Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wild Roof poems up now

 My poems now up at Wild Roof. Go to the link here.    

Here are the poems: (with slightly weird spacing.)


Rite of Return                       

Right into the city come the coyotes. The neighbor to the east calls in his cat. The neighbor to the west watches as one lone coyote slinks past Safeway, storefront church and gastro-pub. Follows dogs down my cul de sac, then turns and skitters into the oleander, pursued by sharp-hooved does. I see him at the very end of the driveway, scruffy long-jowled dog hunkered under the brush. Waiting.

first one Coyote

Then two; then multiple, time

before time, earth before earth

 Before there were people say the Miwok, there were “First People.” Coyote on hind legs, looking for a wife chooses Frog Women. Woos her with infinite patience; lingers on her stream beds; plays his paws among her lily pads; stalks her through water’s murk, plucking her out, long tongue lapping. 

 Coyote and Frog weave Earth

from burned-out stars and broken crockery

sky’s open border

After cocktails, the neighbor to the east says — The coyotes are killing the cats. And Animal Control won’t come for wildlife unless it is injured! You can tell he wants them injured. He wants their carcasses between his car wheels, he wants their hides scarred with pellets from his (legal) gun; he will do none of this though. Instead he says — I can trap them and carry them away into the hills where they came from. They do not belong in the city.

 Cats kill birds — says the neighbor to the west, the naturalist — The cats are killing the songbirds; soon there won’t be any left in North America. Keep your cat indoors! 

The neighbor to the east shakes his head — No! The coyotes have to go. I have never seen this cat loving man so angry. Out my window, Coyote smiles a sad smile slipping down the streambank.

all night from hill to hill

crossing canyons; rattling windows

Coyote’s dirge; Frog’s lament  


Animals Don’t Know They Have a Name

 

birds for instance, don’t care

that we call them thrushes

or Steller’s jay

 

or white crowned sparrow or Nuttal’s woodpecker — 

that sound they rat-a-tat-tat late

into the afternoon

creating granaries

against the winter

 

that season whose name they don’t know,

or summer, or any season 

 

except that stomachs grow

                or diminish, hunkering-in happens, or hunger —

 

 that we humans

delineate with nouns

and spelling, of which they know nothing,

 

crows, raucously patrolling their territory,

caucus with sharp cries alighting on the rough heat place

                        seeking crumbs,  avoiding splat

only by inches

 

then there is the owl

   barn or great horned or elusive spotted

hoot hooting into dusk, scouring below

for movement of rats, slither of gopher

          snakes, names they do not know,

 

nor does the deer on the hillside, the skunk

     rocking toward us, as we leash the dogs

who though domesticated only remember their names

when called home to dinner

 

above all circle the vultures their red heads alert

for remnants of unnamed animals

caught in the splat of forever

 

or sometimes when nights grow cold and food is scarce,

rotten orange fruits that once were called —

         by children in disguise —

           

jack-o’lanterns in some forgotten lexicon

of mystery and expectation.

 

 


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