Crow Feather Totem IX

I see many feathers on the road
But not all come with messages
From sky roads, tree paths,
Cloud highways
And mountain turnarounds.
This one nests in my thoughts,
This one swings in my mind
Like the trees,
This one is a black arrowhead,
A ceremonial blade,
Just picking it up I am elevated,
Ennobled by an older spirit
Attune to wind and space
And the landscape falling away
From worry, from time.

Call and Response

with so much light            shadows are bright
the color of sound             roots in neutral ground
white goods                      or the mist of wolves
mourners dance                  in a voodoo trance
the end of truth                  the death of youth
wealthy preachers                  modest teachers
streetcar named desire           flood and fire
a gulf storm                            wet and warm
a green wine                       followed by a black vine
like swaying palms              the dripping calm
like the blues                        flesh of the bruise
like the rain                       crisscrossed the train
who’s got trouble            all the trouble
over the river                     the deep river
canopies drying                   horses flying
cannabis smoke                  like incense and hope
love and peace                  lies and police
musty rooms                   floating tombs
a lizard call                  wakes a shadow doll

The Soccer Ball

Bike Ride Blues

“The light night wind singing against my eyes.”
Philip Larkin

My old neighborhood is unchanged.
Strange it has changed so much.
Miscellanies out for trash and pick up.
Single bed bedframes, tv antenna,
toothless rakes, birdfeeder and pole
pulled from its earthly flight path–
kid’s picnic table, boxed paperbacks,
cockeyed picture frames– work shed
shelves of nails, washers and screws
and other reparations to affix change
by eliminating the hardware to do it
it gets done all the same in time.
I pedal slower by homes I know
numbed by accelerated sameness
and the void of the sun’s fire
with wheels in my ideal trees.
The one direction out is closed.
That’s where I will have to go,
slip through a gap, over a crack,
having never returned/ never left.

Storm Map

Distant thunder.
Dead wind.
Light, greenish-grey.
Thunderheads rumbling.
Empty street.
Branches swaying.
Then a thunderbolt.
A few big rain drops.
More thunder.
Torrential rain.
Wild wind.
Zero visibility.
Thunder overhead.
Gusting space.
Blowing leaves.
Full motion in the trees.
Vast screen of mist.
Thunder diminishing.
Then louder.
Then diminished.
Rain letting up.
Wind circling back.
A last thunderclap.
Sunbeams breaking.
Rain from the trees.
Enchanted life.

Washing a Manuscript

Salvatore Ala

Water penetrates pigment.
The music washes away.
Words sink to the lakebed.
Trees are growing in silt.
Faces appear and change.
Someone dead in a book
Reappears in the rain.
We tremble at a touch.
Leaves tremble at a touch.
Hate doesn’t die; people die.
Flood and fire/ fire and flood.
Our Saviour on a cypress.
Branches shake without wind.
Bird reflections surface.
Sentences spill into water.
The watering can is filled.
Drops engrave stone.
The shipwreck is home.
Fish arrange themselves.
The membrane swims.
Love and suffering are one.
A book opens to ice fields.
A poem is under glass.
Mirrors read their erosion
But dream like the sea.
Without the sun I am silent.
Without the moon I am still.
The manuscript is washed.
The actors are ready.
An audience assembles.
The first lines are silent.
The last are written first.

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Washing a Manuscript

Water penetrates pigment.
The music washes away.
Words sink to the lakebed.
Trees are growing in silt.
Faces appear and change.
Someone dead in a book
Reappears in the rain.
We tremble at a touch.
Leaves tremble at a touch.
Hate doesn’t die; people die.
Flood and fire/ fire and flood.
Our Saviour on a cypress.
Branches shake without wind.
Bird reflections surface.
Sentences spill into water.
The watering can is filled.
Drops engrave stone.
The shipwreck is home.
Fish arrange themselves.
The membrane swims.
Love and suffering are one.
A book opens to ice fields.
A poem is under glass.
Mirrors read their erosion
But dream like the sea.
Without the sun I am silent.
Without the moon I am still.
The manuscript is washed.
The actors are ready.
An audience assembles.
The first lines are silent.
The last are written first.