We Always Stop to Look at Trains

Rain. The slowest, longest, loudest, creepiest, crawliest train.
Ever. In existence. Thick brown ties. Bolted steel flexes
beneath round collars wrapped around great iron necks.
Reached out and strained screaming. Rain.
With green leaf branches stuck like parsley
in its deep black grated grin. Flood waters in straight sweeping
tracks down hill sides, drifts of bark and twigs curled in between
tree trunks and stray quartz. Ogre gravel. Industrial.
Mounded up beneath where incredible weight will pass over.
With no friction. No heat, whatsoever, in the steel.
Rain. Like a train. That passes up above our heads.
But never fallen.

Southern Summer

Rain that comes straight down. So hard it gets a second chance to jump back up from underneath. Soaks everything. Soaks me. Left the doors off the jeep. I know the eyes that followed me home. Brunette debts paid to dirty blond actresses with deep dark pupils planted center. Bare rose bushes. Gravel wash out. Darker than December at five o’clock in the afternoon. Indigestion rumbles in the distance. Hooded women are running to their cars. We are all praying for someone to get home safe. North Carolina summer. East coast storms. We are all walking on water. In a thousand different forms. The geese love it. Stopped in the road four fluffy children in a row waddling after the great sleek black-neck honking at cars with foggy windows. We swim in lakes that were not there one hundred years ago. We burn the stagnate relics off ancient jungles in our engines like it was nothing, ascend their toxic spirit so that even paradise has a few holes punched in it. All alone wrapped up in waning swiss cheese ozone. Dear God. Make us a sandwich. Lettuce smeared in mayonnaise clouds and a sopping wet sliced red tomato for sun. Dripping sticky rain that soaks in and leaves stains. Sunkissed skin and moonlicked and cooked dark and broiled brown. Pink fingernails in black settings. Red knuckles etched with white scars. Words. That fill your head with pictures. Clouds. That soak the ground with rain. Seasons. Far more than four. Within these southern summers. Spring and fall on each side like soggy bread.

Morning is a season.

So is the evening.

All on it’s own.

Don’t be surprised to wake up in heaven.

And drive through a little hell to get home.

Bitter Fruit

The smell of cold. Dry. Sharp. A little sour white wine.
Whereas, usually, white wine is sweet. This winter is bitter.
Ice like bulletproof glass like stemware cupping all this snow
like a lightning slick bowl. Buried beneath flimsy bubbly
porous wine kept at the top of the refrigerator
too close to the freezer.

Chunky and slushy and heavy on the bottom with dirty foam on top.
Smell it. When you open the door. First thing.
The fuzzy insides of your nostrils stiffen.
Lungs have frosty fingers playing them like accordions.

Eyes sting.
Ears ring.
Cheeks are numb and lips become brittle.

A season all on its own.
Icey disposition head buried in snow.

It is bitter weather.
It climbs into the fruit.
And it changes the flavor of the wine.

At another time, it could have been sweet.
But not this season. Too dry.
Just a thick sniff of it,
will freeze a tear to your eye.

Ground Fire

Shhh. Shushes the wind. Fall is falling in. When it only wanted to get its feet wet. 

Now we are drenched in wind.

Squeaks the trees. Groaning grinding bark 

above their tangled feet. Fire in the ground. 

Roots get hollowed out. 

And all you see is smoke.

She said it was worst form of fire.

Hugging its own arms and legs as it gets torn apart. Eaten by the breeze like a river swallowing creeks. There is an ocean in the sky.

Birds swim, they don’t fly. 

Trees filter like ferns for light. 

And vines vy for their height.

Same as eyes. Stared up. 

Open. And out.

While autumn shushes all, gold leaves fall,

and tall trees shake bare fists and shout.

Time has come. And like strong steady wind.

It whispers.
Move. Or be moved along

Spaces in between

I like changing seasons. Any transition. Humid and stifling hot to cold dry wet. Finally, too cold to enjoy it, just the way I like it. It’s feeling trapped in long drawn out seasons that taxes too far.
The spring following winter thaws a heart same as land, and the cooler breeze and falling leaves of autumn is a fan against a sweating cheek. See how quickly it changes. The same heat we evaded, hated over summer, burning in a brushfire. In the midst of transition, I find it hard to not imagine, think deeply on, how transitory and easily adaptable my sense of value is. Not one day after the colder air arrives at the end of summer, and my mind is on fire.
All my energy for farming, gardening, turns rapidly to sawing, splitting, sawing and more splitting, until several piles form, covered, weeks of warmth, and a constant hobby of feeding flame and tending to coals in order to occupy myself. The inescapable heat, left behind by weeks, leaves a stinking sweat soaked memory still rank, dripping in my mind. Turned cold by the seasonal shift so easily the heat is sought after soon again, but this time, at last, under my control.
Summer heat can’t be escaped. Even if the air conditioner runs twenty four hour days, all the air in the house chilled, cold as a refrigerator, the season burns power bills. Shining far too brightly, singeing finances red instead of skin, harshly just the same. But just now, the world provides the chill so desperately exhausting the dying metal box in the window.
Heat reintroduced at leisure. A little dry tender in a fire for comfort. A cat laid in a windowsill, basked in the warmth of it. Finally at the end of a long season on the run chasing shade. Inspired by the cold to once again seek out the sun.

Fall Poems #oldjournals

Now the ground crackles underfoot.
Leaves tumble across the road like bold squirrels.
Trees strip naked seductively slow as bright colored clothes
fall to the floor.

The afternoon sun has appreciated.
And the nights have inspired fires.
The cold makes coals the word hot does not describe.
Dead trees and live trees start to look alike.
Snow becomes a word to wince at or stare dreamy eyed over.

Dogwoods turn red, maples grow yellow,
oaks of all sorts float down and blanket brown
while the grass plays dead.

The silent green leaves that once crowned
the wispy thin heights of trees have been rejected and fallen.
Let go for the wind to blow, to germinate the earth like pollen.

And now the ground crackles underfoot from it.

What do they call that, Indian Summer?

The sun stays summer hot even though autumn mornings have started.
It seems the season, from its heated theme, refuses to be parted.
One half the day will verify the time of year has changed,
and the last, sent sun coursing orange through fresh brushed breathy air,
will remain stiflingly familiar. For the next several years,
the seasons are not foretold by calendars.

Some southern ocean.

It is amazing what wind brings to the world.
high up
in trees.

A long travelled breeze.
Here to see hair lifted.
Made light with spirits.
Exhaled like hot breath from some southern ocean.
Sun-governed beaches lapped by rabble rousing water.
Thrown up moisture with hands in prayer.

Here is your answer right here at some distant place on the earth.
Cold air against warm shoulders and worth, moving in the wind.

Like dying could be cast off and flung into the air
for some strange distant person to hear,
who might find amazement at it.
Who might call it worth.

Alive in the south

Hot. Wet. Uncomfortable.
Almost to the point of painful.
Acclimating to warmth after a long bout of cold.
Spent an entire season shivering in the morning.
Looking forlornly.

Apprehensive about getting out of bed.
A cold clouding a clogged cluttered head.
Skin washed thin in steaming sweat.
Light and clinging.

Consistently raining beaded on brows just beneath hair.
Consider cutting it off. All of it.
Hung over ears. Down neck.
In face.
Brunette lawns curled overgrowing cheeks.
Buried chin and mouth.

Transition. Change.
Leaping laurel to laurel.
Ethics cultivating morals.
Lifestyles range over miles.
Aristocracy. Agricultural superlative. Slavery.
There is outright truth and then word of mouth.
Like hot and cold. Good and bad. Right and wrong.

Each thing and its opposite,
alive in the south.

Way Beyond Cleansing

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.