Scarecrow Replies

Scarecrow Replies

 

This talk of destiny and exceptionalism and the incessant
push towards terror inflames my metaphorical innards.
Birds may kill, but they don’t practice genocide and never
erase history’s missteps with published falsities; their songs
remain true. Not so with man. What grows importance is
not what you hold but what another has in his grasp, no matter
how tenuous. I think of water and how some would charge
for the right to drink, or withhold it from those who cannot
pay. And air? Whose breath defines the dollar? Or the fear
that a distant neighbor might receive a benefit that you
neither need nor desire. Crows claim territory but roam
with the season, adapt as necessary. While they may provoke
curses in their wake, their damage is temporary and they
don’t poison for profit. If I could leave my post what station
would I accept? Having shared my days with sky-bound
friends, how could I choose another? They sing and swoop
and cooperate among the winds, taking only what they need.
They neither hoard nor covet. They steal but don’t swindle.
Their wings lift no grudges. Even gravity respects them.

“Scarecrow Replies” first appeared in MockingHeart Review in May 2018. Thank you to editor Clare Martin for her generosity and many kindnesses.

In Praise of Chiggers

In Praise of Chiggers

And the others
feasting unseen
upon you,
offering their
blessings
of digestive juices
and anticoagulants,
allergic reactions and
reddened mounds
made pleasurable
by your fingernails
scraping the skin
around them, over
and raw, again,
again, it feels
so good!

“In Praise of Chiggers” first appeared here in August, 2017. We’re past the season now…

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

Daniel Paul Marshall strikes gold:
“(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down…”

And the discussion on similes in the comments is like a bright torch in a dark well… Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Daniel Paul Marshall

Haenyo incident at Hallim Harbour (sometime after lunch)

…At a small harbor | old stone steps cut out with tools
or perhaps repeated use & weather.

She watches fish with silver bellies |
(Asian carp?) leap out the pristine waters like

a good idea which granulates into fuzz
before you have time to write it down

—one leap after another
a meter or so | the gulls watching.

She asks a fisherman nearby
why do they do it? She can’t make out

much of what he says | something about
“polluted water & noise from fishing boats”

which “rumble through the water.”
A gang of ajumma who work at a black-pig

BBQ restaurant | cartoon make-up & hair-metal perms |
tiger-print spandex & leather waistcoats |

crowded around something or someone
—“What’s everyone so interested with?”

A Haenyeo: Grandma of the Sea “heard music while diving”
a music not belonging…

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Saltwater

 

Saltwater

What if you close your eyes
and your throat relinquishes

the morning’s bright
fingers, freed from bruises.

Suppose that particular night
never happened, the way

a wave crashing ashore
empties itself and trickles

back in separate communities,
mingling yet aloof, a

diminishing cortege. What
is the question? Take this

spoon. Fill it with saltwater.
Upend it into the pail. Observe.

“Saltwater” was first published in Nine Muses Poetry in May 2018.

Morning Suizen

Morning Suizen

Boundless, it sips direction in the way of all music,
tonguing each note for its salt.

We call this ecstasy. Or peace.
Follow, and they still escape, always beyond
our outstretched fingers.

Exhale slowly. What do you know?

That long tunnel, ribbed in silence.
The scent of burning cedar.
Days framed in darkness and birdsong.

* * *

Note: Suizen is the practice of playing the shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese bamboo flute, as a means of attaining self-realization.

“Morning Suizen” first appeared on Nine Muses Poetry. Many thanks to editor Annest Gwilym for taking this piece.

Election Day Poem Up at Vox Populi

My poem “The Theory and Practice of Rebellion” is up at Vox Populi, nestled between Daniel R. Cobb’s essay “Democracy Dies without You,” and Naomi Shihab Nye’s powerful poem “United.” Fellow citizens of the USA, this election will change our lives. Vote!