Saturday, November 1, 2014

in october i could see
the bones of autumn

death was with the eucalyptus
and the sun leaned into the beige
skeletons of star thistles

i suddenly remembered that
you are my sister when
the feathered seeds of coyote bushes
sailed past me in the clear, light wind

Thursday, October 30, 2014

joinery in october



hip lap

purlin end

hafu boards


demato rain boards


door corner

windows and doors

bay 4

Thursday, September 25, 2014

after so many years becoming
what i thought should come next
it was easy to lose track of the old quiet allies

the whole canyon shuddering
in the first moments of autumn

i saw that lonely old star
from the same place, on the same night
years later and realized that i feel happiest
when recalling winter

i should go back to seeing and speaking
with the harbor seals at shore;
their grey eyes and bodies the color of the sea

Sunday, July 27, 2014

fever poems

o the blue wind mouth sky 
sucking on the earths tit again

i'm an old funny nobody
falling miles away on the hill side!

gotta make it to the big blue wind
up gallivanting thru the sucking sky

raven, who are you calling?
don't call the bad witch, its only a fever
besides, your face is snowy and grey
so no one can take you seriously

you, yourself come
eat these tomatoes from
my fever bent hands

now i hear the white falcon coming
should we linger through her fury?

                                                  o dark lady of the shadows
                                                  quivering in the locust leaves

                                                  the downright fact of it is
                                                  the deer refuse to be machines

                                                  what made me think i could solve this puzzle?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

clear water : mattole poems

                                          "I feel like a river
                                                                a wide river in the morning
                                                                birds and fish over and through me"
                                                                                          ~Janine Pommy-Vega

a sink hole has opened up
where last winter David
buried his horse
--a form becoming void
   creating a void
three gullies north
dark stones are pulling
the ocean back over themselves
we all need a rest

                                     i should spend the whole day in the apple tree
                                     20 limbs of leaf and sun and wind and fruit
                                     can go a long way towards quieting the mind

                                     picking off the too dense or misshapen apples
                                     i want to touch every branch

                                     the deer come right up to eat the forgone fruit
                                     while i think of ways to respectfully
                                     get them to fear me

                                     most likely i should go deep into the mountains
                                     where most things can be worked back into balance

                                     for now, i'll drop apples on their heads

Bear Creek needs to flow
back through the alder grove
with a better culvert
instead of crossing the road
in that awful gravel wash
to do so would "disturb
an existing community"
says Fish and Wildlife
one thats at most 6 years old

by the same logic
there should be no planting of forests
over the landfills because
gulls and rats live on our plastic

war seethes and money follows it
salmon burn in the hot shallow waters
they follow old, old river songs home

                                     swimming at the Ranch Hole
                                     back eddy where the cold water
                                     sinks and your toes stir it up

                                     river bar stones hot
                                     on my bare ass and grasshoppers
                                     hit me in the head

                                     i'd love to be here
                                     when the river swells
                                     or when the thousands
                                     of juvenile fish gather
                                     back at the cold seep
                                     in the rocks of the wing-dam

                                     but likely i will not be
                                     there is youngness in me yet and
                                     i am all too familiar with
                                     the flighty high that the
                                     first step in leaving brings

                                     stay here for me, river
                                     as if for one instant
                                     you remain unchanged
                                     i have nothing to do with you
                                     i should say it to the mountains
                                     but like me they are leaving too
                                     we're all always leaving
                                     i'll say it anyway
                                     but take me out of this, river
                                     stay here and the mountains you keep
                                     river, stay here

jane's roses

the whole day spent
pulling grasses 
from under Jane's roses

find a leaf 
trace it to the stalk
then stem   and tug

all day

the horses eyes 
following me
through the fog

     how beautiful
     your roses each
     a different shape

    how they gather
    the mute light of
    a day in a cloud

    at sunset they glow
    the color of the blood
    they drew from me
    all day pulling grasses
    from their stony beds
Jane--  your roses!    
    on your hillside
    by the river
    at the sea

                                     it is not that there is nothing
                                     where we want a river flowing
                                     it's just the water is muddy
                                     as if some animal is crossing
                                     back and forth in a confusion
                                     like something could be learned
                                     on the other side
                                     and the footsteps stir the bottom
                                     to the murky edges

                                     its just that there is such thing as clear water
                                     that every stone and pulp of leaf
                                     and sunken branch and tiny fish
                                     can be seen with an unusual clarity
                                     and that the water magnifies whats in it
                                     that it spreads the light out evenly

                                     its that the water should be clear
                                     even up against the dark and tangled banks
                                     and where the tributaries cause cold riffles

                                     its that the reaches can be swum
                                     and all of it         
                                                            clear water


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"for a moment" series, cont.

for a moment
at Mud Lake Ranch
the ospreys sang
to each other above
the wild morning glories

their calls reverberated
in a place i've only ever
seen the sunlight go

                        for a moment
                        i believed it to be
                        true that every poet
                        must at least for a moment

                        consider the grassheads
                        bowing in the wind

for a moment
the earth was enough

even the giggly young girls
admitted that something had
changed in the psychedelic dusk

a river could be loved

how close?

              only the thin

                            morning fog

                                         on your body

                                                               of water

Dan Brewer
from The Eel River Love Poems

sleep above the lower river

does the river shine all night?

even after the moon
stops lighting Tit Hill
     and the zodiacal light
     rescinds from the
     estuarine mouth

the river shines into night

Mars caught in the
Virgins ear of grain
   Arcturus always tickling
   my eyeballs,    checking
every hour,           its true

the river shines all night

in and out of opiums sleep
and the clicking of midnights insects
   the valley is a dark groove
   waterway subduction slit
--i'll love the river if i have to

the river shines all night

    fog bank doming
    Prosper Ridge
rolling over in the morning
a two-point yearling, eyes at mine

"the river shined all night!"

rise with sun-up dewy white
    fog comes inland
    to stick its clammy fingers
    in the valleys, snuff the river
'til the sun, elucidating air from cloud;

the river shining in the light

Sunday, June 15, 2014

the longest dusk

the light's become so
good at lingering
~westlight backshining
   the ridge trees, slowly

at this hour

buzzards wheel
to find perch in particular limbs,
flap noisily, settle and become another shadow

squirrels make ways back
to their cluster-nests for
the evening and crows
above say,

"go home!"

they dare not caw when
the owls wake to hunt

the wind keeps pushing the mountain;
dry grasses lay down on the flanks of Barnabe

     of all the ways to see it
     i keep coming back to the wind

     when you sit out until
     all we think of as still commences
     quivering in the subtle dusk
     there is no way of saying exactly
     when the night begins

i long for the cool dimness
of morning when the sky
is the suggestion of light
and everything appears
to be inhaling

what is it that
desires this attention?
surely not the worn body
or the mind all soft
in the warm bath of dream

that i rise from bed-heat
into chilly grey air to sit
with nothing but the
flower of day
--the soul must exist

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

should it not follow winter that
i wake my body in the springtime?

i want everything i do to be
a walking into a cold river

i choose to believe i keep
the sunlight that torches my skin

could it be that we are accumulations
of the wind and history?

a gust the size of galaxies
still moving the tiniest leaves

coincidences are just the
enormous wind remembering itself

coincidentally what passes thru my ears
the hawk considers its keenest tool

it is summer and my body, awake
is an accumulation of all the sun that's blown

it is the function of time to rearrange
familiar things until they are unrecognizable

i cannot remember something;
just the wind forgetting itself

drunk, alone in a strangers cabin

am i alone?
i feel as though

i know people
i have never met

is not every star
and fir-needle here

for me to be with
silently, as they are?

its as though
the moon was made

for us sad, pleased hermits
in our cold, perfect beds

Sunday, June 1, 2014

from the "for a moment" series

for a moment
on the train
the slanted-mouth
woman and i
shared the inherent
beauty of stars

the blooming forsythia
passing by
acknowledged this

                                     for a moment
                                     i was unsure
                                     whether the falling tide
                                     was not the water receding
                                     so much as the earth
                                     rising from it

for a moment
i saw a meadow
thru the trees

coming closer
what was a meadow
was the shining buckeye flowers

exuding light before
the sun had even risen

                                     for a moment
                                     there was quiet
                                     where there had been birds

                                     the sun passed by

Thursday, May 29, 2014

potential danger with witch-friends

of all the witches i know

i might suspect

that one of them unknowing

could keep me in her curses

when she meant me for her prayers

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

you say your mind
has been far from your body
connected by a long thin thread
and that everything is light or flowing

my mind has been
stuck in my heels
there are no connections

no one wants to be
an old shoe

and your hands are becoming
far too beautiful to look at, only

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

long ago mother and father
walked in the woods
on a morning like this
and the poppies bloomed

i'm told the house
was filled with light
and the lilac smelled
as sweetly as it did this noon

Vega was the first star to rise
and the light it made
the evening i was born
just now reached my eye

Friday, May 9, 2014

all the dayrise the mewling of
the "small bird of the thornbushes"

a fine mist gives a pillow-light
for the early cottontails

an oriole makes love thoroughly
to the freshly flowering quince

i might just leave
before the lilac does!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

in the house alone

    behest of morning
    to stay in the hammock
    far past the first grey light

who is it that whispers me awake?

    vows of morning
    mean little
    at sundown

and the new moon on mayday


Saturday, April 26, 2014

each day i let the same trapped
dark-eyed junco
out the barn loft window

i will no longer ask you the reasons why

Thursday, April 24, 2014

the hermit to himself

leave the rake out in the garden
you'll be there tomorrow

speak only with your father
or else let the house its silence

rest in the myrtle by the dogwood
while the birds are quiet

in the first heat of the year,
the sun will let you

forget love for a while

sit with your cloud-eyed mangy cat
she's a better hermit than you'll ever be

walk to the swamp and stop by the pine to
collect rodent teeth from its resident owl

go lightly into the evening
with a head full of flowers

to give to your oldest friend;
old beckoner, sleep.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To have every bird in the woods
finally sing and I am known to it
is all the morning I ask

To see the flower garden
move as a dress on your body
is all the day I ask

To have the stars rise from the river
and you not think of me as crazy
has to be the night ahead

Bob Arnold

Friday, April 18, 2014

in the sudden spring cold
that shrivels the magnolia blooms
the stones gather day warmth
and pass it to my hands

sun shines through
a black shafted
blue jay feather
stuck in the braid

i return to joy

Thursday, April 17, 2014

the wind touches
       all day

the light sometimes

caught in
       the daffodils


of far and away
go out to rest among
        the stones

Monday, April 14, 2014

water's flowing

the sound

comes toward my home

know what i'll promise you?

skies be bright & clear for you

that's what i'll promise you

the sound is fading out

it's more like five sounds


sound is really fading out

it's more like five sounds


Sunday, April 6, 2014

quiet and far

you should go quiet and far
when the best thing
you can do for your friends
is to leave them alone

there should be some sense
that you are learning anything
from the ineffable moments,
that they don't just stack over you
until you can't see the past

you should take out your old feathers
when you've gone quiet and far
and learn a thing or two about rivers
and the fishes that breathe in them

it could be that there is no calm
way of knowing precisely what to do
with the years, and that they'll
sink in lazily despite your concerns
that they're not shaping up quite right

you should hope that the persistent
growth and decay of notions in your mind
will one day provide a suitable soil
to sprout some respectable food and flowers

it should not surprise you that
the voice you trust the most
is none other than
the winds

she doesn't lie

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lagunitas to Bolinas

"The feeling of the country settled into him, the great emptiness and age of it, the feel of westward mountains old as time and plains as wide as forever and the blue sky flung across. The country didn't give a damn about a man or an animal. It let the buffalo and the antelope feed on it and the gophers dig and the birds fly and the men crawl around, but what did it care, being one with time itself?... ... Looking back, it was as if time ran into itself and flowed over, running forward from past times and running back from now so that yesterday and today were the same. Or maybe time didn't flow at all but just stood still while a body moved around in it."

~The Big Sky,  A.B. Guthrie, Jr.

The Last Resort

Sunday, January 19, 2014


"I've been here 40 years,
never had to water the garden in January.
Things are gonna get really weird."

have the rain maidens all gone?

here i was thinking they preferred the damp
warmth of these winter valleys,
but some huge oaf of a pressure system
out on the Pacific
has sent them scurrying east

their hearts have tasted the sweet of cold
and snow, and now who knows
when the rivers will be high enough
for the salmon to lay their crimson roe

everyone is confused, not used
to all this low sunlight in January
and the cold the open sky affords;

i concluded the scrub jay
was screaming solely because he could see his breath
while doings so, having never seen this before;

the cherries and magnolias are opening their blossoms
but there is hardly anyone to kiss them;

personally i think the varied thrushes
are enjoying the drought,
they give breathy whistles all day
and seem to knock the laurel nuts
into the pond with a fervency,
some sort of animagical ritual
to stave off the clouds?

me? i'm just dreaming often
of puddles full of maple leaves
and the remembrance of being drenched
underneath the redwood tree all night
thinking how well a wet-night in the duff
can cure a heart that breaks itself


often my vision is coordinated
to the directional geometry of trees

i spend hours just determining
which douglas fir is most accurately
pointing at the moon

and then the oak,
who (like me) clearly gets her best
thinking done in the twilight;
i am coming to believe she has a
particular affinity for Jupiter
whom she tosses and tangles
in her limbs and leaves
until just past midnight
when she rests

and it was a full ten minutes staring
before i realized the careful swaying in the morning sun
and that all the needles and leaves shivered
sparingly, as if to make best use of this delicate wind

dry winter; its fruits

there are two pale wasps
above my door

they have me bow
as i come and go


o how i long to fall
into the graceful curves
of the earth that are seen sometimes
by eagles on high thermals
and traveling businessmen
and young girls who look out,
whom have always dreamed
of being birds


there it was;
a perfectly quiet meadow

and then two crows
on the quiet wind
calling loudly into it



up and over, Great Valley,
Yosemite in snow,
     the White Desert,
rust and copper mesas
and on to
     Cordilleran ridge bone
     --mountains, valleys,
        mountains valleys

all of it surfaced
with snow
that pales the earth

an illimitable whiteness;

the only color that
passes into silence


in an effort to counteract
the effects of a busy sleepless city
in southern Florida
i slept on the hotel room floor
with my head pointing due North

and in the shades-drawn darkness
i dreamt of the peaceful company
of old friends
and the sublime
mystery of love

epilogue to "Mother of Stone" (november)

i should have guessed it would be
the levity of clouds; the high ones

and certain tones of darkness
in the weightless morning

Mother of Stone (october)

have i come to the hands
of the Mother of Stone?


              granite smoothing
              in a rivers calm

              the stoned bedlam
              of a bedrock soul

how i danced
wildly once,
ecstatic and alone!

              now,  whole occurrences of my mind
              have slowed and even stopped
              like flowing magma
              resting into form

i'm not sure its science
but i get the feeling
that certain lichens would thrive
on the dormancy of my soul

                not that a stone
                is uninspired or not glad
                but should the mind of a man
                slow to such hardness?

the days are igneous,
and maintain a directionlessness
of geological precision

dreams more metamorphic
but offering no more pattern
than a maze of mountains

                   reduced by a river

                   abandoned like a boulder
                   in a terminal moraine

o Stone Mother
whose slow stone eyes
arrest my soul

you are beautiful
but let me go