December

You broke a bale and scattered August on
the frozen stable boards. December sagged,
her arching tail switched steadily at dawn.
We waited, talked of heifers, fogged and flagged
the conversation cleverly around
a frigid barn. December didn’t care,
she raised her head, was bearing down,
preoccupied with something in the air.
She pushed until we saw two hoofs appear;
the long gestation ruptured, braved the chill
and steaming, slipped into the atmosphere.
December stood and letting down her milk,
wasted streams of warmth around her feet.
We watched until our silence stretched like hands
through polar fronts and taciturn cool sheets.
The moon fell down, the newborn tried to stand,
but vapor veiled our faces as we laughed
together at December’s wobbly calf.

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Mayfly Sonnet

Now trees don’t cast their shade, it follows me
and yellows light to fenced anemic hue.
The crooning brook, a dull menagerie:
discordant scales or fish beneath that blue
once fasinated me. Instead, I look
away and focus carefully on dim
horizons, leave the mayfly on the hook,
descending, dive for shadowed cool to swim.
Though still I wonder, what of paths untried;
the splash that I’ve kept thirsty in a dream.
The angled light viewed from the other side,
those might-have-beens that never may be seen.
A transient color stalks the fragile hour,
then quietly it occupies each flower.

Infectious Youth (A fond tribute)

Eternally bleeding from the knife-edge spaces
in the library stone-steps
with breadcrumb-words and apostrophes; donning academic dress and fraternal order,  bursts the young, firm mind, unkempt in cavalcades of originality, dine and dash texts combined with a self-assured intellectuality sponsored by apple curves and way.

Fenced in the wasteland, calculated by the Pound,
price of admission paid
(for future-former associations).
They come:
emanating spring and
dispersing a repetitive freshness
in the wake of their
passage with devastating
sprays of drive-by stanzas.

Herein they go,
rambunctiously dismissive, pleasantly delusional,
(life inebriated, weaves
and sideswipes experience).
Galloping effortlessly through,
with sweater, letter and currency.
Hobnobbing
robbing and rhyming
schooled and appealingly fooled.
An infectious energy and worse,
we find ourselves in the
precocious lines of their
reconstituted verse.

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 engineered
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.

Hieroglyph

Unwinding, hissing, passing eons out,
ballooning flapped, elastic: time’s disease.
The years deflated under winter drought,
while oceans were reduced to antifreeze.
Through complicated wars of circumstance,
in heat and dust, a few survived. Though stiff
at first, our body-language did advance
and printed verse became a hieroglyph
and sneezed. Exotic font and serif said
it all, to modern scholars looking back
from Times New Roman, Palatine, instead
of Courier, Papyrus, Copper Black.
The future pouring over poems found
the curvature of letter minus sound.

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.