Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Man

A man
Comprised of
Many parts

His personality
Like the
Seasons

Changes and
Reflects those
Around him

Forces which
Bend and shape

At his core
There holds
A center
Which like
The earth
Allows the
Seasons to
Unfold

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Walleye

It is the staple
Fish of the
Minnesota lakes
Country

Filleted and breaded
It anchors many
Special suppers
In that flat land

We had a walleye
Fillet that first
Night in Fosston

In my big
City way I
Inquired of the
Waitress the
Provenance of
The fish

Wondering if
It were line
Caught by a
Sensitive fisherman

"Where did the
fish come from,"
I asked

"It came from
the man who sells
us the fish,"
she replied

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Missouri On A Leaf

It was a metaphor
That could grace
His tombstone

An epitaph stood
For what had been

He had in mind
More a sense
Of becoming

He read it years ago
In a“Beat” tract and
It immediately embodied
For him that sense
Of freedom and wonder
That he wanted for
The core of his life

It meant nothing at
All but yet it held for him
Wonderful possibility

Where are you going?

“I’m going to
Missouri on a leaf”

You Know His Name (1)

It was the disease of
incrementalism

Twenty years ago
everything was okay

Then, little by little
there were small changes

Each change was imperceptible
But with the passage of time
the changes in the aggregate
became glaringly apparent

He had no idea he looked
so utterly ridiculous
But the entire world
knew he had a combover

You Know His Name (2)

You could hear him
before you saw him.

He had a high pitched
voice that cut
the air as a knife.

Was he hard of hearing
or did he just want
to be heard.

It seems the volume
made up for an insecurity

He wanted the world
to know he was present

He did count for something
and his voice proved it so.

You Know His Name (3)

He was charming
He moved with an easy
grace and had
the most refined manners

He sounded so
intelligent

Once on the job
he made idiotic
mistake after mistake

His supposed
sophistication was
apparently little more
than a thin veneer

Composed primarily of
his British accent

Monday, May 19, 2008

Velocity

When you are
Four years old
The time between
Thanksgiving and
Christmas seems
Like an eternity

That makes sense
Of course because
It comprises two
Percent or so of
Your entire life
And perhaps a larger
Portion of the time
You believed
Christmas mattered

A couple of generations
Later there is no time
Between those two
Events and the
Velocity of the
Calendar inhibits
Accomplishing all of
The necessary tasks

In later adulthood
We want the calendar
To slow down

We can wait for
Christmas

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fish

It was that
Late summer
Early fall
Indian summer

Before hunting
Season when the
Light is clean and
The colors flaxen

I headed out
After school in
My Dad’s pick-up
To fish in the thin
Hours before dark

Out at my grandparents
Ranch in the creek
Through the big woods
And in the small irrigation
Ditches that bisected
The grain and alfalfa
Fields off the creek

Into the neighbor
Place there was a
Small stream
Hidden in the grasses

Fish like to hide
And I let my
Line drift into
The darkness with
A fresh worm on
The Eagle Claw No. 10

I had just let
The line slide in
When a big trout hit

I set the hook
And played it
Until I could
Bring it in.

My Dad called
His friend over
To see the fish
When I got home

It was a fat
18 inch Rainbow
That curled round
The creel.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mud Puddle


What took you
Long, she asked,
To come home
From school

It was the
Mud puddle
My brother said
He had to walk
Around a
Mud puddle

He got in trouble
Because he forgot
To say the mud puddle
Was large and fascinating

He forgot to say
He stopped to throw rocks
In it, steer small
Wooden ships across it
And wage imaginary wars

The mud puddle was
Intriguing and complex
And time ran away
From him

He got in trouble
Because he didn’t
Explain the nuance.

Life is a lot
Like a mud puddle.

Waves


Time passes
After the death
Numbness abates
Exhaustion is replaced with
A bounce in your step

Life, once exquisite
And vivid and as rich
As life can be

Drifts once again
Toward the banal

Then a wave hits
An emotional tsunami
Out of nowhere
A wave

A wave of recollection
And grief and pain and loss
Powerful for just a moment
Then passing away

I miss you Dad.

Snow Angel


One of my early
Memories of snow
Was making snow angels
And playing fox and hen
In the snow with my Dad
Along side the highway on the
Way to Snoqualmie Pass

Yesterday I visited his
Grave and uncovered the
Snow from the wreath my
Mom had my brother lay
At the place of the headstone

I laid the wreath against
The plastic yellow sunflowers
I purchased at Albertson’s
Grocery store

And then, I lay on the
Ground above his grave
And made a snow angel

Skunk Cabbage


I was five or six
The small creek
Behind the school
Held a patch of
Skunk cabbage

I would pick some
And chase the girls
Especially the girl
I liked best that day

The girls squealed
And ran away

Somehow I knew
They secretly liked
The attention

Although many years
Have passed and
I haven’t seen or held
Any since my youth

I still chase girls with
Skunk cabbage

No hands


It was three miles
or more from Mike's
house all the way
into town.

Riding with arms
straight out for balance
and pedaling strong
and steady.

I was eleven and
never felt more free
and alive than that
particular day.

I remember it still
and sometimes talk about it;
about the time I rode
all the way from Mike's
house into town
with no hands.

Headstone


It was beautiful
Dark brown
And rose
With a high polish

The name across
The granite jumped out

There is a moment
Of shock when
You see your name

It was Memorial Day
And Dad’s headstone
Had just been installed

“I like the font,”
My daughter said.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pheasant Hunting


At 10 I bought
A shotgun with
My own money.

It was a 12 gauge
Remington Model 87
Wingmaster purchased
For 83 dollars from
Willy Strange’s sporting goods
Store on Pine Street
In Ellensburg

I carried it
Empty for the
First year so my
Dad could be sure
That I knew how
To handle a gun

The first opening
Day of the next season
My Dad and I went
Out with Britt
Our Brittany Spaniel

When our dog went on
Point Dad said the first
Bird was mine

Britt flushed the bird
And Dad said, “Shoot!”

Overcome with
Buck fever I firmly
Held my gun and
Shouted, “Shoot! Shoot!”

Years later Dad
And I went out on a
Cold Christmas Day with
Our Brittany

On that fine day
It was three for three

And I came home
Triumphant with
Resplendent
Ringneck roosters
Dangling at my side.