Inspecting the Dark

 

Does not a form
of vision bait this hour
while frilled sharks of sleep
slide in between impaired
and deafened ears,
feeding on monsoons of dreams
I am here
breathing in this night of spring
on darkened curb below the plumes
of foliage that offer paper lanterns
of cavalcading lilac-whites,
their fragrant light accompanies
my sack of lonely bones tonight
as I inspect these trees
against that moon,
sit in this obscured
outsider’s room with quiet houses
walled within
the passing pantomime,
standing circumspect
and bricked around the slumber
of their occupants,
playing those lickspittle tricks
of a sober, fixed
existence;
are not we all canaries caged
and sent down coal-black shafts
lit with fits of monkeyshine,
blinded by the slighted hand,
waged and mortgaged
by the soundness
of illusions we expand.

Great Basin Plants

Regardless of the hour,
concrete culverts funnel
their noxious fumes upward
in unapologetic clouds.
They canker
the stretch marks
of great basins,
where the Bonneville ranges
heave like hard-rock breasts
and salt flats
rest between them.
They seem
to have absorbed
the curious tears of Lot’s wife
long ago when she harked back
to rough-scrabble elevations.

Even the Bristlecone pine
imperceptibly snake
their chapped roots
down through basalt fissures
and twist into the altitude
in tortured angles,
dismember the eons
before Pony Express riders
galloped across sprawling
high desert vales
beating out
a common time signature,
winding through the Four-winged
Saltbush,
dodging the spiny Shadscale.

Alkaline expanses
tickled by the wheeze
of gingham skirts and spun
wagon wheels, easily blanched
the broken frames of the dead
to accommodate
their deserted efforts.

More recently,
salt processing plants and toxic
waste incinerators are long-mile
neighbors up wind
from the army depot,
peppered truck stops
and the copper mine slag-heaps.

Rinsed in a halogen-sapphire light
after the sun gives up the ghost,
monolithic smokestacks bolk
a steady exhaust.
It diagonals
and dissipates in secreted
melancholy burnings
offered up to the isolated
and inhaled by the sparkling
seven sisters, reduced
to semi-precious stones
worn above a vacancy.

Underneath it all,
radioactive wastes
buried inside vinyl-lined landfills
live out their quiet half-lives.

Pelican

He stands, body of an immense, whitewashed
soup tureen supported by mustard
bamboo limbs jutted
out in twin tangerine webs
of lizard-skin fans.
Heaped hanging dishes of raw
Indonesian black rice along with the white
jasmine variety
against his sides, are folded wings
below his peeled, boiled egg
of a head dotted with opposing eyes.
They swivel, long terminated
on a neck of fat albino-copperhead
snaked-circumference
almost bent into a figure eight
while he sleeps with his acrobatic
nape against his back.
His bill is an arm-length
by a four-finger width
of a marigold funnel,
intersecting his frontal view
over blizzards of breast feathers.
This concludes in a single-beak talon
sissoring a three gallon collapsible pouch.
All skeletal hollow inner workings are enginneered
to absorb the tension hidden in an aquatic surface.
He is unaware of the myths
of self sacrifice assigned to him
and spun by our need to elevate behavior.
Folklore doesn’t affect his flight or fishing
nor does the symbolism of blood and water.

Ides

Abeyant limbs stab the ides
with a flimsy shade,
Parked buds tumefy,
eddied in the tepid jetstream.
Lonely gaggle-strays
prematurely return,
stand selfishly straight
and ringnecked on a pond island.
Aviary music swells
beyond its clipped wings; blankets of feathers
break over pimpled birdflesh
in recurrent waves.
Hands of internal clocks sink
to a depth of the tallest hour,
while an unconscious violet
rises with a split clitoral petal.
Snow is razored by the sun
into clean shaven slopes
and intermittent springs
rupture the ground
reminding me
how winters lie.

 

Digesting Gravity

We frittered our conversation away
on the brittle edges of selective
vocabulary. Words, pale and objective,
hung like sheets over clan members,
hovered foamy on the pushed tide
of pretense and squatters rights.

Familiarity was the carcass
of a wooly mammoth
we were stepping gingerly over
with verbs and run-on sentences.

In this public place, where once
we had whispered over flapjacks,
flirted around a breakfast scramble,
we met in a back booth
to discuss the terms
of our convenient disentanglement
above a final waffle
dusted with powdered sugar.

Some maple syrup got stuck on the
edges of papers we were so civilly editing
and for a moment we slipped
on the softened ice of easy banter.

Just then, gravity
forgot itself in the small café.
All of the cups and saucers
lifted with the silverware,
the apron on a waitress
floated up a bit…

Whipped egg whites of reconsideration
appealed with a weightlessness,
but the side of regret
was inedible.

On the Crooked Fork

Beneath a cedar canopy,
the Maidenhair fern part
a slightly humid shade into wedges.
The Trillium, like vagabonds
with snowy petaled heads
are edges where waxy hearts
of wild ginger spread.
Blossomed Shooting Stars
twist in shapes of amethyst,
ignite at will against
a galaxy of chlorophyll,

on the Crooked Fork.
We saw the prehistoric looking
Sculpins where currents tremble,
lulled in turquoise-clean,
were poised above the Lima-bean
shaped pebbles.
We resembled a wishbone,
watching prone and stretching,
cupped hands magnified, submerged.
Side by side, on the verge
of catching
the shy creature and

we panned for gold and thought
we found a fleck, then made up names
for other fish, juggled speculations,
talked of filing claims,
struggled, smiling through a tiff.
We stayed until the evening breeze
spilled out freely in the trees;
banking off their bark.
Then a thrush in bursting keys
sang chiaroscuro’s last trapeze
and rang the Crooked Fork.

Northern Light

How often we brushed the sawdust
from our shoulders
and slipped kisses around
the pointed aroma of pine,
our ears still tolling
from the sabretoothed,
spun-plate blades.
Mechanics disecting the age of a tree
kerf by shrieking kerf.
Larch hemorrhaged
on the sharp air
in a flown powdery pitch.

The night
beyond that milled second shift
when improbable green
neon shears bleared the stars,
wigwagged in the solar wind.
We drove northward pulled by purples too
and swerving-drunk on curtains of color
slivering the sky;
our garb chalked with bits
of dimensional lumber,
a florescence  revealed in our eyes.