Saturday, December 28, 2013

In the Winter Pasture

                                   ... in the winter pasture / fresh powder records every movement

        ... fox / coyote / deer

                          ... and this fan of feathers /  turkey angels in the snow

Photograph by Scott Hill

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We Had the Weekends

                  ... we had the weekends ... pinochle and pot 'til four in the morning

                                  ... plates piled high with deep fried smelt from lake superior 
... your easy laugh 

       ... now you're gone ... and I can't lean across the table

                                                 ... kiss your sweet chocolate mouth / tell you that I love you 


Photograph by William Gedney

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Picture

                              ... you take our picture while we're sitting on the steps of our first house

                ... my black corduroy bell bottoms / his horn rimmed glasses

                                                 ... our little boy between us ....... I'll have two more husbands after him

         ... your oldest son / not yet born ... will die in a motorcycle accident

                                         ... it's all there on those front steps / we just can't see it yet

Photograph by William Gedney

Monday, December 2, 2013

Beside the Highway

         ... beside the highway / a field of sunflowers where you took my picture that day 

                   ... the picnic in the cemetery down a narrow dirt road
  / quietly crying on the way home 

  ... years spent prying my hands loose when I couldn't let go


My reading of this poem on public radio:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Minnesota Nov 16th

                       minnesota nov 16th

                                 beyond the remains of the phlox and peonies the yellow grass lies dormant

                                 I watch from my living room window ... sip my tea


Photograph by Diane Varner

Monday, November 25, 2013

Morning on Tsankawi

                                                            ... walking on the bones of the anasazi / listening for stories

                      ... snow falling on the pajarita plateau / light moving across the valley

                                                                                          ... morning on Tsankawi


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Late November

        ... late november 
                ... calling on his great grandfather for a blessing he smoked whitefish in an old refrigerator

... pulled salty flesh from crisp skin

                                    ... the ways of the ancients ... the remembered taste of snow on pine

Saturday, November 16, 2013

From My Father's Window

                                                         ... from my father's window

                                   ... a bird feeder in the snow
                                                                        ... a grey squirrel stealing seeds
                                            ... and all the time that's left

Photograph by Alexei Mikhailov

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Father's Thermos

                  ... he worked away from home to put food on the table / came back on the weekends
   ... at the bottom of his lunch pail ... a candy bar / three musketeers for three daughters
                           ... five decades later / I still feel the weight of my father's thermos

My reading of it on public radio, KAXE:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Abandoned Schoolhouse

                                                                  ... abandoned schoolhouse

            ... in the basement / the ghosts of broken boys

                                                                                              ... mistrust lingers on the stairs

Photograph by Steve Hirsch

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

For the Goat Man

                            ... reclusive and quiet / known only as the goat man 

     ... we ski in the snowy woods past his cabin / stop to listen

                                               ... from a single window lit by a single lamp / Pavarotti in moonlight


my reading on public radio:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Escape Plan #1

                                                    ... escape plan #1: age five

                                                                  ... a model T in tall grass parked inside the pasture 

                                 ... I turn the metal handle / hop inside

                                                    ... an imaginary sun sets behind the rockies

Escape Plan #2

                                               ... escape plan #2: age fourteen ... '57 chevy / turquoise and white

                       ... en route to roosevelt lake

                                                        ... me driving / rusty beside me ... my world exploding

Escape Plan #3

                                                                ... escape plan #3: now ... a piece of land along the river

                       ... bicycle in the woods
                                                    ... blackbirds calling from the fence line

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Twenty Seven Miles Away

   ... twenty seven miles away

                                        ... snow is falling on the picnic table where we made love fifteen years ago
                  ... pumped cold sweet water from a well

                                                           ... distance / time ... a river untraversable


Monday, October 28, 2013

Among Ponderosa Pines

                ... tucked into a shoulder of the Rockies / we slept in our car among Ponderosa pines

  ... fell asleep listening to the river

                       ... a night so close you could almost touch the stars
 ....... I think we were happy then


My reading of this poem on public radio:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Route 66

                        ... route 66

                                      ... a cemetery ... headstones hidden in grass / a beer joint past closing time 

    ... broken windows / broken doors

                                                                 ... me and jack on a broken road

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

At Midnight

            ... as though called from my bed / I stand outside ... midnight at my feet

                                                            ... suspended in the mist between two maples / a quarter moon

                            ... an owl somewhere along the river

My reading of this poem on public radio:

Photograph by Jukka Helnovirta

Friday, October 18, 2013

Seminole Canyon

             ... seminole canyon / JB and I are falling apart

                                                                                     ... night pressed against our backs 
                           ... the cold light of distant stars

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gold Dust

                                          ... he plays dulcimer on city streets / gold dust in his hair

          ... in his eyes perfect wings of being ... swans against a darkening sky


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ancient Ruins

                                                          ... in autumn sunlight / ancient ruins

                       ... pieces of another life

                                                                                     ... a crow on the branch of an aspen

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


                                                 ... at dusk Buddy and I are in the meadow 

                   ... we pause / knee deep in moonrise

                                                                                          ... a white owl beneath green pines

Monday, October 7, 2013

Evening Light

                                       ... in saffron robes and sandals 

       ... monks on canyon road

                                                     ... against adobe walls / purple flowers praise the evening light

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Under Grape Vines

                                         ... Sunday morning under grape vines with my son

    ... a man I raised

                           ... together we turn them to wine

                                                         together we stand among dripping leaves ... late September rain

The photograph is mine.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Canyon Walls

                                                         ... howls leap canyon walls 
                       ... fall into jagged silence 
                                                                      ... inside her cupped hand / a baby bird's last breath

Monday, September 30, 2013

My Mother's Hands

             ... made from scratch / a thousand loaves of bread 

                                                                       ... fish hooks / set with worms found among her flowers

                       ... an ironing board that never saw a closet

                                                             ... my mother's hands ... on everything I touch

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yellow Pears

                                          she lived in an old black van

                                          at the edge of her grandmother's woods

                                          long black hair / voice the sound of damp earth ... chippewa
                                          she gave us yellow pears / my sister and me

                                          we sat quietly / legs dangling ... juice dripping from our chins

                                          I was five years old


My reading of this poem on public radio:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Morning

                                           A big man with a big voice
                                           he rattled the rafters on Sunday mornings
                                           til I thought Jesus would come down from the cross   
                                           I bowed my head in embarrassment for him

                                           and for my ten year old self

                                           who wanted to jump up beside him and sing

                                           How great thou art / How great thou art 


Friday, September 20, 2013

An Earlier Autumn

                                   ... on a hillside below a silent barn / my grandfather wandered

         ... searched the moonlight for cattle long gone 
                                                                                               ... safe in an earlier autumn

My reading of this poem on public radio October 21, 2014:

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Gospel According to Mahalia

                                     ... from the cherry red 45s at my grandfather's house 

                                                                                                     ... to the Washington Monument

   ... she had the same dream and made sure Martin told it 

                                                                              ... the gospel according to Mahalia

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yellow Dress

                                            ... running through the woods in a yellow dress
                                                                            ... mark beside me / looking at my bare feet

                        ... how do you do that 

                                                      ... I laugh ... and just keep running

Image: Artem Rhads Chebokha 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Nights

                                               ... summers I slept on the porch / full moon leaning in the window

                            ... transistor radio pressed to my ear / searching for chicago                                                                                                             
                                                                                   ... where have you gone Joe DiMaggio

Monday, September 9, 2013

Carnival Glass Summers

               ... she took them from the cupboard ... paused 

                                                     ... top of the ferris wheel at seventeen ... his hand on her breast

                                   ... everywhere they turned another game of chance
                                                                      ... thirty seven carnival glass summers ... thirty seven lies

                         ... dropped one by one from her hands


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stealing Apples

                                              ... red barn leans into autumn
                        ... silo's white glow
                                                                    ... september stealing apples in moonlight

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Green Stamps

                   ... married early 
                                             ... I bought pots and pans with green stamps my mother gave me
                              ... pressed into little books ... redeemed in misery

Saturday, August 31, 2013


                                             ... wrapped in an old serape
              ... I sit on my porch in the early light
                                                           ... a lone coyote meanders home / drunk on moonshine

Friday, August 30, 2013

Burnished Leather

                                     ... biscuits when the sun comes up / whiskey when it's going down

            ... in between / his hands on burnished leather 
                                                                                      ... midnight / in her raven hair

Photograph by Jerolek

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beyond the Hollow

                                               ... in the hills beyond the hollow / coyotes pine for the moon

        ... hot bath / candlelight ... forgotten
                                ... I stand in the field at midnight / listen ...


Friday, August 23, 2013

Fifteenth Summer

                                              ... fifteenth summer 

                                                                              ... not anything but me
                         ... birch lake / red canoe
                                               ... fingers gliding through cool water

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cedar Mesa

                                                                 ... juniper scented canyons

                                                  ... late night campfire under orion's blue stars
                                                                ... springtime on cedar mesa

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Headed West

                                          ... she tucked her dreams into a cardboard suitcase 

                        ... headed west
                                                                                   ... drove all day without leaving the yard

                                ... beneath her ... three wheels humming

My reading of this poem on public radio:

The photograph is me at three years old.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer of Seventy Eight

                    ... he drove a volkswagen beetle
                                                           ... green as the woods behind his house
                            ... we ate with our fingers / fish from an iron skillet
                                                                                               ... bare feet on cool wooden floors


Friday, August 16, 2013

The Lion's Mouth

                                                          ... don't be afraid he said 

             ... as he placed her head in the lion's mouth 
                                                                                                  ... everything will be all right he said

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Rain

                                                              ... slow drive down river road 
                                 ... the scent of strawberries
                                                                                      ... on the radio /// summer rain

Photograph by Jim Norris

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


      ... neighbor in the garden 
                                          ... adrift on a sea ... of cabbages and broccoli
                ... from the porch 
                                             ... penelope the calico watches and waits ...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shoes of the Dead

                                        ... jungle
                                                     ... rice paddy
                          ... desert sand
                                                 ... shoes of the dead

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In Dark Grass

                       ... beneath my bedroom window / deer rest in dark grass 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Sun

                                                  ... abandoned garden
                        ... fawn at the fence line
                                                                        ... august sun seeps through

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Heart Hears It First

                                                     ... storm brewing 

                       ... the heart hears it first 
                                                                           ... bittersweet blackberry summer

Photograph by Bill Pevlor

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Running Wild

                                              ... moonlit orchard night 
                       ... black bear sleeps
                                                             ... tiger lilies run wild