Ruby Slippers

 

How crookedly
these ruby slippers
walk and amble
swiveled,
on their way back home.
You stood there
strung out, lathered,
on a box, and sang to me
while spinning ’round
the globe. As fingers
feel for something
in the dark, familiarity
Is often clothed
within the braille
of stunning, naked scars,
that map and twist,
then flatten out,
suppose.
While skipping
stones across a white
capped pond,
I looked again
and all the swells
were swans.

Love’s Brevity

Apricot trees have moved
into their bursting arc
with an expressive excitement,
assuming a weightlessness
unconscious as desire.
They are grounded clouds
levitating in yards and parkways;
opening guilelessly in laundered
fists of the fugitive hour.
Our eyes helplessly flock
to the elevated
lamb’s wool displays,
are bees drawn to a reflection
of love’s exquisite brevity.

Rugged Ride

This place gallops
in layered altitude,
humps in crested waves
of rugged stone,
pitifully breaks in sprays of boulders
unrolling through low valleys.
It wears the shadow of a cloud
for mile after rearing mile
with the carefulness of asbestos lace.
Most savagely, rakes it’s willful stubble
against a vestal sky;
misbehaves on shelves
of ingrown cliffs,
balances water in the stubborness
of succulents at impossible
saw-toothed angles.
It lords over the grim
Joshua trees living among
their own bleached corpses,
twisting gnarled arms outward
gesticulating abandonment.

Promised

Things are distorted by fluorescent light.
Artificial shadows inscribe purple C’s
under a worker’s eyes.
Coveralls are creased curtains drawn
over individuals, they cannot contain
the occasional humor
rising between their fasteners,
rolled up in the boot-sock,
wrinked in a bird-fingered glove
below a smile.

Is the currency of anonymity
traded freely
on the graveyard shift?
Sometimes a caterwaul or song will bounce
between the metal drums,
push back at
the whining propane powered forklifts
in strange solo invitations.
Company violations are secreted
in unspoken brotherhood-oaths
covered and kept,
forgotten and swept.

Stacks still funnel away toxic
particulates, the steamed barbiturates
of societal processing.
Facilitated and calibrated, overseen
by the upright ant
in all his delicacy,
with his downey fur, his thoughts
wrapped in a hardhat.

Perhaps against this light,
within the manufactured hills
our magnificent fragility
is contrast,
more apparent, broadcast.
It stands exquisitely diaphanous
in a pair of Redwings and safety glasses,
represented in allegro steps,
kept
through the years
in a compromised
pension’s promise.

What We Know Sonnet

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Possessing not the insight found in time,
that wraps a journey unaware, and claps
inaudibly in cadence, fractal rhymes.
We yawp, express this life in tattered scraps
of what we feel and map what seems so new,
but is it fresh or just repeated strolls;
the human gait still searching for a clue.
Insisting on rewriting former scrolls
of dead ideas there inked by bygone blooms
of us. Immersed and yoked with joy and pain,
the wonder of encounters since the womb,
our consciousness evovles beyond the brain.
Alive, unchaperoned and forth we go,
from youth through death recalling what we know.

Summer Blizzard

The vapor left in gullies by the night,
then brushed away by dawn’s impatient hand
resemble miracles, still yet to come
and follow those inclement days in June.
The tepid morning flutters in the breeze
and cottonwoods that flank the river town,
are letting go their drying, downy seeds
with faith enough to flip the seasons ’round.
At first they fuzz, with hesitating flakes,
that float and drift, as slow as eiderdown,
and graze the blacktopped streets with ashen gauze,
reseeded on the air without a sound.
Some people do their errands through the squall,
in sleeveless shirts and air conditioned cars
and conversation blossoms on the curb, 
while snowing whiteness falls between us all.
We stay out late in solstice light and sneeze,
we’ll dream of summer blizzards in the freeze.

Finding the Bitterroot

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Drive past the the weeping pinions
with their fists thrown down in cones.
Leave Sun Valley to the wealthy skiers
and the silent City of Rocks
and their hard opinions
to the climbers.
Become accustomed to the volute Snake
at the feet of the Sawtooth.
It will only cut deeper next spring
shedding a skin of rafters and fisherman.
This is where the White Sturgeon flex
through the tourmaline depths
staring from the sides of their heads
with dime-open eyes.
They slice the water with their scythe of a tail
into jejune zigzags.
Imitate them in your undulating rise
through White Bird Canyon
shrugging its way to elevation,
leveling on the Camas Prairie.
Be taken by the gargantuan cultivated ripple marks
of the Lake Missoula flood,
it has combed its green hair
and turned amber into September,
funneling dust behind percussive
John Deere machinery.
Pass through Lewiston breathing through your mouth.
Inhale the pulp mill that levitates its sour stench on the valley,
caring not that infants are born there and later
the odor reminds them of home.
Follow the Clearwater as the river starts
to pinch out egg-shaped boulders
that roll down from the peaks
knocking off the corners of centuries.
You have begun your ascent up the Bitterroot.