En Plein Air

The lily pads touch the earth
Of their own dreams

A dragonfly threads my sight
Through the border reeds

The light on marsh water
Is like the sun in flower

The flowering light
Is like the marsh on fire

Now with the treeline
Sinking like a boat

At the bottom of night
The moon begins to float

Nature Revisited

A deer family plunging across rapids
In a drama intensified by a storm surge

Osprey awash in spray
Of wings and prey
A peregrine racing a coastline

At sunset the wildflowers
Gather their own bunches of light

Wood ducks
Splash into a forest pond
One announcement of birth after another

A gar pike
Ancient as the river
Alive as it is dead

A fox snake
Like a twisting fire
Burning out in the grass

Orchard orioles
Round out the ripening

Childhood Revisited

For orange jewelweed one flower
Is still a flowering plant

The youngest deer of the forest
Hear everything
With the transparent leaves of their senses

A red-spotted purple
Flies away with the sky

A paper wasp barely moves
The leaf on which it lands

A dead branch bursts
Into decaying life

Green frogs stretch
The gulp of their voices
Across the stream

Ferns brush themselves
Into the undergrowth

In nature the children
Of our shadows
Remember us as we were

Animal Death Mass

The sun in the shape of starfish
The last wings raining down hard
Dolphins diving into breathlessness
Mass graves for fish and pigs
Mixed with cattle and their kind
The last bees in the carcass of a lion
Dead turtles mute the thunder
Elephantine absences push space
Closer our own extinction
Bats fall from the sky over Israel
Like prophecies gutted by time
Whales breach the surface of being
And like the earth washed ashore
On its own dead coastlines
Our faith in things unseen
Numbers us among the damned

The Old Religion

Put my shoes on the table,
Carry me out cold tomorrow.
The malefic in the evil eye
Lives also with its sorrow.

You ward off a black cat
With the sign of the horns
Like a gardener trimming roses
Wears gloves for the thorns.

Ask spirits of the vine
But never pledge with water,
You’ll pour misfortune
On your mother and father.

A broom touching my feet
Brushes my dust across the floor
Or leaves me without love
Like a widower at the door.

Better a toccare il ferro
And to wear a cornicello
Than let evil in your soul,
A stranger into your void.

Down Goes Columbus

Like we wouldn’t have found Terra Nullius
And the Natives aren’t born of land.
But it’s 2020! Who dares not think ahead?
My heart is Italian, not my cement.
My mind is Sicilian, not my marble.
My spirit is wine, not angry permanence,
But fluid transience, song and love.
Down goes Columbus in ships of stone,
His navigations would always end like this,
Discovery and obscurity share a seascape
Of lost explorers in ocean graves.
We create false idols out of the living
But why celebrate the falsely dead.
I’ll not give in on loving and being no one.
Down goes Columbus, my heart sings,
I’ll live for the living and set sail for the end.

Rephrase the Rain

for Duke Ellington

Rephrase the rain
Reshape the pain
Rewind the key
Resolve the rage
Rewire the fire
Reword the words
Restructure truth
Rebody spirit
Rebuild oneness
Reflag freedom
Reload the love
Replenish light
Rephrase the rain
Reshape the pain
Rephrase the rain

Crow Feather Totem XIV

One feather, two shadows.
Two feathers, four shadows.
Three feathers, eight shadows…
This is how earth was created,
How the earth separated from itself,
How the sky learned to float,
The sun learned to be many places,
How wings multiplied,
Clouds gathered and rain began to fall.

Renaissance

it only took a light breeze to waken the flowers they spread their wings and set off into the butterfly kingdom of the new creation so too the plants felt the breeze and began walking along the scorched ground in search of water and the fish also took it upon themselves to breathe air and move onto land opening roads closed for millions of years and for a time all seemed as it should be until it became clear from animals who ventured into the cities that the human population was disappearing so the higher primates and large-brained animals conferred in private to develop strategies for the disappearing humans and some animals who’d come to hate humans voted to let them die because they were no good from the start and others with more forgiving natures agreed that surely we must do everything we can to save this species as part of our global community and just as important as saving the punk-haired Mary river turtle or the yellow eyed Aye Aye lemur or the Chinese crocodile and yet conservative primates had their own agenda warning that the oversexed humans would too quickly recover and truly no one knew what to do about the humans who went extinct after consecutive pandemics and extended periods of civil unrest