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