Sunday, June 30, 2013

upon seeing maynard’s red butte

on the sixth day
God made man in his own image.

man went to work, exacting dominion
over the fishes of the sea
and the birds of the air and the beasts
of the field and the woman of his rib.
but everything with breath
would prove far too much.

on the sixth day
God saw we must soon be loosed
from the Garden of our own foolishness –
to learn lessons in humility
from a land we have yet to tame.

next to this vast expanse of rock and sky
we seem a mere afterthought.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

8 seconds to pamplona

8 seconds. You think to tame him,
but what of me? If only this were 800 meters
of folly and cheap thrill on cobbled stone.
But your crimson chaps scream,
“I am the Matador!” and the crowd cheers.
Hold tightly, mi torero. One false step
and fate may gore more than your thirst for fame.
Time stops when the buzzer sounds.
Time stands still for tortured hearts.
Your chute opens and I am lost
to a frenzy of flying fringe. Hold tightly,
mi torero. 8 seconds. An eternity.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

daybreak in sasabe, 1941

Sunrise and the morning desert,
rich and vast and placid –
an endless stretch of sand
awakens beneath a sea of blue.
Jackrabbits and hungry hawks
gobble up morning morsels.
Jacob’s staff, prickly pear,
agave and mesquite
quickly drink the drops of dew
that linger in early light.
Too soon looms the rising sun
with arid breath, relentless tongue.
She wields her greedy
length and breadth
across the valley
around the cliffs
and licks the desert landscape dry.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

turning from zoar

If only I could
close the door,

your chamber,

or busy my heart
with counting books

and divvying plates,
tea cups, knives –

those menial tasks
of moving on.

For I cannot help
looking back –

at an empty nest,
a barren womb

that longs to swallow
you back into itself,

to swaddle again
its infant bourn.

Amniotic trust,
liquid hope

and all my dreams
go up in flames.

I become
a pillar of salt.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

deacon slim

knew a hard day’s wage,
a fitful sleep
too well.

Too long
since last
the earth gave forth
a fruitful crop.
Too long since rain
last fell.

His means were lean,
the cattle thin,
his wife thinned milk
with water --

hoping the children
would not notice
and think their bellies full.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

before the white man

Before the white man came,
claiming what belonged only to God,
We, a native people, flesh of the soil and water of our homeland, understood,
understood the order of our birthright – that we inherited nothing;
our survival would depend not on might, but on humility,
on harmony, on unity, on brotherhood with this land, our Eden and our hunting ground,
on respect for the mountain, the river, and the valley of the mighty buffalo.
Swallowed are the many miles, the civilized white man having swallowed,
the mouth of progress an insatiable abyss.