We would sit around the small park
as evening made a hasty retreat to somewhere, anywhere more lively than Salt Lake City in the heart of summer.
We’d pass a jug of whatever was
cheapest at the state package store, usuall Gallo this or that, and roll joints which made their way around our circle.
The cops would drive by every once
in a while, and wave, and we’d politely wave back and yell thanks which brought a smile as they drove off.
In Salt Lake City, in 1969, there was
no drug problem, and you only drank in private, or smirked at those who did in this boring little corner of Mormon heaven.
The seed speckles
the snow like buckshot piled neatly under the branch where we, fingers numbed, tied the little chalet to the lowest limb of the ancient maple. The birds stand staring as the squirrel swings slowly in the breeze.
First Appeared in Echoes, March – April 1996.
Snow always seemed so right
capping the summit of Fujiyama, not dulled by the windows of the Shinkansen to Osaka.
You barely noticed the rice fields
fanning out from its base wanted to reach out and touch it for that is what you do with icons.
Mount Hood had the same effect
but the chill along the Willamette urged you to retreat quickly back to the wine bar for a Cabernet.
shun the city, flee the towns and find a home in the forest only in the deepest part of winter, but do not shun people in your solitude.
of total silence and dig deeply into newly fallen snow. Let it drift over you until you black hair is all that appears on an endless field of white.
A reflection on case 14 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, seasons, weather, winter, Zen
The clouds well up
over the foothills casting a gray pall, bearing the angry spirits of the chindi who dance amid the scrub juniper. Brother Serra, was this what you found, wandering along the coast, tending the odd sheep, Indian and whatever else crossed your path?
The blue bird
hopping across the dried grasses puffing its grey breastplate and cape sitting back, its long tail feathers a perfect counterbalance. It stares at the oppressing clouds and senses the impending rain. The horses wandering the hill pausing to graze on the sparse green grasses. The roan mare stares at the colt dashing among the trees then returns to her meal, awaiting the onset of evening.
The chindi await
the fall of night when they are free to roam and steal other souls. Was your water rite more powerful than the blessing chants? Did you ward off their evil and purify the breeze of the mountains?
First published in
Progenitor, Vol. 55, 2020
birds, Death, ecology, evening, Memory, Mystical, Nature, Night, Photography, Poem, Southwest, Time, Travel, weather
He is for it or he is
against it, and if you could predict the vacillations you could develop the means of measuring the flux of sanity.
You could as easily grasp
the water flowing downriver and by asking select questions determine the next heavy rain,
but the odds are good
you will be outside when the deluge begins, and only its ultimate weight and duration remain to be felt.
It all comes down to the same
thing, if you could paint the sky blue, precisely which shade of blue would you use and why that one for heaven’s sake
A man stands on the peak of a hill,
staring down into the valley below him, but it is not clear what he is staring at.
Standing in the valley, by the bank
of a slowly flowing river, I stare up the tall hill to its peak, and see
the clouds gather around the man
as if soon to swallow him, and I wonder what it is like to be eaten by a cloud.
The river flows slowly by, ignoring
the hill, with the man standing atop its peak, ignoring me standing
on its bank, and ignoring the man
atop the ignored hill, staring at the clouds, awaiting a hearty meal.
The weather, he announced to no one in particular,
ought to be musical or at least incorporate some jazz.
Spring is bebop, Trane and Parker,
the sudden clash of Blakey the downpours of Dizzy
and the hint of what’s to come
on the fingers of Monk, and Kenny and Milt.
Summer brings the slow easing
as early Miles slides in, and we sink into Chet and Stan.
Bebop returns as summer fades
but turns harder, with Dexter Sonny and Benny and we know
that winter approaches, with its
disconcert, the sun an ever more infrequent visitor,
Ornertte and Pharaoh reminding us
that the dark cold was our share until Sun Ra appears on the horizon.
Last night, all the romantic
comedies worth watching on Amazon and Netflix having already been seen, many twice
we had no choice but to opt
for a coming of age tale on Netflix accompanied by the mellifluous tones of Sir David Attenborough.
In my dreams last night there was
a debate between the Gentoo and Emperor Penguins as to which was the more enrapturing,
and a Greek chorus of krill suggested
neither was worth our time or effort, but the pod of Right Whales ended their incessant commentary.
As I awoke to the cry of the limpkin
he reminded me that the ice cap is ever shrinking thanks to my kind, so I had best learn a few dirges.
birds, Dream, Humor, language, mind, Nature, Photography, Poem, Science, Time, weather
The sun is shining brightly today,
and the sky, with only the odd passing cloud, is that certain blue.
Do not ask me to describe that certain
blue, but be assured it is not exactly the blue that you are imagining right now.
Even if I would describe it, in some
infinite detail, your vision of it would at best be a near approximation.
The gull that swooped in and stole
the crust of bread I overtoasted this morning knew exactly what the blue was.
Birds generally, and gulls in particular
have deep understanding of blue that you, my friends, cannot even imagine.