neat and tidy, easily forgotten (obviously). Do not show the dead children, show the bullet holes in the walls, show the blood. The blood of the innocent. Maybe that would help in bringing enough rage to the surface to bring about meaningful change. Maybe.