A study of the alveolar sacs


The bus traced the toes of the Sooke hills
Wind eddying furiously through cedar branches
Making them wave and toss and throw spray back
To the sky and heavy drops to the ground
Me in this bubble of warmth, pink and humid
And my mind turned up into those hills
The cool green canyons and crevices
The flooded and abandoned roads
The emptiness of humanity there at that moment
In this building storm.
I thought of all the fragile, warm breaths
Being taken then under root-cave and rock alcove
Hidden tunnel away from trail
A massive chorus of sighing warmth
Unheard, but some how counteracting the cold wind.
Do you hunker down? Are you waiting it
Out as I am? Ducking the rain between
Spheres of comfort? Or are you out there
Eviscerating, stopping hearts, drawing nectar,
Stealing blood, staking your claim,
Licking your wounds and waiting for the fawn
Beneath cleft who snapped its last twig
In the dim rain of that forest cacophony
As I want.

My Friend the Zucchini

It’s that time of year
when you begin to ask questions
of your zucchini
Gently and with some curiosity
prodding around the edges
of its existence in your life
and in your garden where
it has established itself
like a good acquaintance
who has come from Italy
bearing panettone but
talks a little too much
about the financial crisis
who you knew was coming after
You snap its arm off
and lug three more in
wondering who to phone
for assistance.

facile verse

I’m sitting pat
on a red ledge
chewing noodles
watching the
sun slide
down no drama
baking heat
mud cracks between my toes
as it dries
facile verse
alternating canoe strokes
fssss shcrack
of opening beer
for a week
the facile verse
in complex geometry
of canyon constructed
of silt and sand
settling drying
between triceritopian toes
one, two, three now?
mesmerized by the maze
languid in the labyrinth
until the power boat return
the power car marathon
the heaving open of email vaults
and dying relatives and discordant
I stand in the lawn spraying cracked Green River silt off of coolers and buckets noting
how easily it washes from the folded faux textures in the plastic, the cerebral courses of the coiled painters and tent lines as though it were never there.

Before, Languid

Before mountainscape
the sun settles down,
bites its lower lip
gnawing anxious apology.
Despite bare chest runs,
Icy crystals pelt flesh
before ducking back into forest.
Before Orion departs
the air is still, crystal.
One last fire
before smoked glass
before summer rushes back in
all business
on the heels of chlorophyll
on the scent of cottonwood
on foot
and incinerating

an ode

At each upward glance
ducking around rock and limb
soft contour of arbutus red
brown green diffuse lit supple
and shaded in cove and crook
I thought of your skin and
the expectation of you on a bluff
as I steam through the plucked cliffs
over moss and dripping salt
finally seeing the subtle tonalities
of mountain shadowed shoulder
For once a guiltless infidelity
mistaking a tree for you
on the same trails other
poems were written onto
where an unsettled summer had to
die off into bleakest winter
to allow resurrection into clean new skin
paper curls of red flaking to the ground
lime green beneath
and time’s every etched groove
still palpable. grey branch bones
scattered, moss on rock, doug fir shade
rotting cliff killed deer
and camas pushing up from
imagined soil
we have a lot to explore there
you and I
we still have almost everything to learn

Mesh and Rive

The violence of compromise pre-exists in me.
The ionic trace that leads electrical discharge;
Fissure in sun-baked wood guiding the maul
The crevassed ice shelf before it splits off
And drowns half of humanity.
Lightning exploits the compromise
As does the wood
And the ice
And the heart.
The cleft,
The cleaving
Grounds potential
And keeps other elements
From thunderously splitting apart;
Keeps the machinery grinding along
Gears gnashing into and out of mesh
Keeps your hand from gliding down splintery wood
Too quickly, too firmly; keeps the slivers from bone.

a brown paper packet on a trail
leading home.
Marked with barely legible
faded pencil
describing Columbine;
memory describing a future;
palm, green leaves,
a graceful arcing stem
a flourish of tender petal
quiet and admirable
in a din of brushy growth.

if planted.

if warmth and water and soil
are allowed to exercise the potential
of genetic transcription —
the dormant strands of DNA
wrapped in spiral —
lover’s legs sweat-clasped
in sheets —
stomata sighing in sunlight
the floral head nodding

but, just lean a bit more forward
drive a little harder
with the legs
push the packet deep into
a pocket recess
quell the vital memory
rebuild the bridge
the barrier
the small common lie
and add to the catalogue
of conscious, natural
in lieu of the
simple truth of seeds
found on a path
and a heart
rattling a ribcage
for escape

Lunar regolith
The wind blistered shores of the Hudson
Ancient waters
Thousands of kilometres away
If not millions
A blizzard
An Easter moon’s light pricks my eyes open
In springtime Victoria
Thrashes me around at 4am
Illuminates the interplanetary space
Lays bare the simple facts
That everything is falling apart
Just as everything is being held together
By invisible fundamental forces
By math and physics
And any other human conception
I can settle my mind on
At 6 AM when
The first birds ease my grasp and let me sleep

A few more questions

Will I look back on my life
And see a series of ragged breaths
Intermittent periods of fullness
Then vacuum; airtight seals?
And if I choose to reset the pace, then
What? What form does rhythmic gentleness
Or a long steady expansion take?
How do I make room for all of that air
In my self-crowded brain? In that
Shattered-mirror space? In that
inwardly looking black body in
Perfect thermal balance with
Itself steadily cooling, radiating
Its energy toward entropy, space,
Where even atoms do not touch.