In Celebration of Joy Harjo

In June, Joy Harjo was chosen as the new U.S. poet laureate. I’ve spent the month getting acquainted with her poems, which are unlike any others I’ve read.

This poem was written after reading and journaling through her poem “She Had Some Horses.”

The Horse

He got some disease but before we could figure out what

it was he ran off, at the solstice. If he could’ve talked, he

might’ve said he’d had enough of us, was joining the wild

mustangs. But he was no mustang, and the mustangs knew

it.

He didn’t know how to find shelter, didn’t realize horses

don’t kill to eat, like raptors, or scavenge, like coyotes.

Found no pillows in the wild, no blankets either. Never

patient, always a runner, he ran on, through the sepia

landscape, learning absolutely nothing as his tail swished

behind him.

Back at home we debate: What could we have done?

What should we not have done? Each bit of news of him

pierces us. Not in the heart (it is long grown cold) but in the

retina, retelling ever thing we see and have seen of him.

‘Anniversary’

We never talk

We talk all the time.

No, I mean talk, talk

Well what do you want to talk about?

I don’t know, just talk to me

I been talking to you for forty years.

You don’t concentrate when you talk to me

How much do you have to concentrate to talk?

That’s generic talk. It don’t count.

You want name-brand talk?

No, just talk, health talk, horse talk, I don’t care.

You want to talk about the horse?

If the horse is important to you, then yes, I want you to talk about it.

Not really. S’just a horse. I could talk about my guns.

God no. No gun talk.

Well I give up then. I never talked so much at breakfast in all my life.

You been talking so much you’ve hardly eaten a thing. Want more coffee?

Sure, ‘m all talked out.

Fine..

From Mountain to Mountain: The power of poetry for people affected by trauma

Published May 17, 2019

‘Clean Up Good’

It’s competitive shower season

Now is the time for serious shower-ers only

Those who enjoy languorous strokes beneath the Whirlpool

waterfall need not apply

Contestants toil all year, alternating cool

with heat, daylight with moonlight

There are categories for outdoor bucket showers

shaving in the shower (men’s and women’s levels)

Extra points awarded for the dexterity needed to operate

a hotel shower

The forecast favors the adventurous. Leave behind

your lucky body wash, your ducky towel

Apply your industry to becoming the cleanest, speediest you

you can be

Tickets on sale now

Film at 11

The Cardinals

For the second time since we’ve lived in this house, cardinals made a nest in the mountain laurel.

Inspired by Kristine O’Connell George’s book of poems titled Hummingbird Nest, I’ve written a few of my own haiku about our cardinals. I didn’t notice every detail, so it’s an incomplete narrative.

April 22

cardinal in the nest

safe in the mountain laurel—

plans for motherhood

April 24

Mama cardinal sits

on her nest in pouring rain

all day—never blinks

April 28

“Some birds are people

watchers,” says Tony Hoagland.

Mama Cardinal is.

May 1

Male cardinal busy

back and forth—female sits tight

unmoving, umoved

May 4

three baby bird mouths

open, parents flit for food —

We watch from inside

May 5

Papa Cardinal feeds

gaping baby mouths and Mama,

who feeds chicks also

May 7

baby cardinal pokes

out his fuzzy head—does not

see the nesting snail

May 8

quietly, oh so

quietly, pull up the blinds—

Mama Cardinal’s there

Almost Mother’s Day

through thunderstorms, winds

(damaging), hail, tornado—

Mama Cardinal sits

May 10

baby cardinal stands

gray and fluffy in the nest—

“I’m self-sufficient!”

May 12

Cardinal family pecks

the grass and then flies away—

the nets is empty

June 23

When the cardinals left

I threw out their nest. They’re back.

Rebuilt in one day.

June 28

Mama Cardinal eyes

me from her new-built nest: You

can never stop me

The black hole

at the center of the galaxy consumed

my husband’s sock, stole

the name of the book—you know, the one

that changed my life, took the maple

in the backyard, the house on the corner

It appears to be eating our grass. I blame

the black hole for absconding with his memory,

with her brilliant idea when she sneezed.

The pages of my journal creak as I search

for the poem about the daisy

(or was it amaryllis), words drawn

from ordinary dust

star dust left

over from the supernova

that started it all

I Spy Yellow

I Spy Yellow

all colors and descriptions from A Is for Azure by L.L. Barkat, illustrated by Donna Z. Falcone

you are a Brass-petaled field

a Jasmine coil

a Xanthic mix

sometimes I hear your Yellow hello

you are tucked in a Red bed for gold

you hide in plain sight in Kiwi 

and Vermillion 

and Umber

and Silver

even White 

in the corners of Purple

along a Navy trail

on the far edge of an Iceberg stream

you are nowhere to be found in Fuchsia

I spy you

in a Cranberry twirl

and a Denim blue sea

perhaps that is you on the margins of an Orange flame

in the back of a Midnight terrain — a bulb blooming bright

until morning’s Tangerine sun

An Easy Way to Write Poetry–Journal!

Published January 18, 2019

‘Revenge’

Revenge

is juvenile

sic ’em with a poem

get the last word

in rhyme, attempt ragtime

say it slant

leave love

‘Reinata Caridorada’

Reinata Caridorada

 

hot sunset steals the gay light

among once-wildflowers dead from drought

where oak and cedar meet — small birds

 
glean. We grab

phones, snap males sporting black eyeliner

females flashing off-the-shoulder wingbars.

 

A dozen endangered yellow faces

black throats white bellies

Warblers of charity