Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 13th Poem--NaPoWriMo--A sappy poem about my fish

I got the call in my best friend’s kitchen,
watching her mom pour crepes.

We found Goldie this morning
gasping in the sink.

The weeks I’d spent teaching her
to thrust her copper body out
through the liquid confines of her tank
for a split second before splashing down again—
a hundred guided attempts clamped gently
between my thumb and index finger.

We tried to save her—Mom moved her through the water
pumping her little gills. We were just too late. We decided to wait
'til you got home to flush her.

I hung up without speaking, walked out front,
and sat at the edge of the driveway.

Dad and I rode home in silence. I made my slow way
to the kitchen where Goldie was belly-up
in her tank. With the tiny net I fished her
out onto a paper towel—around her
a growing ring of water

There’s nothing you could’ve done.

Mom rubbed my arms as if to warm me.

For a long time I watched the white porcelain
fade to grey near the drain
and prayed she hadn’t landed in that place.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 12th Poem--NaPoWriMo--2 Haiku

forgotten iced tea
a wasp drinks from the backs
of drowned bees

plum-heavy, the tree
planted on our dog's plot
bittersweet harvest

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11th Poem--NaPoWriMo--I'm contemplating a sequence


Like the shock of a sea lion
just off the dock
when your eyes are miles away, searching--

a letter, years old and and pulsing
with that old life
slips from the pages of an anthropology book—

remember the ways we wrote us?

fucking in folding auditorium seats—the creaks
of three hundred students, the tongue-
clicks of the !Kung tribe on the giant screen and me

with my throat in your teeth?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10th Poem--NaPoWriMo--Haibun #2


Squirrels splash in the sandbox—stagnant and squirming with larval mosquitos—stash seeds in the hollows of the old willow. Next spring the un-retrieved will sprout from the rich rot and rain channeled through the craggy bark. A ruffle of fungus cascades down the trunk's northern arc. The south face is fused with several seasons of saplings whose yellow leaves shiver and swirl to the grass. No doubt the freeze and thaw of this winter will be the old willow's last.

mulberry prunings
woven with willow whips
our February forts

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9th Poem--NaPoWriMo

April 9th Poem--NaPoWriMo

the whole story

dim wall [of light]
sun, nape, sun, hillsides
orange sky [above] orange woods

granite and bone
the cracked and cross-legged branches
whip the windshield like a chain
the pulse of ice and rain
knuckles of sun
purpled branches

before branches
before the lung
the hem of her skirt [brought] balance [to] the earth

mother, outside in the rain
perched under the eaves with dark wings
[March’s] foggy windows
trees rubbing together like thighs
the crazed, open sky
thin and yellowed

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8th Poem--NaPoWriMo--My first attempt at a haibun

The beach is black beneath the new moon. By the light of a flickering Bic my lover and I follow a white trail through the ambrosia. We lie in the cool sand and listen to boats grunt in and out of the river’s mouth, the hush of their breathy wakes.

It’s nine o’clock. The grunion will run within the hour. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of silhouettes gather against the barely distinguishable horizon, the twinkle of distant cruise ships.

In the first waves of high tide, the metallic flash of a single body, a dozen, then suddenly the beach, like liquid silver, shimmers in the beams of so many flashlights. The night rings with laughter and shouts—the chatter of countless tongues. Children, up to their chests in the Pacific, clutch shirtfulls; men and women, young and old, kneel in the froth, a slick fish in each hand—some with a third clamped between their thighs.

Within minutes, the long line of white 5-gallon buckets overflows with captives. Some slip free and wriggle back toward receding waves. Others gasp under bodies, suffocating in air.

Hands Only the law says, but forty, one hundred, five hundred grunion at once are swept into nets and slugged up the beach toward waiting pickups. Few of the egg-heavy females have time to bury their tails in the sand and even fewer males, it seems, manage to arc around them before being plucked like turnips and tossed in a writhing pile. A young man digs a deep hole with both hands. From this well he fills several bags. 

where once were grunion
and a few tumbling stones

Saturday, April 7, 2012