Tuesday, September 27, 2011

no snow

today is very nearly 
the last day with no 
snow. drink up the dry
and warm, brace for 
the cold snap to come, 
or just pretend that
you pay no attention
to any of it. the gift of
inattention is a gift all
the same, though what
you get from tuning in
is surely a sweeter
windfall apple crunching
beneath your feet

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I know it's just how life is but

lame fawn
circles my lawn

there is no 9 1 1

seasonal recipe

I know you think this calls for salt and pepper and butter
and an oven hot as hell
and bleach-flavored dish water, after

but the meal I have in mind is not the meal that can be

consumed – or not in that fashion!
so bring on the changes, colder than you expected 

and the little apples falling everywhere
while the customers bring their fawns
to the buffet out front  - and there is nothing left to step on

a shut door trumps a practice blast from
the pre-
winter wind – not on stage yet, for 
the change of seasons is indefinite, but free

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Heartwarming story of the week

It’s one of the old timers' dad's sons 
who rescued the situation -
gave the kids a donation 

at their car wash big enough
to buy gas to send everyone 

to the Big Contest, which
they won, pretty much 

against all odds, and now
we plan to put up a sign 

at the edge of town, “Home
of the Big Prize Winners for 2010” – 

or we would if we could just agree
whether that’s appropriate. So then
the son of the old timer’s dad
pretty much takes things
into his own hands the way
he pretty much always does,
and now that proud slogan graces
a newly painted, rather hideous
old barn on the edge of town,
and everyone is quite
unexpectedly happy.

from news from a small town poetry practice, August 2010

Saturday, September 10, 2011

sonnet for cactus mountain fire

burning and burnouts - and my little house
under the flight path as usual - and there's 
that sky-rattling sound - you know the one -
bucket helicopters in the cool morning air,
the way it is before it gets thick and choppy.
on the highway and back roads - jet fuel and
catering trucks, Grayback crews, and green rigs.

and this report of local conditions to know:
hot, dry and crunchy in the canyons,
flatbeds of off-brand gatorade rattling down
the gravel roads to fuel our sweaty fire crews.
no rain is predicted, but they say there will be
cooler nights and portable showers for all
back at fire camp - over at the rodeo grounds.

you may expect haze rolling over the mountains -
 for once again, it is summer before winter falls.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

learning schedule

things I don’t know:
too numerous to list
too numerous to know
too dangerous to presume.
the fallback position:
appreciate everything
in sight; widen eyes
and ears with wonder.

cinquain for rising on a September weekend

than the
forecast hot -
build a morning fire,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

seasonal stirrings

John put gas in the tank
of the contract water wagon -
for the first time since

we signed the on-call contract.

fire, fire! everywhere else!

like some years, we wait
for dispatch, like others

we sit in the dirt and smoke.

a lean year for the hand and

engine crews - but fall
is coming, as long as
doesn’t get here first.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

my address

box on a fencepost,
bunch of rocks lying around 

below Iwetemlaykin, dit dit dit dit

*Iwetemlakin means at the food of the lake. The old name for the Joseph area is Hah-um-sah-pah ... bunch of rocks lying around.

low hopes

the day the rain fell
from a cloudless sky
the neighbor said,

“this can’t be happening."

funny thing, but it does.
the day the wild creatures
rambled into town, the paper said,

“this shan’t be happening!”

but thank goodness! it did. the day
the good guys met the bad guys,
nothing much happened...

(and neither knew which was who).

perhaps tomorrow another
impossible thing will happen.
you never know until

“what happened couldn’t be.”