from 2001 folder

[Some undated, those that are mostly 2001, some 2002.]

“juniper cottage”
————–“for R/ 1-30-01”

juniper cottage
snowbent branches lean
across the doorway

inside we travel
a long, rocky trail

the sound of ocean
the osprey’s cry

rusted old bell heavy
“`on the ocean floor

each wave a long breath in
& out–

a dream of petals
through quiet water

pink shell-bits each flake
a small, clear ring

tentacled I rise
```from my seabed
“` into the storm

called to air I rise
from the abyss
through long seaweed
sky opening…

tentacled I rise
~~~from my seabed
~~~~~~into the storm

my own song a life
of listening open-eared
eyes, mouth, inside & out
filling to the shape/ shaping
to the container

chance fate the smooth rock beach
news from war: my father’s brother gone–

hot sun, sage, soft dirt : wild yellow roses
lizards & the ice-cold river my mother’s arms filled
with fruits, &, utterly gently, baby brother & sister,
room for me, too, & my friend from birth–
who still calls–adventurers, explorers, dreamers
never ending–or to cut through all that layer on layer:
summer sunrise

& that one morning
from the little pear tree
close enough to touch

the redwing blackbird
a burst of song so clear
the whole sky the tree & grass

& dirt under my feet liquified–
the notes themselves so clean,
pure mountain water my heart
burst open, flown straight into bliss
my world never the same–

redwing blackbird
your song the joyful taste
of purest spring

“anything unusual on the road?”

not really–tho
no one behind me
from Storrie Lake till here

only clouds followed
trumpeting behind

“reduced speed ahead”
a coyote, thick-furred, elegant
–laid out by the road

crow stands
on dead coyote’s head
facing traffic

at the turnoff
a white truck selling
“roses from California”

~~~last time through:

a stormy night
an old man, wet
thumb up for a ride

cottonwood elders
great trunks, limbs
to bear the sky

stiff-barked, rough
the only smooth one
a dead snag

only death–
the smooth one–

…catkins! silken
tassels at branch-tips
stick straight out in wind

on the bridge
little dirt clods
like worm trailings

“Native America Calling” (7-5-01)

Haida: same word means clam & doorway
no word for now, all is becoming or past..

“In the beginning, all came to point of light,
went NSEW Up Down / –1st sacred circle
now brothers, now sisters, we come again
into the sacred circle together”

“now, theory of Big Bang–so linear…
do you think that’s really the way it was?”

where does it all go?
this dream-stuff
or whatever it is
–or come from, for that matter–
what the heck are we/ is it anyway?

Sometimes I think it’s the questions
that get in the way–no more

I want the simplest things
to love without question
& with questions–
to disappear into music & dreams
I bring back from obsidian night

the live coal to kindle & flame up
a chant, a song
the rolling mass of lava & ash &
mud–rhythm of time
& our perception of its thunder–

a field of words sown
in early April, letter by letter at first–
in neat little hills with a dead fish
for each, & channels running along
a gentle slope as day went on
the spring sun beamed down
on such good work a little extra

this one small cup/ oddly shaped
cream-white/ shot through with
streaks & spots of deep dark blue,
heavy –sinking slightly into
the surface / inside & out

this cup, with its markings
set on the red counter between
the can of medicine powder &
a smooth bent stick, beetle-chewed

the universe of things exploding
out on all sides (how many directions ?
how many things? how far??

Some part of the brain wants
to count–is already counting,
listing, differentiating among,
putting in categories

“scientists–always trying
to measure, never reach
never finish or ‘understand’
being here–point of light
–all directions NSEW Up Down
coming together again for a
first time in the sacred circle”

edge of the cup–round–spiraling in
ends up where? the beginning–?
“the BIG BANG…? you think that’s
really the way it was?”

new brother, new sisters, we return
(now) to (the) point of light

brave new world–what
do we bring
to this day?
what will we find–

red mesas thick
with junipers
horses drinking
in a dry field
little stone house
chunks & pebbles scattered
days & days piled up forever
a sound released
where the road
cuts through–

can we hear the endless harp of time
each day a string each night
a pebble to strike it held
within the crusted land pressed
by mounds of other days & nights
pulled to the mother’s heart–

the deep thrumming not even sound
but something rising
twisted & tilted squeezed lifted
a giant hive all humming
can you hear it shaken by its
~~~twitch breaking through

first touch of wind
& rain always new
the noise of air rushing around
all over the place–the thronging
— birds insects feet & wings
trunks & branches, stems & leaves
even dry sand in motion, wavering
across itself the sinuous unformed, liquid edge
so precise again & again & again the night
sudden darkness a sounding box–
a voice like fountains…of nothingness–

ears tip small, small, so small
–so thirsty
how much/ how long & what? ah!
when I start to choose to separate
to ask which…each form hovers—
bone-whistle symphony chanting
in the temple crashing surf bubble-pop cry
of the seized antelope jet scream left
behind someone talking to someone & then
silence blessed silence
~~~a single note
~~~~~~~ unheard

one arm flung
around his neck–
head nested in my shoulder curve
as if grown that way–that instant
red shirt, small fingers, face buried in sleep
———————————- [undated]

[A Dark Day #1: 9/11]

when I woke up this morning,
with memory returning,
it was an ordinary day

I sat on the edge of my bed
a deep breath

outside the sun just up
inside–medicine, yoga stretches
at 7:15, the plumbers ring
to change an old pipe–

turning the radio up for news,
something’s missing–no usual data–
on the tv, a silver-edged plane
strikes for the jugular–
first one tower down,
then the other–
mind struggles against disbelief
behind the eye death
staggering monuments
–left brain, then right brain
blasting out with shattered
shards of bone & glass,
fire & brimstone
in lethal black cascades of
pulverized steel & cement,
electric cords, furniture, an arm,
a whole person–others falling falling
past the trembling neon wall a hundred stories
of windows the long sharp scream caught in everuy throat
impacts swallowed again & again by the back of the eye
back of the soul, caught in an airless wind, a scrap of paper
with someone’s name on it–a plaque with names on it now.

On this day, the sun came up.
We got a new bathtub faucet [that never worked well]
& in between, a bitter darkness that sticks to the bone,
mind clouded in toxic ash, the anguished heart scourged
open before our eyes, blasted & released–

each day
each friend & loved one
–no excuses

[She may have continued this from “blasted & released” on a page not yet found. There are some marginal scribblings about “new vision…unasked…inescapable.” The last stanza above may or may not be meant as part of the same poem, having been written by itself on the back of the last page–itself otherwise full.]

one day? 8 days? eternal?

always we burn
lit again (& again)
like candles

Such relief!–the sunrise, river-&-ice music,
light in the branches, birds flying in wind-gusts.
I go looking for poems new & recent, to write up
& share this life–& what I do with the hard part,
the pain, anguish & despair I find looking
in so many poems, words, cries…a troubled time.

But when you brought out the Hannukah candles
–packets & bags saved from years & years–
& started to light them, every night in new patterns–
something seems to have changed, be changing–
& one by one all the other candles–tall, fat, short,
shaped like sunrise & santa & Earth, colored,
striped & scented–bayberry, lemon, vanilla–
tapers & tealights, smooth & chunky, dipped &
layered with pressed spring flowers every holder
we could find set out on the brick hearth
in front of the fireplace–

lighting one from another
steady flames
each a little different

something begins to melt, wax running over
& down across the bricks to pool & solidify,
starting to slow down & burn out when
SURPRISE! a new package arrives from
your old friend, Big Dipper himself!
the flame rekindled….

lit again
we burn
like candles

[Virginia knew Buson’s classic: lighting one candle/ with another–/ a spring evening. Here we are closer to the winter solstice, when the lit flames are most appreciated. Her original version had the quote “each campfire lights anew/ the flame of friendship true” in rackets with a delete indicator.]