Musing on My New Chapbook (3)

The pre-publication order period for I Have a Bird to Whistle ends on February 24. I believe that there will be a small increase in price after that.

 

From where do these poems come?

The third poem in the chapbook, (soubasse, plenum, leaf), started with an interest in the sounds trees make when suffering from drought, and moved on to etymology, politics, questions of measurement and, as always, perception. The definitions of “plenum” were particularly illuminating, as were the origins of various units of measure, as were those sounds we sense but don’t hear, those feelings tugging at us, perhaps without our knowledge.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.

 

Firewood

firewood 

 

Firewood

For two years the oak
loomed, leafless.
We had aged
together, but somehow
I survived the drought
and ice storms, the
regret and wilt,
the explosions within,
and it did not.

I do not know
the rituals of trees,
how they mourn
a passing, or if
the sighs I hear
betray only my own
frailties, but even
as I fuel the saw and
tighten the chain,
I look carefully
for new growth.

 

chain saw

“Firewood” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second.

 

Serpent (Recording)

“Serpent” is the first part of the second poem in I Have a Bird to Whistle (7 Palinodes), my new chapbook. I’ll post recordings of the second and third parts in the next few days.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.

 

Musing on My New Chapbook (2)

From where do these poems come?

The second poem in the chapbook, (serpent, door, eye), grew from a snake-eviction experience one Friday evening, and questions about perception. I marveled at the strength the snake’s body evinced as it wrapped itself around my wrist. What does it see, I wondered. How does it sense? What sequence of events has brought me to this place, now, standing in the grass with a snake in my hands, the sun hovering just over the horizon, cicadas thrumming all around?

And of course the poem rumbled around in my subconscious for months after the incident. What took me back to that time and place? Who can say? Perhaps a flash of light through the oak’s branches, rain dripping from the metal roof, or the fragrance of burning juniper. I never know, but it slid out, somehow, onto the page.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.

 

Aubade (Inca Dove)

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Aubade (Inca Dove)

Such delicacy
evokes the evolution of hand
and wing, a growth

reflecting all we’ve come
to know. Two doves

sit on the fence, cold wind ruffling
their feathers. What brings them
to this place of no

shelter, of wind and rain
and clarity defied? Fingers

often remember what the mind
cannot. Silence
complicates our mornings.

 

This last appeared here in February 2018, and was originally published in The Balcones Review in 1987. Seems I was enthralled with birds back then, too…

 

FenceDrama1

 

Musing on My New Chapbook

From where do these poems come?

Beats me. I can’t explain how I write poetry. It just happens, generally at a desk, word by word, without prior planning.

So it was with the pieces in I Have a Bird to Whistle (7 Palinodes), my latest chapbook. I was staring out the shack’s window, through the bird imprint (months earlier, a dove had smacked into the glass, leaving its body’s smudged outline behind), when the first words of the poem came to me: “What falters in translation?”  Which of course led to thoughts about assumptions and traitorous actions, passageways, Robert Johnson, slide guitar, truth, perception, flight, refraction, etymology, deflection, Jung, and much, much more. Thus the book’s title is taken directly from Robert Johnson’s lyrics, inspired by a dove’s misperception, and filtered through my mind’s colander, with the residue dumped out on the page. Not en elegant process, nor a quick one, but there you have it.

The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.

Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.

 

Diverting Silence

 

Diverting Silence

Wren canyons down the morning’s edge, proclaiming dawn.
Unpapered, unfettered, fearless, he abides.

I say “he,” but sexual dimorphism is not apparent in the species.
Accepting signals, we process and choose, freighting gender aside.

Listening requires contextual interpretation, as does belief.
Shrilling to the porch screen, he spears a moth, veers outward.

An acquaintance claims birds are soulless, existing only to serve God.
As temple bells exist solely to announce, and rain, to water lawns.

Faith’s immensity looms in the absence of proof.
Spherical and hollow, suzu bells contain pellets.

The search for truth without error does not preclude fact.
Even tongueless bells ring.

 

 

“Diverting Silence” was published in Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art in February 2017.