Be Wildering

Be Wildering

Unsuspecting: C- and I, on a long and rambling walk, often find ourselves inviting in unexpected engagements with surprising people. They emerge, as is said, as a knot from the woodwork. A shape in an old paneled wall; a face presses out from the flat space and speaks.

Remember the day we walked to the crowded beach. Lines of barbecues smoke-signaled the advent of well-done hamburgers. Families and children bird-called along strings of towels drying in the breeze. Lines of youth, bounding the beach with their drum beat feet; chasing balls, Frisbees, and the last rays of summer.

Unsuspicious: We find ourselves engaged in a conversation with a stranger clutching a worn notebook. An apprentice Palm Reader, she is here to practice her new skills, for free, with those willing to sit and hold hands. She materializes from the crowd as a red breasted robin among a cage of gray sparrows.

Remember her soft hands and long gray hair. Remember the waves right before she caught us: Our conversation must have been about love, or its loss. Her words to C-: You are an outspoken leader with a heart of deep compassion. Her words to me: You are inspired, with a creative heart and a soul that calls in the wounded birds.

Unassuming: We chitter, our own cage doors opened to possibility—and bewildering conversations. Chance meetings that widen windows and minds. Seagulls along the shore squawk for bread crumbs from toddlers. Salty, ocean waves are greedy for sharing. The scent of tomatoes, brown sugar, and smoke fills our nostrils.

Remember—as I did, later that evening, alone in my many windowed home—how deep the lines in my palms felt as I watched her walk away. How deep the sag of her left shoulder—against the height of the right. As she rose and limped away, two red feathers fell.

a late night check in

hello…twice i have put up and taken down my blog. i post because i want to be seen–read. i remove also because i want to be read–published!–in a good old fashioned paper book. so i removed most of my work off my blog again and took succumbing down for awhile. we shall see if my EGO can keep it this way. i have kept some pieces up–mostly haphazardly, though i have taken down most of my favorites. i am undecided what is the best method to send my voice into the world. i dislike the politics of publishing versus blogs… i mostly wanted you–who have commented and read in the past–to know how much i appreciate all you read and what you have said, and i’d like to share with you without jeopardizing my chances of being published in the PAPER world. i’d also like to stay engaged and be inspired by the works of others in this medium. how do we balance all of that?

the day they cut you open

The day they cut you open

You have been sliced
and scarred
at other times in your life;
above your eyebrow and below your waistline.
The pink lines trace divergent life stories
and separated ages:
teenage skateboard crashes
and middle-aged hernias.

I suspect you might believe that the worst scars
were inflicted by me,
but no medical examiner would uncover them,
no matter the sharp depth
of the autopsy razor.

The day they cut you open
is 3 days before Christmas.

I wait in this vast windowed waiting area
with glass as tall as the evergreens outside
and listen to the holiday choirs sing on the hospital intercom.
I plan the rest of my gift shopping
and wonder how I will work two weeks in 3 days
so I can spend my holiday vacation feeding you
small white pills, and applesauce,
and warm tea,
and count your breaths alongside my heartbeat.

As the snow falls;
as the cuts in your flesh seal.

I watch the morbidly obese nurse pace down the hall.
She moves with an odd grace I would not expect
from a skeleton asked to move
so much substance.
She smiles deeply at the man in the wheelchair waiting his turn.
Perhaps her physique expands to match
the compassion in her heart;
I hope her life is long and healthy.

I wait for you to emerge from Recovery
So she can smile at you, too.


West Coast Trail Rainforest (imagining the worst for you while hoping for the best)

his car, packed
enough food for just one man
the trip, driven
enough road for thousands of wheels
the trail, hiked
enough space for skies full of thoughts
the beach, camped
enough miles for years of loss

thoughts come
numerous as the rocks on the beach
and as uncomfortable
as under a naked ass
at high tide

in all this space
absent the cluttering electric
this is the real unplugged
the acoustic pluck

if it could only be so pleasant
as that one folk song

but the dissonance astounds
the beach echoes
waves to the edge of the damp forest
where hollow takes on a new meaning

where tree roots enter
and never return

later in the tent, you try to rest
the weary contemplations
and your head
on the fleece-lined blow up pillow
that packs down smaller
than your left testicle
you try to rest, but you stay awake

at night

the mouth
chastising the brain
that convinced you

this trip was a good idea
for a half a century
old body wondering if this life
is a glass as full as
a tipped-over era


we will do this again (infinity goes in both directions)

we go on gulping
these mouths
never finished devouring
even when wishing like starving
there is the picture, here is the pin
swallowed, denied
swimming in the pricked and bleeding
intestine, twisted

we go on together
we go on apart
never finished ripping
even when wishing like breathing
pretending, denying
with hearts still swimming
inside the others’ chest

we choose this
and we will do it again

because, to sweet twisted hearts
like ours
this is being alive
and we still want
a different ending

when solitary on the mountaintop
knowing this knot
tied to someone separate: toyou-tome
who climbed the next peak over
with this
continental valley

we choose this
we will do it again

because, to sweet figure-eight
hearts like ours
we still

infinity goes in both directions

Postcard #7

Where We Climb

we would disappear
into this
green footfalls
muffled in the embracing
forest branches
welcome the ones
who would vanish in this

Written on a postcard depicting the forest at the feet of Mt. Rainier, one of those “wish you were here” kinds of places. I can’t get enough of these pinnacle places. Sent to Judy in Qualicum Beach, BC.

Postcard #6

Damn Postcard, Glorious Mountain

in every vision i search
words to describe
but it is just a
snow, glaciers
she is a tower; bows into the lake with
four small hikers in her distance
one dead tree
with this pen and this
small square paper language
and an imaginary iceberg
urging the melt
i yearn merely to stand
at her feet

Written on a postcard of the foothills leading to Mt. Baker and her glacier-heaving sides. Sent to Lynne in Hoboken, NJ

postcard #5

one path: irreverent

a week before my birthday
i am kicking hard to get out
certain the world outside, cold
bright, hot, sharp, open
is what i am destined to know
even if it demands i leave
this constant
mindless feed
so i kick harder

i am yet to discover
the word regret, or any others
and i still long
to know
its exquisite, sharp

Postcard #5 written on a card depicting a path carved in a field of hay leading to a sturdy, old barn in a farmland field tucked against a hillside in Whatcom County, Washington.

postcard #4

Mountain Love

In this place, I know love
a reflection of
the moving waters at
their sacred task
of separating soil from sky
at this peak
in this place
love is unclouded
undemanding of
a direction

Postcard #4 written on a card depicting Mt. Rainier reflecting onto an unnamed lake at the mountain’s base.

Postcard #3

Deceptive Storm
trading one metaphor for another
clouds close in as a sandstorm
a sandstorm erupts as a tornado
a tornado that swarms as bees
bees that buzz

buzz like
the thoughts in my head
unable to settle as a wanderer
lost in fog
trapped in a swarm
of the storm’s eye

but only here
behind the center
of my eyes
this deceptive storm

Poem #3 written on a postcard depicting a foggy day at Deception Past with the caption “With the forming clouds closing in as if it were a sandstorm, Deception Pass truly earns its name”.


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