Category Archives: Poetry

Love this fall poem by Rilke!

Autumn Day

Rilke

 

Lord: it is time. The summer was so immense.

Lay your shadow on the sundials,

and let loose the wind in the fields.

 

Bid the last fruits to be full,

give them another two more southerly days,

press them to ripeness, and chase

the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

 

Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.

Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,

will stay up, read, write long letters,

and wander the avenues, up and down,

restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.

Winter’s Weekly Vacuum

And so it is that we in the North bear out these long winter months pressed inside rooms that seem to grow ever smaller. Tufts of cat and dog hair drift about the floor amongst fragments of bark and splinters as we open the wood stove to feed it one more time, again, again. Houseplants toss leaves and stems to the ground in protest of the dearth of humidity, while stray popcorn pieces from the umpteenth movie we’ve watched lie tangled in rug fringe. The dog stares vapidly into space or clings to us like a small child. The cat perfects her staircase acrobatics, until one day she begins to excavate the plants. Potting soil flung in all directions is pure sport. We reach out to touch anything for the thrill of electric static zap. Sometimes, tired of waiting for Mark Breen with his Eye on the Sky to pronounce our fate in inches of snow or ice or mercury’s descent, we walk boldly barefoot out on the porch, look up at the stars. We don’t even wear hats.

 

Mingus passes the time.

Mingus passes the time.

 

 

 

After

Now there is simply this: winter’s night silence. Worn family chair, one lamp; she is curled under wraps, impulse for urgency muffled. Outside one deer leaps through the snow, and another follows. Once she held up her hands, until he was gone. Quiet takes all her resolve. It’s the bravest thing she does. Letting what is, in. Waiting. Outside constellations spin imperceptibly apart, and she imagines one tiny ice crystal held aloft upon the new blanket of snow. When illuminated by morning’s light, it will refuse to melt.

Equinox

Vermont

Goldenrod soon to be snuffed out,

No bathing suits lakeside lounging

or bare bellies down State Street saunter.

 

Burdocks hitch rides toward

next year—latched onto pant legs,

shoe laces, the dog’s tail. Last buttercup

nods off, apples thud to earth.

Green tomatoes aspire for redness.

 

Herbs strung up to dry—lavender sweet dreams,

oregano, basil simmer sauces, sage-flavored

corn bread, lemon balm tea steaming.

Crickets thrumb through the evenings,

we savor the porch, steeped in red wine and wrapped

in blankets while inside

maple wood smokes in the stove.

 

New Mexico

Cottonwood yellow rivers

along arid arroyos.

Distant mountains buttress the blue

sky, sun splashes adobe walls.

Heat fades in imperceptible

increments.

 

Tarantulas hop across the highway,

mate under ponderosa, in pine needles and sand.

Horny toads must not be moved, must not

be interrupted from their journeys or

bad luck will come.

Bosque del Apache white like snow,

wings of migrating birds.

 

Hot air balloons waft above the city.

roadside loaded with red chili ristras,

1960s trucks from Chilili, Tejique,

gourds, watermelon, cord wood to sell,

pinion smoke’s sugar-sage smell.

Green chili roasts in wire baskets turning

in every parking lot while

Three Dog Night cranks it out

at the New Mexico State Fair.

Zozobra burns in Santa Fe.

 

Spiny cactus and squashes,

the sweet, the heat, the tang,

tastes of coolness.

 

Balanced between darkness

and light, night and day, east, west…

summer slinks away; the geese

get out of town.

What do they know?

When snow-white blind,

thirty-five below sears the brain and

even fingernails feel alive.

Afternoon Coffee with Death

“On this site nothing happened,”

the sign declares at this outdoor café.

Someone took the time            shot bullet holes

through enameled coffee pots strung along the fence.

Well…that’s something.

 

Sipping coffee with cream, I write:

Wind whips sand into a desert dervish.

Next table over            Death pulls up a chair.

I see he drinks his coffee black, El Mapais, rolling lava

fills all the emptiness.

 

Lucky Strike, flick of a match and smoke curls

through his lips red as canyons made for swallowing rivers.

I turn my body                        so he can’t see and write:

Through nights of stars and blankets the wind drags a shadow,

drags the invisible to light.

 

This morning I hung out laundry – blue jeans stiff, sheets snapping sideways,

grit in my teeth. Vultures floated circular currents,

shadows of wings beat down heat.

Death is rearranging magnetic poetry on the wall. He writes: I felt

sweet love whisper to me.

 

Sweet love…I never wanted it to stop whispering.

On this parched patch of earth, a single blade

of grass grows             a fraction of an inch.

Bury me in rich loam, not among chalk and bones.

                                                            Did I write that? Or did he?

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico

El Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico

 

Mockingbird

Perched a-top the weather vane,

a-top the cow’s butt pointing

due south at the peak of the barn roof,

that mockingbird proclaims

his proclivity for ripping off tunes.

Radio station on scan never lingers.

What remarkable range, what

preposterous talent. Chest puffed out

he belts out blue jay blues,

song sparrow solos, black crow

raucous rock and roll; he croons

a robin’s latest country hoe-down.

Poor fellow—born with no

song of his own, no apologies

what-so-ever.