(Note: John Muir walked through North American wilderness without a weapon. His agenda was simply to be where he was. But he was also made of steel and knew how to fight. jrs)
Mean-spirited people flourish when
good hearts look the other way.
Ignorance is only bliss for the ignorant.
The rest of us have to stay light on our feet,
trying to understand the laws of Nature.
To avoid being prey, some pray,
some embrace predation in a beneficent way,
some surrender all pretense and leave kindness
in shallow graves scattered across a bleak plain.
(admirable, yet implacable, predator: video.nationalgeographic.com; gentle John Muir: philosophyforlife.org)
(top: moddb.com; Yosemite: sardonycs.net)
(Note: I first heard “snort fort” in Leo Kottke’s “Jack Gets Up” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghHhRklLQzE). I’d love to take credit for it, but can’t.–jrs)
An oddly unfamiliar sound seeps
to me in my snort fort of sheets and pillows.
The dog yawns and my belly
makes a noise like an evening bullfrog
as I stretch and groan to the grey light.
the long dry summer has given way.
Fall puts a membrane of rain
over everything in this Oregon pocket.
(top: oregonlive.com; rainy rainbow: greghughes.net)
A poet is a person who makes snapshots,
moments in a sequence spoken
like the tree falling in the forest:
kinetic images for who would listen.
Judgment has little to do with truth;
merit is wholly subjective.
We align if the music compels
an Aurora Borealis in our heads.
The point: connection to Something Else,
a journey however short or long
from ourselves, through
the Universe, and back.
The gravel on this road long unused
crackles with unfamiliar noise
under my well-worn tires.
My elbow thrusts into hot air,
bared to sun and desert.
Synapses not used in years
fire in solidarity with the road,
transporting me to memory long-buried.
The emotion of it rises and throws
its own gravel against my well-worn heart.
(top: techsupportalert.com; bottom: landroverclub.net)
Oh, to be a careful writer,
dotting eyes and crossing tees,
always sure of being ruly
as my thoughts tumble to the page
in ordered eloquence, perfectly coiffed
and savored by readers as fine wine.
Reality, though, finds this notion
hilarious in the extreme.
My writing is unruly rodeo:
dense with dust, sweat, and sometimes
bleeds when my lip splits from
a flying horn or kissing the ground.
(top: alittlenewsphoto.com; bottom: mediagallery.usatoday.com)
Can’t sugar-coat it,
just annoyed at everything,
I should be upbeat.
I should feel free:
the monkey is gone.
I allow the city
to choke my peace.
I have an idea and
pretend it is true.
It may or may not be true.
I’m not sure it matters.
I may not be who I want to be.
I may only be who I am.
The ice lets me know it’s not ready
with a peculiar noise:
half crack, half echo.
My heart freezes and climbs
through my throat into my head,
where it tries to look out from my nostrils.
My gut stays calm;
my skate blades adjust;
my path assumes a line to the edge.
The middle is not ready
to bear me on a journey
to the other side.
I have only to wait
for the season to deepen
and the ice to call.
(top: shambhalatimes.org; bottom: americablog.com)
The dog watches my
jumble of knots creak and fray;
he worries I’ll snap.
(top: lillstreet.com; dog: cherylpitt.com)