Their eyes speak volumes.
Eyelashes turned up way too loud.
Milky white bleeds over onto the pupil.
That is how you know he can’t see you.
That. And the way his ears follow you across the room.
Which. When there’s animals in it. Is called a barn.
Little ones three to a stall.
No matter how small.
One of them
has to be
What a perk. They let you eat first. She leaves two other pails just for us.
An orange and white tabby tearing at a frozen bird some other thing tried to eat yesterday. Reindeers wore their antlers bare. And I didn’t know, they don’t need so much water.
Because reindeer eat snow. And geese hiss like snakes. And donkeys crow.
The music mules make makes me believe this animal understands sympathy. And guilt.
The low. The rising raspy bellow. The arched head bowed down.
Salt peppered hay speckled crown. Makes me want to feed him again.
He knows this.
You know, it really isn’t voiceless.
Just because I don’t speak the language.
But when we listen through our eyes
we always strike some understanding.
Little fish bump and kiss loose skin around the edge of abused feet.
They feed, and tickle toes lips sweetly parted where a blister used to be.
Frightening. But gently.
Only little ones come that close.
Big fish became big fish by being fish who know
bodies seldom stop at the toes.
Movement is movement in sunlit clear fluid
and distance is a bent and twisted point of view.
I raise my hands sharp and flattened. Like a band director.
Little notes with speckled fins and silver bellies
leap at the chance to play a melody.
Whole schools of music maneuver at the flash of my hand.
Under the twitch of a pen.
Breaking water with only eyes.
Playing with fish
with my feet dry.
I love this country.
Seated against a tree in Virginian highlands.
I love this country. And, I know what all that means.
Mountain pillars float above foundation streams.
Tall rooted sunlight schemes wiggling green.
I love when high wind sweeps low and stillness quivers.
Feel this shiver as it slinks along my spine.
Ends up near my mind.
I love a cup of wine.
I love to breathe smoke.
To nurse fire.
I love the country where I am.
Gnats wings electricity near my ear.
Fire molesting moist wood.
Hesitant to burn.
Begged to be left alone.
This country is my home.
And I am anything but inclined to protect it.
On my feet.
Wide hip pictures of horizons
and boot prints on the trail.
I love this country best.
I love it with footsteps.
With my time.
Houses. Jobs. Farms. Goats. Careers. Left behind.
By definition. They are not this country.
Which was here long before we were.
And will remain so long past I. Us. We.
Lovers of continents we can’t understand.
There are better ways than words to say it.
Short grass. Embedded yellow. Three leaves outspread.
And torn wax paper. And broke-leaning picnic table.
And gravel dented by tire tread. Leaves alive and dead.
Brown roots. Paled maize flowers misplaced by poplars.
and an unmade path to walk
and roadways to drive along.
To follow, so far, so long, not even seen like litter.
Buildings so full of people, from so many castes,
not viewed like trash. Light blue sharing violet
in pale cloud-filtered light, at the tip of a blade of grass.
Not a needle in a stack of hay, not one of the same
stacked one on top of another, but piles of pure plethora.
Plethora festering on plethora on plethora.
A cracked black plastic spoon.
A styrofoam corner. And me.
Shoe-wrapped feet, and seated body,
and black bag, and marble journal,
and phone whistling Modest Mouse.
Short grass, embedded with yellow,
and three leaves outspread.
All torn like wax paper.
All broke and leaning.
And I am writing.
What you are reading.
Nailing up fourth walls for actors who won’t obey them.
Instincts speak ‘betray them’. Blue tarp barriers
and cold breathy chicken wire stapled over gaps.
Trying to trap heat in is as hard as keeping them.
Sharp-bearded performers with brown alpine stripes along spines.
Thick cotton fur white at the roots, or feathers stiff and bowing
against thick slow moving winter air.
Going over lines.
Talking to the world like you would chatter to yourself.
Actors enamored at no longer just hearing,
but to see the vapor of their very own breath.
These mountain dandelions are different than the ones back home.
They make our fluffy yellow flowers look like house-cats. Not lions at all.
They’re yellow fringed and orange centered with green eyelashes all around.
Roar pollen into the wind. Through the leftover of million year pressure, they dig.
Root like pigs. Into the side of hard gray lichen coated ground.
They creep through grass and launch on eyes like prey.
Where they mindlessly graze.
Across the hazy miles that crown sleepy towns like haloes.
They grow low, heads stooped.
And warn us off to keep on walking.
Dandelion heads buried in green.
Ever been tempted to speak out loud a phrase like,
I don’t know how much more I can take before I break?
When in truth, it is just getting started.
The here, and where when and how we found it now.
The sound and feeling of the breeze that makes an unbearable day better,
pushing, just like us, being pushed by changes in changing weather.
And whether or not you think you can,
there will always be another mountain.
And even if you decide to sit, quit, and die,
there is a mountain waiting in death too.
And this climb comes to you.
by the time such a phrase has been spoken,
it does not matter how much you take before you break.
You are already broken.
I believe we are all some form of tree, reaching toward some form of sun,
digging as deep down as possible with some form of root system.
All that this man is is not on the surface, like a tree.
There is far more to us than can be seen, or achieved, or stood beneath.
We are all stacking cells like bricks, burrowing into our eternal selves
like we were digging wells, into the still flowing aquifers we all have
eddying in our core somewhere, eroding washed out circling lines
that record our time, and tell, at least, the length of our stories,
which no other life can cut into and realize until after we die,
expire, like the tree parted from roots, burned by some form of fire.
Leave some ash as dust upon the earth. Some rich white breath
to drift off and become clouds. The body eroded until no trace can be found,
except for some form of still buried root beneath a weeping stump.
I believe death will not be the end of us.
We are like some estranged form of tree.
We have not existed all on the surface.
There is much to Man that can not be seen, or destroyed,
or burned down by simple fire. Every ounce
of every being still exists after it has expired.
In some form.
This summer has baptized the countryside clean.
And made mosquitoes mean. Chasing more than mere satisfaction.
Too many of them plunging their slurping syringes after too little blood.
I wonder how John spoke of baptism when there was a flood.
Banks swallowed up and digested, submerging questionable folks
below the chomping void of bare tooth gums moving orange water.
Putting heads under surfaces under hands which come up emptied.
Cleansed. Refreshed. Renewed. Reclaimed by fast-flowing currents.
And drown, down, white doves of white imagination descend
upon a little one laid down in the road.
Surrounded by other powder gray doves,
who launch at my loud passing, while one remains,
injured in some way, unable to move herself,
while cars roar past in waves,
to truly, irreparably, explosively crash.
Shattered glass and bent frames of bolted metal.
How would John use water to wash away engine oil?
This summer, baptism has not been a gentle trickling bath,
but an angry surge. This went way beyond cleansing.
Last summer was a purge.
Sluggish black snake crinkled over life and death all mulched together.
Army ants sort eggshells in search of crumbled chunks of gold.
Water with a hint of rust red orange iron. And a breeze,
which signifies the passing of blue metal skies,
and coming rain. Consciousness is wasted on people.
The sun can not, not for lack of trying, break through the trees,
caught tangled in wide paw-like poplar leaves
and ones on oak limbs that look like turkey feet,
with shifty raptor eyes. That sun has even left
a shady place for the moon to shine through,
intrude toe-stepping the fluctuating light of day.
Not putting up much of a fight. This spring star
is different from the one that comes out for summer.
Content to warmly tickle the mounded backs of rain clouds,
keep the ground too much mud to hope to plant a plow.
At least for now.