Tuesday, June 24, 2014


follow the love,
go now with no
thought of consequences

follow the love
like the scent of baking bread
in a craggy wilderness

or music rising like dust
on the abandoned air in streets
emptied by war

follow the love
that points to you
among the multitudes and says,

“that’s the one I want!”

the compass handed down to you
is broken, an inheritance
of wandering and want

bury it in the sand and follow now
day and night to the edge of yourself—
then jump!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Great Love is Enough


Why leave your reaching lover in bed
to sit in the dust hitting rocks
with a sweaty hammer?

Why abandon this present palace
love has built for you to make
a nest in brambles?

What crimes do you imagine
you committed to deserve this
thirsty exile apart? 

Think. Open. Return. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

To Retrain an Egg

Of all the ways to avoid living, 
perfect discipline is the most admired.
                                  —James Richardson

When you apply force
to retrain an egg
that will not
sit up straight
in the carton—or, worse yet,
that delights in the altered states
of wobbly rolling
on the open counter,
freefall looming every second—
things end badly.

Life gone out.
Perfection fled.

But then,
how else will you
bring them to market
properly dressed for 
an orderly transaction?

How else will the consumer
get his money’s worth?

How will the unbroken horse
carry the general into battle?

The simple answer
is far from easy:


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Garment of Our Becoming

The sun is the eye of a needle
and the trailing day is a thread
through the heart of
my life and yours

so that each sunset draws us
into new closeness
a tighter weave than
we have known before

and the garment of our becoming
is worn in turns each night
while we sleep, by angels
longing to be us.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

To See

To see new sky
gathered in the
mud-rimmed basket
where mama robin placed it

in the keeping of
burnished cliffs
much older than life
to see,

you’ve got to run the
gooseberry gauntlet,
a trial by
dancing daggers,

you’ve got to
trust your feet
to shifting talus
loyal to no one,

you’ve got to
put both hands on
the watching rock
and lean in

face to face,
far in,
one eye forward,
to see.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Looking at Snapshots on Mother's Day

Like this one—
fading family portrait, sixties style,
Mother, Father, Sister, Brother
in front of the fireplace.

Neil and Buzz had not yet proved
to the world that gravity,
the ultimate bully,
was not so tough after all.

That’s me, of course,
crew cut, cow lick, shirt tails tucked in,
a third grader’s leaning eagerness
to please.

But that smile is cut out and pasted
over a fact you’d never see
if you didn’t know
where to look.

That day, portrait day,
I had spent every eternal moment since dawn
tumbling down steep hills,
gravity’s newest plaything.

Freeze frame:
me pinned to my spinning bed,
the only thing left between my small body
and the dark center of the earth.

Next one:
cold porcelain hears my confession
of mortality, done to symbolic death
by viral marauders.

To see the point in speaking of such things
on a scrubbed and bright Mother’s Day,
like making a rude noise at a proper
Ladies Luncheon,

then look closely, just here:
See, my mother’s arm around my waist,
her hand placed gently across
my smoldering stomach

to say “I am here, I am here.”
It’s a detail in the snapshot that is
easy to miss, unless you
know where to look.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Grace in the Grass

Stand here beside me now
where the trail slides between
mountain and creek.

Close your eyes and please
tell me the difference
between the sound of
water tripping on stones
to our left, melted snow
trying out new feet,

and the sound of 
Bristlecone Pines
up the hillside on our right,
combing tangles from
the toddling spring wind
as it passes.

Any ideas?

If you’d like an 
even bigger challenge,
teach me the difference
between all of this and
God’s sweet voice,

the sound of grace
rolling in the grass,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

not brand new

The man at the 
hardware store 
tells me,
brand new, 
the thing I need
will cost an amount
greater than 
the smudged sum
in my checkbook,
but I live in
Machine World
with rules I
cannot ignore,
to wit: disrepair 
is not an option,
which is why
today I trace
the topography
in this junkyard,
and follow an
outcropping of
consumer sediment
which the woman
in the shack by the gate
told me might contain
the fossil I seek –
not brand new—
it’s a sad stratigraphy
of discarded dreams
and relic prosperity,
mounded moraine
deposited here by
the endless freeze
and thaw gripping
the material world:
a window sill
air conditioner
stripped of copper,
an assortment of hub caps
made for cars long ago
thrown into the lake of fire,
a Maytag washer
rusting behind the
wizard’s curtain,
and a hundred other things
I hold into sunlight
at every possible angle
before tossing them back
to finish their journey
to the sea
without me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayer Beads

The snow on the ground
is crusted and hard.

The deer mouse leaves
no track on the
fossilized remains of
winter in retreat.

It is spring,
and I move
along a dark archipelago
of emerging earth,
floating islands 
in a white sea,
strung together
like prayer beads
in praise of fire and 
the returning sun.

Ice melts.
Sky blue deepens.
The wheel turns and
then seed factories
hire back the local spirits
furloughed in the
depths of December.

I step carefully
to protect the hope
pushing upward
on my feet.