Snow with Moose

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Snow with Moose

Guide to the incremental, to the sifted mass. The Phoenician mem shifted
shapes, but always suggested water.

Moose likely derives from the Algonquian descriptor “he strips away.”

The Japanese character for water, mizu, evokes currents.

Moose are solitary creatures and do not form herds. A bilabial consonant,
M is a primary sound throughout the world.

The prehensile upper lip undresses branches and grabs shoots.

Wavering, I share the lack of definition, of clarity in design and choice.

The sound is prevalent in the words for mother in many unrelated tongues,
from Hindi to Mandarin, Hawaiian to Quechua, and of course English.

Eleven strokes compose the Japanese character for snow.

A smile would reveal no upper front teeth.

Long legs enable adults to manage snow up to three feet deep. Under water,
individual flakes striking the surface sound similar, despite size disparities.

It can also accurately be classified as a mineral.

Solitude to connection, dark on white. The lone traveler.

moose

“Snow with Moose” first appeared here in December 2015.

Letter from Austin

perfection

Letter from Austin

Michael, when you say moons do you see
cold stone floating in the firmament
or phrases frayed in the mouth and spat on paper?
And does the Spanish moon simmer at a similar
pace to mine or yours? Which embers blush brighter?
But let’s turn to estuaries, to salt and clamor and gun-
running poets and interrupted words sold in stalls
between parenthetical gates, to incomparable cavas
and the deterioration of envy and intervening years.
Or perhaps mislaid passion – a friend claims love
is merely a bad rash, that we scratch and scratch
and inflame but never truly cure what ails us. Sounds like
politics to me. Or sports. And business. Or neighborhoods.
On my street people should cook and play music together,
laugh, raise chickens and read good books. They should
brew beer, swap tomatoes, recite each other’s poetry and sing
in tune. But we’re different here, preferring instead electronics
glowing in dimly lighted rooms. I reject this failure, as I also
reject the theory of centrifugal force spinning off the moon’s
body from the earth’s crust, preferring to imagine a giant
impact blasting matter into orbit around what morphed into the
earth, and somehow accreting the stuff into this orb we
sometimes worship. This, to me, is how good relationships
form: explosions of thought and emotion followed by periods
of accretion. But what I mean is I hope this finds you well
by the river of holy sacrament. Remember: brackish water
bisects our worlds. Turn. Filter. Embrace. Gotta run. Bob.

Originally published in Heron Clan 3, this first appeared on the blog in July 2015.

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Return (El Salvador, 1983)

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Return (El Salvador, 1983)

Two years with no word.
The stick you planted
sprouted leaves last spring,

restoring hope. We had long
thought it dead. Two leaves
and a bud. A note

scrawled on a dollar bill,
unsigned and smuggled out
by some kindly stranger.

This is not much.
We can do little
but watch the tree grow

while you count steps
and deny the walls of a room
that light never touches.

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“Return (El Salvador, 1983)” first appeared here in June 2015.

Poem Up at Picaroon Poetry, Issue #9

My poem, “Memorial Day, 2015” has been published at Picaroon Poetry. Many thanks to editor Kate Garrett, for taking this piece, and a shout out to Paul Vaughan and Tobi Alfier, whose  poems also appear in this issue.

My Writing Space

I am fortunate to have a writing space of any sort, much less a comfortable one.

Shack X

This is the shack that launched a thousand rejections…or something like that. It’s small, with a 10 x 12 footprint, and is getting crowded inside.  The photo was taken in August 2013, a few weeks before the interior was finished out. Note the inspector, Jackboy, with his ball.

Shack 1

The most important feature of the shack is the air conditioner. The bookcases are nice, too, but the heat would be unbearable without the a/c unit.

Shack 2

Books keep migrating here. I wonder why. The cattle dog spent many hours in the dog bed, but the Chihuahuas prefer the house.

Shack 3

I try to use the available space as efficiently as possible, hence the skinny book cases. The painting is by Stuckist painter Ron Throop, whose art and words inspire me.

Shack 4

The desk is usually messier than this…

Shack 5

Birds often smacked into the righthand window, until I added the little mobile fabricated from a piece of cedar and wooden bird ornaments.

Shack 6

Yes, that’s a stationary bike. The good thing about having such a small space is that I can ride the bike and reach over for a sip of beer without having to pause.

Shack last

I’ve been banging on that guitar for forty years. It’s a little worn, but then so am I. The broadside is a Galway Kinnel poem, “Little Children’s Prayer,” which joins a small group of signed broadsides in the shack, featuring poems by Jane Hirshfield, Arthur Sze and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge. Alas, I’m running low on wall space.