another run
another thin moonlight bath
another run that won’t earn me fame
another run that won’t excuse me from
the work-a-day
another run that won’t elevate me
any more than the few meters this path climbs
no crickets too-cold taste of fall
running on an avenue of
simultaneous self hate and self love
wondering why
at 11:30PM I’m alone on a
rural road
no loved ones
knowing where I am
pulled deep into the carapace
pushing the intervals
through legs
tired from 4 out of 5
days running hard,
biking 10 miles to work,
and helping a friend move.
“no, I don’t need a ride home it’s not that late and I can bike…” awkward.
Silence except for
the quick controlled
foot falls that come
before fatigue
and my own hard
breath.

time, less

Seven trees: three oaks and four douglas firs
on a point of dried grass and black, ice-smoothed
rock overlooking the Gorge inlet
just the right distance away for aesthetic framing
a 4 second walk if I cared to do so
instead I sit there through days
watching how the sun lights up the interior foliage
in the afternoon versus the glint off the water in the morning
and the difference December-green grass
and grey skies makes
my butt becomes wet and then dries again
some frost and a little snow
Shrieking traffic on the road behind me
until I’m back to where I started
toss out the rest of my coffee and,
overcaffeinated,
walk the dog back home
and try to recount the year past

carapace

I think about all of the branches
that my life could have taken
how many loves dropped
and how many opportunities were presented to me
All I had to do was believe that I
was the person they thought I was.
Be the smart, creative, friendly
scientist capable of juggling and doing
and making new knowledge and forging
strong relationships.
All I had to do was not run.
All of these things still lurk inside of me
all of these potentials
that somehow were never fully expressed.
I guess that’s true for everyone to some degree.
That their greatest selves are only exposed
for a limited part of their lives
as if baring those parts would lead to hardening
and desensitization,
scabs or calluses and
any number of unlikely things.
As if showing those parts wouldn’t open
up grand complexities and happiness of human connection
or joy at experiencing an expanding life.
Instead I poke out for a moment of brilliance
instants of confidence and pride and capability
that shrink and close like a poked sea anemone.
safer like that
surer that the inverted stomach
will digest these scraps of
a fuller existence.
Ensuring the extraction of
nutrients to build stronger chitin
a carapace to hold in
a greatness that no one
is allowed to see.

Insomnia

What takes place
In the time that passes
Between not hearing and
Then hearing thunder?
Where was your mind
When those deep
Forerunners began to
Crash through, more
Surge than sound?
If you could stop
Letting yourself
Run so far ahead, then
Maybe these livewire
Nights would fade
Maybe instead sleep
Would come in
First like virga
Ten thousand feet
Above saguaro
Sheets of rain suspended
Over the desert
All those thirsty
Buds patiently waiting
With so much more
At stake than you have.
Then to finally open
Rain connecting at last
Touching the ground
As the peals roll through.

elwah

first fall
waters so clear
the bottom startling
air cold. All the
heat of summer now compressed in
to
clenching chill.
A relaxing cold for once.
Can finally wear a down coat and revel in bright orange in red at the
same time.

blue skies
orange skies
the sun sinking
behind the Walbran
rays passing
through green water
small
glassy
breaking in front of me
and surprisingly
nobody else.

I’m trying to evoke
this in
my office cooled into
the 60s for clarity
workmates can’t stay long
maybe that’s it
isolation
your own down coat
cold wind in your hair
and just enough distance

sodium arc

i arrange my bank accounts
and even the sums
on a summer night
as the neighbors yell at eachother
chasing their frightened selves
down the street out
of earshot of this
frightened self while
the sodium arc burns and
hums

I’m not sure which of these
things is the most petty

Broken on your shores

When the world delivered me to
your shores,
drunk in your bed,
leaning into your shins on the kitchen floor
laughing and then crying uncontrollably
raving about cancer
seaweed in my teeth and
barely able to stand
You wanted neptune
to stride muscularly from
the waves
erect trident to penetrate your heart.
Skewer your insecurities
into nothingness like
A bubble simply

bursting

Instead you got a soaking
fool coughing up brine
washed up the beach
ready to recede
like a spent wave on the sand
dissolving foam
scurrying crabs
and tumbled stones
filaments of kelp
too limp to resist the raging
currents of the boiling sea
the blood and phosphorescence
and whitecaps and spawning smelt
of my internal ocean.

For M.H.

varied thrush

I first learned the call of the varied thrush when I was recovering from an illness that left me stuck at home for months. Every morning and evening I would hear the strange sounds that the bird makes — 1/2 song 1/2 robotic buzz. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what it was. But, eventually I spied the bird making the sound and noticed that it looked like a robin and researching the calls of robin-like birds lead me to the varied thrush. This bird represents renewal to me. It comes in earliest spring and lingers late into the damp summer here in coastal British Columbia and hearing the call feels like a warm blanket, a first promise of the sunny season to come.

The Varied Thrush feels distant now
the three pitch cry
followed by a buzzing trill
in a damp wood.
pink salmon berry blossoms,
red cloven bark, and popping buds
that suddenly become spring

That voice is absent
the rocks are frozen together and slick
silver grey
and the kelp is piling up into
great knots to ferment on the beach
or be tossed with boulders and logs
in the rocky froth
of North Pacific winter.

Me, I haven’t tasted salt in months
I haven’t heard that call
or set foot in those warming corridors
but I will know where I am when I feel it
I will know the sound when I hear it
I will know that it is spring then.
I will know to let go.