Thursday, February 23, 2012

Animal satori

How daring are you? You have a choice: all
all in or all out, fall in or fall out. The love
that can be defined simply is not the true
love. Upon discovering this, a trumpet
of sunlight and maybe even enlightenment!
Maybe you can describe it well – but likely
not.  If you meet the true love on the road:
kill ‘im. Or some detachment to that effect.
One more time: How daring are you? The
next breath tells more than you know.

A sonnet for ODOT* (rules for the road)

Notice for those in fender-benders: The insurance company
declines the word "accident." It's a crash or a collision or
sometimes a hit-and-run. You decide. Your friendly driver's manual
has prescriptions for staying in the clear: Do not hit other cars
bikes, pedestrians, or squad cars. Driving is not the time
to solve problems, plan trips, daydream, or read. "I was reading
my driver's manual on my Smart Phone," is not a good defense.

Concentrate: In front of you, behind you, on both sides of you.
For extra Zen, awareness of what is above or below you
may be credited. But here's the deal: If something goes bad, stop -
or turn turn turn the wheels. Other tips: No pets, packages or
persons in your arms when you drive. It is dangerous to eat
let alone drink when you drive. Let the kids rumpus
until they make you pull over: You know they'll be sorry then.

Your car mirror is not designed to give you a good view
of your make up. Put your eyes on the road; hang up and drive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Unlike Rumi

(for Tony)

The snow falls, a nail

runs down the chalkboard of Spring.

The glassblower’s breath.
Don’t fall in

Monday, February 13, 2012

half sonnet for the swirlies (news from a small town 2012)

every first of the year or so, there’s a marathon.
my trash can, your trash can, their trash can
all gather on the street for the race to Union County.
it’s the day for pick up, always coordinated
with the first husky wind out of nowhere.
don’t forget the prizes for the best run race: a

barely-used tarp or a new lid for the one that got away.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Smile, smile

Is it true if you can’t make it until death do you
in this place
you still have to serve your in-laws
there being only one or two cafes for
Sunday out,
and them being chummy with your boss?
Eat it,
suck it up with a big smile and say,
“I always
did like you better’n him, anyway,”
or hope
they’ll be so kind to say it as he sits with the
new bride
across the street in the other place.
“Besides,” says
your ex father-in-law, “Johanna does make
a fine
bacon-and-eggs.” Your ex mother-in-law, whom
you took
to the city for the false alarm tests
to see
if that bad cough was cancer doesn’t
say much,
but she makes sure to count your tip
exactly. Can’t
be shorting you, but then again -
she IS
his mom, you know she hopes you’d do
the same
for the grandson you never gave her.
Clear off,
set the four top. Here comes the church crowd.
Smile, smile.

Short Shorts!


Kick through freeze thaw leaves
and snowmen. Meteoric
lilies. The universe.


The pink fingernail
weeps vineyards of red iron
where there is no tear-duct.

Some days

Even little cranes need help
folded tightly on the wooden desk
where wind or breath might blow them off.


The midsection of a tall portly horse.
The relentless pursuit of cats.
Sometimes the frontal edge of a cyclone.

Look Out! I’ve Just Sacredized Aspen!

The people who visit
are possessed by the spirits
of birds. A juncture
of seemingly disconnected,
but related, things.

More Room to Fail

Mad freedom, mad failure,
too mad to fall or fail.
Look out! I’ve just sacredized Aspen again!

life is...

superbowl sunday
reports fighting continues
life is entertainment

Monday, February 6, 2012

winter raptors in Wallowa country

redtails, roughlegs, goldens
balds, prairies 

all stoop -
the trophic cascade plunges

Haiku from the Carbondale Poets

Unexpected love peered
from the front row
while I jittered and blushed

Patrick Curry

Ha ha I was so right
On my game,  up until
She asked if I was ok

Patrick Curry

Crows by the dozens

Mingling with the cows
Symbiotic relationshit?

Dave Teitler

blue to cloud to stars

maybe I'll write a haiku
but Zen is not self conscious

Barbara Reese

tiny spiders climb
dusty vegetal aspen
to silk chute the breeze

Heidi Owen

blue to cloud to stars
maybe I'll write a haiku
Zen in everything
Kim Nuzzo

Friday, February 3, 2012

Letting Go

Of all the treasures in the cave,
what is the one you most desire?
Mutter your open-sesames and
rub your lamps with caution: Want
circumvents have. You may find
this magic to be unreliable.
Trust is not the point. Still, keep track
of who tells you this, who sets you
on the hero's journey, who raises
the bar - never mind the why.
Even wise words can suck you dry.
Be sure they are your own.

In Regards to Being Happy

a springer spaniel
in the back of a pickup
his head between the slats

Observations in Five Reverses

(conditions: snowing and graders)

songiesandjuncos, frozenroses
some big black flapping thing
eightravensraving - and a
magpie in a fruit tree.

(conditions: white – white – white)

male china pheasant in a game of chicken
with a pick up that a prairie falcon with the stripe-y cheek?
deer droppings in the birdseed
on the walkway home.

(conditions: 4" new snow)

eighteenravens pickingthedeerbones,
another mature bald, a magotty pie,
with redwing delusions,
two wet horses
in the driveway.

 (conditions: cold and high-falutin')

on a phone line star-star-star-star- star- star- starlings.
against a snow field: black part of the magpies.
cockedheadedkingfisher. sunonsnowonsunonsnow.
the brakes work, well enough. a pair of china pheasants -
the male dive bombing the highway.

(conditions: slushy and undercast)

fourjuncos, gaudychinapheasant,
hunkeredkingfisher, wetredtail - teflonmagpie - and
roadside, redandbluespeckledticketgiver.

Grief At the End of the Road

 The sky turned into a white open hand,
a strange heaven, self revealed at last,
shining tears of things remembered
and their oblivion a wondrous dust
in our hands. We became every silence

Our souls burst open
becoming light, a certain state of mind.
Words flowed through everything and we
could hold them in our hands.

All wounds but whirling ash
consumed in holy flame.

Pitaa Hamarra

Pitaa Hamarra
(keeping the twilight)

The wind is blowing new ways to love.  Somewhere over the garden walls heavenly rivers flow like blood flows through our bodies, a miraculous healing everywhere, everywhere, of wounds we didn't even know we suffered.  When matter meets matter, a cold eye of the moon.  When an answer meets an answer, lips across my bones.  When matter meets an answer, only a few miles from home. And that's because we don't only live in the world.  We make it up.

A Promise

The Peep show
of the Moonlight Milkshake Stars
and the Bubble of Eternity in the Unborn Void
of Everything we love

means nothing but more and more
spicy, mind over matter surprises.

Don’t be fooled.
The milky juice of everything
is spilling over, door to door,
up and down, a madplay
of promise, spinning all of us
into one song of soft breathing.

And it’s very sunny
this snowy morning.

four haiku from aspen

blue to cloud to stars
maybe I'll write a haiku
but Zen is not self conscious


beauty of the art
impossible dream of words
diamond poetry

cold morning light
raw frost sketches on window
signed Artist Unknown

three birds on a wire
two look to the east one west
radical gestures

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dustin Is the Boy Who Walks Unencumbered

after Katey Schultz

Dustin walks five feet to school.
It’s further than that, of course, but this is what he tells people.

With a new pair of light-up sneakers
and eight hours in classrooms decorated with stenciled artwork

each crack of the sidewalk becomes a fault line
shaking him further and further from
 his flannel sheets, and the best Buzz Lightyear figurine any boy ever owned.

What saddened him most—though he would not have said it this way at the time—
were the hot hive of fluorescent lights
and the incessant ticking of each clock.

How easily he forgot—without even knowing—
what came before schoolyard fist fights
and cafeteria doldrums.

Help him remember: He’s still young.
He’s playing in the backyard and somehow he’s forgotten his shoes.
It’s raining again because this is what it does.
As is his ability to stand in the rain without concern
for a coat or a hat or an umbrella.

It’s really quite simple. He stands with his bare feet
sinking into the saturated lawn
and counts by fives:
five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty five, thirty, thirty five, forty, and so forth.

That’s it. That’s life. He’s playing all by himself and jabs sticks
into the sopsoil and sings this song over and over and over again.

Until the day after graduation. When he’ll step out the front door
and walk five feet the other direction.

Countless miles of Zumwalt prairie stretching ahead. 

At Kinney Lake

beaches and rocks
embrace the bullhead world
i will never invent water

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

To Contribute A Poem

e-mail zumwaltprairiecache @ if you're a Fishtrap poet (you don't have to be here to "be here")!

on the way to the jar

It’s a free symphony of ripe blackberries,
juicy stains segue from berry to inside  
of frowzy Safeway bags. Outside,
sports juice-red thumbs; bright
with blood from the crown of thorns.
It's time for the fugue: melody of fruit, 
harmony of sugar, counterpoint
of pectin, grace notes of berry bits,
nibbled during rests.  To the end,
she carries the business: boiling the 
mason jars to cleanliness; listening
for the tink! of a good seal.
And now, finale: Hot sweet scents
rise and soar, where she conducts
the fresh hot jars from the pot

to the end. She sweats and smiles,
bows to an imaginary audience,
licks her fingertips, allegro, presto.

This work is her cross, it is her choice.


It is really fun to be with people
who are not fully operational,
do not contain hazardous materials
and have left their vehicles
in the big-lot where people like us
leave our vehicles when we want to go
kick through the freeze thaw leaves
and snowmen, pestoing and drinking
a vintage made not for Death Stars
or Battle Star Galacticas, but for
the whole damn universe.
The way we squint with our lips
in the sun and see the point of origin
off in the vastness, herding donkeys,
where vineyards of iron rise
from the meteoric strikes of lilies.
The pink fingernail, how can it weep
when there is no tear-duct,
only hangnails?  Some days
even little cranes need help,
folded tightly on the wooden desk,
where wind or breath might blow them off.

Dear Wolf

The zumwalt prarie
yellow in the crook of arm.
(echo, echo, echo, echo)